Rock and roll for the media center

FLHS library to benefit
from Elvis show

Media Specialist Lee Anne Brockman and PTO member Lisa Gross show the area rug in front of the check-our desk, necessary to cover a carpet rip that has caused people to trip. Media Aides Amanda Williams and Jade Haseltine, both seniors, look on.

Media Specialist Lee Anne Brockman and PTO member Lisa Gross show the area rug in front of the check-our desk, necessary to cover a carpet rip that has caused people to trip. Media Aides Amanda Williams and Jade Haseltine, both seniors, look on.

Pay $25 to eat spaghetti in the high school cafeteria, bid on some nice silent auction offerings, hear two guys impersonate Elvis in the auditorium.

And some day, your kids may have a comfortable place to read in the library.

The FLHS Media Center Make-over is a dream of the high school parent-teacher organization. Unlike the athletic and music booster clubs, this group was formed to address academic needs of the school, and the first project is the media center.

This is where students go to use the computer, check out a book or DVD, and get some serious studying done.

It needs work because things change over time (e.g., students bring their own devices and need an outlet to plug them in) and because things don’t change over time (e.g., the 1972 carpet).

According to PTO member Lisa Gross and media specialist Lee Anne Brockman, the area would be improved by natural lighting, study sections for small groups and comfortable seating. An improved layout would give better traffic flow.

COM_FLHS security gates

A single-file security gate prevents theft. This is the only way students can enter or exit the media center, unless there is an emergency. When they hear the 10-minute warning bell that signals the start of school, students begin to file out to avoid the bottleneck.

And the before-class pile-up at the security gate, which lets one student through at a time, takes a couple minutes. The current entrance/exit space has one security gate, but there is room for two.

On Feb. 23 the PTO will host “Elvis—Remembering the King,” featuring Steve and Tommy Marcio. Tickets include a spaghetti dinner, with the sauce provided by Vannelli’s by the Lake.

The dinner and silent auction start at 5 p.m. and the show at 7 p.m. Tickets, $25 each, can be purchased at the high school; contact Wendy at 651-982-8598 or wschroeder@flaschools.org. All proceeds will go toward the media center make-over.

Students who sell five or more tickets to the event will be entered into a drawing to win a free iPad or a parking pass.

To help the library, you can donate things to the silent auction.

Or you can bid on things already donated.

How much would you pay for an autographed jersey from Minnesota Wild star Zach Parise?

Or how about an autographed photo from Viking Percy Harvin?

This photographic print by biology teacher Bruce Leventhal will offered for sale at the silent auction.

This photographic print by biology teacher Bruce Leventhal will offered for sale at the silent auction.

Closer to home, biology teacher Bruce Leventhal, a published photographer, is offering a nature scene print.

And especially suitable for a library fundraiser, several Minnesota authors have donated autographed books, including John Sandford, Stanley Gordon West and P.J. Tracy.

The media center is open from 7 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., or sometimes until 4 p.m. or later.

Before school, Brockman said, 150 to 200 kids are in the room studying, using the computers (some for school work, some for personal business), writing, doing research, reading for pleasure, reading for courses, or reading the newspaper.

After school, she said, there may be 20 to 30 students using the media center, or as many as 50 to 60 at the end of a term.

The career center is no longer located in the library. When the career advisor was lost to budget cuts a few years ago, Brockman said, the materials were moved to student services and a dean took over career development duties, scheduling college visits, etc.

Brockman said media center staffing  used to include a career person, media specialist, AV specialist, tech specialist, tech support person, and two media clerks.

Now there is a media specialist (Brockman), AV coordinator (a lower-level position than AV specialist), and tech support person.

COM_FLHS computersThe computers are due to be upgraded shortly, Brockman said, but “when we buy technology, it’s already three to five years old.” She would prefer to reduce the number of permanent workstations, instead moving toward student-owned technology. Work stations set up for portable devices would let students plug in their iPods, iPads, tablets and laptops.

More electrical circuitry would be needed. While creative students have figured out ways to plug in their electronic devices, there aren’t enough outlets or circuits, Brockman said. “Our 90 computers are already taxing the system,” she added.

The PTO also would like to reconfigure the gathering spaces. The large media center room is set up now to hold three classes at one time, plus a few kids working independently. There is no strong boundary system because the room has to be flexible. But it could be cozier. While a formal survey has not been done, unofficial student input suggests that students might spend more time in the library if it were more inviting.

(Brockman, one of the student council advisors, knows what students would really like: “They’d like a coffee shop,” she said.)

PTO member Lisa Gross shows the table and chairs available for student use. Bookshelves in the background, the original stacks from 1972 when the school was built, are fine and do not need replacing.

PTO member Lisa Gross shows the table and chairs available for student use. Bookshelves in the background, the original stacks from 1972 when the school was built, are fine and do not need replacing.

The media center is part of the building analysis being performed by the facilities task force, but the PTO would rather not wait for that process.

“Previous task forces have looked at it,” Brockman said, “and nothing came to the media center yet.”

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