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Media Specialist Keeps Easton Kids Creative

Lynne Duffy got a phone call the day she got home from graduation. It was Kim Fox-Santora, principal of Samuel Staples Elementary School, offering Duffy a job as media specialist at the newly constructed Easton school building.

"That was quite a graduation present," Duffy said, smiling at the thought.

As students pour into the library, Duffy and her staff go to work. Terri Piekara and Donna Sullo walk among the children, helping them with computers and with book selections. "It's a real team effort here in the media center," Duffy said. As many as 40 parent volunteers offer time at the library, she added.

For years, media specialists focused on teaching how-to skills, but Duffy said there is now more emphasis on creativity and innovation.

"In the past, media and technology have been kind of standalone," Duffy said. "But the whole philosophy nationwide now is integration of technology into the curriculum. It's a really exciting time to be a media specialist."

For Duffy, this evolution touches home. "For [my son, Philip], the arts and the library programs were really what pulled him through and helped him focus his interests."

When Duffy applied for the position six years ago, she was particularly interested in Staples because it is a HOT (Higher Order Thinking) school that integrates the arts across curricula. "I am very much invested in the arts personally... I started out as a music major [in college]."

Technology can be a good tool for self-assessment, Duffy added. She worked with an English teacher to record students as they read. The students then listened to what they read and were able to hear specific points where they paused too long or skipped a word.

"Technology, sometimes, because [students are] so engaged in using it, is actually a teaching tool that can help the kids self-assess better," Duffy said. "Assessing your own work, evaluating your own work is as important as waiting for the teacher to hand you a report card."

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