Gale and Library Media Connection Announce Winners of the 2011 TEAMS Award

Bi-Annual Awards Recognize Teacher and Media Specialists Teams That Improve Student Achievement

Farmington Hills, Mich., September 12, 2011 — Gale, part of Cengage Learning and a leading publisher of research and reference resources for libraries, schools and businesses, and Library Media Connection Magazine today announced the three winners of the TEAMS Award — Teachers and Media Specialists Influencing Student Achievement. The 2011 winners are Winter Park Elementary School in Wilmington, North Carolina; Patrick F. Taylor Science and Technology Academy in Jefferson, Louisiana; and Skyline High School in Ann Arbor, Michigan.

The TEAMS Award was created to recognize the critical collaboration between teachers and media specialists in promoting learning and increasing student achievement. Nominations were evaluated based on:

  • Demonstrated collaboration between media specialists and teachers during the school year
  • Effective techniques that positively impact student learning and achievement
  • Support received from school leadership
  • Ability for others to replicate this best practice

“Even after many years of presenting the TEAMS Award, we continue to be amazed and gratified to see that school librarians are moving strongly forward in the face of budgetary adversity,” said Marlene Woo-Lun, publisher of Library Media Connection. “This year’s winners continue to teach critical thinking skills to students and other educators by modeling them through impressive collaborative efforts.”

“For today’s students to succeed in the classroom and beyond, they must develop 21st century skills such as global and computer literacy, problem solving and the ability to think critically. This new type of learning requires a fresh approach to instruction where school library media specialists and classroom teachers collaborate on units of study designed to build these skills alongside content area knowledge,” said Nader Qaimari, senior vice president, marketing, Cengage Learning. “The schools, teachers and media specialists we are honoring today have inspired us with their collaborative projects and demonstrated impact on student success.”

Each winning school receives $2,500 in cash, Gale products, a one-year subscription to Library Media Connection and the Educator’s Professional Bookshelf from Linworth Publishing. In addition, the winners will be featured in an article in Library Media Connection. The awards will be presented at a special reception held in conjunction with the American Association of School Librarians (AASL) annual conference in Minneapolis, MN in late October. Details on the winning entries are provided below.

Winter Park Elementary School

Media Specialist Jessica Moore teamed up with second grade teacher Jennifer Hatch to take one student’s interest in a book about snakes and turn it into a collaborative school-wide project, involving the art, music, physical education and computer teachers. Students began in the library researching books on snakes and creating KWL charts (Know, Want to know and Learned) for each title. They used the information learned to write a book on snakes for their classmates, taking their research to the art teacher to create illustrations and a storyline. From there, the music teacher helped them create and record snake-like sounds in rhythm to a written sentence of the story. The computer teacher helped them scan their artwork, record their narration, and organize their story. The PE instructor taught the students about contortionism and allowed them to explore the different snake-like shapes they could make with their bodies, including each letter of the word “snakes.” These recorded feats of acrobatics served as the finale for their snake story.

Patrick F. Taylor Science and Technology Academy

English teacher Lisa Valence and library media specialist Elizabeth Kahn worked together with the social studies teacher on a six-week research project to help improve student research skills. Sixth and seventh grade students reviewed available resources in their library and then conducted a webquest to learn about the credibility of websites on the internet. From there, students worked closely with their teacher and librarian to develop a thesis question to steer their research. During Teen Tech Week at the library, daily research riddles designed to get students using the school databases were sent electronically to all students. The students worked on the riddles in class for the opportunity to win prizes.

Ms. Valence and Ms. Kahn also collaborated to help students analyze past Using Information Resources (UIR) interval tests conducted by the district to gauge student research skills. Ms. Kahn displayed questions on an interactive white board and students used metacognitive strategies to analyze the problems and select answers. A discussion of the answers followed and, as a result, UIR test scores improved after these sessions.

Skyline High School

Skyline High School successfully integrated Google Tools with teachers and students through an on-going collaboration between the Library Media Specialist (Dr. Sara Duvall), Instructional Technologist (Peter Pasque), and the English Language Arts Lead Teacher (Kristal Jaaskelainen).

Dr. Duvall and Mr. Pasque worked with the ninth grade English Language Arts teachers to design a course Pacing Guide via a shared Google doc. Each teacher designed units and added them to the Pacing Guide, along with videos, hand-outs, tutorials, assessments, etc. Each student then set up a personal Google Site, which served as their cumulative portfolio. All sites were shared with the teacher and over time the student portfolio site was personalized and organized. Every student in the school now has a Google portfolio and is able to demonstrate mastery in using online resources to share and collaborate on information creation and retrieval. The ePortfolio not only preserves all the coursework, but becomes the culminating assessment as students present their work to teachers, peers and community members at the end of each term.

Honorable Mentions

In addition, to the winners noted above, Gale and Library Media Connection would also like to recognize the following schools who received honorable mentions for their submissions to the TEAMS Award competition:

  • Frank J. Dugan Elementary School in Marlboro, NJ
  • Hawthorne Elementary School in Indianapolis, IN
  • Osborne Middle School in Hoschton, GA
  • Constable Neil Bruce Middle School in Westbank, British Columbia, Canada
  • New Canaan High School in New Canaan, CT
  • Clear Creek Amana High School in Tiffin, IA

For more information regarding the TEAMS Award, visit or contact Kristina Massari at [email protected].

About Cengage Learning and Gale

Cengage Learning is a leading provider of innovative teaching, learning and research solutions for the academic, professional and library markets worldwide. Gale, part of Cengage Learning, serves the world’s information and education needs through its vast and dynamic content pools, which are used by students and consumers in their libraries, schools and on the Internet. It is best known for the accuracy, breadth and convenience of its data, addressing all types of information needs – from homework help to health questions to business profiles – in a variety of formats. For more information, visit or