School budgets are always a sore subject--especially when we are also experiencing a pandemic. Often, schools need to be creative on where to find extra pots of money. This year, like past years, schools and districts looked to grants. One grant that provides many school district library departments and public libraries with funding is the Colorado State Libraries Grant.
The Colorado State Libraries is a division of the Colorado Department of Education. Their mission is to help libraries, schools, museums, and other organizations improve services, making it easier for all Coloradans to access and use the materials and information they need for lifelong learning. Every year they offer the State Libraries Grant for school districts as well as public libraries to apply for funding. These funds help libraries provide resources they would otherwise be unable to afford.
Once again, Heidi Floyd, Library Services Coordinator, applied for the grant and was awarded a little over $20,000. Heidi spends countless hours to ensure that the funding will affect as many of our students as possible. She begins by gathering feedback from DTL’s (Digital Teacher Librarians) on what resources they feel will be most helpful to their staff and students.
In previous years many of our students have benefited from these funds. Last year, over half of our elementary schools received a one year subscription to one module from the online database Pebble Go. This is a favorite database for both students and staff. It is a safe, fun, curriculum-based research tool to use with our younger students that allows them to research a topic on their own. Not only does this database provide engaging material, it also will read the text to students which improves accessibility for all students.
Another purchase with last year's grant money was padcasting and podcasting (videocasting) kits. These kits have all the necessary supplies one would need to create a podcast or a padcast/vlog. Using these kits empowers students to become creative communicators (ISTE Standards). Schools may check out the kits for two weeks at a time. For more information go to the Ed Tech page.
With this year’s grant money we will again be purchasing a module from Pebble Go. The exciting part is that we get to purchase it for ALL our elementary schools. After gathering feedback from our DTL’s, we are changing it up this year and will be purchasing the Science module. This will offer all elementary students the opportunity to use Pebble Go to research or just to learn more about different science topics. Some of the topics are Physical Science, Important Inventions, Math, Science and Engineering Practices and many more. All in all, teachers and students will be learning a lot over the next year as they dive into this engaging online resource.
The State Libraries Grant will be supplying middle and high schools with sets of Lightbox interactive books. These books incorporate videos, Google Maps, worksheets, audio, quizzes, and other exciting interactive features. Each bundle provides unlimited access the ebook, along with a hard copy for the library. Middle schools will receive an Ancient Empires and Civilizations bundle made up of 6 different titles and High schools will receive a Psychology bundle, consisting of 5 unique titles; both supporting the social studies curriculum.
These resources are a great addition to our schools this year when so many things are in flux. Students will be able to use these resources to complete assignments, but also have the opportunity to just use them to explore new topics on their own. If you have any questions please ask your Digital Teacher Librarian.