Libraries are the heart of a school.Glenwood Springs High School Librarian Jenna Cook knows the library's vital role in students' education with the resources it has to offer.For several years libraries have received less funding, Cook said, and school libraries have become less of a student resource. But that's something she hopes to change at GSHS with the library's recent acceptance into the Colorado Department of Education's (CDE) Power Library Program. It doesn't mean more money for the library, school or district, but it will allow the library to play an important role in the students' education."I was excited when I found out," she said. "I put a lot of work into the application process and (being accepted) tells me that I'm doing the right things to help the students get the most from their school library."The program, started in 1998, has grown, with 46 schools applying this year, only 26 of which were accepted. The program has two classifications in which schools participate - high performance or developing. Six schools were accepted as high performance libraries with the other 20, including GSHS, being classified as developing.High performing schools, according to the CDE, must meet the criteria for having an exemplary library and must agree to mentor other schools to increase teacher and librarian collaboration. Developing schools must have a professional library media specialist and be ready to look toward the future of using information skills with content standards to develop good readers, information-users and life-long learners.Cook fits that description to a tee.
"I want to have an effective program and information available that is more relevant to what the teachers are teaching in the classrooms," Cook said. "An effective library can account for better Colorado Student Assessment Program (CSAP) scores."That is what the program was designed to do.According to Power Library Coach for the CDE State Library, Maggie Armstrong, the program, when it's applied, shows direct correlation to student improvement on CSAP scores."The end result is that the library will impact student achievement," Armstrong said.Despite GSHS being the lone school in the Roaring Fork School District to apply for the Power Library Program, the program had a very high application count this year."We were amazed with the amount of applications we received this year and the quality of them as well," Armstrong said. "It's really the best of the best that are accepted."Armstrong and Joan Arrowsmith are the two coaches for the program. They match developing schools with high performance schools as mentors. They are also available for guidance through any type of issue that a new program may experience.The mentor school is there to provide a resource for the developing school to get ideas of how and what the high performing school has done to find success.
Cook won't know who her mentor school will be until the end of October. But for now, she's just happy to be a part of the program. She's looking forward to the opportunity to mentor other RFSD schools in the future and hopes to bring them into the program as well.But that's another rigorous application process altogether.Contact John Gardner: firstname.lastname@example.orgBook Smart
Since 1998 the Power Libraries Program has: Supported 147 individual schools located in 43 different school districts all across the state, including: 33 high schools, 31 middle schools, 77 elementary schools, three K-12 schools and three K-8 schools. Benefited over 108,605 Colorado students and their teachers by correlating content standards and information literacy standards. Trained hundreds of school teams, made up of a teacher, an administrator and a teacher-librarian, in collaboration and information literacy. Helped to establish integration of the library program with instruction and assessment. The program is voluntary and no additional funding is provided for the schools that participate.Post Independent, Glenwood Springs, Colorado CO