By SHARON K. HALL
Knott County Board of Education Superintendent Kim King and staff were pleased to welcome Kentucky Education Commissioner Dr. Terry Holliday to the Knott County school district. After breakfast at the Central Office the troupe toured Hindman Elementary School and sat in on a fourth grade class to witness the advanced instructional technology in use. Joining Dr. Holliday was Regional KETS Technology Director Harold Burchell and Technology Director of Knott Schools Brent Hoover, among others.
Last year Knott County was chosen as a pilot school for implementation of a special technology program called CIITS or Continuous Instructional Improvement Technology System. CIITS is designed to provide public school educators with the 21st Century resources they need to carry out highly-effective teaching and learning in the classroom. This year CIITS is used classrooms statewide. CIITS combines instructional leadership, curriculum planning, student performance, teacher practice, and professional learning to raise academic achievement among Kentucky’s students.
The largest school in the county, Hindman Elementary, is a great example of a school “wired” for state of the art technology in schools. It is fully set up as a 21st century technology based system and has six sets of “clickers” that are used with online software. The clickers are shared among the classes and all students are versed in their use. Students use the small remotes to enter in the answer to a question projected onto the teacher’s board. Teachers and their aides can immediately see the results from all students and offer help to those who guessed incorrectly.
“I hope you love our school as much we do,” said a group of Hindman Elementary students as they greeted Dr. Holliday. The commissioner was met at the front door of the school by a group of eager youngsters holding welcoming posters.
Fourth grade teacher Amber Stewart and collaborating teacher Mary Allen impressed Holliday with their team teaching and use of technology as he sat at a table with students during class. Each of the 18 students possessed clickers and were engaged in a class instruction and discussion as the visitors quietly entered the classroom. After a short lecture a multiple-choice problem was posted on a white board for students to use their clickers to select an answer. One-on-one instruction that might have taken several days to accomplish with this lesson was done in minutes.
He explained to King, “I was sitting next to a student and I could see that he clicked the wrong answer. I debated if I should say something to him. But immediately the collaborating teacher could see on her iPad that he had the wrong answer and came over to him and talked him into selecting the right one. It makes me feel good because a lot of money went into this [CIITS statewide].
Next, they quietly entered Holly Slone’s Kindergarten class. Each of the 23 students found their assigned seat on the rug awaiting Dr. Holliday to read “A Very Hungry Caterpillar.” The kind man seemed to connect with each child as he began explaining that the book went along with the lesson “C”. “If you turn the book on its side the caterpillar sort of looks like a “C”, he said. He read the book as if it were poetry captivating and indulging the children to interact.
Before leaving the building he met each teacher in the school.