“It is massive what this school system has going on instructional-wise,” Nelson said during this month’s BCBOE work session.
For example, as the system makes use of its Striving Readers Literacy Grants, which places advanced technology in the hands of students, teachers also are learning how to better implement such technology in the classroom.
“We had the audit on our first Striving Readers Grant and there were no findings that needed attention from staff,” Nelson said. “We have done our teacher module training with that group; the staff development is being set up this year to help those teachers and administrators as they move forward with the Striving Readers Grant.”
He continued, “A lot of books and materials have been ordered and delivered to that group. The Striving Readers Grant II materials were ordered in August and ... they are setting up the teacher module training for that group of schools, the staff development is following that and they’re holding a technology conference for our schools because it’s great to have that equipment, but we want our people to know how to use that equipment.”
Along with the technology infrastructure training, teachers also are learning to utilize online resources, such as www.blackboard.com.
“The Blackboard and unit development both at the elementary, middle and high school level takes a lot of training, time and preparation, so that is being pushed forward,” Nelson said, adding the Blackboard website will feature training videos for teachers.
While the intent of the SRLG is to help students read more proficiently, Nelson said the system also is working to help students utilize the counter part of reading: writing. This effort is being orchestrated through the help of the Zaner-Bloser writing program.
According to www.zaner-bloser.com, “Zaner-Bloser’s mission is to create dynamic, appealing, and effective educational programs and services. Our focus is on distinctive programs that inspire all students to become engaged, literate participants in the global society.”
Nelson was positive about implementing the program to help teach students cursive writing.
“A lot of people thought writing was dead, but finally educators woke up and realized writing is an essential part of teaching boys and girls,” Nelson said. “Bartow County is working very hard, we’ve adopted the Zaner-Bloser writing program, which was used 1,000 years ago and has been very successful through the years, and so we’re now training our school system staff on using that program and the materials are getting out to the schools.”