by Teresa Fulk, Wayland Union Schools
Those three words wrap up what the Follett Challenge process has done for the Media Program at Wayland Union Schools!
The fun started in January when we started thinking about what our district would submit to the Follett Challenge. In fall of 2013 we implemented a new Media Program and have been really proud of how it has been received by students. Instead of visiting the library to check out books and listen to a story, students in grades K-5 now visit the school library twice a week, once to check out books and attend a class on Information Literacy. Topics for the class range from learning about different types of books, learning research skills, and practicing Internet safety.
Our Media and Technology Specialist for grades 5-8, Kelly Boston, headed up the project. Kelly worked collaboratively with students, teachers, and administrators to create the submission video which highlighted the new program and illustrated its impact on our school and district. Creating the video was very rewarding, as it provided us with an advertising tool to share with parents, faculty, school board members, and the community as we promoted the new program. It also allowed us to share the impact that it is having on students and the ways it is shaping their future.
When voting began in March, the excitement really ramped up. Students, staff, the community, our area businesses and public library, as well as family and friends of students and staff really worked together to spread the word about the Follett Challenge, helping us earn votes and spreading awareness of our program far and wide. That in and of itself has been so positive as it reinforces the need for students to learn these skills to prepare them for college and careers. In a time when school districts are cutting library and media programs and resources, it has definitely been a blessing to be able to add to and support our program.
We were ecstatic to finish in the Top Ten and be awarded $5,000 for our program . . . but were elated to be named as a semi-finalist and awarded $30,000 on top of that! Winning the $35,000 is allowing us to add so many resources to our district libraries; without the Follett Challenge, it would have taken several years to add the same resources. We are investing a substantial portion of the award funds into eBooks and are promoting summer reading for our students—an online program parents love even though our school doors are closed for the summer. We are also investing in print resources and updating our collection.
Additionally, we utilized Follett’s services and were able to conduct collection analyses at each of our sites and determine where we needed to enhance our collection. The Follett Challenge will significantly decrease the average age of materials at each of our sites.
The Follett Challenge has done so much for Wayland Union Schools, in fulfilling our need for materials and helping us increase awareness of an awesome program.
Our first shipment of books from Follett arrived last week, click the link below to watch the three-day unpacking process!
Thank you, Follett!