ISTE Tech Coach 2018

I’m very happy to be supporting the nomination of Amy Gwizdz for the ISTE Tech Coach. My nomination is below:

ISTE Tech Coach Award

Here Ye, Here Ye.
Let it be known that the wonderful Mrs. Amy Gwizdz, Technology Coach for Dearborn Public Schools is being nominated for the 2018 Ed Tech Coaches PLN Award. Mrs. Gwizdz lives as an exemplar of the ISTE Standards for Coaching.

Dearborn Public Schools is the third largest district in the state of Michigan. We have a very diverse population. We have a large English Language Learner population and Economically disadvantaged population. However, even with those challenges, Dearborn Public Schools is recognized as one of the most successful districts in the state.

Herein, you shall find a few shining examples of the leadership Amy Gwizdz provides. Among those shining examples:

Visionary Leadership

WHEREAS: The ISTE coaching standards call for technology coaches to be a constructive part of a shared vision for the comprehensive use of technology to support all students. Mrs. Gwizdz starts that leadership with pre-school students. Mrs. Gwizdz helps pre-school students record themselves defining their goals. Then, she follows up to help them record their progress in meeting those goals.

WHEREAS: Mrs. Gwizdz persistently focuses teachers not on “shiny, trendy” technology, but technology that can truly help students learn. She leads teachers in best practices that not only include technology, but use technology to meet the larger issue of restructuring education to meet the needs of the learners.

Teaching, learning and assessments

WHEREAS: The ISTE standards also call for fundamentals of teaching and learning. Mrs. Gwizdz is dedicated to this day in and day out. She has helped teachers develop a wide range of learning and assessment opportunities.

Digital age learning environments

WHEREAS: Mrs. Gwizdz co-teaches in classrooms to model effective practices. These practices include (but are not limited to) technology and digital tools. Her co-taught classes allow her to work with teachers to deeply infuse technology into the classroom with cooperating teachers. The cooperating teachers then implement that same learning in other classes and help lead other teachers.

Mrs. Gwizdz is part of our focus team to make sure that the district stays on task. Instead of following the “thousand shiny tools of technology”, she works hard to keep the focus on evaluating and supporting those tools that make a difference in real classrooms. She then uses those same tools everyday to support teachers.

Take a look at just one example of a course that she helped develop in conjunction with a team of core teachers. The iLearn Spelling Course allows the process of the weekly spelling test to become student focused and controlled. Students don’t need to spend time on words that they already know. The students are free to move at their own pace. Teachers are freed up from reciting the words for the test. Teachers are also freed up from having to administer a wide range of retests. This allows teachers to spend more time as they need to improve student achievement. Or, how about Hanging Technology on the Wall? Mrs. Gwizdz came up with a terrific solution to a very real issue. Elementary teachers need to show off the work that students do. How can you put a digital assignment up on a bulletin board? Mrs. Gwizdz figured it out. Our School Improvement Site visit teams were WOW’d.

Professional development and program evaluation

WHEREAS: Mrs. Gwizdz takes time weekly to work on professional development and program implementation. She works as an integral part of a small team that makes a big difference. Weekly, she discusses the work that has been done and needs to be done yet. She has established processes that leverage digital communication to seek input and provide answers to questions as they come up. No question or concern goes unaddressed.

Furthermore, Mrs. Gwizdz has created an online portfolio utilizing Mahara. Here, she reflects about what has happened and with whom she has worked.

Mrs. Gwizdz is responsible for working with eighteen different schools. For a lesser technology coach, this may prove too overwhelming, too difficult. However, Amy goes all out. She prioritizes, schedules, and works so efficiently, that she is able to make a difference throughout all of her schools. She conduct needs assessments through groups, self-reflection and individual activities. She designs, plans and delivers professional development that is laser focused on what will make a difference in terms of student learning. She evaluates and re-evaluates professional development so that it truly meets the needs of all learners.

Digital citizenship

WHEREAS: Mrs. Gwizdz works directly with teachers and students to help the develop the necessary skills to be safe and aware in the digital environment in which we live. Beyond that, she has led the way in helping parents of pre-school and elementary students understand the new world that these students are growing up in. Her leadership and training with parents helps them understand how to manage and control screen time.

Content knowledge and professional growth

WHEREAS: Mrs. Gwizdz continually develops and shares her own professional development. She regularly reflects on her professional practice to continually strengthen her own abilities to model effective practice. As one example, please review the wonderful post, From Lawn Chairs to Finish Lines.

NOW, THEREFORE, I, Troy Patterson, Director of Technology & Media Services, do hereby proclaim Amy Gwizdz as officially nominated for the 2018 Ed Tech Coaches PLN Award.

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