Open Letter to the Greensburg-Salem School Board
Editor: We are publishing this "open letter" to the School Board and Superintendent of the Greensburg Salem School District in Pennsylvania from recent graduate Melissa Paravate to highlight just how important the school library program - and school librarians - are to future academic success. If you know and believe like Ms. Paravate does that every student from the youngest age through high school should have a school librarian supporting their education, please sign the petition to the Board now: https://www.saveschoollibrarians.org/salemgreensburg
Dr. Peiffer and Greensburg Salem School Board:I'm writing to you today to express my support for keeping all school librarians in the Greensburg Salem school district in their current roles. As an alumna of Greensburg Salem, I am confident in saying that librarians are essential. Throughout my time in the district, I personally benefitted from their expertise and their support had a huge impact on me.
Personally, I spent hours in the various libraries in the district throughout my time at Greensburg Salem. Throughout middle school, I helped in the library with scanning and shelving books and was an active participant in the Westmoreland County Interscholastic Reading Competition during my seventh and eighth-grade years. I enjoyed helping Mrs. Kozuch and learning from her throughout that time and while it may sound simplistic, having that “job” and working with Mrs. Kozuch each morning was always something that I looked forward to. I continued my involvement with WIRC throughout my time at the high school and because of my connection with the librarians, I returned this year to lend a hand.
Although academics happened to be a strength of mine, I realize that not all students can say the same. My younger brother, for example, is more artistically inclined and struggles academically. I have seen first hand that students who do not understand a concept right away are often left behind in the regular classroom. However, children shine in their own ways, so while a child may be overlooked by their primary teacher, encore may be their one chance to excel during the day.
Sign the Petition and Stop the Cuts to School Libraries in Greensburg Salem Schools
In elementary school, I never wanted library class to end. I enjoyed the reprieve of spending time reading for enjoyment and not because I was going to be quizzed on what I read. During our limited class time, Mrs. Thomas truly helped nurture my love of reading. She is excellent at truly listening to her students, not simply hearing and dismissing what they have to say, but actually taking time to listen and make them feel important. She encouraged us to challenge ourselves with new books and genres and showed us that reading fosters creativity. It makes students think, and helps with their mental development. A child’s brain is like a sponge and all of the various areas of knowledge offered by schools are like the liquid that the sponge soaks up.
As a former member of the Greensburg Salem Education Foundation, I understand that the scope of the school district budget fails to provide for certain educational resources. While financial constraints are certainly an issue, eliminating librarians is not the route to take, as this choice may very well cost far more than anticipated monetary savings. Studies show that test scores and overall student performance is higher with the presence of a full-time librarian. Eliminating these positions will have high consequences that the school district may not be prepared to deal with. I implore you to rethink this decision and keep the librarians in the Greensburg Salem school district in their current roles.
Melissa ParavateClass of 2018