On Sept. 30, officials from the State of Michigan came to Owen Intermediate School in Belleville to honor the school’s library with a singular honor. They met in the newly renovated media center with a group of well-behaved sixth graders. For the 2019-20 school year, Owen will be a model for other districts to visit and study as the 21st Century School Library.
“The Owen Intermediate School Library Media Center makes use of many resources for a variety of productive collaborations with Language Arts and Social Studies educators in grades five and six,” said State Librarian Randy Riley. “And, the library’s focus on bringing primary sources to life helped to award it this honor.”
Riley said that, for instance, school library media specialist Jonathan Richards has done impersonations of historical and mythical figures as part of collaborative Social Studies lessons about Christopher Columbus and Hades. And, for literature lessons based on Chinese American author Lawrence Yee, Richards introduced students to a collection of Chinese art and currency to broaden their experience of the novel “Dragonwings.”
Riley commended Richards and former Principal Melissa Lloyd for providing such quality immersive learning experiences to students in Van Buren Public Schools.
“Learning deeply about people through artifacts, art, and literature helps students understand the world around them,” Riley said. “Owen Intermediate School strives to give that high-level experience to its students.”
The Model SL 21 program recognizes particularly high-quality school libraries and library media specialists; and promotes the development of similar initiatives in other schools.
The program is based on the Library of Michigan’s School Library 21st Century benchmarks. The Owen Intermediate School Library Media Center holds Exemplary status in the SL 21 program through March 2020.
The Library of Michigan staff selects the Model SL 21 Library after reviewing applications from school librarians across the state. Applicants provide information such as curriculum, co-teaching activities, community collaboration, and participation in educational associations.
Owen Intermediate School staff are available for consultation with and visits from other school librarians and educators who want to learn more about the successful program. Interested persons may contact Richards at jrich[email protected] or Karren Reish at [email protected].
The Library of Michigan is an agency within the Michigan Department of Education and is dedicated to providing the people of this state and their government one perpetual institution to collect and preserve Michigan publications, conduct reference, and research, and support libraries statewide.
-Rosemary K. Otzman
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