Academic journal article School Libraries Worldwide

A Library Power Case Study of Lakeside Elementary School, Chattanooga, Tennessee

Academic journal article School Libraries Worldwide

A Library Power Case Study of Lakeside Elementary School, Chattanooga, Tennessee

Article excerpt

The implementation of the Library Power initiative at Lakeside Elementary School, Chattanooga, Tennessee was examined through a case study. The Library Power program was found to have had a positive impact on teaching and learning in the school. The program provided an opportunity to improve the library collection and to develop a process approach to library research. The development of student-centered, resource-based approaches to teaching and learning contributed to improvements in student achievement in measurable ways. The changes in teachers' instructional strategies and in their beliefs about teaching and learning hold promise for continued improvements in student learning. The development of Library Power in Lakeside School was facilitated by strong leadership from the principal and librarian. Library Power built on previous reform efforts that had developed the faculty's capacity for change and growth.

Introduction to Lakeside School

As a case study researcher for the Library Power National Evaluation Program, I visited Lakeside School in November 1996 and April 1997. The school, a one-story brick building located in a suburb of Chattanooga, Tennessee, had a well-kept, homey atmosphere and provided an inviting environment for students, parents, faculty, and visitors. At the time of the case study, Lakeside School had about 530 students. About 95% were AfricanAmerican and about 60% received free or reduced-price meals. The students came primarily from working-class families who lived in the area around the school. The school faculty included the principal and assistant principal, 22 regular classroom teachers, three special education classroom teachers, a full-time librarian, and several part-time itinerant teachers for speech, music, and guidance. In addition to the regular classroom programs, Lakeside School had some special programs: one class for Severely Emotional Disturbed students, two for Special Education students, and one for preschool children with developmental delays. Teacher planning and preparation time was provided primarily through the music and science programs.

On the first morning of my visit, the principal was there to greet me at the front desk of the school office. A few minutes later, the principal began the morning announcements over the intercom. She welcomed the students and announced birthdays. She gave the word for the month, Kind, and asked the students to repeat the November school creed with her: "It is cool to be kind. Kindness is goodness. Kindness is gentleness. Kindness is consideration. I am Lakeside cool." Then two students gave the Thought for the Day and helped lead in the singing of "America the Beautiful." That Monday, the principal also reminded the teachers and students of the visitor in the school and asked them to welcome me. Throughout that week and throughout the second site visit as well, I did feel welcomed into the life of the school.

Case Study Methodology

The data from which this case study report has been developed were collected through observations, through interviews and conversations, and through review of documents created by and about the school. During the first site visit, meetings with the principal and the librarian helped me to identify teachers and students who had been particularly involved in Library Power-related activities. I talked with students about their library-based projects, observed teachers and students at work in the library and classrooms, and observed faculty planning and decision-making. The second visit to the school came just after the students had completed the Tennessee Comprehensive Assessment Program (TCAP) tests. During this visit, I focused on the perceptions of the principal, librarian, and teachers about Library Power and on evidence of student learning that might be attributable to Library Power.

Library Power's Development in the School

Lakeside School had gone through some quite substantial changes before Library Power began in the school. …

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