CONGRATULATIONS TO THE UCET21 INNOVATIVE TEACHER AWARD WINNERS!
Alpine – Suzy Baller – 4th Grade, Foothill Elementary, Orem – Suzy enjoys the outdoors and hiking with her family. Suzy is in her second year of teaching. Suzy isn’t afraid to jump in and try new things. During the beginning of COVID, Suzy’s first year of teaching, she taught her whole team how to use Nearpod and move to online learning. Suzy helped her team create a digital plan for online learning that matched the scope and sequence of the regular curriculum. Suzy is innovative and looks for ways to engage her students with content in a meaningful way. One recent project in social studies included coding ozobots along the Mormon Pioneer trail. Students had to support their coding decisions by giving reasons for why pioneers would stop, turn, spin in a circle, etc. The students enjoyed using the ozobots and were pushed to think critically when determining how ozobots could tell the story of the pioneers coming to Utah.
Beaver – Ian Spaulding – 9-12, Milford High School, Milford – “Jeep” Ian Spaulding has served as a Business teacher in the CTE program at Milford High School for more than fifteen years. With enthusiasm, he took on additional Computer Science classes, attending several weeks of coursework throughout the summer and fall this year. With the COVID-19 shutdown in the spring of 2020, plans for adding the CS classes were initially put on hold. Jeep did not want this opportunity for his students to pass by and working with our curriculum partners, came up with ways to deliver the content of the course online or in-person as needed. This year, in a school of 250 students, Jeep has fifty students involved in meaningful CS content that meets the standards of CTE and our industry partners. When scheduling became a problem for some students, he blended classes to allow for flexibility for in-person class time. When language became a barrier, he encouraged students to work through coding problems in their native language and then apply their answers to the coding. Jeep even has plans to work out future scheduling conflicts to ensure his students can finish the more advanced courses in our curriculum that will result in an industry recognized DOK4 level of understanding.
Box Elder – Kelly Esplin – 2nd grade, North Park Elementary, Tremonton – We asked a few teachers to leave their “normal” classrooms and teach students in a virtual setting. Kelly was worried at first because she did not feel qualified or that she would connect with the kids. Kelly has integrated technology with her personality to reach all her students on a personal and educational level. Kelly looks for ways to use the tools she has to engage the students through interactive lessons. She is willing to try new tools like Nearpod and Canvas to help the students learn at a high level and keep them engaged.
Cache – Kim Jenson – 7th grade Language Arts, Spring Creek Middle School, Providence – Kim is a veteran teacher in Cache County School District. She is a tremendous ELA teacher and has spent her career at Spring Creek Middle school. She is a tremendous leader and innovator within her classroom as she works to integrate technology into her classroom. Kim has tackled any problems and programs that have popped up and she has been an aid to many in her building. She has worked tirelessly to remain innovative and up to date with all of her students’ needs in our district.
Canyons – Megan Norton – Canyon View Elementary, Cottonwood Heights, 4th Grade – Megan started teaching at Canyon View Elementary in Canyons School District in 2018. This year, Megan has not only taken on the role as online teacher, but has also been the Online Learning Team Leader for the 4th Grade Online Teachers in her district. She has organized the online content and curriculum for her grade level and has been meeting with her team of teachers at least weekly to ensure that all teachers have the skills and materials necessary to be successful. Megan is a true leader when it comes to using educational technology during the COVID-19 pandemic. Maintaining a positive learning environment while online is a very difficult challenge, but she continues to find innovative ways to keep her students stay motivated and engaged. Megan has created a seamless Canvas course where students can easily access and complete their work. She creates videos to teach and clarify, provides lessons that encourage critical thinking, and provides feedback so students can learn from their mistakes. Megan provides varied types of formal and informal assessments for her students to check for understanding such as Canvas Discussion and Quizzes, Flipgrids, Nearpods, Virtual Presentations, Quizlet, Kahoot!, Quick Checks and Practice Buddies inside the Savvas Platform, Google LTI assignment integrations, and so many more. She is a true asset to the educational technology community, and as one parent explained “I feel many teachers could benefit from learning Mrs. Norton’s tried and true formula!”
Carbon – Kyle Hansen – 4th grade, Castle Heights, Price – Kyle embraces technology and constantly seeks to improve his instruction using technology. He shares his findings with staff and helps anyone who needs guidance implementing technology hardware and/or software. Kyle is our “go to” guy and he is always pleasant and happy to help out in any way possible. In this year of uncertainty Mr. Hansen has strived to help each student not only hit his or her growth target for the year, but he is working to ensure that each student overcomes the decrease in learning that was experienced due to the spring dismissal. Starting on the first day of school, Mr. Hansen has looked at every day in the classroom as an opportunity to prepare the students for the future. Not only did he train students on how to use technology while they were at school, but he also worked to ensure that they knew how to access everything they would need access to should they be quarantined or should the school be closed due to a COVID outbreak. Almost every day throughout the entire year, Mr. Hansen has had at least one student in quarantine. These students have been able to join with the rest of the class remotely and participate in the discussion and activities just like they were sitting in the classroom. Early in the year Mr. Hansen went on a quest to better utilize the technology we have in our district in order to help the students who are quarantined be able to participate in and receive quality instruction while quarantined. This quest has led him through multiple different phases of integrating the available technology. Mr. Hansen has labored to improve the learning of the students, faculty and staff of our school this year. He has tried to bridge the gap, whether it be in academic knowledge, physical distance, or technological understanding.
Davis – Lori Pitcher – Kindergarten, Lakeside Elementary, West Point – People at Lori’s school describe her as incredible and unbelievable. Lori goes the extra mile to fill in where needed, doing scatter-group tutoring and even bus duty. She is a Kindergarten teacher and this year also an Instructional Technology coach for Lakeside Elementary. Lori was hired in her Kindergarten position at Lakeside Elementary in January of 2020 which meant only 2 short months of regular teaching before the pandemic soft closure happened. But she took it in stride and was able to pivot for her young students through the use of technology to help them not miss a beat in their learning. For the 20-21 school year she took on the role of Instructional Technology Coach as well as teaching Kindergarten. She has not only helped keep the learning relevant and personalized for her own young students, helping them to know what to do face-to-face and at home remotely, but she has also helped other teachers in her school to do the same. Lori has taken on training other teachers in her school to help their Canvas pages feel more uniform as a school to help parents with multiple students as well as helping teachers to use Canvas during everyday learning so that the pivot to remote is seamless. She sought out training, did research, tried and tested things out, and created a culture of continuous learning and improvement among her colleagues. Lori is a valuable asset to her faculty and school community and has made a positive impact on student learning.
Duchesne – Melanie Thompson – Neola Elementary, Neola, 3rd grade – Melanie creates a 3rd grade English Language Arts Canvas course to be used by all online students throughout the district. It is amazing quality.
Emery – Shellet Rowley – 3rd, Huntington Elementary, Huntington – Shellet has grown up in Emery county and she has taught Preschool for 8 years and 2nd, 3rd grades for 14 years. She has an ESL Endorsement and is an invaluable member of our district. She has been an innovator using technology in her classroom. She has also helped her fellow educators with technology. Furthermore, she had applied and got grants for the development of technology in her classroom. During the last year she has been an example of how to reach kids through technology and how to use technology to identify learning gaps. Shellet’s effort to go above and beyond shows up in her students’ performance and attitude. She is an amazing teacher!.
Garfield – Tammi Bennett – Panguitch High School, Panguitch – She teaches Health but uses technology everyday in her classes. She also is using our new high tech “Z Space” 3D computer to teach Anatomy & other health classes.”
Grand – JoLynn Torgerson – 5th Helen M Knight Elementary, Moab – has been a teacher for 9 years at HMK Elementary. She has taught 5th grade for the past 4 years and 3rd grade prior to that. JoLynn has also been instrumental in becoming the first teacher at HMK who became paperless in the classroom and used 1:1 Chromebooks to instruct her students. Jolynn uses these master skills to teach others at HMK. With the knowledge that Jolynn possesses about technology, she was able to quickly transition her students to remote learning with ease when schools shut down during the COVID closure. Students were already familiar with Google Classroom and able to continue with their assignments without much of a transition. Her classroom participation was one of the highest in the school. This high participation ensured that students were able to continue their learning while the school was closed. As students returned in the Fall for a new school year, HMK offered one teacher per grade level to teach students remotely. Choosing JoLynn to teach the remote learners in 5th grade was an obvious choice. JoLynn has been able to successfully set up her technology using multiple monitors, the document camera, microphones and headphones to create as real of a classroom setting as possible. JoLynn interacts one on one with students, in small groups and as a whole class throughout the day. She has demonstrated through several observations that she can teach just as well as an online teacher as she does in person. Even with the challenges that do come up, she is easily able to fix or figure out what needs to be done in order to give students the best education possible.
Granite – McKenzie Jackson – 5th grade, Lincoln Elementary, South Salt Lake – McKenzie Jackson is one of Granite School District’s stellar 5th grade teachers. She began working at Lincoln Elementary as a 6th grade teacher. No matter the grade level, she stands out as a natural leader among her colleagues and in the school as a whole. She is also currently part of the district’s Emerging Leaders Academy. In the 2020-21 school year, Ms. Jackson volunteered to be our 5th grade distance learning-only teacher. She was able to masterfully transfer her skills from being an engaging, masterful in-person teacher to being an engaging, masterful distance-learning teacher. At the beginning of the year, she set up rigorous expectations for her students for both asynchronous and synchronous Google Meetings. In doing that, she developed a strong classroom community from afar. She fostered her student’s leadership by facilitating a student-led and created digital newspaper and art club. Every step of the way, her students have been held to high standards both academically and socially.
Iron – Cody Christensen – Language Arts, Launch High School, Cedar City – Cody Christensen embodies the motto of Launch High School, to “Innovate, Improve and Impress”. Despite being a highly qualified, and exceptional veteran teacher for over 20 years, he continues to push himself and those around him to innovate and improve every day. He has stood out this year to build a personalized competency-based curriculum that is chock full of choices for students, meaningful assessments, and application of knowledge to authentic local problems. He loves coaching students through these design projects, in particular with filming as he oversees the PBS News Hour team at the school. Cody has established a curriculum and blended learning tools that provide opportunities to personalize learning for students’ path, pace, offers choices, and includes their voice. Beyond that the key ingredient of his success lands with his ability to offer support and mentorship, primarily through his abilities to build and sustain positive relationships with students, in particular during a time of struggle for them, such as the pandemic.
Jordan – Deanna Taylor – Digital Teaching and Learning Team – Deanna has been working with all of our online teachers in the district and been working overtime to help all of them. She went above and beyond in helping teachers this school year.
Juab – Manon Felos – 7/8 Grade teacher in Nephi – Manon teaches at Juab Jr. High School. She helps students make daily discoveries in Integrated Science 7, Integrated Science 8, and Alternative Science. Her students love her enthusiasm and clever wit. Manon has developed robust digital interactive daily lessons, including videos, images, simulations, activities, and labs. She has created well thought out and organized Canvas pages and has utilized Zoom as a tool to engage students in thoughtful scientific discussions.
Kane – Lisa Johnson – Kanab Middle/High Kanab, Grades 7-9, Lisa Johnson is a veteran teacher in Kane School District with over 30 years of teaching experience. She has taught Math and PE and has a very successful Math Counts team at Kanab Middle School. Students love and respect her for her willingness to help and her concern for the students she teaches. Being a veteran teacher and retiring this year, this didn’t stop Lisa from jumping in both feet to implementing Zoom and assisting other teachers throughout the building. She met with students on a regular basis and setup the necessary tools to meet individually with students as the pandemic first hit. Her Canvas was setup in a clear way for students to navigate and I would get constant positive feedback from parents how easy it was for their students to keep up. Every week, Lisa would send out a weekly homework/assignment schedule so both parents and students knew what to expect for the week.
Logan – Cami Player – 5th Grade, Woodruff, Logan – Cami is in her 4th year of teaching in the Logan City School District. Cami is passionate about humanitarian work and loves to mountain bike and be outdoors. Cami has completely owned Covid in their matchup this year. We knew this year was going to be tough and she took the challenge of Looming her lessons and Zooming with parents in stride. She has taken a district mandate of having a simple Canvas course and turned it into a great learning environment for all of her students. No small task when working with 10 year-olds! These things are in addition to all the things teachers are already asked to do in a normal year!
Millard – Ashley Abbott – 4th, Delta North Elementary, Delta – Technology has always been a big part of Ashley’s classroom and the school closure brought her love for it to life. Mrs. Abbott is always watching for the latest in education and the field-tested things teachers tried. She starts every day with her schedule posted on Canvas. This has ensured students are prepared in the event of another shutdown or they are placed in quarantine. Her students and parents love the accessibility of the schedule and the math video Mrs. Abbott posts daily. Mrs. Abbott feels technology is the way of the world and it is teachers’ jobs to help them feel more comfortable using it. Mrs. Abbott was one of the first elementary teachers to organize here class with Canvas and has been instrumental in helping her peers integrate Canvas. She has also been able to provide her students with some stability throughout the COVID closures and quarantines through the use of video recording and Zoom meetings. Mrs. Abbott is always looking for the most effective, researched based programs, apps, and extensions and implements them with fidelity. Her students love her class!
Morgan – Adam Christensen – 7th/8th grade at Morgan Middle School in Morgan – Adam has been teaching for 10 years; currently teaching 8th grade U.S. History, at Morgan Middle School. During the first week or so of the COVID pandemic Adam started thinking of how he could keep students engaged and keep their spirits lifted during the difficult time. Adam made on average one to two videos each week, giving a brief lecture and some instruction on their upcoming assignments. In some videos he wore a goofy hat, in others he dressed up as a superhero. Adam got great turnout from his students in their online schooling. Adam had many students and parents say that they looked forward to every new video; that it gave them something to look forward to as they logged in each day. Of course, he used a lot of other technology tools other than video production during the quarantine and since. Nearpod for interactive slideshows, IXL is the tool that he used to measure if students were understanding content that was being delivered, and Quizlet for games and flashcards. These and other online tools helped and continue to help him be able to deliver instruction and assess understanding of his students, both in-person and online. He was able to write a plan that would allow teachers to keep doing what they regularly do in their classrooms and that he and other teachers would train them on how to upload content online in our platform (Canvas and Google Classroom). Adam also showed teachers how to record their lessons in class so they could upload the videos for online instruction. Adam believes their online program has worked for the benefit of their students that have worked remotely this school year. Technology has definitely been a benefit to students in his classrooms, both online and in-person, this year.
Murray – Anastasia Athens – 5th Grade, McMillan Elementary, Murray – Anastasia is a 5th Grade teacher who in her short tenure has proven to be an innovative, collaborative colleague. She was recently featured on the NBC Today show with Willy Geist as she shared her experiences teaching in the Pandemic and the ability for our district to reach students with our LTE Network. Struggling through spotty WiFi in their homes, students have had more success as of late connecting to her classroom now more than ever. Anastasia is a 5th Grade teacher who teaches students in person, students that are hybrid and students that are online in a synchronous environment. Students join her math and language arts and science lessons at specific times and have the advantage of joining their peers for group discussion and discourse over Google Classroom and participate in the same assignments and lessons and conversations in real time. This helps to maximize student learning and engagement during a pandemic year where learning had to be optimized in all learning modalities. Students have been able to access grade level content in more engaging ways.
Murray City – Gina Dansie – Grade 9, Riverview Junior High School, Murray – Mrs. Gina Dansie has taught at Riverview Junior High School for the past 13+ years. She currently teaches AP Human Geography, world geography, and School Success at Riverview Junior High School and serves as the Social Studies Department Chair. Gina is a two-time participant of the competitive Driven2Teach field study, where she visited historical sites in New York, Pennsylvania, Virginia, and Washington D.C. Since the outbreak of the COVID pandemic, Gina Dansie has been at the forefront of discovering new technological tools and programs for our teachers. She was the one that first learned about Zoom and trained several of our faculty on it over the weekend. Her status as a Google Certified Educator has benefited us all as she has trained our faculty on innovative uses for Google Docs, Forms, Classroom, and especially Slides. She frequently shares her Canvas tips and tricks with not just our faculty and district, but also with nation-wide Canvas Educator groups on social media. She has a passion for discovering new technology tools and is wonderful about not only sharing her resources with our faculty, but also patiently taking the time to train us in person or by recording tutorial videos. Through her innovations in digitizing her curriculum, her students have been able to learn valuable new technological skills. Our students and teachers alike have benefitted from her expertise!
Nebo – Neisha Coutlee – 5th Grade, Sierra Bonita Elementary, Spanish Fork – Neisha is in her fifth year of teaching. Neisha loves to use technology in her classroom and is not afraid to try blended learning strategies with her students. She also enjoys finding new digital tools to make her job easier and she is obsessed with anything Google. During soft closure, Neisha looked for a variety of opportunities to engage her students. One of the activities that she did to engage her students was creating a scavenger hunt. She would take a picture of something around the city and students would need to find where the picture was taken. They would report back on a Google Form and talk about it during their class Zoom meetings. Students loved being able to share where the picture was taken and students were excited to come to Zoom class to share. She also uses her class website to keep her students and parents informed about what is going on in her classroom. Her website has links to video tutorials that she’s created, as well as, links to the daily schedule with tasks. This school year, Neisha has started using a lot of blended learning in her classroom and uses the data from her digital formative assessments to guide her instruction. She uses Classkick to involve her in-person students, as well as, her students who are home on quarantine. Classkick allows her to move around the room and really work with individual students at their level. Neisha is definitely an innovative teacher in our school district!
North Summitt – Julie Marsh – North Summit Elementary, Instructional Coach – Julie Marsh taught for many years as a biology teacher in the high school. She also taught our TV Broadcasting class. Her technology proficiency is off the chart, and she has used that knowledge to become a better teacher and now to help others in her role as instructional coach. Julie Marsh has used technology to help our elementary teachers pinpoint reading deficiencies in their students. Julie has organized our reading program into an efficient process by thoroughly using data to drive teacher instruction. She groups our young readers and then trains teachers and reading aides on best practices. Our reading scores have gone way up over the past three years because of her innovation. During the pandemic our teachers and students have thrived because of the training and support that Julie has provided. She is completely deserving of this specific award because our district as a whole is in a better place technologically because of her and our IT director.
Ogden – Kylee Shaw – 4th Grade, Hillcrest Elementary School, Ogden – Kylee Shaw is a 4th grade teacher at Hillcrest Elementary. She has been teaching for 4 years and is a Level 1 and Level 2 Google Certified Educator and is working on becoming a Google Certified Trainer while also pursuing her Educational Technology and ESL Endorsements. Kylee loves to spend time outside camping, hiking, kayaking, dirt biking, fishing, and anything that is in the sun! She enjoys reading, sewing, and making crafts as well. Kylee Shaw demonstrates the effective use of technology to positively impact student learning in a variety of ways. Her students are consistently engaged in rigorous tasks requiring higher order thinking skills. They can frequently be found collaborating digitally around activities, tasks, and assignments. These students purposefully use technology to gather facts, solve problems, and monitor their progress towards their goals. Kylee is leading the way in innovation in her classroom.
Park City – Shelby Cornett – Grade 1, Jeremy Ranch Elementary School, Park City – Since joining the faculty at Jeremy Ranch Elementary six years ago, Shelby has taught Kindergarten, 1st grade, and 3rd grade, including a Dual Language Immersion partnership. When Shelby is not focused on improving education for her students, she enjoys a variety of outdoor pursuits. As PCSD determined it would be necessary to provide remote learning options for our elementary students this school year, leaders were concerned that we would have adequately prepared teachers who could take on this tremendous responsibility. Shelby has embraced her role as a remote teacher and very quickly shifted her assigned in-person class to a remote atmosphere. Almost immediately, she created a class web page, sent pre-class invitations sharing expectations and details about the remote learning environment. Shelby has gone out of her way to ensure that she created an inclusive classroom culture for her remote students and has engaged them with every program available to her to do so. Families of students in Shelby’s remote class commented on a recent survey that they really appreciated the learning experience their students were having and believe “Ms. Cornett is amazing”. It shows, because Shelby’s students have done very well and scored among some of the highest in growth and proficiency for their grade level on iReady Math and Acadience Reading. We wish every teacher embraced learning opportunities in a remote setting like Shelby – she has been remarkable!
Piute – Kami Gass – 3rd, Circleville Elementary, Circleville – Kami has taught special Ed, 6th grade and 3rd grade. Kami loves teaching, traveling and being a mom. Kami used technology to connect with her students daily. She created flipgrid videos for her class with a daily joke which helped motivate her students to reply to the joke and connect with each other daily. She used her bitmoji classroom to post daily videos, assignments, and instructions. Her class was fun, engaging and educational even while it was virtual! Kami has tackled any problems and programs that have popped up and she has been an aid to many in her building. She has worked tirelessly to remain innovative and up to date with all of her students’ needs in our district.
Rich – Weston Taylor – Counselor, Rich High School, Randolph – Prior to his role as a counselor Mr. Taylor has taught C.T.E. courses in business, math, and science. He is passionate about student learning and student success. In his current role, he has the opportunity to work with all the students in the district. His commitment to excellence and his level of dedication is contagious; it has a very positive influence district wide. Mr. Taylor worked throughout the summer to develop a model for efficiently facilitating hybrid instruction in Rich School District. Realizing that face to face instruction may be interrupted with potential soft closures or quarantines, Mr. Taylor wanted a seamless way to provide tier 1 instruction to those students who could not attend for regular face to face instruction. His model allows classroom teachers to present the instruction to the students in the classroom, record that instruction through the interactive panel, upload the lesson, and post it to Canvas. The extra time required for teachers to record and post the tier 1 instruction is less than five minutes. Mr. Taylor worked hard, prior to the start of the school year, to inservice all teachers on the model. He and the instructional coach have been available throughout the school year to help teachers and students be successful as they utilize the tool.
San Juan – Kelli Keyes – San Juan High School, Blanding – Kelli has been integral in mentoring and supporting the entire SJH team in Canvas instruction. She has worked one-on-one with teachers to help them get started and supported ongoing implementation throughout this year with integration of interactive software resources like Nearpod, screencast, group collaboration, etc. to enhance online engagement. She has looked at alternative formats for organization of Canvas courses to align with district goals and required features including the team lead for implementation of Mastery Connect within Canvas platform. She coaches others on the use of technology in remote learning as well as home learning.
Sevier – Crystal Stott – 6th grade, Red Hills Middle School, Richfield – She teaches 6th grade math and language arts. She has been teaching for four years. Crystal goes above and beyond to ensure that her students receive the best instruction possible. Currently she teaches mostly in person students, but she also has students that are solely online. She uses a swivl daily to record and zoom for her students. She also is great and doing blended learning and incorporating things like Nearpod. She even pre-records things and works with students individually when she feels like they need extra instruction.
South Sanpete – Shonacee Bradley – 4th grade, Ephraim Elementary, Ephraim – Shonacee Bradley moved to Sanpete when she was 5 just starting kindergarten. She attended her K-12 school years in South Sanpete. She taught one year in Spanish Fork before moving to her alma mater Ephraim Elementary. She now teaches 4th grade. Her dream from when she was in elementary was to be able to come back and teach at the elementary she attended. She is now living that dream. She loves technology and isn’t afraid to try new things, whether they fail or succeed. Shonacee is the type of educator that gives to all of those around her. She willingly shares resources she creates, most specifically, those that help others strengthen their technology skills. She is the go to person in her building for Canvas. In fact, when the pandemic hit, she helped third through fifth grade teachers beef up their Canvas courses to benefit students. She frequently sends technology tips and tricks to all of the staff at Ephraim Elementary. When someone asks for help with technology, she eagerly agrees. She makes daily math videos for her students so that no one gets behind if they need to miss a day or more of school. Her students know how to use technology to assist their learning and this is because Shonacee gives her knowledge to them.
South Summit Paula Carlson – South Summit Middle School – Math Teacher
Tooele – Carolyn Pratt – Grantsville Elementary, Grantsville – Carolyn is in her 14th year teaching in the same town where she graduated high school, Grantsville (Go Cowboys!). Most of that time was with 1st grade, but for the last couple of years Carolyn has been teaching 2nd grade. She works in building leadership and fills the role of Teacher EdTech for her faculty. We are extremely lucky to have her on the team. When speaking with members of Carolyn’s team, the most frequent term used is “trusted”. When someone from her faculty needs ideas, help, or resources, they explain “the first stop is always Carolyn”. In her school, she is the primary influencer when it comes to the positive culture of teaching with technology that Grantsville Elementary is known for. At a district level, Carolyn is often consulted for input and feedback for decisions that will impact students, particularly the k-2 group, whom she strongly advocates for. In addition, she led her faculty in leveraging the online LMS platform Google Classroom in the year leading up to the Covid shutdown. Because of the previous work and trajectory of her faculty, they were in a better spot than many of our other schools when responding to the pandemic and the resulting changes towards a blended learning focus in the district. She is enthusiastic and willing to try things to create the best possible experience for students, even when it takes more effort. Carolyn is very deserving of recognition!
Uintah – Daniel Wells – Maeser Elementary, Vernal – Daniel is in his 11th year teaching upper elementary, and has just accepted a supplemental position as a USD tech lead. He began his passion for practical technology use when troubleshooting computers as an adolescent. His fascination led to web support at America First Credit Union. It has been his pleasure to combine this technology support background with his current teaching role and works hard to effectively implement technology at his current school. Daniel has been a life saver for our school this year as we have learned how to teach digitally school-wide! I can’t imagine what we would have done without him. Daniel has provided PD for our teachers in staff meetings as well as helping teachers one on one. I can’t even tell you how many times I have heard teachers say, “Daniel helped me with…” and “Daniel showed me how to….” Daniel has been using Canvas to teach his class. His Canvas course has been a model course for our school to refer to as we have started using this learning management system as well as a model for other teachers in our district. He strives to effectively implement technology and regularly gathers feedback about his designs to make immediate changes as needed.
Wasatch – Brady Tree – Wasatch High School, Heber, 9th Grade – Mr. Tree has been a Math teacher at Wasatch High School for seven years. He has been instrumental in transforming the math department by improving student achievement through the use of technology. Brady has pioneered a math data collection system at WHS for students and teachers to track progress for each math standard. Additionally, he has facilitated a Tier III Math Intervention for students entering the high school below grade level in numeracy. Through the current pandemic school year, Mr. Tree has excelled in facilitating a blended classroom allowing for his hybrid and in-person students to successfully learn and continue to achieve. Mr. Tree has been the first teacher at Wasatch High School to successfully implement the use of classroom cameras to provide accessibility for in-person and remote learners, employ technology to allow students to track achievement by standard, utilize live instruction subtitles for EL student translation, and exemplary use of the Canvas LMS. Above all, Mr. Tree’s innovative leadership has provided a model blended classroom that his PLC and colleagues have successfully implemented, while continuing to improve student achievement.
Washington – Michael Eves – Grades 6-7, Hurricane Intermediate, Hurricane – Michael Eves is a computer science educator for the Washington County School District. Michael Eves has helped the elementary schools in Washington County School District by working to develop a system for targeted intervention that provides detailed and timely intervention information. This data is used to inform instruction for all students and has helped identify learning gaps for students, especially those most impacted by the pandemic. The data is used daily by all elementary teachers to ensure each students’ learning needs are met.
Wayne – Stephanie Williams – Grades 6-8, Wayne Middle School, Bicknell – Stephanie Williams has worked for Wayne School District for 16 years. She has worked at Loa Elementary as well as Wayne Middle School. She is part of the district Edtech Committee and is always striving to find ways to improve her teaching to benefit her students. At the Middle School she has taught a variety of classes including Science, English, Mindful Health, Coding and Digital Literacy. Mrs. Williams has always been good at integrating technology in her classroom. A few ways she has changed her teaching to benefit the students during COVID include: organizing her class into weekly modules on Canvas, integrating Nearpod lessons that can be done in class or remotely, and creating templates in Google Docs and Google Slides to help give students more specific directions as they try to figure out how to do school remotely.
Weber – Shawn Potokar – 10-12, Weber High School, Pleasant View – Shawn has been a staple of EdTech teaching and Learning in Weber School District his entire 20-plus year career. Currently, he is the video productions and Warrior TV teacher at Weber High School, but has taught everything from business to Photoshop. Shawn is an EdTech coach in his school, an Integration Specialist and Mentor for the District and regularly is called upon to provide EdTech training for other schools’ staff as well. Shawn’s students benefit greatly from his innovative teaching style and his ability to always be on the cutting edge of digital teaching and learning. Mr. Potokar has always been on the cutting edge of technology–thinking of new and exciting ways to engage his video productions students. Shawn’s classes have moved to the next level during multiple Soft Closures due to COVID as students have had increasingly engaging online lessons, awesome online discussions and the opportunity to continue to create and collaborate, just in a digital format–from sharing files and commenting, to creating at-home videos to post, his students have continued to learn and he’s continued to hold high expectations, while keeping a careful watch for those who might not have access to the same technology. In that case, he’ll carefully work with the student and figure out how to teach the same objective, while keeping each of their needs in mind.
Charter and Private Schools
William Harlow – Beehive Science and Technology Academy. Sandy – 7-9 and 12th grade. Mr. Harlow has been an integral part of our staff over the last 5+ years. He teaches Utah Studies, US History, Geography, AP Human Geography and American Government. He is also on our STT (School Transformation Team), RTI (Response to Intervention), College Mentor Leadership Program and Mentor Teacher. Mr. Harlow utilizes the Zoom polling and annotation features to get students engaged and discussing the topics at hand. He also starts class with a “Tell Me Something Good” Activity, where students can share for the first couple minutes of class a positive thing that is happening in their life. He also uses Canvas and Newsela to supplement his in-class work into an online platform. He really has done a great job of getting students engaged even in a trying year with the Hybrid model of learning that we are doing.
Karin Petty – Hawthorn Academy West Jordan, West Jordan, – Mrs. Karin Petty is the CTE Director for Hawthorn Academy in West Jordan. She teaches CCA, ECS and Digital Literacy for Hawthorn Academy students in grades 7 -9. As a teacher during COVID she has pre-record all of her lessons and posted them for students on Canvas. She utilizes Screencastify and Nearpod throughout her lessons. She has also incorporated Google Docs and Google slides and try to have students create interactive graphic organizers. She has also flipped her classroom so that students are progressing through the course on their own. This has allowed class time with the students to be more centered toward their individual needs. This flexibility allows students to work at their own pace and for her, as a teacher, to identify struggling students faster. The few times she has been absent, she has been able to set up zoom calls and email the link to her students. Students have been able to hop on during class and ask for one on one help even though she couldn’t physically be in the classroom. She also created videos for parents on how to access Canvas and how to troubleshoot common problems.
Randy Booth – Itineris Early College High School, West Jordan – 10-12th grade – Dr Randy Booth has been an integral part of our staff for 17 years. His expertise and innovation in sciences is wide ranging including biotechnology, chemistry, and physics. He is constantly trying new digital learning methods, showing other teachers how they improve learning and challenging himself to be an innovative academic leader and instructional coach. He was the driving force for the school to invest in Swivl robotic cameras to help better engage our online students. He pioneered their use, coached many others on how to productively use them. He continues to lead by example the use of digital learning tools that enhance student engagement and learning. He has led numerous professional development sessions on software programs such as Canvas, Nearpod and Flipgrid to the point the staff now widely uses them because of his efforts.
Heather Erickson – George Washington Academy, 2nd Grade, St. George – Heather Erickson loves working with and teaching children. She began her career at George Washington Academy in 2011 as a Kindergarten teacher. Over the years, she taught 2nd, 3rd, and 4th grades. She takes on leadership roles and has earned her ESL and STEM endorsements. Heather is dynamic in the classroom and teaches in a fun and engaging way. She loves to play pickleball, basketball, softball and hike. She can always be found hanging out with her husband at Costco, Chick-fil-a, Cafe Sabor or eating chocolate licorice! Heather has gone above and beyond with utilizing technology to positively impact student learning. She quickly learned how to use the Canvas platform in order to assign work to students. She became the lead teacher in using Canvas and conducted multiple trainings for the teachers. Not only does she have a classroom of students she teaches face-to-face, but once a week, she utilizes Zoom to connect with her on-line students to check-in with them and build a relationship. Heather records every single lesson of the day as if her on-line students are right there with her. She smiles, interacts with the screen, and pauses for students to respond. She clearly teaches each lesson with a visual of the worksheet, a PowerPoint for the math meeting, and the book on the screen with her finger demonstrating directionality and word/print association during reading time. She manipulates her presentations so that her face is in the corner while she reads a lesson, shows pictures or explains difficult concepts. The students have loved her lessons and look forward to her activities every day. She utilizes her Iphone, Canvas, Zoom, Screencastify, and Google slides. She keeps her interactions simple and kid-friendly with minimal navigation which is appropriate for 2nd grade.
ISTE Making IT Happen Award – Utah 2021
Superintendent Sydnee Dickson
The needs of the K-12 school system related to technology resources for blended and digital learning became even more important in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. Utah was forced to support a rapid transition to online learning in a matter of days before restarting school and learning for over 660,000 students. Dr. Sydnee Dickson, supported by the state’s Digital Teaching and Learning (DTL) grant program, led the state response with both federal and state funds to support professional learning in the effective use of technology and access to devices, tools, and the internet in homes and schools. Dr. Sydnee Dickson, Utah’s Superintendent of Public Instruction, is the tireless state leader and national exemplar in supporting educational technology efforts for schools, teachers, families, and students.
Utah was positioned to quickly and effectively transition to remote learning thanks to many years of preparation and leadership from Dr. Sydnee Dickson. In 2015, the Utah state legislature called for the development of a master plan to improve classroom technology use. Under the direction of Dr. Dickson, the Utah State Board of Education convened local superintendents and technology directors, state board members, legislators, the governor’s office, and the Utah Education and Telehealth Network (UETN) to contribute to the Essential Elements for Technology Powered Learning. In the plan, Utah identified several components of effective technology integration and proposed a statewide DTL grant necessary for implementation, which became codified into law.
With DTL, Dr. Dickson decided against a top-down approach, which would have involved the state board directing LEAs to use funds towards specified activities. Instead, USBE asked each LEA to conduct a readiness assessment and use that data to create a personalized plan. The state board did set some guidelines, asking plans to address, among other items, professional learning, digital citizenship, and specific metrics. But by empowering LEAs to create their own plans, Dr. Dickson ensured that they would each develop a sense of shared ownership alongside stakeholders.
Data shows that Utah LEAs are prioritizing educator capacity. Administrators report spending DTL funds on professional learning, and much of the training is coordinated through our partners at UETN. USBE also offers pathways for educators to earn an educational technology endorsement, including the ISTE Certification program. According to grantees, DTL is transforming the classroom by reinforcing students’ agency and active learning strategies. This impact demonstrates that the culture of digital learning is changing in Utah. As shown by scenarios we’ve collected on educators’ technology use, they’re less concerned about the devices and more about the pedagogical methods for accelerating learning. Under Superintendent Dickson’s leadership, the DTL grant has now grown to $20 million annually, as legislators continue to see widespread participation and early evidence of impact. Superintendent Dickson has been a constant advocate for educators and opportunities for professional learning to support their acceleration toward digital instruction.
It is clear that Superintendent Dickson is the state champion for learning for all students. She goes above and beyond as a leader, taking time to listen to students and teachers while balancing her leadership in policy and state education. She is often found on the #utedchat on Twitter on Wednesdays at 9PM, contributing to the Utah K-12 education community with ideas, kudos, and resources. She advocates and leads efforts for our teachers and students that extend beyond traditional education, such as with securing rapid COVID-19 tests and vaccines for the education community. Her tireless leadership provides a lighthouse for the state of Utah as we navigate these difficult times.
Dr. Sydnee Dickson is truly an exemplary leader of technology in education and exemplifies the best of how to effectively lead change. She continues to lead, guide and share her vision of the positive impact technology can have to improve teaching and learning. She is the ultimate advocate for the equity of access to home technology connections including digital tools and resources. For these and many, many more reasons, the Utah Coalition for Educational Technology (UCET) is pleased to honor Dr. Sydnee Dickson with ISTE ‘s Making It Happen Award. Dr. Dickson Made IT Happen for education in Utah.