BG transition to an age of technology and improvement

Erik Hernandez, Copy Editor

With every new year, new positions are created. Notably, this year’s position changes include both technological and language–learning programs.

As BG transitions into the digital age, there have been many questions raised as to what it means for teachers and students to have so much technology at hand. Now, in addition to the Noggin Squad, a student–run program which helps students become familiar with iPads, a new program has arrived this year in which teachers help teachers. The instructing four teachers include: English teacher Stefanie McCleish, history teacher Mike Mccabe and science teacher Tim Kosiek. Their titles: Digital Technology Coaches (DTC’s). Along with these three teachers is the Innovative Technology Facilitator (ITF) Jeffrey Vlk, whose main duties are to oversee all technology within the building.

“I want to be available, provide resources and do my best to simplify technology,” Kosiek said. “We’re surrounded by awesome teachers and we don’t want to change what they’re doing, we want to enhance it.”

According to Vlk, by next year the school plans on having every student use an iPad. In turn, all DTC’s are available during one lunch period a day in order to provide assistance to current iPad–using teachers.

“I want to make people feel as comfortable as possible and take away fears,” Vlk said. “We want to meet them where they are.”

Not only within technology sectors of BG are changes being made, there are also minor changes with Lit Lab supervisors. Science teacher Sindi Smith is now the “science specialist” in the Lit Lab. Smith spends two hours inside the Lit Lab, as well as having two Biology classes.

“I want to help students learn how to study to prepare them and give them confidence for their assessment,” Smith said. “We’re trying to implement more study groups with student leaders.”

Along with all the changes at BG, ESL and AP teacher Anna Schultes recently earned a new position as District 21’s first LEP (Limited English Proficiency) instructional coach. The position is part of an initiative that utilizes funds through a grant given by the Immigrant Education Grant. The focus of Schultes’ new role is to provide training for teachers to better teach students who are former or current english learners.

Schultes’ duties now include going to all schools in the district and coaching teachers on how to better educate current or former English learners. Since Schultes is now the instructional coach of the program, she is only teaching three periods during the morning.

The main goals for Schultes this year include making a website for the newly–made program and to also raise awareness on how many students are currently still learning English. According to Schultes, one quarter of students in the district are former or current English learners. To raise awareness, she will be giving mini–lessons at all schools in the district.

“First of all, we need to raise awareness of the needs of English learners, and we need to keep them at the forefront of our minds,” Schultes said. “I want to get to a position where staff will want me to come in.”

There may be many changes occurring within BG, but, nevertheless, the unified goal is progression.

“We’re ahead of the curve,” Vlk said. “We have to find out their [teachers’] goals and where they want their class to be by the end.”