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Cash Outlines New Technology Mentor Program for Santa Barbara Teachers

Coaches will oversee mentors, who will work with teachers to prepare model lessons and integrate technology into daily instruction

The Santa Barbara Unified School District will implement a professional development program next year to help teachers integrate technology into their lessons, Superintendent Dave Cash said in a presentation at Tuesday night’s Board of Education meeting.

With about 200 classrooms equipped with technology packages — iPads for teachers, flat-screen televisions and Apple TV devices to wirelessly connect them — many teachers have already embraced turning their classes into a technology-fueled learning environment.

For the rest, Cash has introduced a mentor program that will include five technology coaches, each overseeing five mentors who then each help two teachers per year.

Bringing everyone into a central location isn’t an effective model, Cash said, insisting that teachers naturally turn to their colleagues for help. Coaches and mentors will receive stipends from federal professional development funds, which has already been approved by the board, he said in his presentation.

He said coaches are the in-house experts of software, hardware and educational resources who are already valuable assets to their schools. They’ll oversee the mentors who will work intimately with teachers to prepare model lessons, co-teach and help them integrate technology into their daily instruction.

The Common Core standards will become fully implemented in 2014-15, complete with online assessments for students, so the entire education community needs to be more comfortable with technology — and fast, Cash said.

Board members are supportive of the mentor program, but asked for feedback throughout the year on the program’s progress.

Coincidentally, the district moved to paperless agenda reports for this week’s board meeting and received a Fiscal Crisis and Management Assistance Team report on the district’s technology plan, which will be released to the public Wednesday morning.

Noozhawk staff writer Giana Magnoli can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.

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