Back to School: Easthampton

School library goes digital; high school to deal with fallout from rocky year

  • A book sports a new barcode at the new Maple School library in Easthampton. GAZETTE STAFF/KEVIN GUTTING

  • New Maple School librarian Jackie Janulewicz gets posters ready to put up in the Easthampton elementary’s library on Friday, Aug. 18. The school is implementing a bar code scanning catalogue system that will replace the traditional card checkout system. GAZETTE STAFF/KEVIN GUTTING

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

EASTHAMPTON — The process of checking out books by stamping a card is being retired at Maple Street School and the library is going digital, using a scanner and computer system to keep track of books.

“We’re moving into the 21st century,” the school’s librarian Jackie Janulewicz said.

Meanwhile, Easthampton High School officials are expected to release a three-year plan on transforming school culture this fall. The plan, being created by the Collaborative of Educational Services, comes after allegations of racism and hate were brought to light by high school students and parents last spring. Collaborative officials last spring held forums and surveys to collect data that is being used as a basis for the report.

Superintendent Nancy Follansbee investigated the allegations and will go into more detail about action plans at Thursday’s School Committee meeting.

She has said that teachers will go through anti-bias training by the Anti-Defamation League on Aug. 30, along with routine professional development training before the school year begins. Consultants from the ADL will also collaborate with school administrators to develop protocols for response to bias and review discipline protocols and procedures.

In other news, the high school is already preparing for a visit from the New England Association of Schools and Colleges for accreditation in the spring of 2019.

The association visits about once every 10 years and its last visit was in 2006. A steering committee made up of a group of teachers and administration is preparing for the visit. The committee creating a report for the school’s self-study, a requirement for the review.

Prinicpal Kevin Burke said one requirement is to have core values and beliefs. The committee has been working on what should be the school’s guiding principles and will present it to parents, students and the community this school year.

The statements of the core values and beliefs spell out “Eagle’s Nest,” much like an acrostic, according to Jared Orne, a social studies teacher and member of the steering committee. For example, the “N” in nest represents “nurture a safe and inclusive environment.”

The preparation will also allow the school to examine changes at the school throughout the years.

“Technology has changed so much,” Burke said. “It’s interesting to look back and see what you did 10 years ago.”

Library goes digital

The new digital library system will enable students to checkout books themselves.

Janulewicz, new to Maple Street this year, has been adding barcodes to the back of the school’s 4,000 to 5,000 books to scan for checkout.

“I want to make it their library,” Janulewicz said.

She said she’ll most likely check in books and put them back on the shelf, just to make sure things are kept in order.

The online catalog, run through the software Follett Destiny, allows users to search for books by the title, author, subject or by typing in a keyword. The Destiny system is already in place at Center and Pepin elementary schools, White Brook Middle School and Easthampton High.

At Maple School, students will have access to laptops to search for book they are looking for. Although the library will have new and efficient technology, Janulewicz said students will still learn the traditional Dewey Decimal Classification system.

‘Kindness Rocks’

Maple School’s theme this year is kindness, and Principal Judy Averill said students will follow a Kindness Rocks project that has grown in popularity this past year. Students will paint rocks with kind words and place them throughout the school.

Center and Pepin elementary schools will follow a similar effort. Inspired by the children’s books “Only One You” and “You Be You” by Linda Kranz, students read the books in class and paint rocks that symbolize themselves.

The rocks will be used to create a walkway between the two schools.

“It’s a space where the students everyday have to travel back and forth,” Center/Pepin principal Allison Rebello said.

On their walk from school to school, rocks will be along the path and Rebello said every student and every teacher will be represented.

Caitlin Ashworth can be reached at cashworth@gazettenet.com.