In 2012, I became the Instructional Specialist for Library Services for Chesterfield County Public Schools, a school district just outside Richmond, VA. Since no one had been in this position for three years, my Director of Curriculum and Instruction at the time said to create a program that I felt would best benefits librarians and the teachers and students they served. Using the goals our district’s comprehensive plan as a guide, I looked for ways librarians/library services could enhance student learning through the use of 21st-century learning & technology skills and knowledge in all 63 of our schools.
Our district plan (http://mychesterfieldschools.com/about/design-for-excellence-2020/) puts inquiry at its forefront. Empowering Learners bases all library instruction on inquiry, so I began reviewing inquiry-based research models. We were loosely using Big6 as a model, but as I researched other inquiry-based models, I came across Guided Inquiry Design (GID) through a webinar on the edWeb.net community Library Media Connection )now School Library Connection) community. I bought the book and saw it parallels the same format and structure in Buck Institute for Education’s PBL process (bie.org), and I knew this would be the best model to use comprehensively in the district.
Mary Keeling, Supervisor for Libraries in Newport News, VA had been working with Leslie Maniotes providing PD for her district and she helped with an introduction to Leslie. After devising a plan with Leslie, we began training the librarians in GID the fall of 2013. The 3 year plan began with a book study of both Guided Inquiry and Guided Inquiry Design: A Framework in Your School, practiced the steps in small lessons and culminated in a full-blown Guided Inquiry Unit. Leslie had come for three, all day PD focusing on theory, practice, assessment, & engagement with GID. As more librarians became trained, the more Guided Inquiry made sense to them, their collaborative teachers, and most importantly, the students.
My district is a Google Apps for Education (GAFE) division, & has deployed a 1:1 Chromebook initiative with all its secondary students. We use these apps to create and share GID plans. We also use LibGuides as our instructional platform to model GID. The district page houses all our common resources/access points, & school pages drive instruction by developing online pathfinders/resource pages for students, teachers, & parents.
We are moving into our fourth year with GID, and are still refining resources and trainings around the resources provided both in print and electronic format to keep current on how we can incorporate GID into more and more collaborative lessons. I am hoping to continue to create a repository of our GID projects so that we have plenty of ideas to share and use in our district to create life-long learners of our students.
Lori Donovan, Instructional Specialist, Library Services, Chesterfield County Public Schools