The mission of Gallup McKinley County School District is to prepare students for success. “We empower and develop our students through building knowledge, promoting essential skills and positive character traits, providing safe and healthy learning environments, and creating strong partnerships with parents, schools and communities”, states the GMCS website. This mission is visible in many areas throughout the district, but especially in the Crownpoint Middle School Library Discovery Center.
The Library Discovery Center at CMS was closed through the spring of 2022 into the beginning of the 2022/23 school year. A complete remodel and restructuring were underway behind closed doors. The space was completely renewed in every way, with fresh paint on the walls, cleaned flooring, new bookshelves, new soft seating, new fixtures such as tables and chairs, STEM project workspaces, and much more. New Discovery Center Assistant Leona Joe transferred to CMS from nearby Thoreau Middle in early November. Faced with the task of reorganizing all the library books and resources in the newly refreshed space and preparing it to reopen to the school community, Mrs. Joe dove right in. “There was a lot of work to be done. Everything needed to be dusted and cleaned, every book needed to be reorganized and reshelved on the new fixtures so that it would be accessible to the students.”
In my role as NCCE Professional Learning Specialist, I arrived in Crownpoint for a site visit training in late November, at which point the foundation was laid for a wonderful reopening event. Mrs. Joe and I used new technology resources such as 3D Printers, CodeDrones, Robot kits, and STEM resources in concert with task cards and lesson guides created and provided to GMCS middle and high school Discovery Centers by NCCE. Multiple learning stations were designed and set up so that students could be reintroduced to their all-new Library Discovery Center with many exciting and engaging hands-on STEM activities throughout the space.
On December 9, 2022, the Grand Reopening of the CMS Library Discovery Center took place. After days of promoting the event school wide, students were able to visit the space by class for the first time in months. Mrs. Joe welcomed each class into the bright, open and welcoming space, supplying instructions for the multiple learning stations available. Encouraging students to actively take part in STEM activities, Mrs. Joe and CMS faculty enjoyed engaging in some of the fun lessons along with the children. Some teachers helped to build, and others helped to knock down! Throughout the day, students enjoyed the new space and engaged in the many lessons and tasks provided. This day marked the first of many busy Library Discovery Center days for Mrs. Joe.
“Now that the Library Discovery Center is open to the school community, students can check out books and use the space daily. We are now open before school begins, throughout the school day, and host classes for lessons in space. Our library is now accessible and enjoyed by everyone. We are excited to offer a welcoming and safe space for all students”, says Mrs. Joe. Principal Lawanda Nodestine-Henry says “The students just love the Library Discovery Center. It’s magical how excited they are to be in there and enjoy all the stations, activities, books and more. A lot of hard work went into making it into what it is today. The library is a valuable part of our school that is used very often.”
NCCE Professional Learning Specialists are often on the ground in GMCS schools, and sometimes they get to take part in the planning and execution of exciting events such as this one. “Collaborating with GMCS Faculty like Mrs. Joe is one of the most rewarding experiences, and seeing the magnificent student response and use of their all-new Library Discovery Center is so moving. I am honored to be a part of the wonderful work going on within Gallup McKinley County School District.”
Paige Eisemann earned her M. Ed. in Education Administration and Leadership at Trevecca Nazarene University. She also earned her school library media specialist endorsement through 30+ graduate hours at Union University. Through her career of twenty plus years in education, Paige has experience in all levels of education. She has served as classroom teacher in Kindergarten and fifth grade. She has over ten years experience as school librarian in both an elementary and high school setting. She currently works in administration as director of Madison Street Preschool in Clarksville, TN. In this role, she enjoys creating professional development for her teachers, collaborating with teachers to establish new methods of delivering curriculum through educational technology, and delivering model lessons. Paige is a staff writer for Clarksville Living Magazine, and has also been published by websites such as One Word 365. She enjoys learning and sharing with other educators in the American Library Association, TN Association of School Librarians, UM Association of Preschools and as an NCCE Professional Learning Specialist.