Media specialists play crucial roles
School media specialists play a vital role in developing both literacy and technology skills in our students. To cut these positions is shortsighted and dangerous, endangering our students' academic learning and future lives as productive and responsible citizens.
Studies have shown that access to high-quality library programs has a strong impact on student achievement, especially for those students who do not have access to print-rich environments in their homes. Many of the students in Pasco County come from homes that lack print resources.
It is not enough to have a room with books to which they have access. It takes a trained and experienced media specialist to create activities and programs that help to foster a love of reading and instruct them in the areas of research and technology that will be required in the future. The current proposal is to have media/technology assistants be responsible for the media centers. While our assistants are extremely valuable to us, they have neither the training nor expertise to perform our jobs.
The argument stated by superintendent Kurt Browning is that our emphasis should be on the students, so it is better for trained media specialists to be employed as classroom teachers, rather than provide programs from the media centers. In a classroom I can impact roughly 125 students. The literacy training that I just held for seven of our teachers will affect hundreds of students. The book talks that I hold for our language arts and reading teachers allow me to encourage all of their students to read and to return to me for more books, which they do.
The professional development that I hold for the entire faculty helps to familiarize our teachers with the changing technology available for them to use with their students and to learn how to adapt their teaching to the changing needs of their students. In my current position I have an effect on the education of over 1,400 students.
We are also moving toward using the Common Core State Standards as a basis for curriculum development in Florida. These standards require our students to read and write at a much higher level than ever before. Our teachers will need the assistance of their media specialists to identify and gather the complex texts required of the standards, and help in developing curricula that will ensure that our students' literacy skills improve. Media specialists are uniquely qualified to help with both of these tasks, and the Pasco County School District is poised to take these resources away from teachers.
Media specialists are a crucial ingredient for schools that want to prepare students for the 21st century and all of its technological and literacy demands. Do not shortchange our students' educations or their futures with what seems to be an easy fix to the current under-funding of education in Florida.
Kelly Anderson, Zephyrhills
Band's talents much appreciated
The entire audience was blown away by the music, the professionalism and joy that the jazz band of the Hudson Middle School played with Monday.
We were entertained to the heights. The young women and men displayed such expertise as they enthralled us. The Spartan Manor was the venue and we were the volunteers of west Pasco. What an honor, and what a day. The band deserved, and got, a standing ovation. Thank you to all, especially those talented young people and their charming director.
Lilyan V. Dayton, New Port Richey
Sheriff's Office's double standard? | March 8 letter
Deputy is giving office a black eye
That letter sure rang a bell with me. The writer said a deputy told her, "You know, this isn't Hollywood." That sure seems like the same deputy who responded to my call for help to the Sheriffs Office a couple of weeks prior. It concerned my request about whether deputies were able to check if my 25-year-old son had a valid license.
The reason being he was driving my wife's car that was insured and registered in both our names. My wife and I are separated and are working on our marriage. My son lives with her and has had his license revoked numerous times. I had called my insurance agent to check on the status of his license and was told they no longer could do that. I was also informed that if he was driving with no license I was liable. After informing the deputy of this he scolded me and said, "We won't do your job for you. Be a man and go take the car.''
I informed him my wife is disabled and needs her car and that I'm a 100 percent disabled Vietnam-era veteran. He jokingly said we can't tell you if his license is valid, but if we stop him and it isn't valid we will be glad to take him to jail and impound my wife's car.
Anyway, he informed me he had more important things to take care of and that I was wasting his time. I was furious and hung up on him. I think this person is giving the Sheriff's Office a black eye and I also think the department needs to monitor this guy's responses to folks who call for help, not for sarcasm.
Stephen Kinn, New Port Richey