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Pine Grove Middle School library earns national award

East Syracuse Minoa's Pine Grove Middle School recently earned the 2011 National School Library Program of the Year Award from the American Association of School Librarians. The honor recognizes school library programs that meet the needs of the changing school and library environment and are fully integrated into the school's curriculum.

Based on the strengths of the applicants, there were two school district winners and one individual winner; each receives $10,000 donated by Follett Library Resources to use toward its school library program.

"The application process, via both the rigorous application and site visit, was a phenomenal way for us to reflect on the quality of our program and make changes accordingly. Over the last few years, we have used the award rubric as our exemplar as we move our library program forward," said Pine Grove librarian Sue Kowalski. "Where there were gaps, we acted on them; where there were weaknesses, we addressed them. We'll never be 'done' but will continue to use the strong foundation we have built to continue to move us to ongoing change and success."

The AASL noted that Kowalski keeps the school's administration up-to-date with all library happenings. Several of the administrators are signed up to receive daily text message updates about library events. She also compiles a monthly report, which includes text and a video summary of the month's highlights, to hand out to principals, the district cabinet and board members.

"Sue Kowalski is a leader in learning and strives to always be where the students can receive and learn information effectively," said Betty Marcoux, award committee chair. "Whether an activity within the community or school, a lesson on the field or in the classroom, she drives the experience toward meaningful learning experiences with high, challenging expectations that both students and teachers will benefit from this experience in ways that will challenge them to grow even better in their futures."

Superintendent Donna DeSiato said the Pine Grove Library program is a beacon of light for the district's students, staff and community, illuminating 21st century learning in an environment that engages and respects all learners.

"Sue Kowalski's leadership is key to this success," she said.

Pine Grove Middle School and other AASL award recipients will be honored at AASL's Awards Luncheon during the American Library Association's 2011 Annual Conference June 27 in New Orleans.

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