FAQ: Library Changes Coming in 2018

FAQ: Library Changes Coming in 2018

In the fall of the 2018-19 school year the Monroe School District will be making changes to our current library program in grades K-8. We are excited to increase the use of our libraries, including more instruction with digital media (Read the full article here). Below is accurate information regarding many commonly asked questions about these changes.

Q: Who will be in the library to assist children in finding books that are appropriate for their reading level?

Beginning in the fall of 2018, libraries will be staffed with a full-time Library Specialist. Some of their job duties will be introducing new books, running book challenges and sharing available resources with students. They will also help students select and check out books. In addition, libraries will be staffed with a part-time Digital Learning Teacher who will use digital and traditional library resources to develop a program in alignment with the new state technology learning standards as well as support the literacy state standards.

Q: How will this impact reading programs as the schools move to an all digital system - assuming that's the long term goal?

While we believe it is important to prepare students to be responsible, 21st century digital citizens, we believe traditional books are equally as important in a child's education. Digital resources are being incorporated into our schools, but it is not, and has never been, our long term goal to move to an all digital system. Our goal is to provide greater opportunities for our students through more seamless integration between traditional and digital resources, providing better support for our current and future reading curriculum and programs.

Q: Why was the decision made to decrease the levy funding rate? If you had kept it the same, we could have hired the additional bodies needed to staff these new requirements and kept the programs our kids need.

Reducing our current levy rate from $3.06 per $1,000 of assessed property value to $1.50 per $1,000 of assessed property value was a decision made by the Washington State legislature. All school districts in Washington were required to use this decreased levy rate when putting a measure before voters. We are thankful to our community for approving the recent School Program & Operations levy, which helps support library staffing and will allow us to enhance our current library program.

We believe the shifts we will be making in staffing next year will better meet the needs of our students to fully prepare them for college, careers and life in the 21st Century while also complying with state law.

Q: If you have to increase PE hours to accommodate mandates, exactly what hours are lost as a result? Are you adding more hours to the day, or taking away hours from another subject?

In order to attend additional sessions of P.E., as required by state law, we will be moving to:

Example month-long specialist schedule:

Week 1: Three 40-minute sessions of P.E., two 40-minute sessions of Music
Week 2: Two 40-minute sessions of P.E., one 40- minute session of Digital Learning Lab, two 40-minute sessions of Music
Week 3: Three 40-minute sessions of P.E., two 40-minute session of Music
Week 4: Two 40-minute sessions of P.E., one 40- minute session of Digital Learning Lab, two 40-minute sessions of Music

This move will not impact current classroom core instructional time. In addition, classroom teachers may bring their class to the library any time throughout the day and help students select and check out books, conduct research and utilize all of the resources in the library.

Q: Will the current librarians still be employed or are they being laid off?

The current elementary school librarians have not been laid off and there will be no reduction in force. Our librarians have been notified that the current library staffing model is shifting beginning next year. Our current librarians are certificated teachers, so they may elect to move into a classroom teacher position within our district or apply for the new Digital Learning Teacher position.

Q: So we are NOT losing the library after all, and our librarian still has her position there, is that correct? My kids came home saying the library is being taken out this year!?

School libraries are NOT going away and no changes are being made to the current library program this school year. Libraries will remain in schools next year (and in following years) and will continue to provide students opportunities for reading, research and exploring interests in varied topics. The only change being made is how the libraries are staffed. There will be a full-time classified Library Specialist (not a certificated teacher) assigned to the library to assist students in selecting and checking out books. We will also be adding a part-time Digital Learning Teacher (this will be a certificated teacher) to the library staff who will teach lessons on the Washington State Educational Technology Learning Standards, the Computer Science Technology Standards and delivering the Digital Literacy, Citizenship and Responsibility education.

Q: When you talk about the new tech teachers, they will be fully certified teachers? Not classified? What level of training will the library techs have? What will the qualifications be for the position? What ongoing training will these techs undertake? What position on the pay scale will they occupy?

The new Digital Learning Teachers will be fully certificated teachers. The Library Specialists are not certificated teachers. The district anticipates posting these positions within the next week which will include required qualifications. Library Specialists will work under the direction of the Digital Learning Teacher. Professional Development will be provided to Library Specialist. The district is currently in discussions with the bargaining association for placement on the salary schedule.

Q: Are the library specialists referred to in your recent communication certified teacher librarians, or are they paraeducators?

The Library Specialists that will be responsible for book circulation will be classified (non certificated) staff members. The Library Specialists will work with the certificated Digital Learning Teacher to manage the overall operation of their school library.

If you still have questions regarding these changes that will take place next year, please reach out to your school principal to obtain accurate information.