- Howard Elementary
GIPS on Library Resources & Student Support
August 24, 2022
GRAND ISLAND PUBLIC SCHOOLS ON LIBRARY RESOURCES & STUDENT SUPPORT
In our collective efforts of education, respecting core values, and providing safe learning environments for all students — we wanted to provide a timely update on the inclusiveness that we honor in teaching hearts as well as minds.
At Grand Island Public Schools, we advocate for equity in our district at every level from extracurricular activities, to grading, to staff training, to resources, all of it. We want our students to know that no matter your race, socio-economic status, or background they can thrive as they seek to engage the world.
Every student has a right to be supported as they seek to grow in their social emotional capacities as well as own their unique identities. Especially in this regard, we support and stand beside the many students in our schools that are in the LGTBQIA community.
All of our students are on a journey of self-discovery and we wish to help them grow in the autonomy and confidence that they require to be contributing members of society and to be proud of the vibrant voices, observations, beliefs, and talents they bring.
As we move forward, we wish to be very clear on one thing:
We cannot allow ourselves to thrust our students nor the meaningful impact of thriving their experiences into a political battleground. Our students deserve the best that all of us have to offer to help enrich their learning opportunities, and when we say “our students” we mean every single one.
Grand Island Public Schools will not compromise the livelihood of our students nor their capacity to learn. We will continue to place social emotional support at the forefront as we provide vibrant education and diverse learning opportunities.
We invite our families and our community to collaborate with us in our efforts of building more equitable learning environments that allow us to continue our mission of Every Student, Every Day, A Success.
In the interest of transparency, the following books, “Gender Queer” and “Brave Face”, are not available in GIPS libraries at this time. The young adult novel, “Looking For Alaska”, currently has five copies in our district between Barr Middle, Walnut Middle, and Grand Island Senior High. The children’s book, “It Feels Good to Be Yourself”, currently has one copy at Howard Elementary.
We would also like to highlight that our entire library catalogs are available to the public online. They may be found HERE. Anyone in the community is welcome to use this resource.
There may be specific titles or resources some families may prefer their student not engage with. GIPS recognizes that nuance and we want to be as accommodating as possible without needlessly over-correcting through decisions that may be difficult to reverse. That being said, we have a policy in-place where a parent or guardian may request an exception from specific materials by completing and submitting the 9110.2 ‘Request for Exception/Exclusion Form’ which may be found on the district website.
GIPS would also like to express our appreciation to our district Media and Integration Specialists.
When it comes to educators anchoring our media centers and libraries we have among the best the state has to offer. Their work is vital to the growth and learning of our students as they seek to provide valuable, meaningful resources, books, technology opportunities and the like for each of their students. Our work towards stronger literacy and confident social emotional capacities would not be possible without their efforts and influence. They have our support as they continue their meaningful work of placing books in the hands of our students and curating the journey of falling in love with reading.
We are still doing the work here. We — our students, teachers, families, and community — are on a journey together; a journey to champion each and every student and to help them thrive in our efforts of inclusiveness.
Learning is not a privilege – it is a right. We stand by our efforts to exhibit our values of equity and excellence throughout our district. We stand by our students as we support their journeys of self-discovery and achievement.
These are core to us and to our district as they always have been. We will continue inviting the community to join us in these efforts as we seek to be better together.
- Dr. Tawana Grover, Superintendent