Wednesday, August 1, 11:00-12:30, SUB Ballroom C, Theme: Profession

In select rural areas of the U.S., five former classroom teachers have been embedded at local PBS stations and have undertaken the challenge of creating connections among local educators. For about a year they have been providing quality professional development for rural educators in their area as part of a PBS Teacher Community Program (TCP) which is a grant their station has received.  Funded by the Ann Ray Foundation with data gathering support from Rockman et al, this five-state (OR, ID, MT, ND, IA) three-year pilot project aims to reduce teacher isolation while stimulating greater collaboration between educational stakeholders.

This five-state (OR, ID, MT, ND, IA), three-year pilot project, intends to 1. Reduce teacher isolation 2. Stimulate greater collaboration and connection between local educational stakeholders 3. Address local teacher needs and offer professional learning opportunities based on PBS research findings, and 4. Connect local educators with their local station so their stories can be told to the broader community.

In Oregon, Teacher Ambassador Ben Garcia, is developing partnerships with individual teachers, local schools, local school districts, and also the local Educational Service District to participate in the planning of new, or existing: teacher summits, technology conferences, technology integration teams, various types of professional development workshops and also student camps. The vital process of telling the Teacher Community Program story, not just from a research standpoint, is just beginning to take form at SOPTV and other TCP stations. We hope to effectively relay this fascinating story about what we have learned thus far.

In Idaho, Kari Wardle, is working with three rural schools to provide technology integration training and coaching, including in-classroom modeling for teachers, working with collaborative teams, and providing one on one coaching.  Additionally, she is working to increase awareness of the resources available to teachers by traveling state wide and attending and presenting at conferences and workshops.

In Montana, Nikki Vradenburg is serving three rural school districts as a technology integration coach. By meeting with teachers within the context of the school day she is attempting to offer free, personalized, embedded and on-going professional development to K-12 teachers that includes one to one coaching meetings, modeled lessons, co-teaching, providing topical webinars, small group planning sessions and after school workshops.

In Iowa, Teacher Ambassador Mekca Wallace-Spurgin is embedded in the Centerville Community School District in the southernmost part of the state. She is developing various professional development opportunities, courses for credit and recertification, and meets with K-12 educators on a daily basis to provide support for the integration of technology. Mekca also helps with the implementation of the PBS Student Reporting Lab at Centerville High School in an effort to promote student voice.

In North Dakota, Teacher Ambassador Darcy Bakkegard is developing partnerships with various state agencies to maximize resources, networking with schools to create virtual PLCs and technology cadres, providing topical webinars for teachers, and coordinating various professional development workshops -all free for educators.