"Four-fifths of the kids are on free or reduced-price lunch. About half live in households where English is not the first language. About 40 percent live in homes without two parents."
"Her principal, Carmela Dellino, is direct about her librarian's value to the school and its 335 kids: "In many ways she's the heart of the school," Dellino said. Bliquez is petite, gentle and soft-spoken, but she's "incredibly effective in fostering books and a love of reading. I can honestly say that her library is more full than the playground at recess. They're grabbing books, they're reading, they're exploring books in that way that we want them to."
Bliquez works collaboratively with teachers, to make sure the reading concepts she's imparting align with what they're teaching in the classroom. She runs a read-at-home program: "If they read 20 days with their families, they get a book." She and Roxhill partnered with the Frye Art Museum in a curriculum to develop critical thinking, communication and visual literacy skills. The school runs a family reading and literacy night. Sometimes it serves dinner.
And despite budget cuts, Bliquez continues to build the library: There were 3,000 volumes when she arrived in 1992. There are 12,000 now."What a great example and what a great thing it is that she is at Roxhill making the difference in so many children's lives.
But let me point out that it was the principal and the librarian who sought out Frye Museum. I may call them and ask but I'll bet it was on their own initiative.
And what is really extraordinary is that the staff voted to keep her full-time. This school is unlikely to have a PTA who funded part of her position. So that means the rest of the staff thought her work (and her benefit to their teaching) so great, they gave up something else to have her full-time.
From the story:
Bliquez, whom her principal values for "her honest and candid approach," is honest and candid in her opinion that the trend toward part-time librarians is a dismal one. When she works with students on reading she has them for a full half-hour, then performs more librarianlike duties such as checking out books. Her half-time colleagues tell her they might have 15 minutes for reading, 15 for checking out books. They report that "they're saying 'hurry up' the whole time," says Bliquez.