Monday, March 20, 2023

Meet World Class Employee Arianna Esparza

In Southlake, we strive for perfection and to exceed expectations by delivering world class experiences. That’s why we hire world class employees to deliver services with a smile!

Meet Arianna Esparza. She is a recreation attendant with the Community Services Department.

Esparza has been working for the City of Southlake for about a year in the Recreation Division of Community Services, specifically with Athletics and Programs.

She assists and helps to facilitate premiere programs such as Camp Mania Kids, Club Metro and the athletic leagues.

Working with kids and seniors during COVID-19 has its challenges, but Esparza is up for the task.

She helps to enforce safety measures, so everyone is safe.

“We clean all the chairs, we make sure everybody is good to go. They have hand sanitizer, make sure referees get them and make sure all the parents have masks on before they’re sitting down and spread out,” Esparza said.

While safety is her main priority, her most valuable contribution to her job is brightening up someone’s day.

“The one thing that I enjoy most about my job is coming into work and knowing that if a kid is having a bad day, I can make that day completely different than what they had at school or at home. They can be open with me and talk to me about anything they would like to talk to me about,” she said.

Like many jobs, rewards are often given in different formats. For Esparza, it’s the opportunities.

“I love all the opportunities I get. I can be in different things like Club Metro. It’s probably one of the most amazing things because you get to see all of their smiling faces. I remember the first day they came back, they were all so excited to be here and that’s a joy that makes you happy to be there too,” Esparza said.



Library Welcomes New Youth Librarian

Stacy V. Wells

The Southlake Library welcomes new Youth Services Librarian, Stacy Vandever Wells.

Stacy is an experienced Youth Services Librarian, having worked in Fort Worth and McKinney libraries. She received her MLS from the University of North Texas in 1999. She has a passion for literature and learning, especially when it comes to children. She has served on various professional committees and taskforces that enhance the quality of children and teen library services across the US.   She currently serves as YART (Young Adult Round Table) Secretary; Social Media coordinator for READ (Reaching, Educating, and Advocating for Dyslexics) and recently published an article in The Whole Library Handbook: Teen Service edited by Heather Booth and Karen Jenson.

“Children are our future and we, the adults in their lives, are their guides. I take my role as a Youth Services Librarian seriously, even if I’m covered in paint from an art project or singing silly songs with a group of kids. It’s my job as a librarian to make sure each child I see at the library has a positive experience connected with reading and learning; whether that’s finding the perfect book for them, a safe place to study quietly or providing quality programming.”

Reading Ladies: Carroll ISD Celebrates Librarians

The American Library Association has designated April 14-20, 2013 as National Library Week. Carroll ISD joins the association in recognizing district librarians. This week the district encourages everyone to recognize the value and importance of libraries, librarians and library workers.

First sponsored in 1958, National Library Week is a national observance sponsored by the American Library Association (ALA) and libraries across the country each April.

“Traditionally, librarians were seen as the keepers of books,”  said Carroll ISD K-12 Language Arts Coordinator Suzanne Newell. “They have always been valued as experts on finding print information and helping students and adults find just the right book.  In the 21st century, however, with the written word being found in such a wide variety of forms, the role of librarians has expanded to involve information literacy and technology coaching in addition to their work with printed texts. 

This year, the Carroll ISD librarians have been instrumental in carrying out this year’s theme: “Once Upon a Dragon” which emphasizes literacy and promotes a life long love of reading.

Newell said, “Carroll ISD’s librarians work to not only instill a love of reading on their campuses, they also strive to help students leave our system prepared to be savvy consumers of information and knowledgeable researchers.”

The 11 Carroll ISD librarians are listed below:

  • Carroll Elementary School: Julia Campbell
  • Johnson Elementary School: Margo Rudder
  • Old Union Elementary School: Heather Loomis
  • Rockenbaugh Elementary School: Julie Green
  • Walnut Grove Elementary School: Debra Albertini
  • Durham Intermediate School: Suzie Green
  • Eubanks Intermediate School: Lucy Drenka
  • Carroll Middle School: Cynthia Bittick
  • Dawson Middle School: Teresa McDonald
  • Carroll High School: Candace Neal
  • Carroll Senior High School: Sarah Chase 

Tipi Storytelling at Johnson Elementary School

The librarian at Johnson Elementary School is always looking for unique ways to get students excited about reading and the art of storytelling. Margo Rudder, who also serves as the Library Coordinator for Carroll ISD, organized a visit from the Tipi Storytellers to come to the campus and visit with students. Their visit was funded by the JES PTO.

On a cold Tuesday morning, students huddled inside a 28-foot high tipi, set up on the Johnson Elementary School campus. Inside, the floor was covered with blankets and animal skins. Jaye McLaughlin is one of the groups founders, she told students about the lives of the Cherokee and played music. McLaughlin tours schools across the area, giving students a new perspective about Native American culture. A short video clip of the event is posted below.

The Tipi Storytellers’ visit to Johnson is part of the school’s efforts to introduce new children’s literature to the students as part of Johnson Elementary’s “school read” initiative where every student and staff member reads the same book. The entire school staff and families are invited to read Little House in the Big Woods by Laura Ingalls Wilder. The school will be sharing their reading daily in the classrooms and over morning announcements.

This school year, Carroll ISD continues to focus education efforts on literacy and establishing a love of reading in every student through the district’s “Once Upon a Dragon” theme. Click here to visit the “Once Upon a Dragon” page located on the district’s official website.


Novel Experience for Eubanks Students

A young boy finds out his family has moved into a house where the previous owner was murdered. A young girl discovers her true identity. A friendship is tested. Three orphaned siblings journey through time to dangerous and secret corners of the world. These are the themes behind the novels that Eubanks Intermediate School students are reading in book clubs this year.

Approximately 28 students meet bi-monthly in the school library for the Eubanks Book Club. Members share a passion for reading and enjoy sharing their thoughts with others in the group.

EIS librarian Lucy Drenka said, “When we meet, we simply discuss the book that we are currently reading and share recommendations with the other members of the club. I start the discussion and then toss a stuffed animal to the student who would like to speak – giving them the floor.”

“I love book club because book lovers get together and talk about the books that they have recently read,” sixth grader Nicholas Tornow said. “I’ve read several books that I never thought I would read because of book club.”

Sixth grader Natalie Gessner agreed, “I like book club because you see the different books that other people have read … it’s a fun way to be creative and be yourself.”

Club membership has its perks.

“When Tim Green visited our school, we got to sit in the front row and we sent him our picture. I can’t wait for our upcoming tour to Barnes and Noble. I will join book club again next year because I love it,” fifth grader Nadia Khalil said. 

“Members are also allowed to check out an additional book each time they visit the library, plus they are also the first to see the new books when they arrive in the library,” Drenka said.

The club has many exciting activities slated for 2013, including a meeting dedicated to sharing reader’s favorite books and treats.

“We’ll be sipping on cocoa and talking about how books warm our hearts, creating book trailers and viewing them at a popcorn party, visiting the Southlake Public Library, and sharing food items that are mentioned in books,” Drenka said. “It just doesn’t get better than that!”

Titles on member’s individual reading lists include:

  • Closed for the Season by Mary Downing Hahn
  • Deep Dark and Dangerous by Mary Downing Hahn
  • Mark of Athena by Rick Riordan
  • Serpent’s Shadow by Rick Riordan
  • Harry Potter and the Gobletof Fire by J.K. Rowling
  • The Hobbit by Tolkien
  • The Fire Chronicle by John Stephens
  • The Emerald Atlas by John Stephens
  • Middle School: The Worst Year of My Life James Patterson
  •  Double Identity by Margaret Peterson Haddix
  • The Secret Ingredient by Laura Schaefer
  • Ungifted by Gordon Korman
  • The One and Only Ivan by Katherine Applegate
  • Wonder by R.J. Palacio

Rockenbaugh Students Celebrate 2013 Read Across America Day

Students from Rockenbaugh Elementary filled the library on March 1 to celebrate Dr. Seuss’s birthday and to kick off Read Across America Day, the nation’s largest reading celebration with more than 45 million participating around the country to highlight the importance of developing a love for reading at an early age.

RES Librarian Julie Green shared biographical information and technology related Seuss items with students, including, reading apps, online story time and e-books. 

“Each morning we have been challenging classrooms to identify the quote of the day from a book or particular Seuss character and giving out Seuss surprises,” Green said.

Read Across America is an award-winning literacy program founded by NEA in 1997 through a partnership with Dr. Seuss Enterprises, L.P., and Random House. NEA’s Read Across America Day is celebrated every year on or around the birthday of Dr. Suess, the beloved children’s author.

A photo slideshow of the event is posted below.