TAKING ROOT MISSION STATEMENT
To promote life-long learning and community-building through an equitable and well-balanced education for our children
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WHAT DOES YOUR DISTRICT OFFER CHILDREN?
View the table below and see instruction offered by local districts.
* based on 180-day school year 2012-13
Note: Manheim Township SD offers NO library instruction.
WHAT ARE KIDS SAYING?
WHAT ARE COMMUNITY MEMBERS SAYING?
To Whom it May Concern:
My name is Abigail Creitz. I attended Manheim Township schools from second grade through twelfth grade, graduating in 1998. I went on to receive a Bachelor’s degree in History and Philosophy in 2002 and a Master’s degree in Library and Information Science in 2010, both from the University of Pittsburgh. I am the Technical Services Librarian for Vincennes University, where I oversee collection development for the university libraries, manage acquisitions, processing, and cataloging of all library items. I also provide reference services, library instruction, and reader’s advisory. I was asked by a group of concerned parents to write to you about the importance of library instruction and librarians.
I deal with students almost every day that were denied proper library instruction, and the proof exists in the quality of schoolwork of the unprepared students entering college. It is clear that these students did not receive the library instruction necessary to foster proper use of resources needed to evaluate and identify authoritative resources. They do not have the basic computer skills needed to format papers in accordance with a chosen manual of style. They do not have the basic database searching skills needed to find scholarly articles relevant to their research. If they do manage to find those articles, they do not properly cite resources in their work, resulting in page after page of plagiarism unbeknownst to the student because of pure ignorance. These are all skills that are necessary for student success on the college level; and primary and secondary schools are failing students when they do not provide dedicated library instruction.
University faculty does not have the time to teach these skills to students. Faculty expects them to arrive at college equipped with research skills. The time faculty is willing to give to instruction librarians is extremely limited, usually only 50 minutes. Instruction librarians need to use that time to show students their university library’s most relevant print and electronic resources for the class, and the most efficient ways to access them. Reference librarians assist students in finding sources, but they certainly do not, and cannot, do students’ research for them. Librarians can put manuals of style in students’ hands, but there is not time or manpower for librarians to conduct one-on-one citation and bibliographic instruction for every student each time a paper comes due. Not that this stops students from coming to the reference desk for such help, but that just serves as proof that our students are graduating without the fundamental skills needed to succeed in post-secondary education.
We live in an age where we have access to a glut of information at all times. The internet does not have business hours. Students do not do research only when the library is open. But what good is having access to all the information in the world if you do not possess the skills to evaluate the authenticity, relevance, and timeliness of that information? Nor the skills to use that information without plagiarizing another author? The diplomas you confer are false symbols if you are sending your students on their way without the fundamental skills needed to succeed in the next stage of their education.
To Whom This May Concern,
It has come to my attention that the administration at Manheim Township has been making cuts in extracurricular activities such as music, art and other creative endeavors. As a member of the Class of 1997, I can confidently say that had it not been for any of the creative classes such as screen printing, art class or music appreciation, I would not be who I am today.
All my life, music has not only been my passion, but the only aspect of life that could hold my attention longer than fifteen minutes. I still remember getting caught reading music magazines in Mr. Martin's biology class. I simply could not wait to read Metal Edge magazine and catch up on my favorite bands. I vividly remember learning about protest music in 8th grade, unlikely artists such as John Denver singing songs about very intense subjects. I remember playing in bands and having an opportunity to showcase my endeavors to the student body throughout my time at
Since graduating, I have gone on to have a successful career in the music industry for over twelve years. I have traveled all over the world with my clients, from Wembley Arena to the MTV Music Awards. My client base has appeared on television programs such as Saturday Night Live and David Letterman, to performances on the 2012 London Summer Olympics. I'm truly indebted to the experiences afforded me at
Manheim Township and grateful for every opportunity. It saddens me that future generations in my home town, which I so fondly think of and visit often, will not have the same exposure to culture, and experiences that I had.
I implore you to please re-evaluate the importance of art, music, culture and all other creative experiences for the benefit of our children. Education can come from unlikely places, and if we do not give students a well rounded education, we are sending them into the world unprepared to deal with the diversity that is all around them.
730 Fifth Avenue
New York, NY 10019
To Whom It May Concern,
I am the mother of two girls in the elementary level, the daughter of two professional musicians, and myself a professional potter. My love of learning and school had nothing to do with the amount of time I spent in math and spelling or language arts. I looked forward to art class, music class, library and assemblies. I dreaded math class and the threat of failure. All through grade school and into high school I was successful in Choir, Show Choir, Honors Art, and Scholastic Art Awards. This was all started with my elementary exposure to art and music. Young minds absorb the arts better and can think more creatively, not just data based learning , but how to use it to solve problems.
It seems MTSD has forgotten the number of people attending colleges, universities, and specialty arts schools, like Berkley School of Music or University of the Arts. Don’t forget that MTSD children will be competing for spots at those said schools with other children who have been submerged in the arts starting way before ours. PSSA scores say nothing of the child who will grow up to attend Alfred University for Ceramics or UCLA for Drama.
Other schools are not rolling over to adopt “common core standards”. They believe the whole child needs to be addressed, not be a data driven machine. Taking the chance for expression in the arts away from our kids, I believe in the long run, we will see drop out rates and behavioral issues increase. Defiance and disrespect issues increase and college enrollment drop
Give us back our full programs, assemblies, and start worrying about the whole child and not so much the PSSA score.
Partnership for 21 Century Skills has adapted a framework for 21st Century Learning that has been adapted by nineteen states. The framework includes the core subjects, information media and the four C’s C(critical thinking, creativity, communication and collaboration) which are inherently found in the arts programs (www.p21.org).
Sir Ken Robinson and a 2004 Education Reform Study (S. Weiss) refer to preparing students for the new “creative workforce” by increasing the role of arts in education (http://www.nasaa-arts.org/Research/Key-Topics/Arts-Education/rbc-toolkit-section1.pdf).
We need to restore all subject areas into our curricular offerings for our k-12 students. Holistic learning is key to preparing ALL children for the 21st Century world. -Elizabeth Carney, MT resident and music teacher
WHAT ARE EXPERTS SAYING?
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WHAT CAN YOU DO?
- have a conversation with your children and ask them how these subjects impact their learning
- write letters to administrators, legislators and newspaper
- research best practices in education and implore our decision makers to use them
- attend local school board meetings
- attend Taking Root events
- spread the Taking Root mission to community members
- contact us and give input for the website