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Emergency training gets new teachers off on right foot

September 15, 2004

CARTHAGE, NC - With turnover an ongoing issue for schools, every year several ExplorNet schools find themselves hiring new teachers after the summer training season has passed. Fall emergency training sessions help those late hires get off on the right foot and do the best job possible until they can return for the full training the following summer.

A handful of teachers from across North Carolina formally joined the program at an Emergency Computer Engineering training session Sept. 11-13 at Pinckney Academy in Carthage, NC.

Computer Engineering training
Kathy Wright (right) shows teachers how to make cable during Computer Engineering training.

Participants all came into the training with a solid background in computer technology. Some have already taught the subject. But they agreed having a 'crash course' in content and curriculum materials helped them understand what resources are available to them through ExplorNet and what they need to do to get started meeting curriculum requirements. All had praise for Master Instructor Kathy Wright, who led the session in her own classroom at Moore County's Pinckney Academy.

"She was very helpful," says New Hanover High School teacher David Nelson, who entered his classroom for the first time just a few weeks before the emergency training. "I learned so much more than I thought I could in three days. This was awesome!"

Another New Hanover County teacher, Ronald Gschwandtner of Hoggard High School, attended with a different perspective. Having attended ExplorNet training several years ago, he returned for a 'refresher' and any information that would help him mentor Nelson during the current school year. Gschwandtner says "everything" about the emergency workshop was worthwhile, and he came away impressed with the program and training improvements made over the past few years. "This was well worth it," he says.

A Granville County participant who has previously taught computer technology at the community college level says she had already read through some of the ExplorNet materials, including the "Quality Teaching Strategies" handbook, and made use of them before the training. She especially enjoyed a bonus 'field trip' to the state SkillsUSA Camp Dixie encampment on Sunday afternoon, and came away determined to give her students opportunities they've never had before.

"I've told them I'm not going to teach them just how to pass a test," she says. "I'm going to teach them what they need to know."

Cary High School teacher Nick Nicholson, who had been in his Wake County classroom just over a week, says he had been getting help from some of his more advanced students to get his classroom lab set up. Now he's looking forward to getting down to business after the immersion training experience.

"I couldn't point out one thing," he says. "Everything was beneficial. What a great experience... This was more helpful than I could ever have imagined." He adds that he is already making plans to attend the full Computer Engineering training in 2005.

Next year's ExplorNet IT trainings will feature an even stronger emphasis on Quality Teaching Strategies, woven into the curriculum to create the kind of hands-on learning that is the best way to reach so many high school technology students.


For more information, contact Robin Fred via e-mail at or call him at 888.507.3800.

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