APS: the new collection of District books recognized

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Rachel Altobelli, Director of Library Services and Educational Materials, left, and Jessica Villalobos, Senior Director of Linguistic and Cultural Equity, show off some of the new books at APS. (Adolphe Pierre-Louis / Albuquerque Journal)

This school year, students at Albuquerque Public Schools will have new titles on their classroom shelves that have a wide range of characters.

The APS departments – Linguistic and Cultural Equity and Library Services and Educational Materials – have assembled a collection of books that address issues of identity, including race and multiculturalism.

light pointThe 45 titles constitute the new “culturally responsive classroom libraries,” which will be available in elementary and middle school classrooms at the start of this semester.

Some of the titles include “How Tia Lola Came to Stay”, “Yo Soy Muslim” and “They Call Me Guero: The Poems of a Border Child”.

The idea is to have books that reflect the students’ own culture while teaching them others.

“In order to help children feel welcome and engaged at school, we need to show our students that we see and value all aspects of them, including their language and culture,” Madelyn Serna wrote. APS associate superintendent Marmol in an email. “We hope that by putting books in front of children in which their cultures or the cultures of other students are represented, we can have a positive impact on a student’s acceptance of their own race and the races of others. “

The district worked with African American, Native American, Hispanic and LGBTQ + educators to compile the list, according to Serna Marmol.

She said the collection was recognized by book seller Follett, who shared it with other schools and districts as an example.

Rachel Altobelli, director of library services and educational materials, said one of the problems districts face when it comes to finding new titles, including culturally appropriate books, is that they must create the collection themselves. But now other schools and districts can use the APS list as a starting point.

Follett could not be reached for comment.

Altobelli said the books will be available to all elementary and middle school students in the district.

While high school students can find reading material on these topics in their school libraries, she said the district plans to introduce more books of this nature into high school classrooms in the future.

She noted that the district has been working for years to organize a school library-level work package that has diverse perspectives, but the new initiative focuses on classroom materials.

“We were successful in working in the library, but it’s not the only place where children read,” said Altobelli.

According to an APS report, students viewed 1,596,733 books in the 2017-18 school year and 1,446,440 books in the 2018-19 school year.

Altobelli said “culturally appropriate classroom libraries” are added to existing classroom libraries and it is up to teachers to make them part of the curriculum.

Serna Marmol said the collections are the first step in bringing more diverse texts into classrooms and will be expanded each year.

People can offer comments and suggestions at aps.edu/libraries/book-recommendations-form.

The Classroom Collection follows the creation of the APS Multicultural Library which was generated for teachers, librarians and staff to consult culturally appropriate books, which they could use for their plans. course or report back to their students.


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