The two-day Summer Institute for BCPS lighthouse school teachers and administrators was a sea of color as each school group donned bright t-shirts to represent their school. Teachers were in high spirits and were excited to learn more about their new devices and best practices for leveraging technology to engage students.
“Everyone is just really on board and really excited,” said Shannan Harzarik, a teacher at Chase Elementary School. ”For students this gives them the tools and the ability to be successful in the 21st century. It’s engaging and definitely levels the playing field. The fact that every school will have the same technology and same opportunities is great. Students will be engaged and will be in charge of their learning and it also boosts morale for teachers.”
Participants attended workshops on topics including characteristics of a student-centered learning environment, databases for digital learning, social media and online research, among other subjects and got to hear from education innovator Hall Davidson of Discovery Education.
“The last two days have had amazing professional development around personalizing and blending learning for students and really creating learner-centered environments,” said Ryan Imbriale, executive director of innovative learning. “We’ve been practicing with tools that our teachers have access to and have been tying it directly into our curriculum. It’s powerful because we are tailoring it specifically to the work that is happening in BCPS and in these 10 lighthouse schools.”
Teachers and staff left feeling confident and were happy to know they had a strong support system in place.
“This professional development has really been affirming for my teachers because we have already been heading in this direction. They feel like they are really prepared to become a lighthouse school and to open up the doors for people to come in and see what they’re doing,” said Halstead Academy Principal Jen Mullenax. “S.T.A.T. is going to take our kids to the next level…they are so smart and so bright but most of them don’t have the access. So when they have the access at school, it is going to be amazing to see where they go.”