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Cedaroak library receives state award

Only eight percent of state's schools received this award
by: Jim Hart, Cedaroak Park Primary School Teacher-Librarian Tara Pittius, left, shows fifth-grader Mariah Gatti how to store digital information that the youth found while researching a science
project.

Cedaroak Park Primary School library was awarded last week for meeting state guidelines for quality.

Teacher-librarian Tara Pittius received the award at the beginning of last week's Board of Directors meeting of the West Linn-Wilsonville School Dist-rict.

Presented by Ruth Murray, a board member of the Oregon Association of School Libraries, the award is in recognition for the 2004-2005 school year, certifying that the library at Cedaroak met the guidelines of the Quality Education Model (QEM).

During the 2004-05 school year, Kate Vance was Cedaroak's teacher-librarian.

The library at Cedaroak is used in special ways that help teachers provide a broad education to Cedaroak students, Pittius said.

'We have a lot of collaboration between the library and the classrooms,' she said. 'That just adds to the overall education of the students. They have a wealth of resources at their fingertips, instead of what the teacher could amass in the classroom. And the instruction is different.'

In fact, going to the library immediately doubles the teaching staff, since all of the district's librarians are certified teacher-librarians.

Besides class time in the library, all Cedaroak students have another 30 minutes in the library each day to continue their individual research.

At the state level, QEM criteria were developed initially in 1999 by then Speaker of the House Lynn Lundquist, and by 2001 the Legislature had established the Quality Education Commission to update and improve the QEM.

The QEM report provides information about the resources needed for a quality school library, a facility that 'results in high levels of student achievement,' according to Murray.

'I'm very proud to be in West Linn,' Murray said, 'because we're very supportive of our library programs. Where many schools in Oregon are dropping librarians for budgetary reasons, West Linn very much values its librarians.'

Cedaroak was the only library in the district to receive the award. However, Murray, also a teacher-librarian at Athey Creek Middle School, says that fact is misleading.

To be considered, reports must be filled out and delivered to the proper authorities. Murray believes that all schools in the district except the high schools meet QEM criteria, but most didn't submit their reports - a situation she hopes to correct this year.

In fact, statewide when just two of the QEM criteria (staffing and materials expenditure) are tallied for 2004-05, only 8 percent of the state's schools met those minimum criteria - and only 2 percent qualified in 2003-04.

Murray believes a much higher percentage of West Linn-Wilsonville libraries meet QEM criteria.

'All of our libraries are high quality,' she said. 'And the person who filled out the (Cedaroak) form did a good job.'