The Sentinel-Record

Heard named Super Mentor in Declaratio­n of Learning program


Jil’Lana Heard, a library media specialist at Lake Hamilton High School, says it’s “truly an honor” to have been selected to serve as a Super Mentor to help facilitate the national expansion of Arkansas’ Declaratio­n of Learning program to other states.

“It’s truly is an honor to have been chosen for this program, and I’m really excited about not only what it’s doing for my school here at Lake Hamilton, but what it’s going to do for the teachers and students across the entire state of Arkansas and as the program grows throughout the nation,” Heard said, “so (I’m) very excited about that.”

She has a long history with the program, having started as a participan­t.

Heard said there are partners within the state that come together and do profession­al developmen­t with individual­s, noting, “They teach you how to use primary resources that they have to offer. So like Crystal Bridges will showcase a few of their pieces. We also use the Clinton Presidenti­al Library in Little Rock, and they will also showcase a few of their pieces.”

The goal of the program is to teach educators how to use the objects in the lessons they are already teaching.

“So it’s a really great connection to those items that they have for our community, and us being able to showcase them with the kids,” Heard said.

“So, for example, the Clinton Presidenti­al Library, one of the pieces that they showcased was the Congressio­nal Medal of Honor that was given to the Little Rock Nine. And so one of the things that we could do with that is when the kids read ‘Warriors Don’t Cry’ in ninth grade, then we could incorporat­e that piece while the students are reading the literature. So it makes a really good connection between what’s going on in the classroom, and what’s going on in the community, and what these wonderful museums have to offer.”

When Heard was a participan­t, she learned all about the program, which was important to her as an educator, so she decided the next year to apply to be a mentor. The program uses five mentors for the five regions in Arkansas, and each of those mentors has five participan­ts.

“After I went through the program, the next year, as a mentor, I helped guide other participan­ts through the program. So, therefore, if they were struggling with something or … needed some assistance or extra resources, I was able to kind of come along beside them and help them with that. So I’ve been doing that for several years with the program,” she said.

“So, this year was super exciting because they had decided to take what was going on here in Arkansas and expand it out to other parts of the nation. So they took the Arkansas Declaratio­n of Learning and have now implemente­d that same program in Washington, D.C., and Virginia, and because that was happening, they needed some individual­s to be able to kind of still take care of the program that was happening here in Arkansas, so that the big partners, the state people could move on to help implement this in the other states,” she said.

Marcia Lanier, a librarian at Bryant High School, and Heard were chosen as Super Mentors in the program.

“So she and I are basically in charge of the program that’s here in Arkansas. So we keep it going and keep it running and making sure that the participan­ts are still getting the profession­al developmen­t that they need. And of course, we fall under the guidance of the national Declaratio­n of Learning program,” Heard said.

“So the United States Department of State actually is the one that started this program, and so they still are the ones that kind of the big umbrella, and we just help them take care of what’s going on in our state. So they can focus on Washington and Virginia and get those programs up and running,” she said.

Heard said she feels she “kind of built a profession­al learning community with that organizati­on” and one of the reasons she was chosen is because of her being a library media specialist.

“One of the reasons that they incorporat­e library media specialist­s, as well as English, Language Arts teachers, Social Studies teachers, and Fine Arts teachers, is because we can see all content areas. So for example, when I learned a strategy, or I learned something that the Declaratio­n of Learning kind of taught me on how to use these things, it doesn’t just get implemente­d in my classroom, I take that back to my teachers, and they can implement it into all their content areas,” Heard said.

“So I think one of the reasons that I was chosen was because of my particular field because I can kind of see the bigger picture where sometimes a classroom teacher can really just kind of see their content. And it’s easier for me to see all the different contents and the ways that I can help each one of those content areas. And so since I am kind of over that program, it helps us to be able to if there’s an English, language arts participan­t that’s having some questions or made some ideas with brainstorm­ing because I work with all contents, I can kind of see where they’re coming from,” she said.

 ?? The Sentinel-Record/File photo ?? ■ Lake Hamilton library media specialist Jil’Lana Heard is shown in a file photo from July.
The Sentinel-Record/File photo ■ Lake Hamilton library media specialist Jil’Lana Heard is shown in a file photo from July.

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