"Transform Learning" Opening for Garrett County Public Schools

Last Updated on Aug 26, 2015 at 10:11am |

On Wednesday, August 19, 2015, the employees of Garrett County Public Schools filled the gymnasium at Garrett College’s CARC for the back-to-school countywide meeting. The theme for the program was #transformlearning.  Educational technology and technology ideas were addressed and shared throughout the morning.
 
During the opening, Northern Garrett High School’s JROTC presented the colors, while the Southern Garrett High School band played the national anthem.  Miss Lauren Frick, Student Member of the Board, led the audience in the Pledge of Allegiance.
 
Mr. Matthew Paugh, Board of Education President, addressed the audience with his history of educational technology from the time he was a student at Kitzmiller Elementary School through the years to his membership on the Board of Education.
 
Mrs. Barbara Baker, Assistant Superintendent of Educational Services, introduced the Garrett County Teacher of the Year – Mrs. Rebecca Kenyon-Sisler, a science teacher at Northern High School.  Mrs. Kenyon-Sisler informed the audience of various projects, technology, and community resources used in her classes that are project-based experiences for the students in the learning process.
 
Mr. Chuck Trautwein, Computer Resource Teacher, shared his years of experiences with the ever changing technology available in the schools.  Mr. Trautwein also discussed the SAMR Model.  The Substitution Augmentation Modification Redefinition Model offers a method of seeing how computer technology might impact teaching and learning.  It also shows a progression that educational technology often follows through teaching and learning with technology.
 
           
 
Mr. Jeff Gank, Director of Information Technology, shared with the staff how technology and the technology infrastructure in the school system has changed and improved over the years.  For 2015-16:
* 2,400 computing devices in the schools.
* 1:1.6 device to student ratio.
* 1:2 mobile device to student ratio.
* 100% wifi coverage in the schools and buildings.
* 91% of the schools have adequate bandwidth for digital learning.
* 3 years is the average age of the devices in the schools.
 
Dr. Janet Wilson, Superintendent, indicated that the new branding, #transformlearning, aligns well with the Board of Education’s goals and values:  Innovation, Community, Effectiveness, and Excellence. She emphasized that the purpose for using digital resources at various levels looks as different as the technology devices students are provided at those levels.  Dr. Wilson complimented the staff on the hard work and dedication they have demonstrated as digital resources are used to engage learners.
 
Mr. Mike Warne, Yough Glades Elementary School, presented ideas of “Innovation” and technology in the classrooms.  Mrs. Ali Schilpp, Northern Middle School, shared thoughts of “Community” and technology in the schools.  Mr. Gregg Hostetler, Northern High School, gave an overview of “Effectiveness” and technology in the high schools.
 
Miss Alexandra Miller, a student at Northern High School, shared her personal experiences of “Excellence” and technology from elementary school to high school.  She shared examples of transformed learning and how it opened up many avenues for her to pursue.  She thanked all the employees, at every level, for making Garrett County Public Schools a great place for students to receive an outstanding education and prepare them for the future.
 
           
 
Participants were also invited to view a digital learning expo that showcased many ways Garrett County students and staff have used technology in the schools in the past year. Such exhibits were:  solar panels built by teachers, theater and stage design, food service online portal, maintenance department’s automated control of temperature, systems, and security, robotics team, transportation department’s Buster the Bus for PreK and Kindergarten on proper school bus etiquette, Southern High School’s newspaper, etc.