Liberty Union-Thurston Local Schools, Baltimore, Ohio
Educators at Liberty Union-Thurston Local Schools in Ohio wanted to learn how to use new technology, but were struggling to find the right opportunity.
After reaching out to other local school leaders, Superintendent Todd Osborn launched Fairfield County PD Day, which provided time to investigate new instructional tools and
“Our goal was to develop a systemic process to define the basic technology skills each teacher should possess,” says Osborn.
To support the program, Osborn designated Kelley Savage, a Liberty Union-Thurston teacher, as the instruction tech coach. Implementing that position, however, consisted of trial and error. Osborn needed to reorganize Savage’s classroom responsibilities to make her available to her colleagues without having to hire additional staff. The new role also had to meet union contract constraints.
Osborn instructed principals to use Savage as a resource, and told early program implementers to relate their experiences of working with her to other staff members.
“I purposely over-communicated that Kelley was not an administrator,” Osborn says. “Otherwise teachers wouldn’t believe she wasn’t judging or evaluating them when they went to her for help.”
The Fairfield County PD Day now involves curriculum directors from six schools obtaining requests from their teachers for topics they are interested in learning. Teachers also schedule meetings with Savage to discuss planning.
The PD has gone hand-in-hand with a 1-to-1 initiative where students in grades 3 through 12 received Chromebooks. Unable to afford to purchase the devices, the district has leased them for two years, saving nearly $40,000.
The program has been a success, with other schools asking to participate in the PD day. Teachers Helping Teachers has also driven more co-teaching and cross-content hands-on learning activities within the district.