Monday, July 28, 2014

Letter to Teachers

Dear IHS Colleagues,

            I am super excited to start working as the technology instructional coach at IHS!  Over the past several weeks I have traveled to multiple states to learn about technology and leadership. My first trip was to UNI for my masters program. I participated in an intense weeklong technology integration boot camp. We covered new learning from 8-5 each day and worked on a group project well until midnight each night. (I will attach a link to our project at the bottom of this letter.)

            Last week, I went to Lincoln, NE to the Midwest Google Summit. I can honestly say that Google has more programs for education than I ever dreamed of, and more and more are coming all the time. Google plans on unveiling their LMS (Learning Management System) in the coming months. Over the two days in Lincoln, I also started the work toward my Google Certified Educator and Google Certified Trainer certificates. In the next 90 days I will be completing the coursework and taking the exams. Hopefully, I will be invited to Mountain View, CA next summer to complete the final requirements of a GCT.

            I also went to Ankeny to an Iowa leadership conference, and on Sunday I leave for Lawrence, KS to participate in another leadership conference. I look forward to getting the instructional coaching training needed to be an effective addition to the IHS staff. Needless to say, it has been a wild summer of learning!

            For those of you that don’t know me, I have been in the ICSD for nine years. I started subbing at IHS and got my first contracted position at Irving. Before that, I taught at PCM as a K-8 GT instructor and a 7th grade language arts instructor. I spent three years prior to that as a special education associate, while I completed my teaching degree from Buena Vista University.

            My husband, Jamie, is a career firefighter for the City of Des Moines and serves our community on IFD as well. We have adopted two kids from South Korea. Teegan is entering 3rd grade at Irving. He loves reading and drawing. Adelyn will be entering preschool this year. She is our little diva and certainly keeps us on our toes. We also have a golden-doodle named Doug. My parents are retiring from a ministry in Baxter, IA this summer and are moving back to our hometown of Lake City, IA. I’m sure they will be taking quite a few trips to Indianola this year.

            Last week I moved into room 323 on Abbey Road. I have tables set up where we can meet when I hold small group training sessions. I can also come to your room when needed this year.

            Currently, I am preparing for our pre-service days and setting up our Apple training for the DLE. The training will occur over two consecutive days. Right now we are leaning toward November. A benefit to this is that you can get some experience with the machines, before we tackle any new learning. The classes being offered are “Reaching All Learners” and “Challenge-Based Learning.” The classes will focus on the Apple products, tips and tricks. We need 20 teachers to come to this training. It will be an EXCELLENT opportunity to learn more about our DLE capabilities. Apple doesn’t disappoint, and they have excellent trainers who will come out to teach us. Please let me know ASAP if you plan on attending or think you will.  I will be the organizer of this event. When we get the dates set I will send you more information.

            To conclude I want to say how honored and excited I am to be on the IHS staff this year. You all have so many talents and are committed to our community’s youth. I admire the work that you do, and will continue to do, in order for the DLE to be successful. I want to emphasize that I am here for you for whatever you are going to need. We are going to have bumps along the way, and not every moment will be the best, but the end result is that we will send these kids out into the career and college worlds with rich technology experiences. It will take many months for all of us to shift our teaching and classroom learning to be completely digital. We know this, and I plan on doing everything I can to support you along this journey.

            If you need anything before school starts or after, don’t hesitate to contact me. No question is too big or too little.

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