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Chapter 2
Educational Service Delivery

This chapter reviews the educational service delivery system of Venus Independent School District (VISD) in the following sections:

  1. Student Performance
  2. Instructional Resources
  3. Gifted and Talented Education
  4. Compensatory Education
  5. Special Education
  6. Bilingual/English as a Second Language Education
  7. Career and Technology Education
  8. Library/Media Services
  9. Student Discipline and Alternative Education Programs
  10. Computer Technology


H. LIBRARY/MEDIA SERVICES

In May 1997, the Texas State Library and Archives Commission adopted a series of recommended standards published as School Library Program Standards: Guidelines and Standards. The school library programs, as outlined in the Guidelines and Standards, seeks to ensure that students and staff become effective users of ideas and information and become literate, life-long learners. To accomplish this task, the library program provides instruction in research; evaluation of resources; individual guidance; and access to materials in multiple formats. The guidelines offer criteria that identify library programs as Exemplary, Recognized, Acceptable or Below Standard in the areas of the library-learning environment, curriculum integration, resources, library program management and facilities.

Exhibit 2-26 shows the funding allocated to each one of the four VISD schools during the current school year. The high school librarian also serves as the district library coordinator.

Exhibit 2-26
VISD Library Budget
Books, Media, and Materials
2002-03
  Primary School Elementary School Middle School High School
Library Books and Media $3,000 $6,000 $5,000 $6,000
Reading Materials $1,000 $1,000 $1,000 $1,000
General Supplies $4,500 $3,000 $4,200 $7,200
Total $8,500 $10,000 $10,200 $14,200
Source: VISD Library coordinator.

FINDING

VISD, through a cooperative interlocal agreement with the City of Venus, operates a dual public school and community library. In 1995 Venus’ City Manager and the then VISD superintendent entered into an agreement wherein VISD opened its public school library to the community while the City of Venus provided funding to operate the library and add materials to the library collection that appealed to a wide range to citizens. The agreement stated, in part, that the district, by operating a public library, would “promote community interaction with the district’s schools and ...promote increased community support for the schools” while the district and city could also conserve scarce public resources. The agreement outlined who would provide the facility, how the library would be operated and maintained, how it would be overseen by a public library board, and how funding would work.

The district is responsible for providing the building and maintaining it and also providing for staffing. The city funds the library to be open a minimum of 20 hours a week. By keeping the library open 20 hours, VISD is also responsible for “setting policies that govern the schedule, programs and the materials” in the library.

VISD libraries contain large collections of books, software and electronic resources. The School Library Standards define Acceptable resources as a balanced collection of at least 9,000 books, software, as well as electronic resources such as Internet access, at schools with more than 600 students. Recognized resources are defined as a balanced collection of at least 10,800 items. The state standards do not specify a recommended collection size for libraries in smaller schools.

Exhibit 2-27 shows the size of the library collections in each VISD library. The primary school library meets the Below Standards category because of the lack of physical space in the school facility to house more books and resources. The elementary and middle school libraries meet the standard for Recognized. The high school library meets the Exemplary standard.

Exhibit 2-27
Library Collection Standards and VISD Library Collection
2002-03
School Acceptable Collection Size Recognized Collection Size Library Collection Size Meet Standards
Primary 9,000 10,000 6,000 Below Standards
Elementary 9,000 10,800 11,000 Recognized
Middle School 9,000 10,800 10,000 Recognized
High School 9,000 10,800 14,000 Exemplary
Source: VISD Library coordinator.

The district is a member of the Texas Library Connection and has access to multiple online databases.

Exhibit 2-28 provides information about the wide variety of programs offered by both the VISD school and the community library located at the high school. Grants totaling approximately $134,000 make it possible for the library to provide several of the services listed in this exhibit. A grant from the Bill Gates Foundation paid for state-of-the-art computers.

Exhibit 2-28
VISD Library Services and Grants
2002-03
Summer Reading Programs - nine weeks
Internet Access and Word Processing Computers
Movie Rentals
Story Time - after school and summer
Incentives and Awards
Free Books - three times a year
14,000 volume book check-out and research center
Copy and Fax machines
Educational Children’s Software
Spanish Materials
Parenting Collection
Adult and Children’s Audio Books
Educational and Popular Videos
Home Access for TEXSHARE online database system
Approximately $134,000 in Grants
Source: VISD School and Community Library, 2003.

The nine-week summer reading program gives VISD students the opportunity to continue developing their reading skills. Students and community patrons check out books for summer entertainment. This program began in 1999 and is supported by VISD, two large factories, American National Power and Texas Industries, various small companies and donors in the community. High school students have a summer reading list to complete for their English classes. Since the library stays open during the summer, they can check out their books and test over them before the school year begins if they wish to do so.

According to library circulation reports, 427 patrons visited the library in June 2002 and 569 visited in July 2002. The library coordinator said that these circulation numbers exceed last year’s figures by 50 percent. The library remains open to VISD students and the community after school hours and on Saturday mornings.

Because it is a community library and a public school library, the library receives a multitude of grants and services. The Institute of Museum and Library Services, a federal agency that fosters innovation, leadership and a lifetime of learning, supports the North Texas Regional Library System (NTRLS) through the Texas State Library and Archives Commission. The VISD library is a member of the NTRLS, which offers many benefits and advantages such as services from the Texas State Library System and the North Texas Regional Library System, approximately $134,000 in a variety of grants from different sources, technology hardware and software, equipment, shelving and access to TexShare, a $100,000 online database system provided by the Texas State Library. The Venus community library patrons and VISD students can access TexShare at home. This remote access provides homes with access to a virtual library with thousands of the most current documents on a wide variety of subjects.

A partnership agreement with the Inexpensive Book Distribution Program administered by Reading Is Fundamental (RIF) makes it possible for the VISD school library to give each district student a book three times per year. The grant pays 75 percent and VISD pays for the remaining 25 percent of the cost of books for pre-kindergarten though grade 10.

The library provides an attractive trifold pamphlet in English and Spanish explaining the available offerings and schedules for high school students and community patrons. This pamphlet also includes video and Internet policy, other rules for programs and services available, library schedule and map, address, phone numbers, web page, names and positions of library staff. The library pamphlet explains “The library serves as the high school library during school hours and as a public library during the evenings, all day Thursday and Friday and on Saturday morning. This combination allows students the use of all the resources of a high school library plus the extra resources found in a public library. At the end of the school day, the library opens to the public. With the library’s close ties to the school district, it is able to provide a completely automated circulation system, Web site, Internet and copier services as well as 15,000 books and videos. These services are available with the Venus Community Library Patron Card. This card may be obtained by filling out a simple application form available at the circulation desk. As a community patron, members also have access to the TexShare program.”

COMMENDATION

The VISD school and community library provides a wide variety of books, media and services to district students and the community.