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Mary Fellows's picture

Online board meeting: considering LEAP into Science grant support

Hello ALSC Board!

I am opening the online board meeting to consider whether to continue ALSC support for a grant building upon the pilot grant, LEAP into Science: A National Museum-Library Partnership. The pilot grant and the new grant are a project between The Franklin Institute and The Free Library of Philadelphia.

Additional information is attached.

Our support takes the form of continuing to supply an ALSC representative to the Leap into Science advisory board. May I have a motion and a second that ALSC support the grant "LEAP into Science: Understanding and Building Partnerships for Informal Science and Literacy" by providing a representative to the grant advisory board?

Once you see a motion and a second, let's move right into discussion.

Thanks!


 

Nina Lindsay's picture

Can we have just a little more background on our representation on the advisory board? How long have we have this representation and who has been our representative?...

Nina Lindsay

2017-18 ALSC President

 

 

Mary Fellows's picture

Good questions, Nina.

We were a partner in the pilot grant, so we have had a representative on the advisory board from the beginning of the grant, in 2007. I'm not sure who our first representative was, but for the last year it has been Marna Elliott, Ph.D, branch director of the Bridgewater Library in Bridgewater, NJ. I believe that she was selected because of some familiarity with the project. It would be out intent to have Marna continue, and she is willing.

 

Mary Fellows
Manager, Youth and Family Services
Upper Hudson Library System
Albany, New York
maryalsc@gmail.com
Nina Lindsay's picture

Perfect; here comes a motion.

Nina Lindsay

2017-18 ALSC President

 

 

Nina Lindsay's picture

I move that ALSC support the grant "LEAP into Science: Understanding and Building Partnerships for Informal Science and Literacy" by providing a representative to the grant advisory board.

Nina Lindsay

2017-18 ALSC President

 

 

Jan Watkins's picture

I second the motion that Lindsay made.

Mary Fellows's picture

Thanks for the motion and second, Nina and Jan.

Let's move into discussion!

 

Mary Fellows
Manager, Youth and Family Services
Upper Hudson Library System
Albany, New York
maryalsc@gmail.com
Ernie Cox's picture

LEAP aims “to develop a replicable and sustainable set of resources for engaging children and families in STEM content and children’s literature”.  This focus, coupled with the number of children’s librarians and libraries involved in the pilot and proposed grant, make this an ideal organization for ALSC to support in the form of a representative to their advisory board.

 One of the LEAP discoveries found that “Program flexibility has emerged as one if its most important characteristics, allowing some unique implementation strategies to emerge”.  This type of flexibility has been key to the success of ECRR and I wonder if ALSC would have the capacity to support larger national dissemination of this program model in the future?  Is there a possibility this type of relationship could develop?

 My only area of concern has to do with impact data collection and results.  Initial findings would indicate that the program has not had a significant impact on how programs are delivered compared to a control group.  Brief mention is made of how to examine this more closely.    Future impact studies could be enhanced if they included data about children’s knowledge of / interest in STEM and literature as a result of the program.

 As a school librarian I am eager to see STEM and literature integrated into meaningful and enjoyable experiences (in fact this is detailed in state and national education standards).   It appears that LEAP is working hard to make this a reality.  

Ernie Cox 
Teacher-Librarian
Prairie Creek Intermediate School
Cedar Rapids, IA 

Julie Corsaro's picture

ALSC's continued participation in the LEAP into Science program is consistent with our strategic goal of advocacy and our objective to " increase mutually beneficial collaborations with other organizations serving children and the communities that support them." 

Julie

 

Jennifer Ralston's picture

I agree this Julie that supporting this program is consistent with our advocacy and partneship initiatives. I agree with Ernie that supporting STEM initiatives that encourage science literacy is vital. I think that the idea of a possible future role for ALSC in helping to provide venues to disseminate the program model on a national level is exciting. Here is Harford County we have our own locally-grown LEAP program. It's called "Learn, Explore And Play: Science is Fun" that partners with local museums and scientists (we are in a "technology corridor"-close to Aberdeen Providing Ground). Our library provide many science programs, often led by local scientists, as well as circulating science kits for kids ages grade 3-8. It has been extremely popular with parents and kids alike (we are in year 5). I think we should continue to supply an ALSC representative to the LEAP Advisory Science Board.

Carolyn Brodie's picture

I agree with comments above made by Julie, Ernie and Jennifer.  And, also Ernie's note about further impact study needs.  Also, glad to hear about the "local" LEAP program in Jennifer's library with museum involvement.

 

 

Mary Fellows's picture

The Franklin Institute is seeking this new grant to implement the LEAP project fully. Once there’s a final program model, then we can look as a Board at their results. At that time, we can discuss whether we want to further partner in this project, from the perspective of whether ALSC has the interest and the capacity. We will, if we decide to support the grant, have a representative on the board to provide information to aid this discussion.

 

Mary Fellows
Manager, Youth and Family Services
Upper Hudson Library System
Albany, New York
maryalsc@gmail.com
Cecilia McGowan's picture

I don't have any specific objections to ALSC being associated with the grant, but I find the documents sadly lacking in specifics.  I would have liked to see examples of actual programs being offered.  Also, I see no public evaluation results, only those of staff involved in the program.  Did I miss that in the report?  Though I think staff feedback is important to the success of a project I think public feedback is vital in evaluating whether a project is truly successful.  I also don't see any specific feedback from librarians about the project.  I sent a message to Betsy Orsburn at the Free Library asking for her thoughts on the first grant; I'll report back if/when I hear from her. 

Cecilia

Tali Balas's picture

I wondered also about the lack of community evaluation and would like to see those results if available.

I do think it's important that ALSC have a representative to this program. I think it will continue to promote the work we do and the work of libraries to people and organizations that might not think of us otherwise, and it has the potential to hae us invited to other grants/programs.

Tali

Mary Fellows's picture

Here's some information that may help ease our minds about missing information: despite its title, the document relating to the pilot grant is not a final report. It is preliminary (and more cursory) information, written for a publication.

So, while it's fair to expect better information about a project once it's concluded and thoroughly evaluated, we're just not there, Yet we still need to make the decision now about supporting the implementation grant, because of the grant's deadline. Hope this helps!

Mary Fellows
Manager, Youth and Family Services
Upper Hudson Library System
Albany, New York
maryalsc@gmail.com
Jan Watkins's picture

I think that this  grant would offer ALSC a wider opportunity to help children learn about their world through science, which is all around us. I love to think of the ways it can bring families together in learning about science.

Julie Corsaro's picture

Piggybacking on what Jan said and as Emily Sheketoff from ALA's Washington Office told us at Annual, the focus of federal education policy and dollars right now is on science literacy and STEM. I think it's vital that ALSC be at the science literacy table with other organizations serving young people whenever possible, and continued participation with LEAP into Science is one way to accomplish this. Plus, we have a very qualified member willing to represent us. 

Julie

Michael Santangelo's picture

I wholeheartedly agree with Jan and Julie (as well with Julie's earlier comment).  I think that our involvement is consistent and supportive in regards to our core values of collaboration and innovation as well as keeps us in the loop as regards the current emphasis on science education at the federal level.  I was particularly struck by this clause in the first sentence of the second paragraph in the Project Overview, "LEAP-FSD aims to... learn how informal institutions can partner together to support science and literacy learning in the community."  It appears to be supporting innovation in collaboration.

Rhonda Gould's picture

I think this project, even its present preliminary form, is a great match for ALSC and represents a coordinated effort on everyone's behalf that clearly meets objectives in our strategic plan.  At time when we are not often asked to be at the table on advisory boards and committees, it is refreshing to find a partnership arrangement that dovetails neatly with what we are all interested in accomplishing.  I support this.

Rhonda K. Gould

Mary Fellows's picture

Thanks, everyone, for the thoughtful discussion. It's now time to vote. Find the poll here: http://connect.ala.org/node/164755

The voting will be open until Tuesday at 1:30 p.m. EDT.

 

Mary Fellows
Manager, Youth and Family Services
Upper Hudson Library System
Albany, New York
maryalsc@gmail.com
Mary Fellows's picture

The motion has passed. Thanks, everyone.

This board meeting is adjourned.

Mary Fellows
Manager, Youth and Family Services
Upper Hudson Library System
Albany, New York
maryalsc@gmail.com