10 June 2024
Top Left: An image of a dog with curly hair wearing a gopro camera that was used to film content for school announcements. Top Right: A photo of a white board with various photos of evidence and evidence markers for Criminal Justice class. Bottom Left: Photo of various people in a study room writing on a whiteboard, planning football plays. Bottom Right: A photo of two people standing in thought in front of a whiteboard writing on whiteboard.

The administration of Saint Patrick High School in Chicago decided to renovate the James J. Barrett Learning Resource Center during the 2022-2023 school year. During the renovation, the carpeting and furniture were replaced. Before the renovation, the collection was extensively evaluated and weeded, and old technology was removed. After renovation, we continued to create a welcoming environment and provide resources that support our students academically and socially. 

The RAILS My Library Is... Grant afforded additional resources to cultivate our library program, support our curriculum, and enhance a culture of reading. We were able to purchase printers, GoPro cameras, games, puzzles, signs, and whiteboards. The printers, GoPro cameras, badge maker, and signs allow us to promote reading, celebrate events, create signage, and advocate for the library. We found a harness for the GoPro camera for our emotional support dog, Patrick St. Patrick, to wear and film throughout the school and provide footage to add to segments during our morning announcements.  

Though whiteboards may not be the most exciting item acquired using this grant money, they allowed our students to discover new information and collaborate. One of the most practical uses of the whiteboards was seen in the Introduction to Criminal Justice class. Students used magnetic whiteboards to post photos of a mock crime scene investigation in collaboration with the Chicago Police Department. This interactive exercise allowed students to review the photos and write a police report, simulating how evidence technicians document crime scenes.  

The whiteboards also support our extracurricular activities. A football coach and student-athletes used them to collaborate, study, and create plays for the upcoming football season.  

Our Bees on Belmont program allows students to apply STEAM and business concepts by participating in beekeeping and product development. Our STEAM teacher, Ms. Burkholder, one of the moderators of the program, worked with students to develop the Bees on Belmont mission statement using our whiteboards.  

We are fortunate to have these additional resources to support our school community. We plan to use the games we acquired with the funding to sponsor a Risk tournament and a trivia night. From the entire Saint Patrick High School community, we thank RAILS for supporting this school library. 

Today's blog post was written by Barbara O’Sullivan, Saint Patrick High School Librarian. 

This project was made possible by the My Library Is... Grant.