This is an local issue to wear I live that I have been following for the fast few weeks. I’ve been meaning to post about it and so have been collecting articles on it from my local paper. In order to balance the budget, the new school superintendent has decided that the best course of action is to do the inconceivable and cut Media Specialists and Literacy Coaches.
Now, I spent half of my childhood and teen years (intervening years were in New Jersey), and my adult life thus far living in Pasco County. Sometimes it gets a bad rap, but for the most part, it’s a nice place to live. I am the proud graduate of Cotee River Elementary and James W. Mitchell High (Go Mustangs and class of ’05!).
At both schools I had some awesome Media Specialists. I still remember Mrs. Bolyard at Cotee recommending books to me and helping me with little research for assignments, she even gave me a bookmark which I’m pretty sure I still have somewhere. Over the course of my high school years, we had four lovely ladies at Mitchell, three Media Specialists and one Media Assistant. Joanne Kettle, Susan McNulty, Barbara Schlidt, and Media Assistant Georgane Gioe. While Mrs. Schlidt left after my sophomore year, I had the pleasure of working with Mrs. Kettle, Mrs. McNulty, Mrs. Gioe my junior and senior years as a Student Media Assistant for class credit. Although I had already decided I wanted to be a Librarian thanks to Art Wolk of the Camden County Library System in New Jersey and Kevin Griffith of the Pasco County Library System, these three women helped to solidify that by showing me what they do. They did more for the school than just order books and put them on a shelf. Too many people think that’s all we do, especially in a school setting, but it’s not. They fix computers, help with senior projects and other class projects, teach classes, along with having to catalog all the books, help teachers, and so much more.
Yet, the superintendent still wants to do the inconceivable and cut their jobs to save a little money. The Media Specialists have banded to together to fight this with a Facebook campaign and coming out to every meeting to protest. They are trying to inform the public and the school board of how important their jobs are to the schools as a whole, and to the student’s future and education. They’ve cited studies that show that students in schools with trained Media Specialists do better and learn better. But so far, it has only stalled the school board which doesn’t seem to be 100 percent behind the superintendent.
I was hoping to try to make it out to the meeting Tuesday April 16th to show my support, alas, I got called into work unexpectedly. I instead wore a green shirt to work to show my support.
If you wish to read the articles detailing what is going on, you can read them at the following links.