The Top 10
2017-18 West Hills High School Library Highlights
1. Continuing and Building Upon Previous Best Practices
While we are always looking for ways to improve the school library program, we also maintain features that continue to be valuable. Click on the wildflower banner image to view previous 2016-17 highlights. Some specific features are also listed and linked below.
Some of the many features carried forward this year include the following:
- Collaboration, including with classroom teachers and San Diego County Library
- Literacy instruction and advocacy, including the Readers & Writers Club, publication of the Inkwell Student Literary-Art Magazine (see 2017-18 edition), and Star Reader Awards (this year to Ayantu Bonaya and Clarissa Hernandez)
- Technology integration and support, community use (including Star Service Awards this year to Christina Hurtado, Zainab Alatawa, and Zainab Alawadi), and ongoing program development and alignment
2. Defining our Driving Vision: #WeConnectHere
With West Hills teacher librarian Suzanne Sannwald working in collaboration with other GUHSD Library Council members, the library shares a common Mission and Vision with school libraries across the district.
This year, Ms. Sannwald reflected further on what simple, unifying vision drives the West Hills Library program and the idea of connection emerged as a central theme.
Embracing the three-word tagline "We Connect Here" (or #WeConnectHere), it is clear that the library - with its myriad services and resources - is ultimately about fostering community that empowers connection.
How else might we connect moving forward? Whom else might we connect? In what ways? With what resources? Share your ideas!
3. Supporting Student Innovation Through Creation: The Maker Hub Launch
While the library has previously offered small, standalone "makerspace" resources and activities, the 2017-18 school year marked a big step forward when Principal Robin Ballarin secured West Hills an OtterCares Foundation grant. This donation fueled the launch of the WHHS Maker Hub, which is a physical room in the WHHS library that houses new technology and tools, including the most popular piece of equipment so far: a 3D printer.
As a hub, though, "making" opportunities and experiences extend beyond the confines of this physical room to throughout the school. Just on the other side of the library, for instance, another popular resource has been the Recording Studio, that includes filming lights and a green screen background, generously shared with the library by social studies teacher Matt Norris.
Check out this gallery of some student creations. It is exciting to see what students have already created, and we look forward to discovering what they will make next!
4. Refining Research and Information Literacy Instruction Through Classroom Collaboration
Ms. Sannwald is grateful for all of the classroom teachers who collaborate throughout the year to partner in helping students develop research and information literacy skills within the context of their subject area coursework.
Below is a sampling of some projects from this year:
- Life of Pi Research with Romanowski & Ruggles, including energizing experimentation with Question Formulation Technique
- Lord of the Flies "Civilized" Research with Worth, including an effective and fulfilling session of MLA checklist work
- Xenophobia Research with Boehme, including a two-step process to generate keywords for searching primary sources
- Social Justice Research with McLaughlin and Peterson, including exploring research while being open, skeptical, nuanced, and humble.
- Controversial Issues Research with Brent, including an introduction to confirmation bias and distinction between general web and databases resources
5. Expanding our Instructional Collaboration Web: Discovering a Knowledge Constellation
This year, Ms. Sannwald enjoyed participating in GUHSDtech's Ninja 2.0 professional development. Intended to inspire innovation by both teachers and students, this program helped drive Ms. Sannwald's development of the instructional project Discovering a Knowledge Constellation, which she collaboratively planned and implemented with West Hills AP Language & Composition teacher Michelle Liddell.
Students read a nonfiction book of their choice and engaged in research related to their reading along the way. They shared reading and research findings with classmates using Instagram accounts, challenging and learning from one another through the social platform. In the end, students synthesized their knowledge exploration experience by creating final projects that you may explore by clicking on the Gallery image. Make sure to at least check out some of the student-voted award-winning projects.
6. Enriching the Library & Technology Student Assistant Course
At West Hills, the library and technology programs rely heavily upon the contributions of both student volunteers and enrolled assistants. Over the years, teacher librarian Suzanne Sannwald and technology specialist Jovan Bessette have enjoyed working with these students and have appreciated their help.
This year, however, their impact has been maximized when compared with previous years. In addition to completing recurring tasks such as cleaning, making campus deliveries, and troubleshooting technology - student aides engaged in Project Based Learning (PBL), challenged throughout the year to complete individualized projects that in some way benefit the library or school in general. Students also reflected upon and presented some of their contributions through digital portfolios.
Below is a sampling of student aides' ePortfolios and projects from this year:
- Christina and her artistic projects
- James and his Poem of the Week and 3D Printer projects
- Ayantu and her Monthly Calendar Challenges and Learn to Vote projects
- Paolo and his Driver's License Guide for Students project
- Shahir and his 5 Things I've Learned as a New Student at West Hills project
- Sierra and her Decorations and Treasure Hunt projects
- Ally and her Saying Goodbye to SRO Collins project
- John and his technology support projects
7. Inspiring Literacy Beyond the Curriculum: The Popularity of New Poetry
The library first started exploring the trend of new poetry when now retired teacher Mrs. Fogle was studying poetry with students. Then, as many of social media poets secured publishing contracts, we expanded our print collection of poetry and these have been some of our most popular books. Students haven't just been reading poetry, though. They're also writing! In the library, we've been celebrating student poets with our Make Bookend Poetry (scroll down to "Magnetic Poetry") and Poem of the Week displays
8. Leveling-Up Library Displays to Foster Information Encountering Opportunities
With so many competing priorities for time, updating library displays has often been done with less frequency in the past. This year, however, tapping into the talents of enrolled library assistants has fueled more dynamic and timely refreshing of displays. These displays not only keep the library environment more interesting, but they also help students encounter information - including books - that they might not otherwise discover on their own. See a sampling of this year's displays below.
9. Continually Adapting and Looking Forward
In the WHHS library, we aim to continually adapt with a "future forward" mindset. There is always room to grow and here are some ideas we have for the 2018-19 year:
- Maximize use of available resources - Students have access to a number of valuable information resources provided by both the district and school. We hope to continue to increase student use of these resources so they may enhance their learning. Resources include test prep resources, online databases, and the general library collection.
- Further increase and inspire student literacy - This year, we promoted literacy through multiple ways, including continuing to add high interest books for students to read, ongoing collection maintenance to make books more browsing-friendly and discoverable, timely updating of book displays, soliciting book recommendations and sharing them, continued collaboration with the San Diego County Library Santee Branch, an author visit from Brendan Reichs, promotion of Open eBooks and Audiobook SYNC, and the WHHS Summer Reading Challenge. Having said that, there is always more room to enhance students' love for reading, and we are always looking for new ways to make students excited to read. Have more ideas? Share them with us!
- Promote GUHSD information literacy standards integration - This year, GUHSD teacher librarians collaborated to develop district-wide information literacy standards in conjunction with the district's updated technology graduation requirement. While information literacy forms the core subject area of focus for teacher librarians, instruction should occur across the curriculum and in every grade. Next year, Ms. Sannwald hopes to collaborate even more closely with classroom teachers to integrate these standards into learning experiences.
- Introduce compassionate makerspace activities - In small and bigger ways, Ms. Sannwald has been adding makerspace elements to the library program. Inspired by Gina Seymour's work on the compassionate maker, we hope to add a new dimension to making next year by encouraging students to not only create, but to extend care for the community at the same time. Students love to help others, and this will give them a fun way to participate in helping.
- Continue community building and beyond our site - The best feature of the library is the community. Most often, when people think about libraries, they think about books. Librarians do love books, reading, and literacy. But, libraries are really about the people. This year, the best moments have been bearing witness to people connecting in the library. For instance, one of the most popular uses of the library's mounted TV has been featuring the "Meet our Wolf Pack dogs!" slideshow. While it was originally intended to run for about a month, students kept submitting slides and so we kept it going all semester long. It brought smiles to many faces and helped build connections! Other instances have been more academic, such as when Ms. Sannwald regularly witnesses students helping one another with schoolwork. It is not formal tutoring, just friends "hanging out" together; but, the "just in time" help occurs so naturally. These are the everyday connections that form our community - we connect here!
10. Celebrating Community: The Story of our 3D-Printed, WHHS-Themed Chess Set
As mentioned above with #9, some of the most special moments in the library involve everyday, personal connections, and these are not often captured by photos.
However, with the story of our 3D-printed, WHHS-themed chess set, we not only have photos to share, but also the tangible, physical set itself to enjoy.
Navigate the slide-based story of the chess set to learn about the journey it has been through and that it has taken us on.
It is not just a chess set.
It embodies the spirit of our Wolf Pack community and we celebrate it.
We are One. We are the Pack.
Connect with us! #whhspack #WeConnectHere
We invite you to connect with the WHHS library throughout the year. Click on the icons to visit our website and social media