By Jo Mathis/AAPS District News Editor
The AAPS middle school librarians will host a special virtual assembly for all middle school/K-8 students on Wednesday, March 3 from 9:50 to 11 a.m. to kick off March Is Reading Month, a celebration by Read Across America.
“We’re so excited about the virtual assembly!” said Terra Webster, noting that the logistics and cost of a district-wide assembly for more than 4,000 students would have been prohibitive in a building—not to mention the daunting task of finding a common date.
Tappan Middle School librarian Kyle Kipp said he decided to pursue having the author, Sarah Weeks, visit for March Is Reading Month because she is a former Tappan student herself.
“Weeks has an impressive professional repertoire, has published many high-interest books for middle school-aged students, and travels the country regularly as a presenter,” said Kipp. “I also chose to contact her because I showed the movie So B. It—which is based on her book—to Tappan students at an event just last year not long before schools closed in March due to the pandemic.”
Because the students enjoyed the positive message the story presents, Kipp emailed Weeks, who got back to him right away.
“I am always thrilled to help set up an enrichment event such as this with a high profile author,” he said. “It’s always so engaging to get someone from the outside world to come back and share their experiences with our middle school students because they are such an appreciative and enthusiastic audience.”
Bryant librarian Maggi Rohde set up a district-wide author assembly for elementary students with author Josh Funk at the end of January, and Allen librarian Christine Woelmer is arranging one this month with author Graham Annable.
Webster said that while the virtual platform is not the preferred learning option for K-12 educators, they are constantly looking for exciting opportunities to engage our students.
“One of the advantages of learning in a virtual platform is providing a district-wide assembly, and our middle school librarians seized this awesome opportunity,” she said. “One of my many favorite quotes from the musical Hamilton is “Rise up!” and our teachers and staff are doing this every single day.”
“Once we return to our respective buildings, I hope we hold on to the myriad of ways we were able to reimagine our learning and engage with students in a virtual environment. While this is our first district-wide assembly, it certainly shouldn’t be the last! Our middle school librarians have truly provoked us all to imagine the impossible when kicking off March is Reading Month.”