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    What Federal Education Budget Cuts Mean for Professional Development

    By Alina O'Donnell
     | May 26, 2017

    professiona-developmentAmong massive cuts to science, arts, healthcare, and social welfare programs, President Trump’s 2018 budget proposal, submitted to Congress on Tuesday, calls for a whopping $9.2 billion spending cut to education.

    The largest proposed cut—at $2.3 billion—would come from the elimination of the Supporting Effective Instruction State Grants, or Title II of the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA). Title II is the key federal funding stream that districts use to recruit, train, support, and compensate their teacher workforce.

    With such a huge loss of funding, districts would have to make difficult decisions about where to cut corners. Professional development, often viewed as a luxury instead of a necessity, is usually the first to go.

    During an appearance on EduTalk Radio this week, International Literacy Association (ILA) Associate Executive Director Stephen Sye explained that criticism of professional development often comes because it can be a vague term that can take on a myriad of forms, making it difficult to correlate with student achievement. 

    “There are a number of educators who feel that if the budget continues to be reduced, professional development will be eliminated. Unfortunately that does nothing but hurt our [future] workforce,” Sye said during the interview. “A less prepared teacher results in a less prepared student and ultimately a less qualified workforce.”

    Sye discussed the implications of the budget cuts with host Larry Jacobs. He said that as federal funding streams dry up, organizations like ILA will play an increasingly important role in ensuring that all students have access to current, prepared, high-quality teachers.

    “No matter what the climate, ILA is going to continue to advocate for making teachers better teachers because that’s what our students deserve,” said Sye.

    Budget cuts will hit some schools hard. Organizations like ILA can level the playing field by making professional development resources more accessible to all educators. ILA publishes journals, books, position statements, and other resources on evidence-based strategies that have been proven effective in classrooms.

    “If we as a nation are truly committed to quality education, then the cutting-edge practical resources on instruction that ILA provides are going to be more needed than ever,” Sye said. “What we offer in terms of knowledge is research based and is sound practice, no matter what the political climate brings.”

    The organization also offers free registration to the ILA 2017 Conference & Exhibits for undergraduate preservice teachers. Participants can attend presentations by literacy experts, hands-on curriculum-building workshops, TED Talk-style lunches, literacy research sessions, and the social justice and current events panel.

    But, Sye said, programming is only one part of the picture; having the opportunity for face-to-face networking and collaboration is the most valuable part of any conference. As districts start to reexamine and streamline their professional development budgets, Sye hopes they will continue to recognize these interactive learning events as a worthwhile investment.

    “Without investing in teachers and quality professional development, how are they going to be current and prepared, and how are our students going to be current and prepared?” 

    Alina O'Donnell is the editor of Literacy Daily.

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    ILA Announces 2017 Board Election Results

    By Alina O'Donnell
     | May 17, 2017

    The results are confirmed, and we are pleased to announce the International Literacy Association's (ILA) elected Board members, including our new Vice President:

    Bernadette DwyerBernadette Dwyer, Lecturer in Literacy Studies, Institute of Education, Dublin City University (DCU), Ireland



    Three new Board members-at-large were also elected:

    Beverley HarrisBeverley E. Harris, Adjunct Lecturer, Mico University College and University of the West Indies, Jamaica



    Susan PaaschSusan Paasch,
    Principal, Mississippi Heights Elementary School, Minnesota



    Julia ReynoldsJulia Reynolds
    , English Language Arts Program Manager, Savannah-Chatham County Public School System, GA


    Their terms will run from 2017–2020.

    The entire ILA community extends its best wishes to the newly elected Vice President and Board members. 

    Alina O'Donnell is the editor of Literacy Daily.
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    #ILAChat About Choices: Using Booklists in the Classroom

    By Clare Maloney
     | May 09, 2017

    ILAcaht hosts Jennifer Fox and Shannon Miller_w200Putting quality books into the hands of kids can change their lives, but how do educators find the right reading material for students? This month’s #ILAChat focuses on using booklists, like the recently released Choices reading lists, to find appropriate, engaging, and diverse books to fill classroom libraries and to recommend to readers of all ages.

    Each year during Children’s Book Week, ILA releases the Choices reading lists. Composed of three different lists—Children’s Choices, which is cosponsored by the Children’s Book Council; Young Adults’ Choices; and Teachers’ Choices—the project is a nationwide effort to compile each year’s favorite, newly published titles into carefully selected, easily accessible lists. The goal is to ensure every classroom has a wide range of guaranteed enjoyable reads for students by providing them with these recommendations. What better way to empower young readers than to fill their classrooms with books chosen by the readers themselves?

    Follow @ILAToday to join our #ILAChat hosts Jennifer Fox (@JenniferFox13) and Shannon Miller (@shannonmiller) and to let us know what you think about this year’s Choices Reading Lists results. The chat will take place Thursday, May 11, at 8:00 p.m. ET.

    Jennifer Fox was a team leader for the 2017 Teachers’ Choices list. She worked to receive, review, and distribute this year’s titles to schools across one of five regions of the U.S. She recently completed her doctoral studies at the University of Missouri with a dissertation study entitled, “Secondary Literacy Teachers’ Use of a Twitter Chat Community for Voluntary Ongoing Professional Learning.” When she’s not busy sifting through piles of children’s literature, she is a tech-minded professor in Bolivar, MO, as well as a wife and mother of two.

    Shannon Miller served as the K-12 district teacher librarian at the Van Meter Community School District in Iowa for 8 years. She is currently an international speaker and consultant, as well as author of the award-winning blog The Library Voice. Shannon is also the Future Ready Libraries and Project Connect Spokesperson, Buncee's Teacher Librarian Advisor, and Cantata Learning's Teacher Librarian Advocate. She has a passion for education, librarianship, technology, and social media. She is also a wife and mother to three amazing children.

    Follow @ILAToday and use the hashtag #ILAChat to join the conversation.

    Clare Maloney is an intern at the International Literacy Association. She is currently seeking a BA in English from the University of Delaware.
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    ILA Cosponsors Communitywide Reading Initiative in Florida

    By Clare Maloney
     | Apr 14, 2017

    News-2017-04-14_w300For the past 16 years, the One Book, One Community campaign in Central Florida has put thousands of books in the hands of local school children. This year, the International Literacy Association is cosponsoring the initiative along with the Orlando Sentinel Media Group and Publix.

    The premise for the program is simple:  one book is selected for students, parents, teachers, and other community members to read and discuss together through a series of events, all with the purpose of promoting literacy.

    The 2017 book selection is Frindle (1998, Atheneum) by Andrew Clements. The story follows fifth grader Nick Allen as he navigates the consequences of one ridiculous, yet seemingly harmless, classroom prank. Hilarity ensues after the entire class starts participating, as well as members of the whole town.

    The One Book, One Community campaign runs April 9 through May 16 and is expected to involve more than 100 schools. Throughout the initiative, students ages 5–12 can participate in reading events, word games, and literacy activities related to the book at library locations across Orange and Seminole counties.

    Click here for more information about the events.

    Clare Maloney is an intern at the International Literacy Association. She is currently seeking a BA in English from the University of Delaware.


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    ILA 2017 Board Election Opens

    By ILA Staff
     | Mar 28, 2017

    BoardElection_w300The International Literacy Association (ILA) has commenced its annual election for its Board of Directors. Eligible ILA members are encouraged to vote for three at-large candidates and one vice president candidate. You can read about the candidates here

    The ILA 2017 Board Election will be conducted entirely online this year. Voting in the election is easy: Just visit the ILA Election page and follow the directions to cast your ballot.

    Individual ILA members with an active membership and a valid e-mail address will receive e-mail reminders with a link to the online ballot. Eligible ILA members who do not have valid e-mail addresses will receive instructions by mail for how they can vote online.

    All members must use their ILA member account sign-in information to cast their ballot.

    For assistance signing into your ILA membership account, please contact Customer Service at 800.336.7323 (U.S. and Canada) or 302.731.1600 (all other countries).

    For technical assistance with voting, please contact Election-America, Inc. at 866.384.9978.

    The newly elected Board members will begin their terms at the ILA 2017 Conference & Exhibits in Orlando, Florida, in July 2017.


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