How EBSCO Resources Are Helping Illinois High School Students Become Future-Ready

Library Resources | Christie Sylvester, MLIS, M.Ed.| May 07, 2019

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High school librarian Christie Sylvester shares how EBSCO databases are supporting her school district’s college- and career-ready initiatives.

Across the country, millions of students will confront the prospect of life after high school. While older adults would relish the opportunity to start anew, for many students, it is a daunting task to face the choices before them. What path should they choose: College? Work? Travel? Furthermore, is their career choice the right track for them?

Township High School District 214 in Illinois (this year’s National School Library of the Year ) believes they have the solution through Redefining Ready, a program for students to explore their interests and ensure their future success before graduating high school. The program was originally developed in 2016 by 214 Superintendent Dr. David Schuler and is now a national initiative from the AASA, The School Superintendents Association, which is embraced by schools across the country.

District 214 created the Career Pathways Program, a comprehensive method for students to explore future opportunities. An extensive booklet breaks down career fields ranging from business and medicine to manufacturing and transportation, informing students about the high school courses they should take in order to pursue that future career goal. In addition, District 214 offers a wide range of Advanced Placement courses for all grade levels, allowing students to earn college credit beginning freshman year. Furthermore, students can take more than 80 dual-credit courses in high school to receive college credit from partnerships with Illinois colleges and universities.

Students enrolled in Advanced Placement English courses consistently use Explora to support their research proposals and assist them in discovering relevant subjects to delve in and analyze.

The impact of Redefining Ready and the Career Pathways Program has changed the trajectory of study and research in District 214. Students are seeking information to support original research and their varied fields of study in a wide range of subject areas. District 214 librarians understand research from authoritative sources is the utmost importance to supporting faculty and students, not only at the building, but remotely as well. To meet the librarians’ exacting standards, the district is a longtime subscriber to EBSCO databases.

Faculty who return to graduate class as well as students who are studying education use EBSCO’s Professional Development Collection. An ongoing collaboration between a local community college and several District 214 teachers tasked the committee to a research project with a focus on equity in education, specifically regarding ethnicity, access and achievement. The academic journals in the Professional Development Collection provided them with the evidence they needed to fine-tune their own research.

Meanwhile, students enrolled in Advanced Placement English courses consistently use Explora to support their research proposals and assist them in discovering relevant subjects to delve in and analyze. The innumerable Associated Press videos in MAS Ultra: School Edition provide a global perspective that is helpful to students with varying levels of familiarity or knowledge with topics.

Technology has transformed the 21st-century student due to the amount of information and opportunities available to them. What was once considered incomprehensible 20 years ago is now becoming standard in education, especially in District 214. While the development of new opportunities for students continues to accelerate at a rapid pace, through the support of administration, faculty and librarians, students have a network to guide them through a vast array of choices.

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Christie Sylvester, MLIS, M.Ed.
Librarian, Prospect High School

Christie Sylvester has been a high school librarian in the Northwest suburbs of Chicago since 1999 and currently serves as head librarian at Prospect High School. She is passionate about technology and exploring digital resources with faculty and students. Christie is a member of EBSCO's K-12 Advisory Board.

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