Reading is a Treat by CINDY KITZROW Principal, Cannonsburg Elementary School Director of Library and Media Services Rockford Public Schools March is designated as National Reading Month. Each year the library services staff of Rockford Public Schools offers a fantastic reading program to encourage reading with our PreK through eighth-grade students. This year, for our 15th annual reading celebration, we were pleased to announce our theme was “Reading is a Treat.” During the month, we invite students and parents to become involved in reading thousands of hours or a million pages. The students keep track of the time they read (or parents read to them). As the students read their allotted amount of time, they bring the reading slips to their library staff. The staff then records the hours and promotes the times throughout the building. Each library had a number of exciting events going on throughout the month in all of our buildings. We have several quest readers from the community to share their love of reading with our students. Dr. Michael Shibler, our superintendent, as well as Peter MacGregor, our state representative, read their favorite books to a number of students. Each building principal adds their encouragement for reading with many different reading incentives. For one building the class that read the most had an ice cream sundae party. One of the principals and cooks dressed up as Fiona and Shrek when the students met their reading goal. The students loved spending the morning with them. Another principal became an ice cream sundae. The students draped him with all their favorite toppings. Each building met and surpassed their building goal. Lakes Elementary set a huge challenge for their students to read one million pages. They read over a million pages—what an AWESOME accomplishment. On March 2, our buildings celebrated the birthday of Dr. Seuss. As part of the national program “Read Across America,” we joined the nation’s biggest reading party ever. We gave parties and read our favorite Seuss books. The movie the “Lorax” came out on Dr. Seuss’ birthday. Thanks to Cannonsburg’s PTC we were able to take the whole school to a special viewing of the movie. It was an exciting event for all of our students. We have much to celebrate […]
Creating a safe, positive learning environment by CINDY KITZROW Principal, Cannonsburg Elementary School Director of Library and Media Services October is designated as National Bullying Prevention Month. Communities nationwide are urged to take an active role to prevent bullying. It takes the entire school community to create an inviting school where everyone feels they belong and are safe. We all need to work together—administrators, teachers and school staff; parents and students can stop bullying. Promoting this environment of health and safety is a community-wide responsibility. All students need to feel safe and secure in order to learn, and learning entails much more than academics. Prevention efforts must recognize the role of the peer group as well as the relationship between the person who bullies and the person who is bullied. Effective prevention programs promote positive and just practices, while also setting firm limits of unacceptable behavior. Rockford Public Schools has created exemplary programs to reduce bullying and its detrimental effects on our students. These programs convey expectations of respectful behavior by crafting our district bullying policy and guidelines. Capturing Kids Hearts is one of our bullying prevention programs. Staff and students have developed strategies that help to ensure each student’s positive experience in each of our schools. It is a process that helps the adults in a school work with the students so that together they create a school culture that is mutually respecting, caring and celebrating the dignity of all. The goal is for students to become self-disciplined, accept the responsibility for their actions, and devise ways to prevent the recurrence of negative behaviors. The adult works with the student, guiding the decision-making process. Our motto has become, “If you capture a child’s heart, you capture their mind.” Ram Buddies is a program aimed at helping students with various needs form meaningful relationships with a “buddy.” The peers will initiate opportunities to provide support, encouragement and friendship. Throughout the year, the students who participate will join in a series of organized team-building activities and fun events that will provide them with strategies and opportunities to build relationships. Our library media specialists integrate cyber safety and digital citizenship while teaching our students how to use the Internet for research. Sixth- through 12th-graders are taught about […]
Information Literacy: Building the Bridge of Knowledge by CINDY KITZROW Principal, Cannonsburg Elementary School Director of Library & Media Services Information literacy rose to national consciousness in the U.S. with President Barack Obama. His proclamation stated, “Rather than merely possessing data, we must also learn the skills necessary to acquire, collate and evaluate information for any situation… Though we may know how to find the information we need, we must also know how to evaluate it. Over the past decade, we have seen a crisis of authenticity emerge. We now live in a world where anyone can publish an opinion or perspective, whether true or not, and have that opinion amplified within the information marketplace. At the same time, Americans have unprecedented access to the diverse and independent sources of information, as well as institutions such as libraries, that can help separate truth from fiction and signal from noise. The role of the school library/media center has changed drastically in the last decade. It is no longer just a place to go and check out books or to look up information for research in the encyclopedia. We have become the “Information Literacy Partner” in our schools. We build the “bridge of knowledge” by providing the right resources needed for teachers and students to achieve their goals. Reading has always been the heart of education. The knowledge of almost every subject flows from reading: • One must be able to read the word problem in math in order to understand it. • If you cannot read the science or social studies chapter, you cannot answer the content questions. • One can arguably state, “Reading is the single most important social factor in American life today.” School library media specialists not only promote the love of reading, they also support the entire school program by applying their “knowledge about resources, teachers and student needs, the processes in instruction and technology.” The library promotes, supports and strengthens the entire school curriculum. Our goals are to develop lifelong learners by teaching the love of reading and information literacy. Helping students become information literate involves teaching students how to learn: to recognize how knowledge is organized how to find information, how to use the information to answer any question or […]
Rockford Public Schools’ libraries are places of opportunity by CINDY KITZROW Director of Library and Media Services Rockford libraries are the cornerstone of our school community. We are the learning hub and integral to the teaching and learning for Rockford Public Schools (RPS) students. We provide teachers and students with a full range of print and electronic resources to support their learning. The school libraries impact our students’ achievement. As the largest classroom in the building, we are the hub of activity with services to all staff, students and parents. Research shows that a well-developed library collection coupled with a qualified staff has a significant impact on students’ reading scores and technology skills. ALL our students can strive for and achieve success. Our quality collections are in print and online, as we support the curriculum and address a variety of learning needs. “Destiny” is our library catalog. It is accessible to the total school community, on-site or remotely. We are a “library without walls.” Visit http://destiny.kentisd.org for further details. Reading is a foundational skill for learning, personal growth and enjoyment. Our students develop a love for reading and literature through our library programs. All children deserve equitable access to books and information, to technology in an environment that is safe and conducive to learning. We carefully select high-interest materials and encourage lifelong readers and independent learners. The library staff’s “AAA—Access, Anytime, Anywhere” focus helps our students explore the world around them with all types of resources. We have 177,569 books and equipment housed in the libraries. Over 105,838 books were checked out in 2009. We taught over 3,600 research classes to our students. They learn how to use our online research databases. At our RPS libraries, the students learn important lifelong skills that ensure their academic success.
by CINDY KITZROW Director of Library and Media Services Each year the Rockford Public Schools’ (RPS) reading specialists and library staff have a tradition of promoting summer reading. The theme for the 2009 Summer Reading Program is “Reach the World… Read.” The primary purpose of the program is to encourage students to read throughout the summer. The students are given a goal sheet. They record the books or minutes they spend reading. The students are asked to read 10 grade/age appropriate books or spend 15 hours reading throughout the summer. Each student who completes their reading goal will be invited to participate in a special celebration when they return to school in the fall. Research and beginning-of-year scores show that children who do not read consistently over the summer lose fluency and are prone to more reading “errors” in the fall. The summer-reading effect on student achievement is well-researched. The long summer breaks the rhythm of instruction which leads to forgetting and requires a significant amount of review when the student returns in the fall. Reading programs have a positive effect in showing literacy growth. Studies support the findings that those who read more know more. The culmination of our summer reading program will be celebrated with a one-day reading event. The Rockford Rotary Club is also charged to improve/increase literacy through various activity involvements. On Saturday, August 29, Rotary is sponsoring a reading celebration called “Reading Rocks in Rockford.” The Krause Memorial Library along with the RPS library staff, reading specialists and teachers are helping to plan numerous events for children of all ages. We will have Michigan authors, celebrity readers, and much more performing on the Garden Park stage. There will also be various reading activities throughout the city. The community will also help kick off the RPS K-12 fall reading program called “Pennies for Peace.” We will be reading the books Three Cups of Tea and Listen to the Wind by Greg Mortenson. “Pennies for Peace” is a service-learning program. We will be collecting pennies to help support a school in the remote regions of Afghanistan and Pakistan. We all want to share our vision to reach communities around the world to increase and improve literacy.