The San Diego County Office of Education (SDCOE) is helping to
prepare library paraprofessionals through a unique eight-week course that
focuses on the skills needed to boost student achievement with a well-run
So far, about 300 people from across the state have taken the
Instructional Media Resource Associate courses, which emphasize library
leadership, state standards, web tools, and model library structures.
“There’s so much information out there, and we put it all in
one place,” said Lesley Kelsey, the recently retired director of Library Media Services for
Most school libraries are led by paraprofessionals who
aren’t credentialed teachers or librarians. Even so, there’s isn’t much
professional development available for these employees.
The SDCOE Library Media Services unit started the
Instructional Media Resource Associate certificate course of study three years
ago to fill that gap. It’s the only statewide program for intensive
professional development for these employees. It features one day of
face-to-face instruction and eight weeks of facilitated online learning.
“We are going away from this course with a better
understanding of our potential and that of our library program,” said Cyndie
Idemoto-Reyes, who works at Northwood Elementary School in San Jose and
recently graduated from the course.
Another graduate of the program, Erica Leggette, was
recently elected to the board of the California School Library Association. She
is the first paraprofessional to represent the association on the board.
The next cohort of the program is scheduled to start Oct. 1.
information is available on the SDCOE website.