NC Senate panel to hear K-3 class size flexibility bill Monday | News & Observer

The Senate Education Committee will consider Monday night a bill that school districts say is needed to prevent thousands of potential teacher layoffs and cuts in art, music and physical education classes in North Carolina elementary schools.

Source: NC Senate panel to hear K-3 class size flexibility bill Monday | News & Observer

HB 13 & 13 Reasons Schools Need Librarians

If you live in NC and are remotely attuned to educational issues, you’ve probably heard about HB-13. NCGA passed strict class-size limits for the lower grades that districts will have a difficult time meeting in terms of both staff and space. HB 13 allows districts a bit more flexibility on those numbers. Currently, this bill is stalled in the senate. Reportedly, they are in no hurry to act on it. And the problem here is that school districts are working on next year’s budgets. What quality decisions can they possibly make with this hanging over their heads?

Understanding the ramifications of the stalling of this bill, which range from understated to catastrophic, is a complex matter that will differ from district to district. Each district is grappling with what this means for them. On the catastrophic end – schools will lose art, music, p.e., and language teachers. Assistants will probably be cut.

One area not mentioned in many reports is school librarians – which is the purpose of this little (or not so little) post. Librarians are paid from the same line-item as classroom teachers. I think all the positions I’ve mentioned are terribly important to the life of a school, but those other positions are getting some publicity, and librarians are not. I’ll save the why we aren’t for another post, but I do want to get the word out that school libraries, school library programs, and school librarians are in jeopardy here.

So what needs to happen? We need to encourage the senate to pass HB 13 so districts can plan for next year. We need to advocate for school libraries and their programs.

Action Plan:

  • Join NCSLMA. Then follow them on FaceBook & Twitter. Follow members of the executive board on those same platforms. Email one of them to find out how you can help because NCSLMA is 100% run by volunteers. No one volunteer can do all the advocacy work that should be done.
  • Write about the issue on social media and focus on what the loss of libraries means for our children/students.
  • Find your representatives, particularly your senators in this instance, to write and call. The linked site has a map to find both senators and representatives as well as their contact info.
  • Talk about how important school libraries are to everyone who will listen! I consistently come across two schools of thoughts. Libraries are valuable, but the librarian is out of touch, and libraries aren’t needed because everything can be googled. We are the mouthpiece for the value of libraries and librarians.
  • Find those who value your program and recruit them to share that value in their circles.
  • Use the list of 13 Reasons Why below to begin your talking points, but please make them personal! I’ve seen the great work so many of you are doing in your schools and communities! Now is the time to share!

13 Reasons Schools Need Librarians:

We:

  1. Design and develop a welcoming space for reading, collaboration, and learning.
  2. Develop a diverse collection of resources.
  3. Curate varied materials to provide an equal access to print and digital items.
  4. Promote reading by helping reluctant readers find reading materials that move them from reluctant to engaged
  5. Match students with just the right materials.
  6. Collaborate with teachers to enhance the curriculum on any number of items including lesson design and resources.
  7. Meet with small groups and individuals for personalized instruction.
  8. Train students and staff to navigate digital options and opportunities.
  9. Lead student development of inquiry-based literacy skills – locating resources and the selection of those that are valid, analyzing and synthesizing data, and the multitudes of ways to share information.
  10. Create an environment of exploration through varied activities like maker-spaces.
  11. Provide guidance for student activities like books clubs, gaming activities, recreational reading.
  12. Guide students through the research, design, and presentation process with an end result of higher self-confidence for students.
  13. Teach reflective learning practices so students discover the value of personal evaluation for their individual and group work.

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A little touch up paint

Today, I opened the old cans of paint to touch up some spots. Most of them were just like the one below. Not bad by itself, but there is a multiplication factor that occurs making the house look dirtier than it actually is. I’d waited too long and dinginess had set in. 


So with paint well stirred and brush in hand, I set out to conquer and create a fresh appearance. I also wondered about the origins of some of these marks. The ones near doors or where pictures fell were obvious, but the one behind a chair or the one in the middle of an otherwise unscathed wall that just happened to be knee high – how did they originate? It doesn’t really matter. They need to be fixed. But still, I wondered. And I know that these marks, these scars will reappear. Paint is a temporary fix, but maybe I should be more proactive and not wait until so many places are visible next time. 

Thinking about the scars on my walls got me thinking about life and the scars I know most of us carry. Where did my scars originate and how do I cover them? I do believe that most of us have some control in the paint we choose and what we decide to paint over – prayer, faith, friendships, smiling at adversity, staying busy, taking care of our physical and emotional selves – all part of the paint job. If I’m  consistent in the application, the nicks and marks are rarely noticeable – even to me. 

A year of tidying up . . .

About a year in any case! Before the 2014-15 school year was over, I bought Marie Kondo’s book.

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I really didn’t think there was much I could learn. I am an organizer by nature. I can whip anything into shape. Maybe I wanted confirmation, and we were near the end of our home renovations. I was ready for a deeper level of cleaning things out.

What I realized though is if you have more than one of a thing, you have to keep organizing them. You have to keep sorting them. You have to continuously remember where to put that obscure item you don’t remember why you pulled out.

So, we dug in. We kept things we liked. We gave away and discarded things we didn’t like or use. Easy right!? Well, even for a cold-hearted soul like me, there were times that it wasn’t all that easy. It was brutal to be brutal. And I thought I was. Yet, I’m still finding boxes and thinking, “that needs to go.” I put a banker’s box of electrical things out for Ron yesterday. I didn’t know what was reusable. He kept two items from the box and the rest was carted off. My biggest downfall is, “can I use that at school?” But even those items are having a shorter and shorter life span.

What we gained was space. Lot’s of space. Closets and cabinets have room to remove something without the interiors collapsing on themselves. We had enough room in closets to move other things into them. We kept furniture we used and got rid of the rest.

The one area I haven’t tackled yet with any gusto is pictures and videos. And even though I cut my wardrobe in half, I still have too many clothes. That’s my next goal – A capsule wardrobe.