NCCE Member Highlights: Janet Avery
Our members are weaving the threads of education every day with people of all ages across the country. They are involved in improving lives and the overall well-being of our communities. With over 4000 members strong, NCCE would like to introduce you to a few peers. Every month we will take a snapshot of active NCCE members and find out what they are doing to make a difference in technology education.
NAME and TITLE: Janet Avery, Director of Curriculum, Instruction, PD, and Assessment
SCHOOL DISTRICT: Jerome School District
NCCE MEMBER SINCE: 2014
Share with us – what is one new initiative you are working on in your district?
The biggest initiative I am working on this year is implementation of a new ELA curricular resource grades K-5. Our K-5 teachers went through a year-long review process to choose a resource that would best “fit” Jerome students. We began the process by deciding upon our “non-negotiables” at each grade level – what were those things that a resource HAD to have. It came down to two “programs.” While most district leaders would prefer that K-5 have the same resource, my superintendent, Dale Layne, and I aren’t “most” leaders. We really leveraged and listened to the voices of our teachers in making the choice that would work best. We ended up going with two different publishers – one for K-3, and another for 4-5. The makeup of our schools is unique – we have two Primary K-3 Elementary schools that feed into one Intermediate 4-5 Elementary.
While teachers crafted the majority of the “non-negotiables,” I had one big one of my own. We have been working to integrate technology into all classrooms. Not technology “events,” but technology that is a seamless part of instruction. Whatever resource we chose had to have technology pieces that would allow students to not only consume information, but also to be creators of content as well. While we are not perfect in our journey of technology integration, we have some pockets of greatness throughout the district.
Finally, the other “initiative” I am continually working on is not limited to just my district. I am trying to connect educators around Idaho through Twitter. I am the founder, and moderator, of #IDedchat – a weekly Twitter chat for Idaho educators, and anyone else who would like to join the conversation. Every Wednesday evening at 8pm MDT, I welcome folks to the chat, and begin to post questions that we discuss. Sometimes we have conversations, sometimes we share resources, and sometimes we just have a silly time. The point is that we are collaborating. Collaborating not only with the person who we work with every day, but with those around our state who grapple with the same questions we do. From my #IDedchat PLN, #edcampidaho was born. We just had our third event last summer in Jerome. If you have never attended an #edcamp, you must find one near you. It is a day filled with you being in control of your own learning.
What is one strategy you use to have a more productive workday?
My iPhone, gmail, and Google Calendar are things that I use every day to keep me organized. We are a Google Apps for Education district – I am not sure how I survived before these tools came along!
Name one thing your “mama always told you”?
When you “unplug” – what do you like to do?
Spend time with family. We spend time camping, on the golf course, walking/hiking. My children are growing up way too fast – I want to spend as much time with them as I can. My husband and I began “hiking” this summer – both to ensure we have time together, and to ensure that we remain healthy.