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Janet Yarn

SLM 506
Community and School Analysis
Laurel Woods Elementary School
Howard County area of Laurel, Maryland

Part 1: The Community


• Socioeconomic Status: The school currently has 43% free and
reduced meals (FARM). That would indicate that almost half of the
students are receiving some type of welfare services from the
government. In addition the school is considered a Title I school due
partly to the socioeconomic need of the area. The community area
includes apartment complexes with section 8 housing, town home
communities and single-family housing.
• Cultural Background: The current student population is very
diverse with 48% African American, 17% Hispanic, 13% White, 9%
Asian and 11% not reported.
• Languages Spoken and Read: Currently 8% of the population has
limited English proficiency. Those students include Hispanic and
Korean students. So the languages spoken are Spanish, Portuguese
and Koran.
• Changes in Demographics over 5 years:

2009 2008 2007 2006 2005


African 48% 49% 50% 50% 51%
American
Hispanic 17% 16% 16 % 17% 19%
White 13%% 20% 24% 23% 25%
Asian 9% 9% 7% 8% 5%
Not 11% 8% 3% 2%
Reported

• Student Mobility: Student mobility over the past 2 years is an


average of 10% turn over of students leaving throughout the
year and 12% average of new students coming in.
• Homes with Computer Access: Based on the current
enrollment 80% of the students have a computer in their home.
However many students are not allowed to use the home
computer.
• Access to Public Library: The closest Howard County library
is the Savage Branch. This branch is not accessible to our
students without a car. The library is 3 miles from are closest
boundary to 8 miles from our furthest. There is public transit
that does stop in front of the library.
• Access to Cultural Institutions: The community is located
between Washington DC and Baltimore. Both of which have a
wide range of museums, theatres, science center, aquarium and
zoos. There is public transit available to both cities. There are
a few local theatres such as Toby’s that offers children’s
productions and the African American museum in Columbia.

Part II: The School


• Numbers of Students and Teachers: Currently there are 569
students enrolled and 31 classroom and related arts teachers, 2 ESOL,
3.5 Reading Specialists, 2.5 Title I, 2 Math Specialists and 7 Special
Education teachers. Teacher turnover rate is an average of 15% per
year.
• Trends in Test Scores: Laurel Woods has consistently met the MSA
standards set by the No Child Left Behind Act. Their reading scores
range from 75% to 89% scoring proficient or above average. Their
math scores range from 69% to 89% scoring proficient or above
average.
• Academic Achievement Scores:
rd
3 Grade 2006 2007 2008
Reading 77% 80% 75%
Math 75% 69% 69%

4th Grade 2006 2007 2008


Reading 86% 81% 87%
Math 81% 80% 81%

5th Grade 2006 2007 2008


Reading 72% 74% 86%
Math 63% 76% 65%

• Subject Areas where Students are Doing Poorly: Math is the


subject that has seen the lowest scores however reading skills are
also an area of need. Math has been the emphasis of instruction for
the past 2 years. Everyday math skills are consistently being
incorporated into all areas of the curriculum. In addition there are
consistent programs in place to keep the reading scores on an up
trend.
• Special School Programs: Academic after school programs
include Bridges, a program for low achieving students, and math
tutoring for small groups. In addition there is a double dutch jump
rope program, cheerleading group, Spanish club, and dance
exercise group. During the school day, students can participate in
the morning news crew, totally techy group, chorus, band,
orchestra, and title I programs (both during school and evening
programs).
• Access to Media Center: Students have a scheduled weekly 45-
minute visit to the media center. This includes class instruction
and book check out. In addition, the media is available during
indoor recess for book check out and for after school groups.
• Primary Users and Non Users of the Media Center: The
primary users are the students. Teachers and specialists also use
the media to locate resources for class use. Parents do come in
before school with students but not very often. The nonusers
would be the parents and community.
• Recreational Information Needs: The students are involved in a
wide range of outside activities including Karate, basketball,
football, and cheerleading. Students are also interested in joke or
comic books and the almanac (current information).
• Personal Information Needs: The students come from a wide
range of socio-economic and cultural backgrounds. Many cultures
are intermingled together in one home. In addition we have
families with foster children, families with grandparents as parents,
and multiple families living together. So a variety of literature that
portrays different types of families, different living situations, and
various cultures is a need for this library. In addition books on
self-esteem, self-worth, and fiction that helps to build character can
benefit the current students.
• Parental Involvement: Currently there is a functioning PTA with
150 members. The PTA sponsors some of the after school
programs. They also help to provide a “pod parent” who provide
grade level teams with assistance when needed. The PTA also
sponsors parent support nights.
• Mission Statement: Laurel Woods Elementary School in
collaboration with our community develops productive, respectful
and responsible citizens. As a learning community, we appreciate
diversity and commonality in a positive and academically rich
environment. Laurel Woods accelerates achievement of all
students with high expectations and encourages enthusiasm for a
lifetime of learning.

Reflection on Part I and II- Recommendations


The strength of Laurel Woods Elementary School lies within its diversity.
The school library should reflect the many cultures and diverse family
situations that encompass the school. The school boundaries enfold
apartments, town-homes, a trailer park, hotel residence and single-family
homes. The collection should try to embrace all these living circumstances.
The collection should include authors and characters that portray the varied
aspects of African-American lifestyles and Spanish lifestyles. The
collection should also include Korean and Asian influences along with a
wide range of white cultural backgrounds that include various economic
levels. Since there is an ongoing need for math and reading support, non-
fiction books that help to visually display information and fiction books that
describe situations or stories that use reading and math skills would be a
good addition. The trends have shown that the African-American population
remains dominant in the community so a good portion of the collection is
dedicated towards African American stories, folktales, and cultural
backgrounds. To help support the bilingual and lower reading students,
“play aways” and books on tape are a good addition. The “play aways” are
self-contained and therefore can be used without needing any additional
equipment. Books on tape help to reinforce the word to text recognition
skills as well as model reading fluency. Computer Access could be provided
to all students and community members both before and after school since
computer access is not available to all students. Easy access to quality
information could be provided through community training seminars
provided by the PTA and school staff. By providing a website that houses
good sites for students to improve their academic skills, parents may be
more apt to allow students time to work on the computer at home or at the
library. In addition providing students with online databases, such as World
Book Online, as an safer more reliable search option than Google, will help
them discover the wealth of information available. Many online databases,
such as World Book Online, now provide an audio component to read text to
you as well as imbedded movie clips and pictures. They also provide links to
more information on the topic. The face of the school library will change
over time as the digital world continues to bring forth new ideas. We will
see that the reference collection of books will decrease as the trend to
provide interactive informative databases increase. The addition of more
electronic books may come about. Already we are seeing an increase in
sites that picture books off the shelf being read to the view. Storybook
Online is a free site currently sponsored by the Screen Actors Guild.
Although nothing can replace the joy of reading a book for some this joy
may be found through the electronic advances that the future may bring to
the school library.

Part III: The Current Collection


• Size of Current Collection: The current size of the collection at
LWES is 14, 081. Based on the last inventory, 1, 800 books are
missing. Since they are missing, they can’t be withdrawn for a certain
time period and therefore the collection is slowly being up-dated to
accuracy.
• Daily Circulation Figures: On average the daily circulation is 200
books per day. Each day 4 to 5 classes of 25-30 students visit the
school library and are given time to check books.
• Condition of the Collection: The collection is displayed in an
inviting way with low shelving which allows for books covers to be
displayed along the top. There are also colorful guide markers that
show where the next part of collection begins. So on crowded
shelves, this feature makes it easier to locate wanted books. There are
4 new Mac computers with large inviting screens to be used by
students to locate books using the PAC or access information online.
Graphic novels and series books are housed on their own shelves for
easy access. Each section of the library is marked with large, colorful
wooden letters to easily identify the fiction, non-fiction, reference, and
professional library sections. The reference section is very small and
not very appealing. The most current books in that section would be
the class sets Almanacs.
• Comparison with Quantitative State Standards: The LWES
library does exceed the state standards for elementary school
collections. The state standard is 12,000 and LWES had 14, 081.
Even with taking out the 1,800 items that are missing, you still have
just over 12,000 items in the collection.
• Currency of Collection: The current school librarian at LWES has
been working for the last 2 years to improve the currency of the
collection. At this point many of the non-fiction books are over 10
years old. In the Dewey section of 600-629 the collection has a total
of 141 items of which 119 items are over 10 years old. In the Dewey
section of 630-639 there are a total of 170 items with 100 items being
over 10 years old. Newer items have been added to the collection in
the past 2 years however there is a limit on how many items can be
weeded per year so the process of removing older items will take
time.
• Collection Goals Set by Media Specialist: The current media
specialist’s goal is to produce a good balance in weeding out items so
that the collection can continue to be updated. Each year a portion of
her weeding numbers goes to eliminating a portion of the missing
books from the inventory. Then she looks at the books that are over
20 years old and discards items from current issues first. She is also
working on replacing fiction books whose covers are not appealing or
are beyond repair. At the current rate, it will take her another 3 years
to complete the discard procedure for the missing books. Then she
will be able to focus on the collection at hand for a more complete
overhaul. It is also a county goal this year to weed the Dewey section
of the 900’s. For example in the Biography section of 920-929 the
current collection has 748 items of which 217 are 11-15 years, 194 are
16-20 years old and 175 are more than 20 years old.
• Yearly Budget/per pupil allotment: The yearly budget is $4951.00
per year, which breaks down to approximately $8.75 per student.

Reflection on Part III


After researching the currency of the school library at LWES I became
aware of just how daunting this job is going to be. The collection goes out
of date long before the funds are available to update. The school librarian
has to constantly be evaluating the needs of the school to focus the money
allotted towards the greater good of the school. For LWES the focus of the
collection has been to update the fiction and easy section to meet the current
cultural needs of our building. There is a balance between noted authors,
award winning books, and cultural needs. The collection has been updated
in African American and Spanish items. The items are displayed and
attractively intermixed with a wide range of topics and cultures. There is
still a need for more Asian based literature. There are novels displayed in
both the written text and “play away” form. The chart below shows some of
the areas where updates have been focused for non-fiction.
Non-Fiction Updates in the Past 5 Years
Dewey Range Heading % added to collection
320-329 Political Science 19%
370-379 Education 7%
510-519 Mathematics 20%
560-569 Paleontology 10%
600-609 Technology 29%
620-629 Engineering 4%
630-639 Related Technologies 10%
790-799 Recreational 6%
920-929 Biography 8%

The collection is meeting more of the cultural fiction needs of the school but
is still lacking in up-to-date information on non-fiction books relating to
holidays, celebrations, and geography. Since there were so many issues
needing to be addressed in this school library the current librarian choose to
focus on fiction collection meeting the needs of the students. Students in 3rd-
5th grade appear to be genuinely more interested in checking out books since
there are is more new literature to choose from. Overall, the collection is on
its way to being updated and is working toward to goal of meeting all the
needs of the school.