Saturday, February 16, 2013

AE Teacher of the Year

Nominations are made yearly by students, principals, teachers and administrators for the State Teacher of the Year awards. The staff at AE votes for the teacher they recognize has the ability to inspire children from all backgrounds and abilities and those that have the respect of colleagues, students, and parents. Each school nominates a teacher and then the district people choose one out of that group to represent the entire district. That person then goes to an Alameda County selection contest and one is chosen to represent the county. Out of all the winners of the county contests one person is chosen to be the State of California's teacher of the year. Out of the 50 states then one person is chosen to be the United States teacher of the year. This year Shauna Heaton a Special Day kindergarten teacher was chosen as Alvarado's teacher of the year. Shauna has one of the most comprehensive web sites I have ever seen for her parents. Nicolasa Gonzales was chosen as Alvarado's Classified person of the year.

Catherine Schoon, a longtime kindergarten teacher at Pioneer Elementary School, has been selected as the New Haven Unified School District’s Teacher of the Year. Robin Hernandez of the Educational Services Center was chosen as New Haven's classified Employee of the Year. For many years Robin has been the contact person for teachers to arrange and coordinate subs when teachers had to be absent.

School Libraries Are BACK

On Febuary 12th the school libraries went somewhat back to normal at Alvarado Elementary and in New Haven School District. Each school will have a full time librarian, but their job description has changed. Their official description was Library Media Specialist. Now they are called Library Media Technicians. The change of title is due to the Race to the Top grant. When the district applied for the grant, their intention was to have a full time Media Technician assigned at each school. However, the district did not get the full amount of money for which they applied. To make up for the gap the district changed the job title and description of the librarians and added to their duties.

Now librarians will not only teach most classes at every school, but almost all librarians will also be on the advisory technology committee of New Haven. Librarians are assigned or volunteer for technology committees to chart the technology course for the district. This alone is a very big commitment. They will also barcode all the books and textbooks and do all their own cataloging of books in their library. This adds considerably to the burden of elementary school librarians. In the past they taught classes and purchased books, but the district office had a library technician who did the barcoding and cataloging for all the elementary schools. New Haven no longer has a district library technician.

Librarians will continue to purchase books if funds are available for their own libraries. They will also be responsible for billing students for lost books, including textbooks, and weeding (deleting obsolete books), maintaining the high quality of books expected in a school library, and maintaining the physical surroundings parents and teachers desire for a pleasant learning environment for students. As of now, at some schools, some librarians will also be teaching physical education, while a colleague teaches some media classes. It is hoped at Alvarado the prep classes will be held for a grade level all at the same period for each of the preps, PE, music, science, and media. This way grade levels will be able to have professional collaboration time while their children are at their prep.

Paula Figdor is back at Pioneer as librarian. Ron Bragg is the Library Media Technician at Emanuele. Carolyn Vranjas is back at Kitayama, and Carol Engberg is now at Searles. Alvarado now has Donna Leaf as Library Media Technician. Hillview Crest does not have a permanently assigned Library Media Technician. The former librarian at Alvarado, Alisha Valine, is assigned to Ceasar Chavez. The staff and students thank Mrs. Valine for all her hard work at Alvarado.

Alisha Valine at Halloween