Reading motivation examined in new School Library Research article

Reading motivation examined in new School Library Research article

CHICAGO – New research published in the American Association of School Librarians’ (AASL) peer-reviewed online journal, School Library Research (SLR), reports the findings of two case studies focused on student reading motivation. SLR promotes and publishes high-quality original research concerning the management, implementation and evaluation of school library programs. Articles can be accessed for free at

Natalie Hoyle Ross, a library media center director at Spring Brook Elementary School, focused her research on school librarians’ perceived value of one children’s choice award––the Bluestem Award––and its effect on school librarians’ promotions and student behavior in the school library. To conduct her research, Ross completed a qualitative collective case study and single case study and collected data from site visits, questionnaires, book availability, book circulation and voting ballots.

Ross shares her findings in “Sparking Reading Motivation with the Bluestem: School Librarians’ Role with a Children’s Choice Award.” Results suggest that school librarians’ perceived value of the Bluestem was essential for their promotion of the award. When school librarians purchased multiple copies of Bluestem Award books and promotional material and combined these items with increased personal interaction with learners, reading motivation increased.

School Library Research (ISSN: 2165-1019) is the successor to School Library Media Research (ISSN: 1523-4320) and School Library Media Quarterly Online. The journal is peer-reviewed, indexed by H. W. Wilson’s Library Literature and by the ERIC Clearinghouse on Information & Technology and continues to welcome manuscripts that focus on high-quality original research concerning the management, implementation and evaluation of school library programs.

The American Association of School Librarians,, a division of the American Library Association (ALA), empowers leaders to transform teaching and learning.

Community and school step up to support teen denied Kalamazoo Promise scholarship for being homeless

Community and school step up to support teen denied Kalamazoo Promise scholarship for being homeless


By Fox 17

A Kalamazoo teen who learned just before graduation that she wouldn’t be eligible for the Kalamazoo Promise Scholarship is getting some support today.

Wednesday, Fox 17 told you about Zaviona Woodruff, who due to her family becoming homeless in 2016, moved out of Kalamazoo, even though she continued to attend Kalamazoo Public Schools. The Kalamazoo Promise Scholarship promises college tuition for students who graduate from the Kalamazoo Public Schools after attending from kindergarten through 12th grade and live in the city.

Woodruff had a 3.57 GPA and was an all-star on the bowling team. She had recently toured Oakland University in Rochester Hills, Michigan and loved it.


Illinois House approves required $40,000 salary for teachers

Illinois House approves required $40,000 salary for teachers

By Benjamin Yount, Illinois News Network

Some Illinois lawmakers are on board with a plan to require school boards to pay starting teachers $40,000 a year without providing additional funding for districts.

The Illinois House on Thursday narrowly approved the plan, House Bill 5175, to require local schools to pay new teachers in the state at least $40,000 annually. The vote was 61-38, mostly along party lines, in the House. State Rep. Jay Hoffman, D-Swansea, is driving the plan. He said it’s about fairness.

“Let’s set a mark that we in this General Assembly are going to try and address the shortage of teachers in Illinois,” Hoffman said. “And that we’re going to pay them a decent wage.”


NAACP calls on Gary for community engagement in action

NAACP calls on Gary for community engagement in action

By Erick Johnson, Gary Crusader

With race relations and civil rights issues boiling in America, the Gary chapter of the NAACP is calling on residents to take action and become more active in their community engagements more than ever before.

The call comes as the branch prepares to hold its Annual Life Membership Banquet at 5 p.m. on Saturday, June 2 at the Genesis Convention Center.

Former U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch, the first Black woman to ever hold the position, will be among several distinguished guests to speak.

Lynch will share the guest speaker role with the Honorable Gonzalo P. Curiel, District Judge for the U.S. District Court of Southern California. Branch President Stephen Mays, and Indiana State Senator Eddie Melton, who serves as Honorary Chairman will also be in attendance. Dorothy R. Leavell, also an Honorary Chairperson and publisher of the Crusader Newspaper Group (Gary and Chicago) and Chairman of the National Newspaper Publishers Association (NNPA), also will attend.

Making this banquet a Who’s Who event will be the President and CEO of NNPA, Benjamin F. Chavis. Earlier this year the NAACP and the NNPA made an unprecedented move to work together and pool their resources to step up the fight to advance and defend the interests of Black America.

The rights of Blacks and minorities in Gary and across the country are imperiled under President Donald Trump, whose populist message “Make America Great Again” has reignited racial tensions and threatened to roll back the civil rights gains that Black America has achieved in the past decades. With the heated mid-term elections in November, the new rules governing the U.S. Census count, the plight of Gary Schools and the state joining a lawsuit against Gary as a welcoming city, NAACP leaders are urging Blacks everywhere to turn up their involvement in politics, education and social issues that have torn apart the Black community in recent years.

With all 435 seats in the U.S. House up for reelection in November, Black voter suppression remains a serious concern in the wake of numerous reports of Russia spreading fake news in the Black community and meddling in the 2016 elections to help elect President Trump. The arrest of two Black men at Starbucks in Philadelphia has sparked a wave of 911 calls on people of color who are unsuspecting victims of racial profiling in restaurants, parks and schools.

“Now is the time to fight. We have come too far to allow decades of hard work, sweat and bloodshed to be vain,” said Leavell. “The Black Press stands by the nation’s oldest civil rights organization in calling on Black America to take their community activism and engagement to the next level. The future of Black America is at stake.”

“The NAACP must remain steadfast, unmovable and never silent about the things that matter,” said Stephen Mays, president of the Gary branch of the NAACP.

At the annual Life Membership Banquet, Lynch and Curiel are expected to address civil rights, immigration and other legal challenges the country is facing under President Donald Trump. Lynch became the nation’s most powerful attorney after her predecessor Eric Holder, the first Black U.S. Attorney General, stepped down in 2015. She was nominated to the position by former President Barack Obama.

Like Gary Mayor Karen Freeman-Wilson, Lynch has a bachelors and J.D. degree from Harvard University.

As head of the U.S. Justice Department, Lynch investigated the practices at several police departments across the country that were accused of racial profiling and police brutality. Days before she left the department in January 2017, Lynch’s department released a scathing report on the Chicago Police Department for its treatment of minorities in the wake of the Laquan McDonald case. Lynch also made headlines after she opposed then FBI Director James Comey, who called for an investigation into the personal emails of presidential candidate Hillary Clinton 11 days before the presidential election in November 2016.

Curiel gained national attention while presiding over two class action lawsuits against Trump University. The president’s university was accused of making “tens of millions” of dollars off its students who were promised a legitimate education and services. Both cases were eventually settled out of court for $25 million.

During his campaign for the White House, Trump repeatedly called Curiel a “hater” and described him as “Spanish” or “Mexican,” suggesting that Curiel was biased because of Mr. Trump’s calls to build a wall along the border to prevent illegal immigration.

Curiel was born in East Chicago, Indiana, the youngest of four children. His parents emigrated from Mascota, a small Mexican town near Puerto Vallarta in the state of Jalisco. Curiel received his Bachelor of Arts degree from Indiana University in 1976 and his Juris Doctor from the Indiana University School of Law in 1979.

The NAACP is the largest and oldest civil rights organization in the country. The Gary chapter is one of the largest branches in Indiana.

The annual Life Membership Banquet is a premier event in the community and is expected to attract over 450 business, political, educational, civic and religious leaders in the region.

Democrats invite students affected by gun violence to intern for the summer

Democrats invite students affected by gun violence to intern for the summer

By Isabella Gomez and Justin Lear, CNN

House Democrats are inviting students affected by school shootings to participate in an internship program on Capitol Hill, where they will work on issues related to violence prevention.

House Democratic Caucus Chairman Joe Crowley from New York announced the Gun Safety Internship Program on Thursday.

“My colleagues and I are thrilled to invite these young men and women to intern on Capitol Hill this summer and bring their energy and dedication to Congress,” he tweeted.

The Congressman is working with Vice Chair Linda Sánchez from California, Chair of the House Gun Violence Prevention Task Force Mike Thompson from California and Rep. Ted Deutch from Florida to lead the effort.


Free webinar on Integrating STEM and Coding into Makerspaces

Free webinar on Integrating STEM and Coding into Makerspaces

CHICAGO — There’s no doubt that foundational knowledge of science, technology, engineering, and math will help tomorrow’s job seekers to excel in the future of work. However, much of this success depends on the level of STEM instruction they receive while still in elementary, middle and high school.

While we often assume that STEM programs are being initiated by classroom teachers, new research suggests that librarians and media specialists are increasingly taking the lead in bringing new, innovative tools into their school programs.

Join us at 1 p.m. Eastern on Monday, June 11 for “Librarians’ Insights on How to Integrate STEM and Coding into Makerspaces,” a free, 60-minute webinar led by Dr. Azadeh Jamalian, head of education strategy at littleBits. Dr. Jamalian will talk about how school libraries are bringing STEM into their curriculum and the leading role that librarians and media specialists are taking to make this a reality.

Whether you’re an educator inspiring the next generation of problem solvers, a stakeholder involved in developing programs for your community, or a librarian interested in facilitating maker activities in your school or library setting, you will benefit from attending this session. Be sure to bring your questions!

Tune in to this free 60-minute webcast on Monday, June 11, 2018 to learn more. You can register here.

About the Presenter

Azadeh (Azi) Jamalian, PhD, is the head of Education Strategy at littleBits, an award-winning platform of easy-to-use electronic building blocks that is empowering kids everywhere to create inventions, large and small. Dr. Jamalian has a PhD in Cognitive Studies in Education from Teachers College Columbia University, and has published journal articles and book chapters on a broad range of topics such as designing learning platforms for children, emerging educational tech, game design, mathematical education, and cognition. Dr. Jamalian has received numerous awards including “IES Prize for Excellence in Research on Cognition and Student Learning” and “The Cooney Center’s certificate of innovation in Children’s Learning.”

This American Libraries Live webinar is sponsored by littleBits.

littleBits is an award-winning 21st century tool for invention-based learning. The easy-to-use electronic building blocks snap together with magnets empowering everyone to create inventions, large and small. Each color-coded Bit has a specific function (e.g. lights, sensors, internet connectivity) and is reusable. With endless inventions, guides, and resources, educators and students can engage in increasingly complex challenges and grow their TECHNOLOGY LITERACY, CRITICAL THINKING, CREATIVE CONFIDENCE, CODING and STEAM SKILLS.

American Libraries Live is an immediate and effective way to get to the heart of the real issues in our industry. Each program lasts 60 minutes. With the help of real-time technology, it’s like having your own expert on hand.  We look forward to you joining us. To receive e-mail reminders, register here. If you’re unable to attend live, this event will be recorded and available at shortly after it concludes.

For information about advertising or sponsoring an AL Live event, contact: Carrie Smith, American Libraries magazine,, (312) 280-4216. For general information or press inquiries about AL Live, contact: Colton Ursiny, Administrative Assistant,, (312) 280-5100.

Districts Are Supposed to Use Evidence to Improve Schools Under ESSA. Will They?

Districts Are Supposed to Use Evidence to Improve Schools Under ESSA. Will They?

Education Week logoThe Every Student Succeeds Act is supposed to bring about a big change in school improvement. The law says states and districts can use any kind of interventions they want in low-performing schools, as long as they have evidence to back them up.

But the provision has some experts worried. They’re concerned that there just aren’t enough strategies with a big research base behind them for schools to choose from. These experts also worried that district officials may not have the capacity or expertise to figure out which interventions will actually work.

Districts, they’ve said, may end up doing the same things they have before, and may end up getting the same results.

“My guess is, you’ll see a lot of people doing the things they were already doing,” said Terra Wallin, who worked as a career staffer at the federal Education Department on school turnaround issues and is now a consultant with Education First, a policy organization that is working with states on ESSA implementation. “You’ll see a lot of providers approaching schools or districts to say, ‘Look, we meet the evidence standard,'” Wallin said…

Read the full article here: May require an Education Week subscription.

LeVar Burton: America has sold its soul to special interests, and the Parkland students know it

LeVar Burton: America has sold its soul to special interests, and the Parkland students know it

By LaVar Burton for NBC News

I believe that it is possible that, in the annals of time — should our republic survive this period in history — America will be revealed to be the hollow, shallow shell of what the experiment was meant to be. The kids from Parkland, Florida are proving that it was and should always be the government of the people, by the people, for the people, and not the people with the most money.

But I think that America stopped being that place when we refused to acknowledge that this country was built on the backs of slave labor, and we decided that there would be no accountability for that. We stopped living up to that ideal when we began to delude ourselves that this nation had a manifest destiny to lead the world, but there would be no repercussions for slavery. That lie we told ourselves — that no accountability was and no repercussions were necessary — was the beginning of the downward slide to where we are now.


Illinois: Education issues remain the focus in Springfield

Illinois: Education issues remain the focus in Springfield

Originally published by the Illinois Federation of Teachers

The House and Senate begin their spring recess next week. Legislators will be in their district offices for the next few weeks, so it will be a good time to meet with them about collective bargaining, K-12 and higher education funding, the teacher shortage, and other important issues.

Here are highlights from this week’s action in Springfield:

IFT protects out-of-district tuition waivers
At the urging of the IFT, the House defeated HB 4235 (Pritchard). This bill would have prohibited school districts from waiving the out-of-district tuition fees for their employees and teachers who live out of district but want their children to attend school in the district where they teach or work. The change would also have excluded local unions and districts from bargaining the issue, and exacerbated the teacher shortage in downstate Illinois.

House committee takes up school safety 
Former IFT staffer, school counselor, and current Dist. 150 school board member Dan Walther testified before the House Education Curriculum committee about school safety and mental health. Considering the Parkland school shooting and previous tragedies, Walther discussed the need for the General Assembly to ensure proper funding of schools, provide wraparound services for students, and trauma training for teachers. He also suggested the possibility of arming trained school resource officers but strongly opposed arming teachers.

Representatives from the Illinois Education Association, school management, and mental health and social work groups were also present. The committee is considering potential action but has not offered any proposals.

House continues to tackle the teacher shortage
The House Elementary and Secondary Education Licensing committee heard more testimony on the teacher shortage issue this week. Speakers included representatives from the Grow Your Own Teachers program, career and technical education advocates, professors in educator preparation programs, the superintendent of O’Fallon Township High School Board of Education, and representatives from the Illinois Association of Regional School Superintendents.

Additional discussions are taking place around the Capitol about how to address the shortage, in both the short-term and long-term. More than 20 bills have been filed on the subject with potential solutions ranging from changing licensure requirements to shortening educational programs for traditional and alternative certification. The IFT is working closely with legislators as this important conversation continues.

Bills will help retirees substitute teach  
HB 3080 (Reis) would create a window until June 30, 2019 to allow a retired teacher to work 120 paid days (or 600 paid hours) in a school year without impairing retirement status. The House unanimously passed the bill.

HB 751 (Davidsmeyer) would allow a teacher to return to teaching in subject shortage areas without impairing his or her retirement status or retirement annuity until June 30, 2020. This bill is positioned for a vote in the House.

The IFT supports both these bills.

School funding bill moves to Senate 
House members approved HB 5812 (Davis), a follow-up bill to the school funding reform law that passed last fall. The Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE) claims that the bill must pass to ensure that the additional $350 million in funding is properly distributed under the new plan. School officials have said they will start distributing money under the new formula in April. The bill now moves to the Senate.

Committee approves workers’ comp bill
In response to concerns from the governor and business groups, the House Labor and Commerce committee passed HB 4595 (Fine). The bill would establish a not-for-profit insurance fund to help lower workers’ compensation insurance costs for employers by creating competition in the insurance industry.

Rep. Harper advances elected school board resolution 
HR 796 (Harper) passed the Elementary & Secondary Education School Curriculum and Policies committee. The bill urges the Illinois General Assembly to pass legislation to create an elected school board in Chicago, which voters have previously demanded. IFT and the Chicago Teachers Union (Local 1) strongly support this resolution.

E-learning pilots extended
The House Elementary and Secondary Education Curriculum and Policies committee approved HB 4860 (Fortner), which would allow the e-learning pilots in Gurnee, Leyden, and West Chicago to continue until ISBE issues a report and the General Assembly has reviewed it to consider the policy path forward. The IFT supported the bill based on conversations with members who reported successful experiences in the pilot districts.

Two school support bills pass the House 
HB 4409 (Pritchard) would change part of the definition of school psychologist to an individual that holds a valid Nationally Certified School Psychologist (NCSP) credential. The bill was approved unanimously.

HB 4514 (Pritchard) would provide that only individuals licensed and endorsed as school counselors may use the title of school counselor. The bill passed the House by a vote of 106-0-1.

Both bills now move to the Senate.

Proposal would weaken collective bargaining, increase healthcare costs 
SB 2819 (Syverson) would remove the requirement for the state to implement Health Savings Accounts (HSAs) if high-deductible healthcare plans are imposed by the governor, as he has proposed to do. Currently, the state must make HSAs available and contribute one-third of the deductible in the event a high-deductible plan is implemented. SB 2819 would give the state full discretion to establish the amount, if any, of the employer contribution.

The IFT strongly opposes this bill because it would put public employees at risk of escalating healthcare costs with no financial support from the employer.

Watch Under the Dome for future updates on legislative action.

Local Chicago area students selected to attend Disney Dreamers Academy

Local Chicago area students selected to attend Disney Dreamers Academy

By Elaine Hegwood Bowen, M.S.J., Chicago Crusader

“I’m Going to Disney World!’’

Four Chicago-Area Teens Selected to Participate in Mentoring Trip to Disney Dreamers Academy

Four Chicago-area teens are among the 100 extraordinary youths from across the nation announced by Disney to participate in its immersive, transformational four-day program, March 8-11, at Walt Disney World Resort in Florida.

The program, which is entering its 11th year with a new “Be100’’ campaign, and is hosted by entertainer Steve Harvey and ESSENCE Magazine, highlights Walt Disney World Resort’s continued commitment to the next generation of teens by inspiring them at a critical time in their development to make a difference in their lives and to relentlessly pursue and realize their dreams.

“Each of these 100 girls and boys has proven themselves to be exceptional as students and as human beings, so it’s an honor to have them join us at Walt Disney World Resort,’’ said Tracey D. Powell, Walt Disney World Resort vice president of commercial management – resorts and Disney Dreamers Academy executive champion. “It is our hope that this potentially life-changing program will help create the next generation of great dreamers and achievers.’’

Participating students, known as “Disney Dreamers,” embark on a journey throughout the Disney theme parks and behind the scenes, turning the vacation destination into a vibrant classroom for students to discover new careers, pursue their dreams and interact with Harvey and other motivational speakers and celebrities. Among the celebrities who have participated in the past are singers Patti LaBelle and Mary J. Blige, NBA legend and business mogul Magic Johnson, gospel music star Yolanda Adams, NFL superstar Cam Newton, plus TV personalities such as “The Chew’’ co-host Carla Hall, “Good Morning America’’ co-anchor Michael Strahan and ABC correspondent T.J. Holmes.

Additionally, students participate in hands-on, immersive career-oriented workshops, ranging from animation to zoology. Each student is given important tools such as effective communication techniques, leadership skills and networking strategies.

“Inspiring our youth to dream big and chase those dreams is a personal mission,” said Harvey. “Having a dream is one of the most important things in life. That is why engaging with these students is an annual highlight for me, and the 2018 Disney Dreamers Academy will be no exception.”

The four Chicago­-area students are: Mariah Barnett from Aurora; Tabitha Willis from Country Club Hills; Tamela Trimuel from Harvey  and Jayvion Rice from Riverdale.

Since 2008, Walt Disney World Resort has provided all-expenses-paid trips to more than 1,000 students, plus a parent or guardian, to participate in the annual Dreamers Academy.  The students are selected from thousands of applicants who answered a series of essay questions about their personal stories and dreams for the future.

“At ESSENCE, we are committed to impacting the leaders of tomorrow,” said Michelle Ebanks, president of ESSENCE Communications. “Every year, we continue to be impressed by the exceptional students selected for Disney Dreamers Academy, and it is our privilege to play a role in encouraging them to achieve their goals.’’

For more information, visit