Baraboo schools have long-term plans for district libraries | Baraboo News Republic


Today’s teachers will always need to take steps to stay proficient with changing technology, and Baraboo School Libraries are ready to work to facilitate this process.

Baraboo School District Libraries Media Specialists Karen Nelson and Lawrence Gillick presented the Future Ready plan for school libraries in the district at the June 27 council meeting.

This plan involves an eight-part strategy to help libraries better support teachers in using modern technology and to keep libraries more adaptable to an ever-changing technological world.

Nelson and Gillick are the elementary and secondary school library media specialists, respectively. They worked with Kelly Steiner, the Jack Young Middle School librarian who retired at the end of the 2021-22 school year, to devise the plan.

“We’re improving everything,” Nelson said. “We were doing some of these things before COVID hit. Once COVID hit, it kind of shut everything down, and that’s when elementary schools started getting the e-books and stuff.

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The eight-part plan, titled Future Ready Framework, includes the following areas: time and budget management, collaborative leadership, personalized learning, infrastructure, data and privacy, community partnerships and curriculum, assessment and teaching. More information about this plan can be found on the Future Ready Librarians website.

Nelson added that the library was doing professional development regarding technology with teachers before COVID-19, but virtual instruction resulting from the pandemic has halted that activity.

“When we first went to Google for Schools and Chromebooks, there was so much learning that teachers needed for five or six years,” Gillick said.

Baraboo High School and Jack Young Middle School began offering one Chromebook per student in the 2015-2016 school year, according to Robin Wepking, a technology services employee for the district. Elementary schools followed suit in 2020 due to the pandemic.

“Having a library media specialist training the school staff is something we want to coordinate and make sure we can fill in for the time we’re missing,” Gillick said.

Both Nelson and Gillick said the district hosts school year and summer buffets for teachers during tech training sessions. She added that some of that time was no longer being allocated and that she, Gillick and Steiner were looking to get it back.

“Training is just one way to have the greatest impact on students, because the more teachers we can train, the more impact they will have on a greater percentage of students in schools,” Gillick said.

She said face-to-face training will be available as well as recorded material for teachers to view in libraries.

“The reason we put it so strongly in our plan is that we feel the need for teachers to have this training,” Nelson said, adding that time constraints have meant some teachers need more training. on current technology.

Gillick and Nelson also emphasized using public school funding allocated for library purposes in a more strategic way to maximize the use of computers and databases.

He said common school funds should be spent on databases that benefit the whole school rather than certain departments. She added that district funds pay for library furnishings, but state school funding pays for educational materials (books, audio and e-books, databases).

“A perpetual goal is to make sure we protect this (state funding) and use it to its best potential,” Gillick said.

The Future Ready plan is renewed every three years, and Nelson and Gillick said they would review it toward the end of the 2024-25 school year.

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