Friends of the Truckee Library: Community concerns regarding children and teens
June 26, 2011
TRUCKEE, Calif. and#8212; One of the core functions of a public library is to purchase and make available materials that reflect the interests and concerns of the community. Toward that end, I attended a recent community forum to educate parents and residents in suicide prevention. Among the highlights of the evening was a presentation on developmental assets that can be nurtured in children and teens, as a way to help build resiliency into adulthood. These 40 developmental assets are based on a nationwide survey of more than 100,000 sixth to 12th graders in 200-plus communities. The survey found the difference between troubled teens and those leading healthy, productive lives were the presence of these 40 developmental assets. The more assets these young people have, the better. The first 20 assets are external assets, taking into consideration the young person’s environment at home, school, church, and community that support, nurture and empower him or her and make constructive use of his or her time. The next 20 are internal assets and#8212;-attitudes, values, and competencies that belong in the head and heart of every child. Ultimately, more assets translates into fewer problem behaviors.
To learn more about developmental assets and the specific ways to nurture them, check out the two recently-acquired books on the subject, available at the Truckee Library: and#8220;What Kids Need to Succeed: Proven, Practical Ways to Raise Good Kidsand#8221; and and#8220;What Teens Need to Succeed: Proven, Practical Ways to Shape Your Own Future,and#8221; both written by Peter L. Benson, Judy Galbraith and Pamela Espeland.
The first is designed for adults working with youths (parents, educators, youth group leaders, etc.) and the second title is written specifically for teens. Both are very easy to read and filled with truly practical and great ideas.
Another area of great interest within our community is high quality education. The North Tahoe Truckee Parent Advocacy Group was started by founder Leisa Peterson, to help organize families, youth, community residents, teachers and the public education system around issues facing our students, in order to achieve excellence. Peterson recently suggested two titles by Mike Schmoker as required reading for those passionate about public education. Both of which we are adding to the Truckee Library. Available right now is and#8220;Results Now: How We Can Achieve Unprecedented Improvements in Teaching and Learning,and#8221; which posits there is a yawning gap between the most well-known essential practices and the reality of most classrooms. Schmoker outlines a plan that focuses on the importance of consistent curriculum, authentic literacy education, and professional learning communities for teachers.
A more recently published follow-up title, and#8220;Focus: Elevating the Essentials to Radically Improve Learningand#8221; will be available for check-out soon. In it, Schmoker describes a plan for radically improving student learning built on three core elements: a focused and coherent curriculum (what we teach); clear, prioritized lessons (how we teach); and purposeful reading and writing, or authentic literacy. He argues with this and#8220;less is moreand#8221; philosophy, educators can help students learn content at a deeper level, develop greater critical thinking skills, and discover more clearly how content-area concepts affect their lives and the world around them.
Ideally, we want our children to be resilient and deeply engaged in learning. We are fortunate to live in a community that fosters these values and we hope the Truckee Library can play an active role in this lifelong pursuit.
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and#8212; Truckee Library, 10031 Levon Ave., 530-582-7846, mynevadacounty.com/library
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