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Friday, September 24, 2010

Kailua is Proud of Darren Tanaka (Calvin Coconut) and Their Fantastic School Library

Just five years ago - this library was a mess - being passed on from substitute teacher to substitute teacher. Then the science teacher worked on his master's degree in library science and he took over. His library professor - Vi Harada - helped mold him into a school media library leader. Now - his library has been selected the best in Hawaii and one of the top in the entire USA.

The Kailua Elementary School Library is a hub of activity in the community. Readers and non-readers alike love to spend time there. The library has its own mascot - Calvin Coconut. He is the character from a series of children's books written by Graham Salisbury. Mr. Tanaka gave me a copy of "Trouble Magnet" and proudly reminded me to read Page 72. Darren and the school library is mentioned there.

Hawaii's NBC and CBS covered the event and did a great story featuring Lulu and Darren. On the 11 o'clock news - I had the pleasure of watching myself eat on the statewide news.

Leilani is Miss Hawaii International

Senators and Legislators came to presents honors to Mr. Tanaka. Even Miss Hawaii showed up in full regalia.

The whole purpose of Lulu's Vision Tour is to bring attention to what an elite school library and librarian look like. While Lulu was singing "Check it out" on the stage - I panned the crowd. This is a proud American community - proud for the right reasons. Their school library is one of the best in the nation.

Click on Calvin in the title to see the news show.

Darren expressed that the award was a team award and he wanted to give credit to the following:

Ms. Lanelle Hibbs, principal of Kailua El - for continual support of our library program and school libraries in general.

Mr. Greg Kent - technology coordinator of Kailua El - for partnering with me on long-term grand vision ideas as well as the immediate day-to-day needs. He designed and built the new library computer lab and runs much of the video studio in the back of the library. We partner on video productions and broadcast, on designing and purchasing computer and audio-visual tools, on lesson planning for our Enrichment Program, and coaching our FIRST Lego League Robotics team (Greg is the head coach). Greg also attended the summer workshop where we learned about aquaponics and decided to quickly move forward to implement the project at our school. Greg is a model himself for collaboration as he regularly partners with other tech coordinators from neighboring schools.

Ms. Cindy Mahuka - curriculum coordinator of Kailua El - for partnering with me on lesson planning strategies to increase student engagement, rigor and relevance, and ensuring that lesson and units are standards-based and as inquiry driven as possible. She is also one of the co-teachers for Enrichment and a co-coach for FIRST Lego League.

Mrs. Nozomi Fong - librarian at Aikahi Elementary School. Nozomi, my classmate at UH Manoa LIS program, was the librarian immediately preceeding me at Kailua El. She took family leave for the 2005-2006 school year that resulted in my hiring. I was only supposed to work there for a year, but as events unfolded, I was fortunate to be able to stay at Kailua El. Nozomi (the following is all second-hand information from whoever would share with me) started the library revival at Kailua Elementary her first year there. She began the foundations of a solid library program and initiated a lot of clean-up. She initiated the process for getting air conditioners installed. It's unfortunate that I didn't give her more credit when I had the chance. When I walked in, there really was a mess. There really was no AC, and there really was a HUGE mess and a need for the place to be loved. I did my share of pushing for AC installation and cleaning up and involving as many people as I could in the process.

Mrs. Page Chang - art teacher at Kailua Elementary. She and the students regularly produce art to display in the library space. I just provide the space.

Mrs. Kelly Kimura - counselor at Kailua Elementary. She is in charge of many schoolwide events and we partner with Greg, Cindy, and a host of others to plan, coordinate, and execute these events.

Mrs. Karisse Sakahara - Parent Community Network Center. She manages the information distribution to our entire school community, manages the school website along with Greg Kent, and is involved with the Parent Teacher Student Association. She is the face and the first point of contact to the school and she plugs people in to different opportunities.

So many more... my parent volunteers, retired librarians, LIS classmates and colleagues, community supporters.