Monday, April 29, 2019

Awards and Advocacy

I have had the pleasure of serving as our district Teacher of the Year this year. That comes with many perks and responsibilities.
One of the perks was attending the SC Teacher Forum in November. This was a great opportunity for us to network with teachers from all over the state, hone our leadership skills, and learn about the State Teacher of the Year process. My favorite part was the friends I made in those few days.
I was also excited to hear from our current State TOY, our State Superintendent of Education, and the National TOY, Mandy Manning.
I was thrilled to find out that I was a recipient of the I Love My Librarian Award this year as well as the SC School Librarian of the Year. This has been a year of recognition and excitement. I wish every teacher could feel celebrated like this. It is what we deserve all the time, but don't normally receive.

I'm trying to use the platform I've been given to promote libraries and public education. I organized a Hill Day for our district's teacher forum. School teachers of the year, teacher cadets, and student middle school leaders visited our legislators in Columbia to share our concerns about school funding, teacher salaries, testing, mental health, and more. The Palmetto State Teacher's Association helped make it happen.
The Speak Up SCASL advocacy program has been going on all year this year with different themes each month. This has been a great way to highlight the amazing lessons and programs going on in school libraries across the state. #speakupSCASL #SCASLLeg
This year SCASL and the South Carolina Library Association planned a SC Legislative Day since NLLD corresponded with ALA this year. Three of the congressional visits took place in school libraries. It was a great day of advocacy.

I've been trying to preach the gospel of school libraries everywhere I go including our state's tech conference Edtech, the SC Library Association conference, Anderson County Council meeting, CERRA Teacher Fellows conference, and other speaking engagements. I've even traveled to Columbia to testify against a public education bill that would have been very harmful to public schools. In addition to speaking, I helped organize a SCASL member spotlight event for the School Library Month and made one for each of the librarians in my district.

In a few days, many of our state's teachers will be going to Columbia for a rally for education called All Out May 1st. I can't attend because of a school trip, but I wanted to contribute. I made a template for a letter to your legislator, a postcard to use to write your legislators, a voter registration card, and I organized a story time on the steps of the State House. I'm excited that the story time slots filled up quickly and the book choices look great.

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