Apr. 30th, 2012

dampscribbler: (Default)
...but I just found out that our school district budget as it stands cuts EVERY school librarian -- aka "Media Specialist" -- in the district next year. Every one.  Class sizes will increase by 15-25% and up to 10 days will be cut from the calendar. The latter two I already knew about, but now I find that the classroom teachers will be expected to try to fill in the lessons that the school librarians provide (and at the elementary level there is a lesson at least once a week from the librarian on how to use media and resources as well as guidance about staying safe online) while still covering all the material they're covering now, with more kids and less time.

The ONLY listening session for the budget is tomorrow night. I've got the public speaking skills of a four-year-old. I cry when I talk about things that are important. I've got about 30 hours to try to prepare a statement on a subject I know next-to-nothing about (the budget) and then I have to go talk in front of what, with any luck, will be hundreds of people about the huge mistake of letting the librarians go. In addition to doing everything else that I needed to do in the next two days.  

I'm already feeling paralyzed.  
dampscribbler: (Default)
It came to my attention this morning that Beaverton School District is planning to cut ALL of its school Librarians -- aka Media Specialists -- next year as part of the many adjustments it needs to make to meet its budget. This is a huge mistake. The Media Specialist  is one of very few teachers at a school who has regular contact with every child in the school each
and every year that the child attends the school. The Media Specialist develops and delivers curriculum to help kids to use not only the physical library but the technology resources that are critical for information gathering in today's world. The Media Specialist guides students *and* teachers in acquiring, evaluating, and using the information required to meet their educational goals both in and beyond the classroom.

I am aware that Beaverton School District is facing a serious reduction in budget this year, and as a result has no choice but to cut staff positions and instruction days. Next year, teachers will face classrooms that are more crowded and will have fewer days to teach the required curricula to their students. With the loss of the Media Specialists, the classroom teachers will also have to add media training into their crowded curriculum, *and* they will be lacking the in-school resource that they turned to for help with media in the first place, resulting in a double-burden. The long-term result will be less guidance and instruction in the use of a variety of media resources for all of the kids in the district. The Media Specialist is a trained professional who provides necessary support to every student and staff in the school. This function cannot be fulfilled by volunteers from the community.

Eliminating the position of Media Specialist district-wide now means that when the economic environment finally improves the district will have to essentially create a "new" job class in order to begin hiring Media Specialists
again. This will likely pose a huge, perhaps insurmountable hurdle to getting these important professionals back into our schools.

Tomorrow evening, May 1, at Sunset High School at 6:30 PM is the ONLY public comment meeting for the school budgets. It's the families' and community's one opportunity to publicly address this issue, and I hope you will show up to
support our schools and our Media Specialists.

If you cannot attend but want to register your concern, please fill out the following form and submit it or email a school board member as soon as possible.


dampscribbler: (Default)
I did my part, and got a lot of helping hands today. Let's keep this alive, okay?


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