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  • 04 Jun 2020 12:23 PM | Matt (Administrator)

    ALA News

    CHICAGO – The Vermont School Library Association (VSLA) has been named one of four recipients of the 2020 American Association of School Librarians’ (AASL) Past-Presidents Planning Grant for National School Library Standards. The $2,500 grants, awarded in honor of AASL past presidents, are presented annually to AASL Chapters for the planning and execution of an event, initiative, or activity focused on the implementation of AASL's National School Library Standards for Learners, School Librarians, and School Libraries. VSLA is the recipient of the planning grant awarded in honor of Gail K. Dickinson and sponsored by Roger and Susan D. Ballard.

    “VSLA plans to develop a comprehensive messaging platform to empower grassroots advocacy in support of school librarians and school libraries in every school,” said AASL President Mary Keeling. “Using a shared calendar and innovative exemplars and communication tools housed on a shared website, they will target their message to important stakeholder groups and maintain consistent messaging throughout the year. I am so impressed with the way Vermont school librarians are using authoring and publishing tools to develop these digital products. This detailed plan has great potential for replication in other state chapters.”

    “Vermont librarians will develop their own resources using AASL’s Shared Foundations to understand local needs,” said Dorcas Hand, grant committee chair. “The committee loved that the Vermont process will begin by identifying resources that are relevant to Vermont stakeholders, including students, teachers, principals, superintendents, and parents as well as counselors. The comprehensive approach to build a resource for each Shared Foundation and each targeted stakeholder group is smart with long-term effects that will be much appreciated by other Vermont school librarians unable to participate as well as other states as the resources are released for broad implementation in and beyond Vermont.”

    “AASL works with its chapters to activate leadership within the school library community and to influence educational policy and funding for school libraries at the local, state, and national levels,” said Keeling. “We are pleased to offer planning grants honoring past presidents to help state chapters address their state librarians’ particular professional learning needs. This year’s grants demonstrate how the National School Library Standards can inspire strong school libraries in any context and serve as a frame for powerful messaging. I am delighted with the variety of plans receiving awards. Many thanks to AASL’s past presidents who continue to lead through their generous sponsorship of these awards, and congratulations to the grant recipients!”

    The AASL award winners will be honored during a virtual AASL Awards Ceremony during the fall of 2020. The virtual ceremony will replace the live ceremony traditionally presented during the ALA Annual Conference. Out of concern for the health and safety of all members of the community, the ALA Executive Board felt it was important to cancel the 2020 conference taking place in Chicago. Details for the virtual ceremony will be shared as they are finalized.

  • 08 Feb 2019 2:45 PM | Matt (Administrator)

    Always wanting to acquire knowledge and learn about the latest trends that are effective teaching or learning tools, I enjoy attending a conference whenever I can. Having a budget that lacks sufficient funding, it was beneficial to call on VSLA’s Scholarship opportunity.  With the help of the VSLA Scholarship, I was able to attend the November 8 + 9 Vermont Fest conference at the Killington Grande Resort. While there I was able to network with colleagues, gain ideas and get feedback from others, and get a few new ideas of my own.

    I started with attendance to the Computer Science Alliance forum to learn more about what will be offered. While there are very few CS certified educators in the state of Vermont, working with students below grade 7, certification is not necessary.  However, hearing about this new alliance was interesting and will be a great opportunity for many. Attendance to the Coding and Robots for Younger Learners workshop allowed me to learn about picture books, unplugged activities, devices, ideas, and standards connections for coding. Attendance to both of these workshops provided great insight for me into the continuum of CS in my library program.

    Before I realized who Rushton Hurley was, he was helping me 1:1 to work with some green screen features in the WeVideo workshop. This was beneficial as I facilitate learning for my students in grades 3-5. Following this, enoying him as our keynote speaker provided additional insight into the interesting person he is. The next day I attended his Defining Amazing: Taking What You Do to the Next Level workshop to learn how to “raise my game as a teacher.” We examined what makes learning activities memorable, and he shared tricks for getting higher engagement out of students, and improving how we identify the quality of what happens in our classrooms. Great statements by Hurley included those that remind the educator to get out of the way, and allow student-directed learning. create student empowerment, and act as the facilitator. Rushton’s delivery of information  included inspiring videos, and reminding educators to share some crazy ideas. My favorite quote was “Our expertise is not content- it is the ability to ask good questions.” I purchased one of his books so that I could reference his amazing work and continue to grow with his suggested activities.

    Attendance to Using VoiceThread as a Portfolio Tool was useful as our school has an account. Interacting with other attendees of the workshop to create a VoiceThread provided additional motivation, while also having the experience we provide for our students when doing this activity.  

    New this year to the conference was the opportunity to earn a badge or micro-credential as a Connected Learner Amplifier. I met this criteria through collaboration and attendance to certain workshops. The AppSmash eBook Sprint session allowed me to team and share ideas with others while becoming more familiar with Book Creator. A group  book was published from the ideas and resources in these sessions.

    One of the most exciting aspects of the 2-day conference was the Google Tour Builder workshop. Learning about this, I had students in mind who would benefit greatly from this. Returning to school the following week, I was able to completely engage some [intended] students to learn more about the world and travel with this tool.

    The Project Based Learning workshop focused on voice and choice and how to present student learning to a public audience. As educators, we must ask ourselves how do we prepare our curriculum so that our students WANT to learn.  Meaningful research that would support classroom research could include kids taking walking field trips around town while learning about their community, interacting with people, and then  creating a brochure. We must deal with real-world problems to come up with real-world solutions to keep our learners engaged.  

    The ‘Why We Make in Elementary School!’ workshop was useful for  my library space. Learning about low-cost ideas and hearing about what items might be useful in a makerspace  from another perspective was helpful. Being interested in this movement, I always find workshops where someone else shares ideas to be very helpful.

    Learning about VR Instructional Design & Assessment was less appealing than what I had hoped for. However, it is important to learn about a tool before purchase. In this case, it helped me to realize that at this point, VR is not for my program.

    Attendance helped me to acquire great insight into a well-rounded variety of opportunities.  Please accept my sincere gratitude for your support of my attendance. I appreciate the great work VSLA does, and am proud to serve as a regional representative.


    Joanne Reed Allen

    Enosburg Elementary Library Media Center

    Enosburg Falls, VT 05450

  • 12 Nov 2018 1:27 PM | Matt (Administrator)

    by Tessa Johnson

    Day two at Vita-Learn's VT Fest started with a session by Rushton Hurley talking about taking your teaching to the next level.  In his presentation, Defining Amazing: Taking What You Do to the Next Level, Rushton talked about the value of increasing student engagement and authentic learning experiences. "When kids know others will see it, they want it to be good," he said."When they know just the teacher will see it, they want it to be good enough."  Rushton also pointed out that one way to increase greatness is to allow more time for teachers to creatively brainstorm together.  Wouldn't that be awesome?!  He is a very engaging speaker.  I signed up for his newsletter.  If you're interested in learning more about him and the projects he's involved in, check out his website

    Rushton Hurley

    I bought his books!  They will be in the DBS Professional Lending Library. Stop by to check them out for yourself. 

    Next up: Google Tour Builder!  This is a cool tool that I've never played with before.  It's quick and easy to use and the presenter gave us several good ideas how to use it in school, such as creating a list of places you've been, or a 'tour" of the major battles in a war.  I made a quick tour of the Hartford School District.

    I had a nice chat with a vendor there who had a 3D printer.  I've been fascinated by them for awhile now, so I was excited to see a session devoted to using 3D printers with elementary students.  The presenter showed us Tinkercad and talked about several projects she's done with elementary students, including an awesome collaboration project between kindergartners and 3rd graders.  Now I want a 3D printer!!  :)  Even without the printer I think we can put Tindercad to good use. Just the other day a 5th grade teacher came to me looking for such a project, and I know it will be helpful for my First Lego League team project as well.

    Then it was time for lunch and a lunchtime keynote speech from Dan French, Vermont Secretary of Education.  He talked about the state of education in Vermont and urged creative collaboration throughout the state.

    Thank goodness it's vegetarian!

    VT Secretary of Education, Dan French
     After lunch I went to a super fun session called Using AR in the Classroom with Merge Cubes.  Merge Cubes were all the rage awhile back when Walmart was selling them for $1 each.  People were buying them by the shopping cart full!  I was not one of those people.  Oh well.  The presenter brought several Merge Cubes, including a DIY one, and he introduced us to a bunch of apps.  AR is pretty cool, but I wonder how long it will hold a student's attention.  I made a quick DIY one when I got home to show my kids and they were interested in the wow factor, but moved on quickly.  I'm curious to do more experimenting on how it can be used to extend learning.

    Galactic Explorer shows you the whole galaxy in your hand. 

    HoloGlobe shows you the Earth, in real time!

    I spent some time in the Extended Learning area, playing with a Cricut vinyl cutter.  Check out this cool vinyl Karen put on her laptop!  When she opens the lid, the bulb "lights up."  I made a little decoration for my own laptop as well.

    Laptop bling

    Karen's bling is cooler, but I like my pink shiny too. 

    We ended the day with big thanks all around, more raffle prizes awarded, and SNOW!  Eek!

    I'm enjoying my weekend now, but looking forward to bringing some great ideas and cool tech to school next week.
  • 12 Nov 2018 1:25 PM | Matt (Administrator)

    by Tessa Johnson

    It was a fun day at VT Fest today!  I attended a session on social media that got me thinking about a district plan.  I got to try Oculus Rift VR headset.  I've wanted to try one for ages and finally go to!  I attended a session where they talked about all the benefits (and risks) and all the different places you can "go" and things you can do.  At the end they asked if anyone wanted to try and my hand SHOT up!  I got to make a cool 3D piece of art, then view it from all angles.  I got to stand on a row boat and watch the Titanic go by.  I got to stand on the edge of a cliff and watch boulders fall down, over my head!!  It was very cool! I'd love to take my 1st graders on a VR trip through the arctic!

    Drawing with Tilt Brush on the Oculus Rift
    Definitely dorky looking from the outside, but so cool on the inside!

    When I was done with that I went to the next room and decided to play with the Glowforge 3D laser printer.  I was super excited to make a #dbsreads sign. The Glowforge is cool, but I'm not sure we'd get a lot of value out of it at the elementary level. 
    I wrote the words on a white board, then they took a picture of it, but a rectangle around it, 
    and programmed it to engrave the words and cut out the rectangle box.  

    I love the result!

    I went to a neat session about enabling student voice.  It was definitely aimed at MS/HS, but it was good to put some thought into the value of encouraging student voice in school.  I'd love to come up with ways to get more student voice in elementary school.
    "Chalk Talk"

    Overall a great session.  Thanks to VSLA's scholarship I'm able to attend today and tomorrow, AND stay at the Killington Grand Resort!  

    Today I was joined by our 3rd grade team and one of the 2nd grade teachers as well.  It was nice to hang out with them and get to exchange ideas.  


  • 31 May 2018 10:27 PM | Anonymous
    This past April and May I have facilitated four workshops/sessions across the State of Vermont on the new National School Library Standards, reaching about 95 Vermont School Librarians. 

    I have adopted the new National School Library Standards to use as performance indicators for our school libraries within our district. I then broke the performance indicators down into learning targets, from which I have constructed my lessons, formative assessments, and summative assessments. 

    Hoping to make the transition to Proficiency-Based Learning and Grading by 2020 a little easier for Vermont School Librarians, I am sharing the Proficiencies, Performance Indicators (AASL), and Learning Targets (skills/competencies - AASL) I created (at the 9th-12th grade level), which can then be modified to meet the needs of students at the elementary and middle school levels.

    Please see the presentation below to learn more. If you have any questions, please contact dehler-hansen@arsu.org. 


  • 15 Apr 2018 3:00 PM | Anonymous

    I can't wait to share the new American Association of School Librarians #aasl - National School Library Standards #aaslstandards with Vermont School Librarian colleagues tomorrow! #vsla http://standards.aasl.org/calendar/  


    April 16, 2018 @ 4:00 pm – 6:00 pm


    South Burlington High School Library


    Deborah Ehler-Hansen, School Librarian/Media Specialist:


    AFFILIATE ORGANIZATION: Vermont School Library Association

    Workshop Description:

    Deb Ehler-Hansen, VSLA’s AASL Affiliate Representative, will be providing a New National School Library Standards Training Session for all K-12 school librarians. During this evening session, she will introduce the new standards and explain how the standards align perfectly with with our proficiency-based learning environment. She will provide examples of how to create performance indicators and associated learning targets, using the new standards, to support student learning outcomes in your local school district. #aaslstandards #vsla

  • 18 Mar 2018 10:07 PM | Anonymous

    The framework for the National School Library Standards for Learners, School Librarians, and School Libraries has been built upon the four domains from 2007 AASL's Standards for the 21st Century Learner and our roles within the domains from Empowering Learners: Guidelines for School Library Programs2009.

    I.  The four domains from the Standards for the 21st Century Learner are:
    1. Think
    2. Create
    3. Share
    4. Grow.

    II.  Our roles from Empowering Learners are:
    1.  Leader
    2. Instructional Partner
    3. Information Specialist
    4. Teacher
    5.  Program Administrator.

    III.  The new National School Library Standards are also built upon the following Common Beliefs:
    1. The school library is a unique and essential part of a learning community.
    2. Qualified School Librarians lead effective school libraries.
    3. Learners should be prepared for college, career, and life.
    4. Reading is the core of personal and academic competency.
    5. Intellectual freedom is every learner's right.
    6. Information technologies must be appropriately integrated and equitably available.
    Please click here to learn more about the Common Beliefs.

    IV.  The new National School Library Standards are also built upon six Shared Foundations, as seen in the image below. According to the National School Library Standards for Learners, School Librarians, and School Libraries, "Each Shared Foundation is a one-word idea encompassing each standard" (ALA 2018).


    Please click here to learn more about the six Shared Foundations.

    V.  In addition, the new National School Library Standards are built upon ​Key CommitmentsAccording to the new National School Library Standards for Learners, School Librarians, and School Libraries, "...the Key Commitments are expressed by the Alignments included in each functional Domain" (ALA 2018). The six Key Commitments for  Learners are as follows...Learners who hare empowered to deepen their own learning will:
    1. acquire new knowledge by thinking critically and solving problems;
    2. operate in global society by interacting with and acknowledging the perspectives of others;
    3. work with others to achieve common goals;
    4. collect, organize, and share sources;
    5. harness curiosity and employ a growth mindset to explore and discover; and
    6. follow ethical and legal guidelines while engaging with information. 

    VI.  The new National School Library Standards are also built upon Competencies, which according to the National School Library Standards for Learners, School Librarians, and School Libraries, "...may be used as a progression of knowledge, skills, and dispositions" (ALA 2018).

                                                      Key Vocabulary
    Shared Foundation: 
    This level describes the core values that learners, school librarians, and shared libraries should reflect and promote. The six Shared Foundations of Inquire, Include, Collaborate, Curate, Explore, and Engage were derived from our research and community input. Each Shared Foundation is also inherent in your Common Beliefs. 
    Key Commitment: The Key Commitments spell out the essential components of the Shared Foundations. Consider Key Commitments as expanded definitions of the Shared Foundations.
    Domains: As mentioned earlier in this chapter, the interlinked nature of school librarians’ roles is translated into the learning categories of Think, Create, Share, and Grow.
    Competencies: For learners and school librarians the Key Commitments are put into practice by doing the actions that demonstrate mastery of the core Competencies included in each functional Domain. Think, Create, Share, Grow may be seen as a continuum mirroring the inquiry process, from Discovery and questioning through to sharing the results of one’s work and reflecting on the process. The Competencies are not intended to be only linear, but may be used as a progression of knowledge, skills, and dispositions. 
    Alignments: In school libraries the Key Commitments are expressed by the Alignments included in each functional Domain.
    Key Vocabulary terms from the National School Library Standards for Learners, School Librarians, and School Libraries. ALA, 2018.

    ​Please email dehler-hansen@arsu.org, if you have any questions.

  • 11 Mar 2018 10:37 PM | Anonymous

    Yes, this is a big year for NESLA and for school librarianship! To honor the 100th anniversary of NESLA (the oldest school library association in the country!), NESLA is offering a reduced membership fee of $10 and a lottery that one school librarian in each New England State will win. 

    To learn more, please access this flyer! The flyer contains all the details about the March Madness Membership Drive, and the fall conference, where NESLA is planning to celebrate its 100 years: Dancing with the Stars: Honoring the Past and Stepping into the Future. 

  • 09 Mar 2018 1:28 PM | Anonymous
    The new National School Library Standards - Released  in November 2018 replace:

    HOWEVER, We Have Kept Our Four Functional Domains (AASL’s Standards for the 21st Century Learner 2007).


    We Have Also Kept Our Roles Within the Domains (Empowering Learners 2009).


    Stay tuned for the next blog post on the new National School Library Standards Common Beliefs! Use this link to access my AASL National School Library Standards blog. 

    If you have any questions, please email: dehler-hansen@arsu.org

  • 22 Feb 2018 11:10 AM | Anonymous
    Please be sure to sign up for the webinar "Connecting Competencies: Learner, School Librarian and School Library" - presented by Susan Ballard and Sara Kelly Johns

    When? Thursday, February 22, 2018 | 6:00 p.m. Central
    According to the AASL website, "Participants will be introduced to the language of competencies as part of the structure of the National School Library Standards (NSLS). The intentional shift from outcomes to competencies in the standards is designed to better align the AASL framework with other education standards and provide increased opportunities for learners, school librarians, and school libraries to thrive in a more personalized learning environment.

    Learning Outcomes
    Learning Objective: Learner Competencies
    Participants will examine the role of competencies within the six Shared Foundations as a continuum on which school librarians and school libraries empower learners to master competencies in the domains of Think, Create, Share, and Grow.

    Learning Objective: School Librarian Competencies
    Participants will explore how the school librarian competencies parallel those of the learner, and emphasize the integrated nature of a comprehensive learning environment.

    Learning Objective: School Library Competencies
    Participants will recognize the school library as an environment for learners and school librarians to develop competence and achieve mastery relating to educational content and tools.

    Learning Objective: Assessment/Evaluation of Competencies
    Participants will recognize the importance of the assessment and evaluations processes as described in the NSLS that measure progress toward competency for learners, school librarians, and the school library. 

    Cost is FREE! 

    To register, please use this link:  Register via GoToWebinar.

    A certificate of participation will be provided to attendees of the live webinar by request. To request a certificate of participation after the webinar, please email Jennifer Habley Certificates will be sent as PDFs via email within one week of the webinar."

    ​For more information, please click here.

    Email: dehler-hansen@arsu.org

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