Tag Archive for school visits preller

This Week’s Greatest Thing Ever

In Short Hills, NJ, at Hartshorn Elementary, they sure do know how to treat an author right. Look at that beautiful wall of welcome.

Now let’s zoom in for a closer look . . .

Yeah, I pretty much love this. Note to Self: Get the name of the art teacher who created it so I can thank her properly. Because obviously she’s some kind of genius.

School Visits: Thank You, Virginia!

“It was such a great day for us

that I wish he could go to every single middle school!”


I received a kind note in the mail yesterday regarding a few school visits I made to Virginia back in October. It included the article below, where my new shirt (that I’m still not sure about) figured prominently.

Of course, I’ve done many school visits over the past 20 years. By the end of most visits, I feel like I’ve become friends with that librarian or PTA organizer — and later, of course, there’s rarely any more contact. Gone but not forgotten. The librarian who sent this note, Chris, made such a huge effort to make this trip happen for me, and for the students in her school. She simply would not be denied. I owe her so much. In the headline I wrote “Thank you, Virginia!” But what I really mean is: Thank you, Chris!

School visits are an important part of my career. They help pay the bills, most certainly. They also get me out into the world, where I meet teachers and students and, hopefully, help make a small difference in every school I visit. It’s an honor and I don’t take the privilege lightly.

Here’s the note:


Here is the article about your visit to Poquoson Middle School.  It was published in the VAASL Voice, our state librarians’ magazine, and was distributed to about 1300 librarians across the state.

Your author visit has been a real highlight of our school year!

Thanks again,


And now, the article:





The Problem with Math Problems, Common Core, Standard Tests, etc.

I’ve been meaning to write an epic post recounting my visits to schools this past year. The things I’ve seen, the things I’ve learned, but gosh, I keep watching it slide down my list of things to do.

In short:

* It’s INSANE that elementary schools don’t have full-time librarians. Crazy, backwards, tragic, stupid, ill-conceived.

* Writing that above bullet point, I know that I should try to do more.

* April used to be the first month that filled up with school visits. It was the perfect time of year for it. Nowadays all I hear after we take out the calendars, “=April is out — that’s for testing.” Okay, I’ll admit that I have a bias, but what we are saying is, “In April, there’s no time to celebrate literacy and inspire a love of reading and thinking and writing — we’ve got to give hours upon hours of lousy tests instead.”

* When educators rally around the state capitol in Albany and chant, “Let us teach, let us teach, let us teach!” that’s just a really sad thing. I wish that we would, you know, listen to them.

Some links:

* An ALA-supported education bill that aims to help support school libraries: “For too long, research has shown that students have a better chance of succeeding academically when they attend schools with strong library programs,” said Emily Sheketoff, executive director of the American Library Association’s Washington Office. “This bill will ensure that students will have access to professionals who can help them make connections between subject areas, retrieve information, and think independently.”

* I’m so sorry I missed this important public statement, but was off coaching a ballgame. A sincere “thank you” to everybody who showed up to fight the good fight.

* NY Principals: Why new Common Core Tests failed.

We New York City and Metropolitan Area Principals hold ourselves accountable to ensuring that all of our students make consistent and meaningful academic progress. Although we are skeptical of the ability of high stakes tests alone to accurately capture students’ growth, we understand a system’s need for efficiently establishing and measuring milestones of learning.