Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Pasco schools aim for more modern media centers

First the people. Now the place.

After rewriting media specialists' jobs, Pasco County school officials have turned to redesigning media centers.

"The changes for education call for changes in roles, responsibility and space," said Amelia Larson, assistant superintendent for student achievement.

Educators, architects and other planners have begun discussing how to best use the media centers, which in many instances are a school's central hub. They're looking at everything from paint schemes to technology needs.

A group of information technology communication coaches — the new-look media specialists who focus on tying technology to instruction — will meet later in January to discuss research on the different concepts.

The goal is to ensure that the rooms are more than stacks of infrequently used books. Instead, leaders want to create places for active learning, where children and adults like to be.

"The media centers are being converted into more flexible, collaborative, lively learning areas," said John Petrashek, director of construction services.

Schools slated for renovations, such as Sanders, Shady Hills and Quail Hollow elementaries, stand to benefit from the changes first.

Some other schools have started revamping their media centers on their own.

Gulf Highlands Elementary School in Port Richey began its transformation in the summer, using Title I federal grant money. The school had adopted a new reading program and discovered it didn't have enough cash to buy all the needed classroom books.

But in its media center sat hundreds of books, many unused. So the staff spent the summer preparing and distributing the collection among classrooms, leaving the library with a single shelf of nonfiction titles.

Fiction books that didn't go to classrooms landed in the former computer lab, which became a reading room filled with bright carpets, comfy chairs and stuffed animals. The computers also went to the classrooms.

As for the main media center, it morphed into a meeting room with a circle of leather chairs for group conversations. It became a place for lessons, with movable furniture, multiple whiteboards, SMART boards and projectors.

On a recent Wednesday, fifth-graders used the tables as a track to test their air-powered vehicles in a STEM lesson. The kids said they liked the new setup.

"It's easier," said Amina Gutic, 11. "Teachers can have conferences. We can use it. We can move around a lot."

But "it's kind of weird," added Jared Holmes, 11. "We only have a certain selection of (classroom) books. And everyone that worked in the library was friendly."

Graduation enhancement teacher Vanessa Del Rio, who was helping the kids, said the media center changes benefited student learning.

"They come in and they're able to work together," Del Rio said. "Before, we didn't have a room where we could make this happen."

Seven Springs Middle School is also in the midst of a redesign.

The school isn't relocating its books. Instead, it's looking at creating reading nooks, homework areas, meeting spaces and a general Starbucks or Barnes and Noble feel (without the coffee).

"One of the big things that they were looking at is how were the students using the media center, and 'let's make the media center meet their needs,' " principal Chris Dunning said.

Both models are finding widespread use as schools try to make their media centers more relevant in a digital world, said Doug Johnson, a Minnesota-based consultant on technology and libraries.

"Probably the big question that a lot of people have is, actually, 'do we need libraries at all?' " Johnson said.

A growing number of students and teachers already carry tablets and phones under Pasco's bring-your-own-device policy.

"It makes the need for a library sometimes questionable in an educator's mind," he said. "There are four key ways to change to remain viable."

One is the move to social learning spaces, similar to the Gulf Highlands approach. Another is to become a productivity center, where students can come to find materials and then use the available technology and expertise to do their work.

The media center can become a learning "commons," a one-stop shop for instructional materials, guidance, social work, nursing assistance and other services. Or it can be the cool, educationally meaningful place to be, as Seven Springs Middle is going for.

One thing is certain, Johnson said: "There's no such thing as the perfect library model. Different schools with different needs require different models."

Superintendent Kurt Browning said he looks forward to seeing how schools adapt.

"We've got to think differently about the way we use the space that we currently know as the media center," he said.

Jeffrey S. Solochek can be reached at jsolochek@tampabay.com, (813) 909-4614 or on Twitter @jeffsolochek. For more education news visit the Gradebook at tampabay.com/blogs/gradebook.

Pasco schools aim for more modern media centers 01/10/14 [Last modified: Friday, January 10, 2014 6:36pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Protest sparks Texas lawmaker threats of gun violence

    National

    AUSTIN, Texas — Hundreds of protesters opposing Texas' tough new anti-"sanctuary cities" law launched a raucous demonstration from the public gallery in the Texas House on Monday, briefly halting work and prompting lawmakers on the floor below to scuffle — and even threaten gun violence — as tense …

  2. Photo gallery: 20 mugshots of pro athletes arrested in Florida - 1994 to 2017

    News

    In light of today's arrest of Tiger Woods in Jupiter, Florida on DUI charges, here are 20 booking mugs of professional athletes who have been arrested in Florida, from 1994 (Jennifer …

    Desmond Bryant - 2005 - Oakland Raiders defensive tackle Desmond Bryant was arrested in Miami on charges of criminal mischief after allegedly "going to a neighbor's house inebriated and causing a commotion." 

  3. For starters: Rays at Rangers, with Erasmo on the mound again

    Blogs

    Coming off Sunday's 6 1/2-hour, 15-inning marathon win over the Twins, the Rays will have the pitcher who finished that game, Erasmo Ramirez, start tonight's game in Texas, first pitch 8:05 Tampa Bay time.

    Ramirez threw only 12 pitches on Sunday so the Rays decided to let him make his planned start tonight, …

  4. Curlew Hills Memory Gardens honors Memorial Day (w/video)

    Blogs

       Curlew Hills Memory Gardens honored those that served during their 31st annual Memorial Day Service on Monday (5/23/17) in Palm Harbor. The event featured guest speakers, live choral performances by the Palm Harbor United Methodist Church choir and live music by Bones South, an area trombone ensemble with …

    Eight-year-old Piper St. Jean, of Tampa, uses a brush to clean the grave of her grandfather, Henry St. Jean, who served with the United States Air Force during the Korean and Vietnam wars. at Curlew Hills Memory Gardens on Monday moments after the conclusion of their 31st annual Memorial Day Service on Monday (5/23/17) in Palm Harbor.
  5. Authorities release name of Tampa woman killed in Temple Terrace apartment fire

    Fire

    TEMPLE TERRACE — Authorities have released the name of a woman who died in a fire that destroyed a dozen units in an apartment complex here Sunday.

    Firefighters battle an early-morning fire Sunday that claimed the life of 28-year-old Tenecia Renee Brannon and left about 30 others homeless. [Temple Terrace Fire Department]