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Collection Development Plan

for High School Ecology

Cynthia Pletcher


Georgia Southern University

March 4, 2009
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Site Information and Learner Analysis:

Greenbrier High School is currently one of four Columbia County High Schools serving

a student population of 2135, a faculty of 116 (some are only part-time), 2 media specialists, and

a full-time media clerk. Students enter GHS from one of 5 feeder Middle Schools. Having

opened in 1996, it is currently overcrowded, housing 17 portables while the newest high school

is being completed. The school serves a fairly affluent population (only 8 % receive free/reduced

lunch) that is 79% white, 14 % black, 3% Multiracial, and 2 % each Hispanic and Asian. During

the 2008-2009 school year an ESL program was finally added to our long list of student learning

opportunities. Previously these students were transported to another county high school for their

education. At the present time this school has met AYP each year and was awarded the Gold

Award for Achievement on the GHSGT for 2007-2008. Expectations are high at this school as it

serves children of the military (Fort Gordon), Savannah River Site, Augusta State University,

and Medical College of Georgia.

The specific group chosen for this project is ninth graders who scored low on the 8th

grade CRCT scores in math and science, and as a result were placed in Ecology for their first

high school science class. Students with higher CRCT scores are automatically placed in

Biology, which has an EOCT. The rationale for this decision was discussed at length in

developing a program that will allow all incoming ninth graders to successfully complete the

required four years of science and pass the Science GHSGT. Those students enrolled in Ecology

will take Biology (10th grade), Physical Science (11th grade), and then have a fourth year elective

science class that could include anatomy and physiology, chemistry, or some yet to be added

courses. Since this year’s ninth grade class is the first to require 4 years of science, and with the
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separate Tech Prep/College Prep diplomas being phased out, many of the kinks are still being

worked out as to additional courses to be offered for students probably not attending college.

Another group that could use these materials is the AP Environmental class that was just

added this year. Even though some of these materials might seem too simplistic, there are

students who could make use of them. There is an ecology unit in the biology curriculum, so

many of these materials could also be used by that group of students.

GPS Ecology Curriculum (Georgia Department of Education - revised September 2008)

SEC1. Students will investigate how biotic and abiotic factors interact to affect the

distribution of species and the diversity of life on Earth.

SEC2. Students will describe factors influencing population density, dispersion, and


SEC3. Students will explore and analyze community interactions.

SEC4. Students will investigate biogeochemical cycles and the flow of energy in


SEC5. Students will assess the impact of human activities on the natural world and

explore how ecological theory and research can address current issues facing our society.

These are the main objectives listed in the GPS at present. Similar objectives will be

covered very quickly in the ecology section of Biology. In most cases these students will have

prior exposure to some, if not all of these objectives, but in a simplified manner. The plan is that

by exposing these students to the material multiple times and in increasing depth, they will retain

more and score better on the Biology EOCT and GHSGT. When I asked one of the teachers for

her essential questions so that I could include them, she sent me her daily questions, which are

not much more than a review of material that was previously covered. If this course is to be
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improved and continued, then more effort AND time need to be spent developing a

comprehensive plan. From what I am seeing we are taking our most-at-risk students and giving

them a hodge-podge of information based on what the current teachers think the students should

learn, and not necessarily based on the GPS.

Classroom Teacher Data:

Currently there are four sections of Ecology being offered. Three of these classes are co-

taught classes because of the numbers of T-1 and At-Risk Students. Two certified science

teachers are aided by the same special education teacher. One of the biggest things I keep

hearing from both teachers is that many of these students are lacking motivation. In the teachers’

opinion, the textbook that was chosen has left a great deal to be desired, and as a result they have

had to search for additional resources on a daily basis. One of the two teachers did an assessment

of the reading level for the text and found it to be at a college level. Unfortunately, when it was

time for textbook adoption we (as a county), had very few choices in this particular category.

The ancillary materials that were received with the book have left our teachers scrambling for

labs and activities. Many of these students have low reading comprehension and math skills

which is a real issue when trying to complete assignments using graphs and other forms of data

management. While searching for new resources, I have attempted to keep these issues in mind.
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Learner Data 2008-2009:

Total Students in 82
(non AP)
Special Ed 28
Students having 5
test read to them
Spanish Yes

Collection Evaluation:

Visual Inspection:

These books are in wonderful condition since most have never been checked out. They

are easily located in the appropriate sections of non-fiction and reference. Videos/DVDs are kept

in a separate room for teacher use only

Age of Collection:

The average age of the Life Science/Plants/Animal collection is between 1992 and 1994.

With an acceptable age sensitivity of five years, over 93% of the collection of 111 items is out-

of-date. However this does not indicate that some of the books such as identification guides

seldom change over time and are still extremely useful and others still are more classical in

nature, such as books by Diane Fossey and probably should be retained at this time.

Circulation of Collection:

. Students are limited to overnight check-out for reference materials and two weeks for

regularly shelved books. They are not permitted to check out any DVDs at this time. Teachers

are allowed to check out materials and keep as long as needed. The only materials that have been

checked out by students were those concerning opposing viewpoints that could be used in a
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research paper type project, and only an occasional science teacher has checked out any others to

be used in the classroom. A discussion ensued between the media specialist and a another

classroom teacher stating that many times these resources are used within the media center itself

as part of a particular classroom project requiring print resources and therefore would not be in

circulation, but still used by students. Another reason given for the low circulation of these

materials is the availability and use of the internet, at both school and home resulting in no

measurable data regarding actual usage.

Strengths and Weakness of Collection:

Strengths: This collection is in excellent shape as far as wear and tear. It is easily

accessible by both students and faculty, and there are adequate print resources for one class to

use at a time while visiting the media center. This collection is enhanced because of the

availability of United Video-streaming giving teachers numerous classroom resources online.

Weaknesses: This collection is outdated, it has limited electronic resources, the multi-

cultural aspect is lacking and science materials in other languages are nonexistent at this time.

Statistical Information from the Greenbrier Library (prepared 1/20/09 by Titlewise):

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Materials Order/Consideration: Collection Development.xls

The following is a summary of my materials selection:

Total Vendors 9
Books 39
E-books 8
DVDs 18
Audio-books 3
Books/CD combo 1
Spanish Resources 3
Total Spent: $3968.26

Special Considerations:

A good number of the book resources are in paperback format. While not an ideal

situation, many of them were only available as such. Given the evolving nature of the topic and

the fact that science materials are only considered current for five years, my opinion is that these
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will last at least as long as their timeliness. Only materials published or produced since 2006

(with one exception) were even considered for this project. There was a very limited amount of

materials available in other languages. For some schools this could be a real problem, but given

the extremely small population of ESL at Greenbrier this is currently not a big issue. Since the

main focus of this collection was to aid the lower level learners in the ninth grade ecology class,

there were many DVDs and career choice materials ordered. Each classroom is equipped with a

teacher computer and Smartboard, and a mobile computer lab is available for student use as well

as three fully quipped computer lab rooms. In addition to this technology, the media center is

equipped with a class set of computers, two printers, and LCD projector. There is adequate

seating for an additional 35 students at tables. With all these wonderful resources at their

disposal, there is not an acceptable excuse for the students to not experience a positive

introduction to high school science.


While attempting to update the ecology collection for the GHS media center I attempted

to locate what I thought were the best materials for the targeted learners as well as other students

at the school. Reviews were unavailable for some of the resources listed, but after teaching 17

years in the field, I feel qualified to place judgment on those products. I have used a variety of

Bill Nye and Discovery products in the past and have not found any that were not worth the

money spent on them. These targeted learners are some of our most “at-risk” population, so that

anything, including a comic book, that can capture their interest is money well spent.
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