A place for every student to grow

Maximo Elementary Media Specialist Myra Clark pulls a book from a shelf in the school’s media center.

BY DEMORRIS A. LEE, MPA, Contributor

ST. PETERSBURG – It is the epicenter of the Maximo Elementary campus. It’s a place where students find comfort and joy and teachers find resources that help them to enrich their abilities.

There are books, computers and quiet spaces where students transfer their thoughts to other universes.

What is this revolutionary place? Why it’s the school’s media center.

“It’s the focal point of learning and it’s a very valuable space,” said Lakisha Falana, Maximo’s principal. There are learning resources for teachers and students and it’s the nucleus for our school.”

Falana said Maximo’s media center is at the heart of student literacy, and getting students to love reading is another element of a school-wide strategy to improve student achievement. And that effort, said Myra Clark, is right in line with her purpose.

Clark, who is Maximo’s media specialist, said getting students excited about reading is her dream job.

“I want students to be excited about reading,” said Clark, a 32-year educator. “I want them to realize that reading is an important part of their lives and that you have to read everywhere you go in life. Reading is how you grow and broaden your horizon.”

The media center compliments the classroom library. Every class at Maximo Elementary has a small library of books.

Laura Woods is Pinellas County Schools’ Library Media Program coordinator. She said the goal is to have 21st century resources in all district media centers so that there is also access to technology such as electronic books. Every school in the district has a media center.

“We want what we are doing to align and enhance what is being taught in the classroom,” Woods said.

And at Maximo Elementary, the media center is an integral part of that alignment and the literacy enhancement of students.

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