Botetourt Center for Quality Teaching and Learning celebrates impact of first year
Feb. 25, 2005
DALEVILLE, VA - One year ago, Botetourt County Schools embarked on an ambitious project to improve student achievement by showing teachers ways to reach every student, every day. After bringing more than 200 through the intensive professional development of QTL™, system leaders say their experience with the program has been "absolutely superb."
"We had done such a lot of work to encourage the effective use of technology and research-based teaching as well as collaboration among the teachers," says H.W. Scott, Botetourt County Schools Supervisor of Instruction. "This just helped it all come together and helped the teachers see how it's all connected."
Barbara Hassell, who splits her days teaching German at both the county's high schools, says she learned a lot of new tricks while participating in the program. "It has been the best workshop I've ever attended. Ever, ever."
Hassell operates a distance learning lab, complete with cameras, projectors and screens, and a document camera. She's not reluctant to use technology, but found numerous new ways to use it to engage students in active learning.
"Barbara has taught an interactive classroom for years," says Scott. "She was not someone who hadn't been exposed to technology. But even with her technology background, QTL™ has made a huge difference."
For one example, Hassell had students use PowerPoint to create 'billboards' for fictitious German restaurants. They had to imagine the restaurant, name it, imagine the food and atmosphere, and advertise it. Then they had to present to fellow students - all in German.
Technology isn't the only focus of the program. Using proven teaching strategies to teach the standard curriculum is the main emphasis of QTL™. On another day, Hassell used a "chunking" exercise she learned to have students 're-construct' a German fairy tale by working together to piece together the parts. She says students loved it, and most importantly, learned a lot of German in the process.
"All these creative things don't come easily to me," she says. "All this is a direct result of QTL™... I still haven't gotten over it, it has been so good."
Botetourt administrators say the program, which now continues into its second year with one-time participant and fourth grade teacher Trevor Ruble taking on lead instructor duties, has succeeded for a variety of reasons. They've been lucky to have funding to purchase equipment that allowed teachers to go back to school and apply what they've learned in the classroom. And they consider participation in QTL™ a major factor in who gets the new equipment.
"I'm really reluctant, from my experience, to buy technology for someone who just knows they want a SmartBoard," says instructional technology leader Mike Scott. "I want them to show me how they will use that technology to reach their goals of student performance." He adds that QTL™ participants are usually much better prepared to do that.
The program culminates with collaborative projects planned and executed by teams of educators who teach different subjects, but went through the program together. QTL™ instructor Susan Herring says during the course of the first year, she was amazed with the results of some of the Botetourt County collaborative projects.
Click here to read some great examples of the impact of collaborative projects at Lord Botetourt High School.
|For more information, contact Robin Fred via e-mail at or call him at 888.507.3800.
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