Changes, changes, changes 

I know. It has been a long time. Nearly an entire year. I started my blog last year in hopes that I would be able to chronicle the amazing things I had planned to launch in my high school library throughout the 2015-2016 school year. I was excited, motivated, and enthusiastic after spending 3 amazing days immersed in planning with my cohorts in my district. However (isn’t that such an awful word? So full of disappointment! ), I found quite quickly that the year was not going to go as I had dreamt. Without divulging the ins and outs of the year, let it suffice for me to say that this school year nearly broke me as an educator. I lost my confidence in my capabilites and doubted my place in education. The year weighed on me in such a way that I couldn’t let myself step out of my comfort zone and push myself or my student population to grow. I closed in on myself and began just trying to keep my head above water instead of fighting the current and moving forward. I ended the year heartbroken and disappointed in myself and left with one resounding thought….I needed a change. 

So, I struck out and was blessed to be offered a position at Greenland Elementary School in Northwest Arkansas. I finally have a job in the area of Arkansas I have been wanting to be in, I am back in the Elementary, and I have a schedule that will allow me to have both fixed and flexible classes without sacrificing anything. While I am still shaken from the experience of the last year and I am working to banish the negative voice in my head that is telling me that I don’t have a voice worth listening to, I am going to cast my line and use this forum as a reflection point for myself. I hope I will be able to make new connections with educators everywhere, learn from these new voices, and maybe a kernal of something I write about will be used by someone somewhere. 

So, I have written a mission statement. Last week at a PD session with Cassandra Barnett,she challenged us to take our school mission and revamp it to reflect the specific challenges for the media center. I embraced this to create the following statement: 

I am ready to embrace more project based learning, STEAM education, makerspaces, and cultivating new relationships with the teachers of my district and follow in the footsteps of so many amazing media specialists. But more than that, I hope to carve out my own path; a path that runs parallel to my inspirations, crosses with my growing PLC and over, around, and through the challenges along the way! This is a year of change and growth. I am excited and nervous. But then again, who isn’t? 


Who knew that a retreat could move you forward?

Well, first off, HELLO!!! Here I go with my premier blog post. I’m a little nervous but, apparently, I have great things to say. I’ll let you be the judge of that!!

So, a little introduction. I am Heather Peters and I am a library media specialist in the small town of Bauxite, AR. I am now the high school media specialist after spending three years at the elementary. I know – the babies to the big kids. But, its been a really great change! In August I will be starting my fifth year in the media center and my ninth year as a teacher. As of now, my family consists of me, my husband, and our sweet black kitty cat. We are a goofy crew but that just fuels my crazy fire. 🙂


Here we are before checking out the new ‘Minion’ movie a few days ago. See. I told you we were goofy!!

Anyway, enough about that for now…let’s get on the important stuff! This retreat thing. Somehow, I managed to convince my curriculum coordinator to allow the three media specialists from my district to find a place in the middle of nowhere for a few days and completely immerse ourselves into the beautiful world of library and count it as part of our professional development requirements. For three days, we planned our entire year. Well, mostly. I guess it was really just a solid frame for the year and laying out the supplies we need to launch a phenomenal year. Like, really amazing. Battle of the Books, March Madness Book Brackets, Genre Bingo (to help students get used to the new genre-fied fiction section!!!), themes, and displays. We are super excited. And, we spoke to some really amazing people.

On the first day, we got to spend about an hour ‘hanging’ (and by that I mean we connected via Google Hangouts) with the mighty little librarian herself, Tiffany Whitehead! I have to admit, I was a bit starstruck. She is truly amazing at her job. I have no idea how she manages to keep so many balls in the air, but apparently she is a Ringling Brothers level juggler. apparently she is also a saint. She gave us so much great advice, particularly regarding Accelerated Reader, that I think we could actually have her canonized. Okay, maybe she needs just one more miracle, but its pretty close. We kicked off our first year with AR last year and it was, to say the least, an incredibly bumpy ride. No, she didn’t wave her magic wand (though I know it was tucked under her desk) but she did give us a lot of tools to help us fill the potholes in our AR road and keys to unlocking reading challenges that make reading, well, you know, FUN! At the end of the hour, Saint Tiffany left us with one piece of advice – Take one thing this year and be the best you can at that one thing. Throw yourself into that one element. Hmmm….good advice but, how do I choose just one thing?!?

So we started with a library national treasure so on the last day, we met with a local library hero – the amazing Stony Evans! Stony is my mentor. He is the reason I am a media specialist and lays the footsteps I try to follow. He is a collaboration machine and creates the most fabulous learning events. Like a good teacher, I am absolutely stealing everything I can from him. Why work harder, right? Ha!! Actually, his example is always pushing me to go a little further and work a little more and strive for that next level. He showed us the importance of a strong social media presence and encouraged us each to begin blogging. Well, Hello Blogging World! You can kindly thank Stony Evans for pushing me into your realm. 😉 After three and a half hours (!!!), we left Stony armed with a newfound respect for social media, ways to impress our admin through stats, and a metric ton of collaboration examples.

Wow! My head is officially so crammed with library plans and ideas I think it could possibly explode. Or maybe just create a slight trickle out the ears. But I am truly blessed to have been able to experience the last three days. I want to thank my district administrators for supporting this endeavour, my gorgeous cohorts for putting up with me for the last three days (because I know I talked incessantly), and Tiffany and Stony for providing us with inspiration and advice. This school year will absolutely rock because of them. One little retreat has got me so ahead of the game for this year I might not ever feel overwhelmed or have anything slip up on me at that last-minute. Wait. Uhh. That’s hilarious!! Maybe it just won’t happen as often as usual. I guess only time will tell!

Okay all  you lovely and amazing people, thank you for stopping by and reading my first blog post! I hope you enjoyed reading as much as I enjoyed writing it! Until next time, keep calm and read on!!


My lovely cohorts and I with the one and only Stony Evans!