Blog Archives

Writing a Vision, Mission, and Beliefs for the Library: My Thoughts

For the past 3 years, I have told myself over and over that I need to rewrite the mission statement of the Barrow Media Center to be more representative of the kinds of learning that are taking place within and beyond our walls, but every time I sit down to work on it I get stuck.  One of the reasons I get stuck is that I keep re-reading the mission statement that is already in place and thinking that it sounds pretty good.  This year, I tried something different.  First, I gave myself permission to mess up.  Instead of sitting and worrying over getting the words just right the first time, I just gave it a go.  Second, I pushed the current mission statement aside so that it didn’t cloud my thinking.  Third, I set a goal to write a vision for the future, a mission of how to get there, and a set of beliefs that represented what our program is grounded in.  I also wanted to create a vision, mission, and beliefs that is grounded in the AASL standards for 21st century learning and the ISTE National Technology Standards…..and that is concise, exciting, and understandable. The last piece, understandable, was what proved to be a challenge.  I spent a lot of time reading the AASL standards and the ISTE NETS standards.  Then, I began to create a list of words and phrases that stood out.  Then, I grouped the phrases and words together by similarity.  It looked something like this:
Words to consider:
  • creativity; generate new ideas; create original works; innovation; publish; creative and artistic formats
  • interact, collaborate with peers, experts, or others; teamwork; personal or group expression
  • variety of media and formats
  • global awareness; consider diverse and global perspectives
  • solve problems; critical thinking; critical stance
  • inquire; display curiosity; plan and conduct research; locate, organize, analyze, evaluate, synthesize, and ethically use information; multiple resources and formats; social networks and information tools to gather and share information
  • personal responsibility for lifelong learning; personal learning
  • leadership
  • digital citizenship; safe and ethical behaviors
  • demonstrate flexibility; adaptability; openness to new ideas; persisting in information searching despite challenges
  • reflect on learning
  • participate and collaborate in societal and intellectual networks
  • use information and technology ethically
  • demonstrate leadership and confidence
  • present formally and informally; multiple audiences; share new understandings
  • social responsibility
  • read, view, and listen for pleasure and growth; read widely and fluently
  • make connections to self, world, and other texts; respond to literature
  • participatory
  • transliteracy, transmedia

It wasn’t so much that I wanted to use every word and phrase that I wrote down as I wanted to make sure that what I wrote was grounded in the language of the standards.  Finally, I started writing.  This is what came out.

Vision:

The vision of the David C. Barrow Elementary Media Center is to be a learning commons flowing with innovation, collaboration, curiosity, adaptability, critical inquiry, and transliteracy.

Mission:

The mission of the David C. Barrow Elementary Media Center is to offer cutting-edge instruction and programming that develops innovative leaders who create content that reaches a global audience.

Beliefs:

The David C. Barrow Elementary Media Center is grounded in the beliefs that:

  • Reading is a window to the world which can be experienced in a variety of formats for pleasure or growth.
  • Creating information and story is just as important as consuming information and story.
  • Access to information and story across multiple platforms is essential to learning.
  • Technology is a pathway to a global audience.
  • A collaborative of expertise is present in every environment.
  • Flexibility and adaptability are important both in physical space and learning opportunities.
  • Locating, organizing, analyzing, evaluating, synthesizing, and ethically using information is a crucial piece of being a responsible, digital citizen.
  • Persisting through challenges strengthens understanding and confidence.
  • Reflection and self assessment promote excellence.

On January 12-14, 2012, I attended the School Reform Initiative Winter Meeting in Atlanta.  Educators from across the country attended and spent time together in professional learning communities using protocols to have important discussions and offer feedback around dilemmas, student work, and adult work in education.  I took my vision, mission, and beliefs (in progress) to that meeting.  My group consisted of educators from around Atlanta as well as an educator from Texas.  They were teachers, principals, instructional coaches, and data support specialists.  Using a Tuning Protocol, they looked at my draft and tried to tune the draft to my goal.  The biggest piece of feedback that I received was about the vision, mission, and beliefs being understandable.  It was suggested to change the language so that words such as “transliteracy” weren’t there.  I pushed back on this because I felt that even though some of the words are hard to define and might not be understood by every person reading the mission, they are crucial.  The question that prompted the most thought for me was, “Then, how are people going to understand this vision and mission?”  A suggestion was to have multiple ways of representing the vision, mission, and beliefs.  Maybe part would be text, part would be video, and part would be student work.  My wheels began to turn as I thought about how a vision, mission, and beliefs could really show transliteracy or transmedia in action.

That’s where I’m at right now.  I have this draft, which I’m still working on and getting feedback on from as many people as possible, and I’m thinking about how I can show our library and program’s vision, mission, and beliefs in action.

I’m going to continue to give myself permission to not worry about it being perfect, but instead to constantly morph and adapt to the kind of learning that is taking place and the kind of learning that we want to take place in our program.  I think having a vision, mission, and beliefs that truly represents the learning that takes place in libraries is important.  My hope is that it will also guide the design process as my school undergoes a major renovation next year.

I welcome your feedback and invite you to also think about your own vision, mission, and beliefs.

Andy Plemmons

School Librarian

David C. Barrow Elementary

Athens, GA

http://barrowmediacenter.wordpress.com

http://www.clarke.k12.ga.us/webpages/aplemmons

ISTE-SIMGS Free Webinar May 16: Upgrade and Bring Your Lessons into the 21st Century

http://sigms.iste.wikispaces.net/langwitches

sigms – langwitches via kwout

Presenter: Silvia Rosenthal Tolisano

Time: Monday, May 16, 2011 at 8pm ET 7pm CT 6pm MT 5pm PT

How To Connect: https://sas.elluminate.com/m. jnlp?sid=2008350&password=M. 045261E341AD318850AE8CD932AF9F

Description:   Are you still teaching in isolation or at best parallel to your students’ other teachers? How do you take your lesson plans, connect them to 21st century skills, infuse new literacies and get students motivated and engaged for their present and future? Join us for a conversation about upgrading lessons and units that extend your classroom to connect to and collaborate with other subject areas, grade levels, peers and experts from around the world.

Presenter Bio: Silvia Rosenthal Tolisano was born in Germany, raised in Argentina and currently lives in the United States. She holds a a Bachelor’s Degree in Spanish with a Minor in International Studies and a Masters in Education with an emphasis in Instructional Technology. She has worked as a World Language teacher, Technology Integration Facilitator and 21st Century Learning Specialist.

Her passions include globally connected learning, technology integration, 21st Century skills and literacies, as well as digital storytelling.

Free Webinar Tonight: ISTE SIGMS Webinar on “Copyright Clarity”

Kristin Hokanson
Spiro Bolos

Monday, March 14, 2011 at 8pm ET 7pm CT
6pm MT
5pm PT

While copyright & fair use can be confusing to navigate you CAN use copyrighted material in your creative work! This introduction to the Code of Best Practices in Fair Use for Media Literacy Education will explain fair use, reduce copyright confusion and share helpful ideas regarding how to teach your students and staff about copyright & fair use.

Learn Central Page: http://www.learncentral.org/ event/142405/Copyright+Clarity
How to Connect: https://sas.elluminate.com/d. jnlp?sid=lcevents&password= Webinar_Guest

Find out about the presenters, view the slide set and valuable resources.

Webinar: Making Connections: Benefits of ISTE Affiliation for You and Your Organization

Dear SIGMS Members:

It is more important than ever for school librarians to be technology leaders in their schools to best prepare their students with the 21st century skills needed for college and the workplace.  The International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE) is the premier organization that sets the K-12 technology standards and provides valuable professional development in technology for K -12 educators.  SIGMS, the ISTE Media Specialists SIG, is pleased to bring you the webinar “Making Connections: Benefits of ISTE Affiliation for You and Your Organization”.

This free webinar will take place on Thursday, Feb 10th at 8pm ET/7pm CT/6pm MT/5pm PT.  It will feature Susan Larson, the ISTE Affiliate Director, who will provide information on the organizational benefits, requirements, and procedures in applying for ISTE affiliate status.  Susan will be joined by Kathy Sanders, SIGMS Advocacy Committee Chair, who will lead a panel of speakers from various state library organizations that are current ISTE affiliates.  It is not necessary to give up any other affiliate status to add ISTE affiliate status.  Get the professional support you need to be a technology leader. Please share information about this webinar with your organizational library leaders.

See http://sigms.iste.wikispaces.net for information on connecting to the webinar.  Please note you do NOT have to be a member to participate in this webinar.

Thanks,

Lisa Perez
SIGMS Chair

Free Webinar December 9: “One Tool at a Time” Webinar – Topic: Flickr Fun

from ISTE-SIGMS:

One Tool at a Time: Build Your Toolbelt is a monthly webinar series brought to you by ISTE’s SIGMS and SIGILT. Each webinar will last 30 minutes and will focus on a particular tool. Classroom integration strategies will be highlighted and there will be time for discussion.

Tuesday, December 9, 2010

“One Tool at a Time” Webinar – Topic: Flickr Fun

Tuesday, Dec 9th at 8:30pm ET/7:30pm CT/6:30pm MT/5:30pm PT

Presenter: Margaret Gaudino, Instructional Technology Specialist, Montgomery County Public Schools, MD

Description: Come learn some fun ways to use Flickr to support teaching and learning. Flickr has some great tools that allow you to select and share content with students. Participants will learn how to create Flickr Galleries, slide shows, and Geo-tag their photos. Margaret is currently an Instructional Technology Specialist in Montgomery County Public Schools, Maryland, developing and delivering professional development to support effective instructional strategies that integrate technology in the school library media center and classrooms. Margaret has been both a school library media specialist and an elementary classroom teacher. We will be using the Learn Central Host Your Own Webinar room.

How to connect: http://tinyurl.com/lcparticipant