The 2014-15 school year is quickly approaching, and with it will come innovative ways of teaching and learning across Baltimore County. One key component of this will be the launch of S.T.A.T. (Students and Teachers Accessing Tomorrow), which uses technology to help personalize learning. Teachers from the 10 BCPS Lighthouse schools, where S.T.A.T. will begin, rolled up their sleeves and got in some professional development during the final day of the Summer Lighthouse Institute. Held at Cockeysville Middle School, the Institute was attended by more than 300 teachers, administrators and staff.
"The thing that makes BCPS most special and optimized for success is that equal focus is put both on the access, the infrastructure and the behind the scenes as well as the learning, the professional development opportunities, and the curricular transformation," said Gus Schmedlen, vice president of worldwide education for Hewlett-Packard and the keynote speaker at the Institute. "By having a balanced approach where you have deep expertise in both, you're going to yield the most success."
After Schmedlen's stimulating address in which he called BCPS' implementation of S.T.A.T. one of the best he has ever seen, teachers went off to breakout sessions to learn best practices when using BCPS One as well as other tricks of the tech trade.
"Summer is a great time for professional development because teachers aren't in the midst of teaching. It gives them time to think about and digest everything that we are presenting to them, and also gives them time to collaborate and talk with each other," said David Robb, a specialist in the Office of Digital Learning.
Teachers were definitely collaborative and felt very confident about the new school year ahead.
"I think this is the way of 21st century learning," said Hannah Krug, a special education teacher at Halstead Academy. "Kids are learning in different ways, and I think that it will create a more level playing field for everyone."