LHS media specialist to receive lifetime achievement award

Feb 7, 2019 by

Published February 6, 2019

By DAN TOMASELLO

LYNNFIELD — For the past 20 years, Lynnfield High School Media Specialist Janice Alpert has worked diligently to help students develop both a love of reading and technology.

Alpert’s dedication and hard work will be recognized when she receives the Peggy Hallisley Lifetime Achievement Award from the Massachusetts School Library Association (MSLA) on Sunday, March 31.

“I am extremely thrilled and proud to be receiving the Peggy Hallisley Lifetime Achievement Award,” said Alpert in an interview with the Villager. “The award is part of the MSLA Conference, which is held on both March 31 and April 1.”

In addition to receiving the award at the conference, Alpert and Lynnfield High’s Student Help Desk will be giving a presentation about their work with the Senior Center. Alpert and Student Help Desk members have been teaching local seniors technology skills.

“I partnered with the Senior Center and facilitated the Help Desk students’ Maker Space open house,” said Alpert. “Students taught the Senior Center members about Sphero robots, 3D printing, poster printing, little bits and Makey-Makeys. After reading surveys from the senior citizens, I realized that what they really wanted were classes about how to use cell phones, tablets, and topics such as online banking and shopping. The Help Desk students offered monthly classes for the Senior Center members last year and the successful program is continuing this year.”

LYNNFIELD HIGH SCHOOL Media Specialist Janice Alpert stands proudly in front of the Maker Space’s vinyl cutting station that she helped create. She will be receiving the Peggy Hallisley Lifetime Achievement Award from the Massachusetts School Library Association on March 31. (Dan Tomasello Photo)

Alpert has worked as LHS’ media specialist for the past 20 years. She noted that former LHS Principal Judy Evans “took a chance” on her when she was starting to pursue her master’s in Library Science at Simmons College.

“I had previously taught both English and English as a second language,” said Alpert.

Alpert has undertaken a number of different initiatives over the course of her tenure at LHS. She helped launch the high school’s one-to-one technology initiative in 2013.

“I was integral in researching and implementing the one-to-one program at Lynnfield High School initially with iPads and then with Chromebooks,” said Alpert.

Alpert also helped create the Student Help Desk program.

“My Help Desk students and I present at the MassCUE Technology Conference annually,” said Alpert.

Alpert created and designed LHS’ very popular Maker Space as well. She noted the Maker Space has been used for a “myriad of programs and services.”

“Monthly challenges have included 3D phone design contests, duct tape seminars, chocolate making, Post-It Note challenges and password protection classes,” said Alpert. “I made it my goal to have each subject area use the Maker Space for a curriculum project. I presented on this idea at the Northeast Professional Educators’ Network (NPEN) to share how the Maker Space could be used for studying the Industrial Revolution, a Spanish short story, geometry, plays and physics. I have hosted numerous tours of the Maker Space for teachers, administrators and library media specialists who want to create their own maker space.”

Alpert created a new stress relief area in the media center this year.

“It includes adult coloring, Rubik’s Cubes, crossword puzzles, stress balls, liquid motion and other sensory toys,” said Alpert. “As students study for a test or complete their homework, they can often be seen using a sensory or stress device. They also often take brain breaks and color or do a quick crossword puzzle in between classes.”

Alpert said it’s incredibly rewarding working with students and teachers.

“Whether it’s helping students locate an online database source for an assignment, assisting with the foam or vinyl cutter in the Maker Space or simply looking for a good book to read, I truly enjoy working with young adults,” said Alpert. “There is an enormous amount of information that students must navigate, and I love helping them research efficiently and effectively. I also deeply value my relationships with my Help Desk students. Many of them stay on the Help Desk all four years and continue to keep in touch long after they graduate. Another aspect of my job is working with the faculty at LHS. I co-teach across all disciplines and enjoy helping teachers integrate technology into their lessons.”

Alpert said she enjoys “many aspects” of her job.

“I love how libraries have changed and grown into spaces of collaboration and design thinking,” said Alpert. “It’s an exciting job to have as research opportunities and sources have expanded across the world. Encouraging students to explore the myriad of resources that are now available to them either in print or electronically is exciting whether it’s for a school assignment or to pursue an individual passion. I love sharing my passion for reading and literature with staff and students.”

Alpert said library assistant Frances Fleming is the Media Center’s unsung hero.

“I would not be able to successfully run the LHS Library Media Center, the Student Help Desk program and the Maker Space without the help of my amazing library assistant Frances Fleming,” said Alpert. “She has been with me for 19 of my 20 years and her presence has been an essential piece to my success and the success of the Lynnfield High School Library Media Center.”

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