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Teacher Feature

October 5, 2009
Times Observer
WRITTEN BY TARA VANDEVELDE, H.C. FENNER ELEMENTARY SCHOOL

When a student walks into the H.C. Fenner Elementary Media Center that child awaits a real adventure. First, the 6’3’’ male librarian surprises them then they are even more amazed how reading can be fun with Mr. VandeVelde's adventurous lessons.

Jason VandeVelde is in his third year as Fenner's Library Media Specialist (Grades 3-5). In 2005, through UB, Mr. V. received his Master’s Degree in Library Science. He also is certified as a Library Media Specialist. In addition, Jason possesses a degree in Elementary Education and is certified Kindergarten through Sixth grade. Jason has always enjoyed working with students and serving as a positive role model in their lives. Being the oldest of five children has allowed Jason to naturally fit the role.

Family has always come first in Jason’s life. He is the relative that will be there for the simple things such as to move a piece of furniture or join in on valued life celebrations. Mr. V is a loving and dedicated husband and proud father. He works with his wife, who also teaches at H.C. Fenner Elementary as a Third Grade teacher. His son (3yrs) and daughter (2yrs) are the driving force in making everyday count as though it were the last. Returning home after a busy day of teaching and football practice Jason discovers hidden energy and never hesitates in building a LEGO castle or playing in the backyard with his children. Aside from his love for his family and reading, Jason also has a passion for football. He dedicates his time by serving as an assistant Varsity Football coach for Falconer. Although this is his first year coaching for Falconer Central School he is a former football/basketball coach from Westfield Academy Central School (also Mr. VandeVelde’s Alma Mater) for a few years while serving in a permanent substitution position.

When asked if he can see himself doing anything else, Jason’s response is that he is exactly where is supposed to be in the scheme of life. With his immense love for books, desire to enrich lives, and possession of the natural ability to teach a great librarian exists here at Fenner. It is a yearly goal of Jason’s to assist students in finding a book or series that they cannot put down. The sad reality is that not every student enjoys reading. To tackle that Mr. V can start the “Reading is Fun” campaign through a reading inventory.

Each year brings new adventures for the student body. With his lively lessons on book care -gone are the days when silence was the way of the library, now replaced with a memorable lesson and laughter of children. Whether Mr. V teaches a lesson on the Dewey Decimal system, using the well-known Around the World concept, or allows students to create their own family shield of honor, each lesson offers students a chance to display their individual talents. Students that enter the library are in a welcoming environment and leave with more than books. The children are leaving with a strong foundational understanding of how the library is structured for them to use. In our fast evolving world of education children need their own "bag of researching skills" to keep up with the endless literacy demands. Mr. VandeVelde assists all of his students in building their important and crucial literacy needs.

An effective balance exists in the Fenner Library with respect being a keystone in the foundation. All students respect Mr. VandeVelde because he himself respects each and every student for their individuality. With respect, knowledge is achieved in and out of any classroom/library making Mr. VandeVelde an important asset to the Fenner Faculty!

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