Two Harker faculty members teamed up with a nationally recognized information specialist and spoke to a full house March 8 at the California Association of Independent School’s conference in North Hollywood. With Debbie Abilock, the editor of American School Librarians Association journal “Knowledge Quest,” Donna Gilbert, upper school history department chair, and Sue Smith, upper school campus librarian described their three-year project to integrate information literacy skills into the history curriculum.
Smith, citing the 2008 Stanford Study of Writing which found that college freshmen are expected to write 60-100 pages, using 18 different kinds of writing, suggested preparatory schools must better prepare students for this level of scholarship. Their presentation reflected on the work Harker’s upper school history department has done over the past few years to serve this end. Gilbert and Smith described the work of teachers as they integrated term papers into Gr. 9 history curriculum and held regular meetings discussing obstacles and successes along the way. Abilock spoke about the motivational component of research and writing, and about how teachers can engage in continuous improvement in their practice. The presentation acknowledged the work of the entire Gr. 9 history team: Ruth Meyer, Ally Montana, MaiLien Nguyen, Julie Wheeler and former Harker teacher Heather Jackson.