Miller Elementary Wins Award for Library Collaboration

Apr 09, 2021

Miller Elementary PTA Virtual Nights Team

Congratulations to the Miller Elementary School and Miller PTA for being recognized by the Texas Library Association with the Shirley Igo PTA and School Library Collaboration Award.

Miller was recognized for its efforts to inspire readers on campus and in the school community through their Virtual Family Story Nights, an outstanding collaboration between the Miller PTA and the school library. This state-level award is given annually to one school in Texas.

The campus and PTA hosted two Virtual Family Story Nights earlier this year to promote reading and celebrate languages and cultures within the Miller community. 

For parents, it is a time to let their language and culture shine as they have the opportunity to read a children’s book in their expert language. For families of students and staff, it gives the community a chance to gather around the computer and engage in reading together.

Readings have been done in Spanish, Japanese and Sign Language. 

“The Miller PTA President Dominica Sequeira and the Vice President of Programs Millie Mathew jumped at the opportunity to help us with this initiative,” said Miller librarian Brandy Carnline. “The PTA purchased books for the parents to read like The Very Hungry Caterpillar in Japanese and also purchased several books for student door prizes.

“We are thankful for their partnership as they have encouraged us every step of the way.”

A grandparent of a Miller student even sewed 100 reading pillows that the librarian gifted to students during the Virtual Family Story Nights.

“Whole families are participating each night and the feedback we are receiving from families is extremely positive and encouraging,” said Miller Principal Ashley Miller.

The Virtual Family Story Nights evolved thanks to the thoughtful collaboration of multiple campus individuals. This includes special education teacher Katelyn Combs, whom the idea originated from, language coach Kathy Knesek, who coordinated the multilingual aspects of the program, Brandy Carnline, digital learning coach Kristine Seale, Dominica Sequeira, Millie Mathew and several volunteer parents and staff.

Carnline emphasizes that this award is bigger than the library; it is really a celebration of Miller and the school’s ability to serve students and their families no matter where they are learning. Virtual Academy and Face to Face students participate together in the story nights.

“As a librarian, I have the unique opportunity to help students find their passions, and exploration through reading is a big part of that,” Carnline said. “This award empowers our campus to keep doing more to build support for our students and community.

“Miller is adapting and creating opportunities to bring students together in new and exciting ways.”

Miller is one of many FISD campuses holding virtual reading nights. The admirable partnership of parents sharing their gift of language that connects students to the many cultures of Miller is what helps make their nights a bit different, along with the coordination of resources from Combs, Carnline, Knesek and the support of the Miller PTA.

“Stories bring us together,” said Stacy Cameron, FISD coordinator of library and media services. “In a school year where our students have been learning in two different environments, it’s been exciting to watch how Miller has brought students together to celebrate reading and the languages represented in the school community.”

The last story night of the semester will be held later this month and will have campus volunteers reading books in English, Sign Language, Spanish, Punjabi and Hindi.

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