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Date: April 29th, 2008
Submitted By: Debbie Hale   -   Web Site: www.k12.wa.us/EdTech/eett08-awardees.aspx

Federal grants to help teachers ...

Washington Teachers Receive $873,000 for peer coaching program.
OLYMPIA, WA — In one classroom, students might construct a Web site and blog to learn about their school’s neighborhood. In another, students could publish a monthly newsletter using word processors and desktop publishing software. In a third, students might compose a piece of music for six instruments using music composition software.
What do these students have in common? Classroom teachers who know how to integrate technology into teaching and learning.
Grant recipients for the 2008-09 Enhanced Peer Coaching Program were announced recently by the Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI). Ninety-seven teachers across Washington state will be trained as technology integrators and peer coaches for the coming school year.
Each educator will receive $9,000, which will cover a 10-session training program and its related costs, such as substitute teachers, and new technology for their classrooms. When they return to their schools as peer coaches, they will work closely with fellow teachers to share their newly-acquired skills and technology.

“Peer coaches work with colleagues in their schools to incorporate digital technologies into teaching and learning — software, graphing calculators, interactive whiteboards, digital cameras and more,” said Dennis Small, director of educational technology at OSPI. “Together they identify ways to use this technology to strengthen curricula and improve academic achievement.”

Peer coaches also join an online professional network where they share new ideas, lessons and experiences, and connect with teachers across the globe through Microsoft’s Innovative Teachers Network, www.innovativeteachers.com <http://www.innovativeteachers.com> .
“I’ve always looked for better, often non-traditional ways of engaging my students,” said Teri Bratt of Barnes Elementary in the Kelso School District, a 2007-2008 peer coaching grant recipient. “As I get better at technology integration, my students’ learning experience becomes richer. I see technology as a teaching partner. I don’t have to know everything — the kids and I can learn together. And, as we learn, the teaching moments happen naturally.”
Washington’s 97 peer coaching grant winners represent 74 schools from 33 urban and rural districts. They were selected by a 16-person evaluation team of Washington educators. The selection criteria included vision and goals, passion for educational technology and using it to help individual students, a plan on how to work with other teachers, and geographic location.

“It’s great to see the coaches make the journey from the relative solitude of teaching to a learning community made up of educators wanting to enhance and share their experiences,” Small said. “The best part is, we can reach so many more students this way because teachers learn these new techniques from their own colleagues.”
This is the second year of the grants in Washington. They are funded through Title II, Part D, of the federal Elementary and Secondary Education Act, also known as the Enhancing Education Through Technology initiative.

For a list of the schools where awarded teachers work, visit www.k12.wa.us/EdTech/eett08-awardees.aspx <http://www.k12.wa.us/EdTech/eett08-awardees.aspx> .

About OSPI

The Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI) is the primary agency charged with overseeing K-12 education in Washington state. Led by State School Superintendent Dr. Terry Bergeson, OSPI works with the state’s 295 school districts and nine Educational Service Districts to administer basic education programs and implement education reform on behalf of more than one million public school students.

OSPI does not discriminate and provides equal access to its programs and services for all persons without regard to race, color, gender, religion, creed, marital status, national origin, sexual preference/orientation, age, veteran’s status or the presence of any physical, sensory or mental disability.

For more information, visit the OSPI Web site at www.k12.wa.us <http://www.k12.wa.us> .