Extra reading in the Pasco schools media specialist discussion
The Pasco County school district finds itself in the middle of a heated debate over the future of school media specialists, as we reported over the weekend.
Superintendent Kurt Browning has proposed changing the job descriptions for media specialists and literacy coaches, bringing them more in line with what his advisers say are the demands of education moving forward. His plan also would slash the specialists' numbers, a nod to the district's estimated $23 million budget shortfall for the coming year.
Browning's team talks about the recommendation as an academic initiative, based on reports showing that students are not entering college literate in research and information management skills. They have provided this article as an example behind their rationale: ETS research finds college students fall short in demonstrating ITC literacy (2007). The district's proposed job description, still in draft form, is shown below.
District media specialists and other experts in the field, including the leaders of the American Library Association, have agreed that the job and its demands are changing. But they have pointed to several reports indicating a positive correlation between student reading achievement and having a media specialist in a well stocked school media center. Among them: The Impact of Michigan School Librarians on Academic Achievement: Kids Who Have Libraries Succeed (2003), Change in School Librarian Staffing Linked with Change in CSAP Reading Performance, 2005 to 2011 (2012), Making the Grade: The Status of School Library Media Centers in the Sunshine State and How They Contribute to Student Achievement (2002), and Something to Shout About: New research shows that more librarians means higher reading scores (2011).
Sumter's media director uses a 2002 Orlando Sentinel article about Florida school libraries as his justification to staff media centers: Low-budget libraries have high cost.
Here's the district's proposed new job description. Take a look, then let us know what you think about this discussion and what you're reading to help inform your ideas in the debate.
Job Description: ITC literacy specialist
Salary Schedule: 55
Contracted Work Days: 216
Daily Work Hours: 7.5
Instructional - Exempt Status
JOB GOAL: Collaborate with teachers, curriculum leaders, and administrators within regions to achieve the district priorities to fulfill the promise of college, career, and life readiness for each and every student in a technological society.
Minimum of a bachelor's degree from an accredited institution
Valid Florida Educator’s Certificate
Successful experience with Information and Communication Technology (ICT) Literacy integration in the learning environment
Successful instructional experience including coaching and mentoring adults
Experience evaluating, designing and facilitating professional development for adults
Extensive experience in participating and leading professional learning communities
Post-graduate degree in an educational field from an accredited institution
Experience in a like position
KNOWLEDGE, SKILLS, AND ABILITIES:
Communicate effectively in written and oral form using positive interpersonal skills with students, faculty, staff, administration, and parents
Employ effective coaching and facilitation skills
Demonstrate leadership skills in both formal and informal settings
Ability to organize, prioritize, and manage work assignments in an efficient manner
Ability to collaborate effectively with co-workers
Advanced knowledge and skills in Information and Communication Technology literacy
REPORTS TO: Learning Community Executive Director, and Supervisors for Instructional Media and Technology
Build capacity for and provide job-embedded professional development for adult learners that models effective utilization of Information and Communication Technology (ICT) literacy skills for teaching and learning needed to meet state and national standards
Establish an environment that encourages inquiry, creativity, communication, critical thinking, and problem solving skills through the independent use of instructional resources.
Collaborate with schools to develop programs that encourage students to read for pleasure, to develop personal interests, and to become life long learners.
Ensure a link between professional development and a change in practice with ongoing monitoring including observation and feedback.
Collaborate with classroom teachers, curriculum leaders, and administrators to provide an integrated developmental program of instruction for students in the effective use of ICT literacy tools for creative communication, critical thinking, and problem solving.
Provide modeling and coaching of best practices for teaching ICT literacy skills, reading guidance, selection and use of information resources.
Implement strategies for initiating and sustaining technology innovations and manage the change process in schools and classrooms.
Support on-going evaluation of ICT literacy proficiency and make recommendations for program modifications as needed
Continually reflect on current research and emerging trends in ICT Literacy and instructional design
Participate in and facilitate professional learning communities
Liaison with others in like positions, other district departments, and instructional partners
Serve as a member of appropriate committees
Provide guidance in selection, location, utilization, and evaluation of resources to support learning objectives and meet the individual needs and interests of students
Perform other duties as assigned