How do Ohio's Learning Standards, the Third Grade Reading Guarantee, high school graduation requirements, and other aspects of educational practice impact your community in particular? Perform a needs assessment to discover any gaps in the universe of resources and supports currently available to students, and to create meaningful outcomes that will truly help your students. Here are some simple actions you can take to understand your community's needs in light of student learning:
- Use the resources on this site or elsewhere to learn about Ohio's Learning Standards, Ohio's State Tests, and other initiatives.
- Talk with school administrators about their plans and their perceived areas of need. Ask for school district data that can help with your planning. Communicate to school administrators that you want to help. The Public Libraries' Outreach Role in Reading and Support of Student Learning (PDF) document from the State Library of Ohio may provide some talking points. More ideas for working with your schools are in the Collaboration section.
- Gather and analyze all relevant existing data for your community, including demographic and educational (graduation rates, reading scores, school enrollment trends, etc.). Ohio School Report cards will give you data about your schools' performance and areas for improvement. The KIDS COUNT Data Center provides county- and city-level statistics on a wide range of child well-being indicators.
- Ask parents for their input on what their students need and what library services would be helpful. See the Collaboration section for ways to support families.
- Talk directly with kids in your library. This may be a good area of dialogue for your Teen Advisory Board, or other groups of young patrons with whom you already have a relationship.
- Identify and reach out to other local stakeholders invested in student success: social services agencies, literacy initiatives, higher education institutions, local businesses, and others.
- Use all the information you have gathered to identify desired outcomes and develop strategies to meet those outcomes.