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  • 15 Apr 2018 3:00 PM | Deborah

    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 | Deborah

    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 | Deborah

    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 | Deborah
    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 | Deborah
    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

  • 22 Feb 2018 11:04 AM | Deborah

    Please Note: To view the original AASL Standards blog, please click here.

    To understand where we have been, in terms of school library standards, and how we arrived at the point where we are today, please take a moment to reflect upon the following timeline of events.

    * 2017 - National School Library Standards (AASL 2017):" School Library" 

    • Inquire
    • Include
    • Collaborate
    • Curate
    • Explore
    • Engage
    * 2009 - Empowering Learners: Guidelines for School Library Programs (AASL 2009).
    * 2007 - Standards for the 21st Century Learner (AASL 2007): Think, Create, Share, Grow!

    "School Librarian"
    • Leadership
    • Inquiry
    • Assessment
    • Integration
    1998 - Information Power: Building Partnerships for Learning (AASL and AECT 1998)
    "School Library Media Specialist"
    • Partnerships
    • Technology
    • Internet
    * 1988 - Information Power: Guidelines for School Library Media Programs (AASL and AECT 1988)
    "School Library Media Program"
    • Physical Access
    * 1961 - 1987: Standards and Societal Change.
    "Media Programs: District and School (AASL and AECT 1975), reflected a greater emphasis on the librarian's role in teaching learners to communicate ideas through media creation as well as through information use (ALA 2018)."
    * 1920 - 1959:  Foundational Work. 
    1920's - "The Certain standards' focus on high-quality instruction and student engagement placed school librarians at the center of teaching and learning (ALA 2018)."
    1945 - School Library Standards - School Libraries for Today and Tomorrow: Functions and Standards (ALA et al. 1945)...In these standards, school librarians were expected to have deep knowledge of their collections and to be knowledgeable about their learners' reading abilities and preferences (ALA 2018). 

    View this video, to hear first reactions of the NEW AASL Standards.

    Email: dehler-hansen@arsu.org

  • 22 Feb 2018 10:40 AM | Deborah

    ***To view the original blog for learning the AASL Standards, please view and subscribe to this link

    This is the first post of the new AASL Standards blog. I will be releasing mini bites of information, in a progressive manner, to help you learn all about the new school library standards.

    The new American Association of School Librarians (AASL) Standards were released in November, 2017. According to the National School Library Standards for Learners, School Librarians, and School Libraries, (ALA 2018) "The AASL Standards frameworks are composed of Shared Foundations, explanatory Key Commitments, competency Domains, Competencies, and Alignments." These "...core components" (ALA 2018) are part of each of the three separate frameworks...one for Learners, the second for School Librarians, and the third for School Libraries. 

    The new standards were developed with these Common Beliefs in mind. 

    Please view this video to learn how the standards have evolved, but yet, are still familiar to us all.

    Please view this video, to learn about the new standards structure.

    Any questions? Please contact me at: dehler-hansen@arsu.org

  • 13 Feb 2018 4:12 PM | Kristen

    Please use the link for this month's musings!


    Kristen Eckhardt

    Danville School

    Danville, VT

  • 13 Dec 2017 3:12 PM | Kristen

    One at a Time

    Yep, that’s me. Nudging these kids, one a time, to access current, vetted resources through the myriad of Google alternatives residing on the school library website! If you are like me and see large classes of middle school students each week, but seldom get to spend quality time with each student individually during it, you might have discovered that sometimes your database sales pitch simply works best in the rare moments that simply present themselves, as opposed to the en masse approach in class. It’s what I am up to these days, and it’s pretty fun.

    It happens every week: twenty-odd 7th graders leave one of my digital citizenship classes looking a little worn out from another long day of school (I have all my middle school classes last period!), and I despair that hardly a one really got the message about using the current, accessible, relevant and trustworthy resources available to them through the library. I pin the links everywhere--the library site, the shared class docs, the e-newsletter to families each month, on hand-outs at the circulation desk and signs at the desktops--seriously, I can’t get enough. But I still worry that these kids aren’t paying attention and using them enough. So I have a new technique.

    The first part of it is being aware when opportunities are presenting themselves for the database sneak-attack. Instead of continuing on with what I am doing--shelving, processing a book, planning the next day’s lessons, insert-another-task-here--I force myself to connect with the student who has just meandered in. I casually say hi, ask if he or she is reading any good books lately...then, I go for the gold...I find out what kind of research project is going on in a core subject. And, just like that, I have that kid hooked to come on over to the computers so I can showcase the perfect resource we have for whatever topic was just mentioned.

    I have done it twice today. Now, I could get depressed that the 8th graders last period seemed to be Googling too much to find research for their class newspaper pieces, but instead I am going to look for the positive in the afternoon--that after lunch I got two students using VT Online for their up-to-the-minute research on designer babies. That was awesome. They were into it. They “never knew this stuff was here, Mrs. Eckhardt!” Um, okay, I’ve been carrying on about it all fall, but whatever. They joined the ranks of database users at Danville School and I am thrilled. So are they. Their research projects will be awesome.

    So, that’s my goal--to quietly and simply hook a kid or two a day on database usage. No, it’s not a lot. No it doesn’t make the earth shake in some instantaneously noticeable way. But it does change things--the flow of accurate information, students’ understandings and perceptions, the quality of their work...and pretty soon it might just be a normal thing that the whole upper school is bonkers about using databases instead of the www at large. I could get back to that pile of books that need covering, or that shelf-reading...nah, I’ll probably just ask to read their final papers.

    -Kristen Eckhardt, M.Ed, LMS

     Danville School Library

     Danville, VT

  • 30 Nov 2017 9:49 AM | Kristen

    The Person in Personalized Learning


    Personalized learning. It makes so much sense, doesn’t it? Who doesn’t want each and every student who comes their way to learn what they want, and continue along a path of knowledge, enlightenment and a wish to go further with the things that make them tick, that bring them joy, and give one’s life purpose? As a librarian, personalized learning for each and every student is basically the mantra of the day--the raison d’etre upon which the library was founded. As a teacher librarian my main goal is to provide a perfect recipe of resources, classroom know-how and personal interactions that make personalized learning the order of the day. Every day. For everyone. It sounds so simple. If only…


    If only everyone could hit the rewind button on what it takes to set the stage for personalized learning to occur honestly, happily, actually. In a perfect high school setting in the 21st century students are psyched to come to school, where they are welcomed and honored for who they are, what they wish to learn and who this will allow them to become. Tech options are available and streamlined. Blended classroom pedagogy offers a fabulous hybrid platform that meets each kid where they are: the shared class docs are never defaced by those who refuse to become responsible digital citizens, the playlists curated by teachers have “something for everyone” and the time allowed in class for real academic and personal interaction among students and teachers is filled with meaning that inspires the growth of soft skills that support students as they focus on learning the hard ones.


    The recipe is pretty simple. Imagine the high school class that hums along as some are plugged in utilizing the array of online resources prepared for them (and also finding their own), while others are engaging with the teacher who is explaining/listening/expanding per individual or small group needs. There might even be a small group of collaborators, collaborating in a sacred classroom space, making their own little hybrid situation of tech, discussion and problem-solving increase their learning, with the underlying understanding that plugging oneself in or deciding to utilize the teacher’s expertise is also an option, and it’s all good. I dream about this kind of stuff. Don’t we all? In this digital age it seems like it should be a natural thing in schools across America, this perfect blend of person-to-person teaching coupled with efficient use of all that technology has to offer, based on student need and interest. So why is it often so elusive? Why do we continue to struggle with personalized learning? Well, because people are complex. So many variables. The confluence of so many preceding details gets in the way.


    In order for personalized learning to truly take place--to thrive and function in a high school setting--we need to build up the capacity for it from the early years of school. Children need to have the flames of wonder fanned in a way that allows them to internalize an appetite for life. Not a life of video games and Netflix, but for living. They need to be taught to read for sustained periods of time in which they metabolize their very own personal ability to dig in and understand. They need to learn how to be with themselves, their peers and their teachers. They need to have inculcated in them a respect for themselves and their peers and their teachers. Somehow, their experiences in the early years of school have to provide opportunities for them to become literate, joyful little problem-solvers who have internalized the wonder of being alive, and the fact that there is meaning in the everyday as well as the stuff that is “awesome.” That it matters how you act just as much as it matters whether you are becoming better at the things your teachers are trying to help you learn. That it feels good to like who you are and to also be a good friend. Kids need to be really and truly prepared to embrace the personalized learning opportunities we wish for them as young adults. That means they have to come to the high school level intrinsically motivated to learn (lots of soft skill teaching in there) while possessing a decent skill set around literacy, numeracy and communication skills, and some basic technological know-how. It is a pretty tall order, but at the same time pretty basic. Time spent investing in a road map through the elementary and middle years, with personalized learning readiness as its goal, could change the world.


    Educating grade schoolers is three-fold: it is socializing them and teaching them basic academic know-how, all while embracing each and every one of them for who each and everyone is! It all starts with respect. Respect the emotional and creative person each kid is, and respect every potential he or she has. Respect the social norms that allow us to all get along. Respect the enormous power of the various literacies in which we need to become fluent so we can reach our potentials and have purposeful, interesting lives. And keep circling back to all of it so that when it is time for the high school years, personalized learning is the natural progression.


    Ideally, if those elementary years go well, we have children who want to use their personal and academic sensibilities to learn about what interests them. They have been taught that learning is fun, that it can also be hard, but it’s worth it. They have learned they are capable. They have been taught how to get along. They have a natural respect for their teachers because their teachers have provided so many opportunities that have helped them become who they are becoming. They have been taught not only how to read, but how to persist in one’s reading to wonder and find out more. Their middle grades curricula were designed to teach students how to read effectively online (that is a whole other blog). Digital citizenship is a fact of life and kids can be trusted to fire up their school-issued devices and do the right thing. Trust and respect have been such a long-standing part of their education that getting along in school as a person and a student is just not much of an issue. Students see their ability to function independently as part of a group as normal. The boundaries and skill-building experienced consistently throughout childhood set them free. Sounds like good parenting. Sounds like healthy human development. Sounds like the best idea ever. Ah, school...now we remember why we became educators! School does not need to be “unschooled,” as so many critics proclaim. It can be the healthiest place for a community of kids to show up and live their lives while they learn to live their lives.


    So, now what? This blog is kind of all over the map, I know. There are a dozen spots where it could digress, begging the questions that are out there about the grades and walls and bureaucracy that continue to cramp the modern dreams of so many public schools we continue to require all children to attend. So let’s not go down those rabbit holes today, but think about a bigger picture that could just be inspiring. That might inspire us to do a little better in making the small moments we are in charge of now better, and that might help us articulate and implement the newer version of school so many of us wish for.


    Elementary and middle school need to be the breeding ground for successful personalized learning in the higher grades. Teenagers and teachers have so much real world teaching, talking and figuring to do, that the concepts and practice of being a good community member, a respectful and tech savvy digital citizen and capable reader need to be givens. It is a huge order, I know. It means us taking apart a lot of what is done and putting it back together more carefully. It means finding common ground and celebrating autonomy amid the behavior crises with which so many children come to school. It probably means sometimes putting academic learning on the back burner to help kids get themselves sorted out so learning can come easier when they are then ready to learn. Yup, a huge puzzle that looks like a hundred different pieces in any given school. Now, more than ever, we as educators need to be as human as possible so tech can take its rightful place to extend the personalized opportunities awaiting our young adult students, who, if “raised right” in our schools, want to go out and take on the world.


    Education is a very human task. All the technology available for personalized learning is meaningless unless those accessing it are doing it from an intrinsic desire to learn and grow, independently and within a group. They need to feel a part of a community that counts among its most cherished ideals as those of wonder, respect and responsibility for doing one’s best. As one dedicated early educator at my school has as her tag line beneath her email signature, “Let them be little. Inspire them to be BIG.” So, yeah, our work in schools is continually cut out for us. We can’t afford to work in silos, we need to include parents in the mix of molding youngsters who are glad to be alive and who can’t wait to find out more about their world and themselves. Let’s build school communities that include an unwavering insistence on being responsible, respectful and literate. A civil snack time is as important as tackling an assignment with grit and reflection. Being kind in the bus line matters as much as learning basic tech skills in those early grades. A hearty, healthy recess goes hand-in-hand with perfecting the times tables. Imagine a group of teenagers who are not pushing their teachers’ buttons because they are so busy pushing their own, in a good way, because life has been so sweet in those earlier grades that they are ready to accept personalization of their learning because it is the next logical step. That they can work independently, among others and within an intrinsically respectful relationship with the adults who are, well, still in charge, in the most positive of ways. Wow. What a beautiful thing. Achievable, too, if we as educators start from the beginning and build with this goal in mind. While tech avenues and the continual information they bring to our students may outshine our expertise in certain academic subjects, our expertise can continually grow as the stewards of their growing up with the dignity and respect that are at the root of successful personalized learning at the high school level.


    Kristen Eckhardt, M.Ed, LMS

    Danville School

    Danville, VT





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