Listen to Episode 52
In this episode of #coachbetter spotlight, we are chatting with Hillary Marshall, teacher-librarian at Washougal High School in Oregon. Hillary has a great perspective having been a teacher in the US, then spending twelve years teaching in international schools around the world, and returning to the US 6 years ago.
Bonus: Watch the spotlight version of this episode on YouTube!
Full Show Notes
A passionate advocate for the students and the library, Hillary shares some key strategies for ensuring that all community stakeholders understand the value of a teacher-librarian. In this episode Hillary shares her specific strategy that helped build the team of teacher-librarians in her school district from just one, to one in each building in just six years! Although highlighting the value of a librarian, the strategies and approaches that Hillary shares would work just as well for instructional coaches who want to ensure that their school retains that position as well!
Here’s some helpful snippets of the broader conversation.
Something you’re excited about in terms of learning / learning innovation
School district is a tech leader in WA state, first school to go 1:1 in WA state. Flipped how she teaches research on it’s head. More about students finding questions that intrigue them. If there’s a big concept students need to learn, pose it as a question and allow students to develop questions around the idea.
There was no Comp. Science in HS. MS has robotics. In HS there was nothing to grow that learning. Did research and grant writing to open up a makerspace and get a 3D printer. Using that 3D printer with teachers as part of the curriculum. Food Truck challenge in Food Design, used TinkerCad to make a cookie cutter, differentiated to different levels.
The role of the librarian has changed so much. In her job description is to be a technology leader, and then takes it on her own initiative. If districts are looking to cut funding, if you’re a central cog in the success of your school, it’s really hard for admin to cut that position.
What are you doing that is challenging / exciting / interesting your school?
Struggling with kids who are at risk. Not something I saw in the international circuit. Work in a public school, blue collar community, kids are coming from all different kinds of backgrounds. Some kids are homeless and are still top performing students.
We do a freshman academy. Have made it a goal to work with them.
Goal was: wanted these freshman to have the experience of reading an entire novel. Did a book talk of novels where there were class sets so students could choose. Ran a literature circle workshop. Challenging part: she’d show up and the kids hadn’t done the work. Talked to the kids about how it could be more successful. They wanted to have more in-class time to read, to be more than just one day a week. Will try again in the spring, narrow down choices, offer more reading time in class. Learning skills to work with at risk youth. Their mental health is not there in learning.
New initiative driven by learning walks.
What inspires you as a learner, as a teacher, as a leader? What has happened in the past that inspires you?
Reaching the unreachable student. Always trying to do a step up. One of those new things was a grad certificate in teaching adult learners. Updated a lot of educational philosophies and diversity.
Focusing more on project-based learning, got her started on how she teaches research, giving options for kids to have more say.
Another goal: every kid has a mirror book: a lifestyle / bibliothearapy, going through the same thing / window book, like to appreciate.
What is / was the most innovative (or challenging) experience in your career had or is having an impact on your professional growth?
Currently, overseeing all classified librarians. Working and advocating for libraries. Showing the value of what a librarian can do for student growth, professional development, getting teachers to teach outside their boxes. Mentoring new hires of certificated librarians.
Step-by-step work, have to toot your own horn. Every semester, she writes a tri-color brochure about all the things that have been happening in the library with statistical evidence about books that have been checked out, who she’s worked with, district events the library has supported, PD she’s conducted or participated in. Sent to school board, superintendent, every administrator. Sends every semester. Also sends to teachers if their name is in the report.
You can’t just sit in the library and “be” – have to go out and develop relationships. Just need one teachers to take a risk, and make their experience with you amazing.
Please share a reading / resource you have explored recently that you think would be valuable to other teachers or coaches.
Having a focus on the ISTE standards
Neil Schusterman Scithe, Thunderman
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