Deb Grill's School Board Testimony

Deb Grill's School Board Testimony

June 1st, 2023

Good evening. I would like to address Priority Area 3 of the Strategic Plan. Areas 3.3 and 3.5 mention two literacy programs that research suggests benefit students’ literacy achievement, Structured Literacy based on the Science of Reading and high impact tutoring. I am here to advocate for an additional option, one that is backed by 30 plus years of research.  School library programs staffed by a certified school librarian.

Research has consistently shown year after year, in numerous states, including Pennsylvania, a positive correlation between school library programs staffed by certified school librarians and student academic achievement in reading and writing on standards-based tests, regardless of student demographics and school characteristics. This is especially true for students like those in our district who are in at-risk groups including students of color, students living in poverty and students with disabilities.  The most recent studies link strong school library programs with a full-time school librarian to other important indicators of student success including graduation rates.

Students who enjoy reading will excel at it.  School libraries and librarians build a school-wide culture of reading.  School librarians build a collection that provide students with the depth and breath of print and online materials to meet their reading interests. School librarians introduce students to a variety of literary genres, non-fiction resources, and safe and secure databases to explore new fields of interest beyond the obvious information about a specific topic.  

Most importantly, school librarians teach students information literacy—how to find, retrieve, analyze, synthesize, evaluate and utilize information from a variety of sources.  Skills that that they will need to be college and career ready and lifelong learners.  This district needs to join the other urban districts that have started to reinstate their school libraries and librarians.