Library and Media Services launches Project R.E.A.D.
Libraries bring endless possibilities to enhance students’ lives. With that in mind, the Library and Media Services Department recently launched Project R.E.A.D, a library redesign initiative that incorporates research, exploration, application and design.
This redesign initiative focuses on four student-centered zones tailored to campus focus and choice including print, audio, and digital formats. Over 80 school libraries are undergoing this redesign process.
Students will be able to use library space to expand their interest in areas such as the arts and design, coding, using tools for digital broadcasts (such as podcasts), and to increase critical thinking skills through research and collaboration.
This initiative will not replace libraries, as the intention is to enhance the services being offered.
“We are offering our students, staff and families the opportunity to adopt a future ready-minded program, in addition to the reading programs that we offer at Dallas ISD,” said Patricia Alvarado, director of Library Media Services.
The library at the Yvonne A. Ewell Townview Center, where the Project R.E.A.D. launch was held last month, is already benefiting from a newly redesigned space.
Brianna Martinez, an 11th grade student at Townview, said that the library provides her good material for her Advanced Placement classes that she’s able to use with her AP exams, and believes these resources will help her get into a top notch college.
“We love the culture that has been created here and we look forward to many years of student learning in our schools and in our libraries,” Alvarado said.
Among the supporters attending the launch was Chief Academic Officer Shannon Trejo, who said school libraries play pivotal roles in fostering literacy.
“The evolving role of the school library has led us to become this central place for our school’s culture,” Trejo said. “By fostering a culture of literacy, supporting literacy instruction, promoting and creating and innovation and engaging families, we are empowering students to be successful academically.”
One of the key factors for school libraries is collaborating with teachers to be instructional partners in this work. This is something that Ida Escobedo, principal at Margaret B. Henderson Elementary School implements at her school.
Escobedo, who spoke at the launch, gave examples of how her school’s library not only promotes literacy, but it serves as a space to teach students things such as coding and robotics.
For example, her school library opens at 7:30 a.m. and students from kinder to second grade use the space to work with Legos, which was grant funded. She describes it as opening a whole new world for the students.
Third and fourth graders at Henderson know how to use a 3D printer and children as young as pre-K learn coding skills, which prepares them to join the school’s robotics team when they are older. Henderson Elementary is part of the cohort of schools undergoing the redesign process.
Another speaker at the launch was Sukhmani Nijjar, a 10th-grade student at Townview, who made a call to action on the importance of libraries.
“School libraries are not just a luxury but a necessity for the academic success of students,” said Nijjar.
Nijjar cited a study by the Colorado Department of Education that stated that students who have better funded libraries and access to librarians have high standardized reading test scores and a higher attendance rate.
“Every Dallas ISD school deserves equitable access to libraries,” said Nijjar. “I urge all educational stakeholders to continue to prioritize the funding towards libraries so that every student can benefit from the valuable resources.”
For more information about the Project R.E.A.D. initiative, visit www.dallasisd.org/projectread.