Beyond the Books: Michelle Annett

Teacher librarian Michelle Annett works with students at Cascade Middle School in Vancouver. (KATU Photo)

Michelle Annett is a teacher librarian at Cascade Middle School in Vancouver, but her job involves much more than books. Her library is the tech hub of the school. When Cascade upgraded from 90 to 900 Chromebooks, it was up to Annett and her assistant to help teachers and students figure out how to use them.

“We were just overwhelmed with tech support all the time,” said Annett. “I realized we couldn’t do it and still do some of the other traditional library things.”

Annett, who’s been turning on light bulbs for more than two decades as a teacher, came up with another bright idea; why not train the students to be the techies?

Some of the kids on the Cascade Middle School Tech Team are as young as 12 years old, but thanks to Annett, they now have the skills to save their fellow students and teachers from error codes and glitches that take away precious time in the classroom.

Associate Principal Melissa Youmans says the team has made a huge difference.

“It enriches our entire school environment. It's very important to us that kids have positive leadership roles, that they have a sense of belonging in the school and that they're having positive experiences with technology,” said Youmans.

Annett says being on the tech team has also boosted her students’ self-confidence.

“I think for some of them it really pushed them out of their comfort zone, but they're sticking with it and showing some, you know, intestinal fortitude and growing because of it,” said Annett.

The tech team also allows Annett to get back to basics in the library; making sure books are being shared and promoting a love of reading. And this Leader in Learning is always busy looking for new challenges for her students.

“It’s definitely extra effort,” said Annett. “But it’s for the kids and I see the benefit the kids get from it, so that makes it worth it.”

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