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2016 ASTE Technology Leadership Awards #golden

KPBSD celebrates employees Casey Olson and Trevan Walker, who received top statewide recognition with a 2016 Alaska Society for Technology in Education (ASTE) Leadership Award. Each year ASTE selects three people who demonstrate true technology integration and have a positive impact on teaching and learning in Alaska. In 2016, two of the three award recipients are KPBSD staff: the 2016 Technology Support of the Year award recipient is Casey Olson, district programmer and analyst, and Trevan Walker, Seward High School principal, who is the 2016 Administrator of the Year. #golden

Casey Olson, 2016 Technology Support of the Year

ASTE Technology Support of the Year Award recognizes Alaskans who help teachers and faculty find and use technology to support academic goals, which may include helping with hardware.

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"I am very proud that Casey Olson has been named the ASTE tech support person of the year," said Sean Dusek, superintendent. "He is an integral part of our videoconferencing effort to expand opportunities for students around the district. His effort has put a solid infrastructure in place so that students can work with experts and other students from around the world. Students are also able to collaborate with their peers within the district to experience our own diverse cultures. This award is very well deserved and I look forward to Casey continuing his leadership role in meeting our twenty-first century learning needs for our students."

"The ASTE Tech Person of the Year recognition for Casey Olson is timely and well-deserved," said Eric Soderquist, director of information services. "Casey has worked diligently to provide the vision and technical guidance critical to the recent Polycom RUS grant award, and continues to be a trusted resource for the video conference platform in use today. His skills extend well beyond the video conferencing realm, as he completes daily systems administrator responsibilities and maintains a multitude of systems in support of instructing the students of the Kenai Peninsula Borough School District. Casey brings exceptional attention to detail in his daily focus toward improving Information Technology operations. He clearly recognizes that IT is about more than just making technology work - focus must be placed on ensuring a given technical solution effectively meets the needs of users. Casey has proven masterful at combining his technical skillset with the vision required to adapt to ever-changing technology implementation and support needs."

Learning about the award, Mr. Olson said, "I was surprised to be nominated for the ASTE award and honored to be chosen to receive this recognition. Being nominated by teachers in our school district that I've worked with for a number of years made the award even more significant to me personally."

Mr. Olson's nomination

"Mr. Casey Olson is deserving this award recognition because he will make the technology (whatever it is) work the way we (teachers) need it to work. This is absolutely at the top of the list, when it comes to reasons that Casey deserves this recognition. Often people not necessarily by fault but, just by doing their job, don't see how someone else needs to make something work. It is one thing for technology to work but another to make it work the way the teacher needs it to work in the classroom. This in our opinion is the highest praise we could give. This is how he has a tremendous effect on the students in our school district. The KPBSD is a leader in the field of advancing technological innovation and Casey is a primary reason we are so successful. Casey has provided technical support and problem solving abilities for teachers using video conferencing technologies that go far beyond his job expectations. Casey has always been willing to drop whatever he is doing and assist those in need. He recognizes the immediacy or our requests as classroom teachers, who need the "technology" to work right now. There have been numerous times that Casey has helped before his work day has begun and after his work day has ended. He can be called on from anywhere to trouble shoot and solve problems. Casey has solved problems using mobile technology by accessing servers from his phone while on vacation to fix problems."

Trevan Walker, 2016 Administrator of the Year

ASTE Administrator of the Year award recognizes Alaskans who lead schools or organizations in the innovative use of technology to support academic goals.

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"I am fortunate to have a staff who believes in our common vision to endeavor to be all things for all students," said Trevan Walker, Seward High School principal. "The reality is that they should get the credit as they are the ones doing the hard work—not just with technology integration in instruction, and the innovative practices that come out of it, but also with the relationships they're building with kids and genuine desire to see each one of them succeed at Seward High School, regardless of the pathway required to find it."

Sean Dusek, superintendent said, "We are very proud of Mr. Walker for receiving the ASTE Principal of the Year award. Mr. Walker is an innovative school principal that has worked very hard to meet the individual needs of students at Seward High School. The entire staff is engaged in this ongoing effort and also share in this award. We are looking forward to even greater degrees of success with students in Seward as this award represents the beginning of the modern learning system in KPBSD."

"This district is making serious headway in tackling the online and blended learning formats," said Amanda Adams, KPBSD distance learning teacher. "It is really exciting to watch whole cohorts of teachers developing new practices to meet the needs of students. With innovative people like Trevan and Casey, they are holding the doors open for teachers like me to not be bound by tradition. The question is not why do you want to do that, but instead, how can I help you do that."

Mr. Walker's nomination

Trevan Walker, principal of Seward High School, has shifted the paradigm of what a high school should be. In collaboration with his staff, he has created a concept called the "Hybrid High School." His philosophy is that a high school should be all things for all students, and if what the school currently offers does not meet the needs of the students, then it is the responsibility of the school to become what students need. This journey has involved a wide variety of shifts in practice: nearly 1:1 computers available for student use, blended, online, and face-to-face courses offered, college courses, community internships and work-studies. Students are beginning to plan their high school path as individual to them, their academic needs, and their post-secondary goals. Among these changes was the alteration of the role of the building itself - expansion of the school day to 5:00 p.m. for flexible scheduling, later bus transportation available to students, and a college student union-like work area. The journey has shifted the approach to professional development for staff as well. Just-in-time exposure to technology applications available for integration in the classroom and training on the integration of that technology. The philosophy of the staff has continued to grow and develop as these new approaches have taken hold, further defining their practices. Trevan Walker is truly a visionary of the highest caliber. He deserves to be recognized for his innovative practice and inspiration to other educators.

Trevan has worked with his staff to turn Seward High School into a near-model blended learning environment. In Trevan's words: "We recognized the community expectation that many students would still require credit offerings within the factory model. To meet this need, Seward High committed to becoming a hybrid high school. We define hybrid high school as, "the simultaneous provision of traditional and alternative credit acquisition within the school day and beyond." Seward High maintains a traditional bell schedule for those students who require it. However, we actively pursue and embrace every credit acquisition strategy we can use. These include using the district's Distance Delivery program, duel-credit opportunities through our partnership with a local community college, on-the-job-training credit for those students who work in the community, and independent study facilitated by our teachers. A quarter of Seward High's teachers use blended instruction strategies to offer credit—they see their students face-to-face for half of their instructional time and the other half is facilitated through their learning management systems. Finally, Seward High was able to add a part-time certificated teacher, at the end of our regular bell schedule, to expand our school day. This time is used for direct, blended, and online instruction for social studies credit and to facilitate math and English interventions. All other high school experiences—co-curricular activities, student council, school dances, etc.—remain the same." Trevan embodies what administrators should do when incorporating technology into their schools.

Links

  • KPBSD Information Services
  • Seward High School website
  • Alaska Society for Technology in Education (ASTE) website
  • The Seward Journal article, All Things for All Students
  • ASTE 2016: Where Technology and Education Converge
  • KPBSD Facebook Logo 2013 SML







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