By John Schultz, Superintendent of Hopkins Public Schools
The Hennepin County Library and Hopkins Public Schools took the challenge from the White House to give every Hopkins student a Hennepin County Library card. President Obama’s ConnectED initiative empowers students by providing them with even more individualized learning and rich, digital content through school partnerships with libraries. It is the goal of the White House to extend this program to all K-12 students in America and offer near total access to next generation broadband by 2018. That connectivity will help transform the classroom experience for all students, regardless of income. Sixty communities across the country have signed on to the ConnectED challenge so far.
Enhancing our digital device program
Hennepin County librarians and Hopkins Schools media specialists have spent the year developing and implementing a system for distributing library cards to Hopkins students. To date, we have provided all students in five of our nine schools with an active Hennepin County library card. This connection enhances our one-to-one digital device initiative, which our district has fully implemented in grades 6-12. It is exciting that students can be connected to a resource that supports their academic achievement and allows them to read at their leisure at home. Teachers also have access to the thousands of books, reference resources, music, periodicals, and videos in the Hennepin County Library collections.
The importance of partnership
Partnership is a priority for our school district, and has been named one of our strategic pathways. Hennepin County’s commitment to provide library access to as many residents as possible aligns perfectly with our District’s commitment to academic excellence and achievement. It is heartwarming to see a student smile when they download an e-book onto their device! It is a great image for literacy in the 21st century. Students have reported that they are excited to have more reading and research choices at their fingertips and have welcomed the responsibility that comes with a library card. We are also strengthening the relationship between the teacher and the student with these wonderful, academically rich library resources.
Hopkins Schools and Hennepin County Library are working together to improve the process for distributing library cards and considering what it would take to roll out ConnectED to the other 21 school districts in Hennepin County. For Hopkins, it has been very rewarding to have this partnership.
If you would like more information about ConnectED, please visit: https://www.whitehouse.gov/issues/education/k-12/connected
You can learn more about how we have implemented this partnership in Hopkins by watching this short video: https://vimeo.com/141092985
I also encourage you to contact a librarian, share your mission for student learning and plan a partnership that benefits the children in your community.