When taxpayers approved the 2012-13 fiscal year school budget, they also approved the position of a science technology instructional coach (STIC).
This position required an employee to go between Redding Elementary School and John Read Middle School as a technology support person for teachers, administrators and students.
Kyle Evans, a science teacher from Virginia, applied for the position and started his first year in Redding this past September.
“It’s exactly what I was looking for,” he said.
Mr. Evans grew up in Pennsylvania, and after college relocated outside of the Washington, D.C., area. After he and his wife had their second child, he said, they wanted to be closer to their families.
With the growing use of technology, including iPads and laptops as instructional tools in the classroom, school administrators said during last year’s budget hearings that it is necessary to have someone able to support teachers in learning new material and teaching it to students.
“I don’t have a ‘normal’ day,” said Mr. Evans. “It varies between John Read Middle School and Redding Elementary School.”
Among the hats Mr. Evans wears are to teach professional development days, run the technology committee and be part of the science department at John Read, he said.
“It depends on where I’m needed,” he said.
Now, halfway through the school year, Mr. Evans said his time is being split more evenly.
When the eighth grade students were working on their immigration project, Mr. Evans said, he spent about two weeks supporting the teachers and students who used different kinds of technology. Some students used different iPad applications and made PowerPoints, among other things.
After helping with that project, Mr. Evans helped the third and fourth grade students who were learning about animal adaptations.
“I’ve been working all over,” he said.
He helped one class set up a Skype session with a Yellowstone Park ranger in Wyoming, and he is planning to set up a video camera to focus on a group of trout raised by another class, he said.
Now that teachers are used to his help, some teachers email him with questions, he said.
Based on his 12 years of teaching experience, Mr. Evans said, he suggests to teachers different technology ideas for their classroom units.
“I’ll give them ideas if I know what they’re teaching,” he said. “Fourth grade is doing a force of motion unit, so I’ve been testing some apps out.”
Mr. Evans is also working on curriculum writing to meet the new common core state standards, he said.
“I’m still in the process of learning the curriculum and writing the new [curriculum]. It’s hard to balance now and seeing where it’s going — but it’s exciting,” he said.
Looking forward, Mr. Evans hopes to introduce a Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) course at the elementary school. The middle school and Joel Barlow High School both have a STEM robotics course.
“I’ve designed an elementary STEM lab, and hopefully they [the elementary students] will be doing labs. That’s my immediate vision,” he said.
With implementation of the new common core state standards curriculum, Mr. Evans said, there will be a “huge” engineering component for science. He said if students start to learn engineering in elementary school, they can move forward with it in middle school and high school.
“It makes them much more prepared,” he said.