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Many of you saw the writing on the wall last school year.  I had come to my
amazingly wise colleagues here to ask about the STAR Reading program for my
principal.  Within 30 minutes I had a great collection of information to
share with him.  He invited me to come to the committee meeting to discuss
the program(though I'm not an official member of the committee). 
It was decided to investigate the purchase of the program, but not allow it
to dictate which books students are allowed to check out from the library.
A parent donated the funds for the program. 
Many of you warned that I would soon be asked to level the library books.
That request came yesterday.  The teacher who last year requested the STAR
program left the school because she's having another child.  She wrote a 3
page letter to the principal asking that the books be leveled.  (Of course
she never talked to me directly.)  
Part of the letter was about her frustration with her last year's students
not selecting book report books on their reading level.  I reminded the
principal that each year I ask for the book report lists so that I can
prepare a selection of books before students arrive.  This teacher never
discussed reports with me.  We had had a collaboration meeting during the
first two weeks of school last year and nothing was ever mentioned about her
After I read the letter I turned to the archives for information.  I simply
entered "leveled books" as a search term.  I found a fantastic hit on the
pros and (mostly) cons of leveling books.  I wrote a note to my principal,
and then included the 5 pages of information from this wonderful group.  My
principal does not believe in allowing AR, Reading Counts, etc., to
determine our curriculum, teaching, grading, etc.  It still made an impact
that the professional response was "no!"  
Today I briefly saw my principal and he joked about how did we ever educate
students prior to technology (he's a bit of a Luddite).  I responded that I
was planning on closing the library for the rest of the year so that I could
level the books.  He laughed, "No, she can do it with her brand new baby in
Thanks for letting me share this loooooong message.  I wanted to again thank
all of you for your professional support.  Whether you did it last school
year, or at the time when someone else asked the question.  Your collective
wisdom, experience, and professional knowledge has made a difference.
Bene e Pace (Blessings and Peace),
Paula S.W. Laurita, MLIS
St. John the Baptist Catholic School, K-8
Madison, AL

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