SCASL '13 Keynotes

Dr. Keith Curry Lance presented a large amount of intriguing research that left me dazed and confused. I tried to take notes during the address, but it was all I could do to keep up with the fast pace of the analysis of numbers and statistics. I need to go through his slides later and really take time to look at the numbers again. I think I will need someone handy to help me make the best use of the information he presented. Like, maybe one of my SLIS professors. I left feeling that school librarians are proven to be important to student success, but that this particular librarian is no statistical wizard.
Full house at SCASL

I truly appreciate that there is data that supports the presence of school librarians making an impact on student achievement. I need to harness that information.

From my notes:

  • staffing and certification are directly related to increases in student achievement
  • schools with certified librarians have a higher percentage of advanced students
  • librarians positively impact writing scores
  • providing librarians with support staff positively impacts student achievement. 
This infographic, found on Joyce Valenza's NeverEnding Search Blog, contains some of the general information Dr. Curry Lance presented.

Dr. Linda Karges-Bone's address just floored me. I felt important as a teacher librarian AND smarter after her address.

Her address was titled "The Seven Signatures of Highly Successful Schools- Can you read the handwriting on the wall?"

A career of educational consulting has led Dr. Karges-Bone to notice specific similarities and differences of highly performing / achieving school and  struggling schools. As a PhD and researcher she is invited to two types of schools- successful schools or schools that are "going extinct", that are about to be taken over by the state department of education, failing schools etc. Basically, the schools she has worked with have been either highly successful or the extreme opposite. Over time, she has noted that successful schools shared some common practices.

From my notes:
Successful schools
Dr. Karges-Bone
  • honor and respect the learning differences of students
  • don't try to do everything in the same way for each child or teacher
  • respect differences of educators as well as students
  • look at potential, (potential of students and teachers) in multiple ways not just one, and not just in the form of standardized tests.

The Seven Signatures

1.  Patience and proof guide instruction and assessment. Successful schools allow programs to settle in and do their work and give teachers time to find their rhythm.

2. Successful schools display positive messages that increase performance.
These schools have a good feeling or tone which is not to be confused with  loose trite "self esteem " efforts. Growth praise is important - give specific tactical  praise. This specific type of praise is proven to impact the brain.
Research proves that just telling someone good job shuts down the brain. The comment is ignored, dismissed. Specific praise, however, impacts the brain positively. There is more information on how to praise people effectively.

3. A powerful push to literacy exists in successful schools.

4. Highly successful schools have a pleasing, sensory rich environment for students to enjoy and learn in with 
displays of people's work throughout the campus.

5. Excellent schools are pushed by long range planning leading to change. Planning three years out not three months out. Data is considered from a long term aspect.

6. Successful schools are poised for the dynamic and are even defiant. They say no to practices and programs that do not support their mission and beliefs.

7. Highly Successful schools are piloted by teachers who are nurtured and free to pursue their passions. 
The children are not first, the adults are! Teachers cannot do their work or even good work if they do not feel comfortable, nurtured, and then they can put children first.  Teachers are treated very well in highly successful schools, not overworked, not continually given more, more, more to do, their time is respected and they are paid for extra work. Mundane tasks are done for them so they can focus on the students. These schools invest in people not programs.

Struggling schools are forgetting steps in the learning cycle. They are skipping motivation, apprehending and focus and going straight to acquisition, retention recall, generalization.

Children who can't read on grade level by age nine probably never will be able to read on grade level. Those children have a higher incarceration rate. 
Some states use reading scores to predict the number of prison beds they need.

All said and done, these two keynotes were fantastic as far as leaving me with much more than I came with, more tools to advocate with. 

My next post will feature the notable sessions I attended at SCASL '13. 



Fran said...

Ditto on both keynotes! When you sit down to study the Lance slides, let me know. I attended the preconference session where he went into more detail and I was still confused: too much info being covered by the slides for me to quickly make sense of. Dr. Bone was an amazing speaker. I have ordered her book Brain Framing: Instructional Planning with the Brain in Mind (cute title!) and look forward to reading it.