Thursday, June 25, 2009

How lucky we are!

Just a few things for your last-minute consideration as you head off for summer:

  • Have you marked this blog as a favourite and made plans to check in occasionally?
  • Have you sent me an electronic copy of your year-end report?
  • Have you thought about how lucky we are to be TLs here in Vancouver? Supported as we are by a system that values the role school libraries play in the literacy and learning equations for young learners, we don't have to travel far from our boundaries to find districts where programs just like ours have been hard hit this year by budget cuts. When you heave the sigh of relief that you have survived another year, be grateful you are lucky enough to be in Vancouver. I am cautiously optimistic in saying that, for the first time in years, we may have a small increase in our FTEs. Thank you, everyone, who give hard work and political commitment to keeping cuts away from kids and who ensure that school libraries are valued.

Let the Sun Shine in!
Adapted from photo, K Lindsay's blog, Montreal, CLA Conference, 2009

  • Have you thought about how lucky we are to have the reasonable BCTF and reasonably well-adjusted district and school administration, as well as local union leadership, working with us and for us as educators? This news story came from this month's ASCD Smartbrief from a google story and is cited in the Web-bits weekly online bulletin put out weekly by SFU's Linda Hof. It has me wondering, Can this be a hoax? Could this be true in the 21st century? Check out the Rubber Room youtube, described as follows: What happens when a teacher in New York City is accused of misconduct or incompetence in the classroom? They are sent to the "Rubber Room" while an investigation is launched. They spend months or even years there getting full pay and doing nothing. Check out the NY Times and other sources.

    All jokes aside -- and many spring to mind -- a google search for more information about the hundreds of teachers paid full salaries to report daily to New York City's "rubber rooms" confirms that, in fact, teachers can spend literally years reporting daily to temporary reassignment centres (TRCs or, as one article calls these centres, DOE Siberia) on the basis of allegations of offences, real or contrived, spurious or serious, to the tune of tens of millions of public dollars every year since this began and that this was agreed to by unions, the school district, and civic politicians. Oh my! There are just some things too egregious to take in. This one sent me into the frenzied search for corroboration and credible alternate accounts ... but it appears it's true! This one ranks as pure Ripley's, in my humble opinion.
  • Have you thought about all that we are lucky to have in our society, in particular in terms of communications, travel, and technology, that we take for granted? Check out this 4-minute youtube video clip for a truly funny but thought-provoking look at this phenomenon. I thank the thinking administrator from whose "have a great summer" year-end blog to his staff I brazenly borrowed the idea of posting this particular video.

On the Grand Tour of Italy

Drowning as I am in the celebrations and farewells that are inevitable in June as well as planning for Italy and September Updates two days after my return and packing to move to a new lighter smaller cubby, I am compelled to action by thoughts of Tuscany. While I was intent on having the Best Wishes up before you leave, I am being thrown into the frenzy of sorting out the details of our trip and conference with Chris, Mary, and Frances, as well as Italian lessons for which we are truly grateful, Frances.

I am most intrigued by The Angels & Demons Tour I found we can take in Rome and by decisions about our "new" plans that would include either the Sante Croce agroturismo B&B in Tuscany or the 8-day bus and stopover option that Frances has found (The Marco Polo tour) to take us from Rome to Venice! The details of the August 31 pre-conference Guided Inquiry workshop with Kuhlthau and Todd have just been posted. I'm in! How lucky am I! Particularly in working with the wonderful members of the BCTLA Executive, I am very lucky indeed.

I'm working at Churchill in July, and the IASL Conference in Padua starts on August 31 and continues for the first week of September. I will be there with Chris, Mary, and Frances. Check in here occasionally for updates ....

Farewells and Welcomes

We here at Command Central thank you for a wonderful year in school libraries and for your part in building the vision of strong, well-supported school library programs. We will be welcoming some new TLs in September even as we say thank you and goodbye to dear friends and long-time contributors to the energy that characterizes our programs. We will miss them, as well as one, my dear friend Katharine, off to share the joy of working with young people with teacher-candidates at SFU, or others who are off doing the important work of creating future readers. Congratulations, new TL/mothers of which there are a few this year as well. We -- well, they -- are increasingly a more youthful group.

We wish one colleague every success with her teaching a TL course at UBC this summer. I am sure we in summer school libraries will be in regular touch with each other and with Maryann .... and have I told you how lucky I am to be working with all of you -- TLs are amazing and it's a wonderful thing to be in this leadership role for such a supportive and professional learning community -- and I get to hang out in the finest workspace and workplace in BC here at the penthouse near the corner of Granville and Broadway!

Otherwise, we wish you a joyful summer of rest, fun, reading, and professional replenishment. See you in September!

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