Wheeler High, South Cobb High Schools Honored for Exemplary and Exceptional Media Programs

Every year the Georgia Library Media Association (GLMA) and Georgia Library Association (GLA) honor two schools at each level—elementary, middle and high school—for having innovative, high-performing library media programs. This year, two Cobb Schools captured both honors for the high school level.

Valerie Bryan and Renee Tehrani of Wheeler High School earned the 2016 Judy Serritella Exemplary Media Program. Brian Ragsdale and Jennifer Bone of South Cobb High School were recognized as the 2016 Judy Serritella Exceptional Media Program.

Both programs will be formally recognized at the Georgia Library Media Association Awards Breakfast held at the Georgia Educational Technology Conference in November.

“This is quite an honor for both schools and celebrates the forward-thinking programs they have created to support student achievement and engagement,” said Holly Frilot, Cobb County School District supervisor of library media education.

Wheeler will host an open house during the spring 2017 semester to allow other schools and school systems to learn what makes Wheeler’s media program exemplary.

“The primary focus of the Wheeler Library program is teaching students to effectively, efficiently, and ethically access information, as well as to assist students with the use of technology to work collaboratively and creatively to present their research findings,” Bryan and Tehrani said. “The media specialists collaborate with teachers from all content areas to develop lesson plans that use the library’s varied information and technology resources to provide students with personalized learning opportunities that are correlated to curriculum standards.”

Wheeler staff also takes steps to increase participation in the school’s media program.

“Students’ interest in reading for pleasure is encouraged by continual updates of the fiction collection, based on student recommendations, and through creative displays and contests to capture students’ attention,” Bryan and Tehrani added. “The Wheeler Library Blog highlights exciting new resources and helps to inform all community members about access to abundant offerings from Wheeler Library and the Cobb County Public Library System; tweets and newsletter notifications let the community know about new information they can find on the blog.”

South Cobb’s exceptional media center has drawn more students to the media center as well.

“Five years ago we began to redesign the South Cobb Media Center with a focus on the needs of our users, and it has yielded outstanding results,” said Ragsdale. “We have seen over a 60 percent increase in classes and individual students utilizing the Media Center. We have also begun several innovative programs to help promote school goals and career readiness, including book checkouts during lunch and a school-wide 3D printing program, which is available to all students. We have also partnered with the South Cobb Regional Library to form a school book club and produce an anthology of student writing and artistic works.”

A group of GLMA and GLA members judge the Exemplary and Exceptional Media Programs on six categories: student achievement and instruction, technology, staffing, facilities, access and resources, administrative support and staff development.

“The recognition means a great deal because of the positive publicity it brings for South Cobb,” Ragsdale said. “We want our community to know students receive a quality education at South Cobb and that we have outstanding opportunities for students at our school.”