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MERIT: There’s Never Been a Better Time to Strengthen Teachers’ Technology Skills

May 15, 2018

MERIT students

Applications are in for the MERIT 2018 cohort, and the instructional team, along with MERIT graduates, are blind scoring the forms to ensure that a top-notch, energetic cohort of 45-50 teachers from across the Bay Area is selected. MERIT (Making Education Relevant and Interactive through Technology) is open to K-14 educators of all disciplines. Each year the cohort is balanced so that elementary, middle, and high school teachers are well represented along with a diversity of academic disciplines.

MERIT is a 10-month commitment for educators and will kick off with a day of orientation and training on May 12. Teachers will then return the last two weeks of July for the Summer Institute—60 hours of intense, immersive training in integrating technology to transform their teaching practice and create student-centered learning environments. The program continues in the 2018-19 academic year with four follow-up sessions. Participants are also expected to earn an additional 100 points on their own, focused on learning more skills and sharing with other educators what they have learned. For example, participants can take an extra KCI for-credit course or attend a conference to learn new skills. For sharing, they can present to their peers or at a conference. This aspect of the program is powerful in that it helps educators take what they learned in the summer and expand upon it.

The 2018 instructional team is particularly strong, representing both local districts and districts from the Central Valley. Lisa DeLapo, who joined the KCI team in August as the new Innovator in Residence, will continue her role as MERIT Program Director. Under her able leadership, Lisa has recruited a team of instructors who are well respected by their fellow educators. Brian Briggs will be the Assistant Program Director. Brian hails from the Plumas Lake Elementary School District where he is the Director of Innovation & Instructional Technology. Brian approaches education with a desire to integrate coding, STEAM and science into the curriculum. This will be Brian’s second year as MERIT’s Assistant Director.

A selection of strong ed tech-oriented teachers complete the instructional team. Karly Moura is a Technology TOSA (Teacher on Special Assignment) and computer science teacher at Sun Terrace Elementary School, a STEM magnet school in Concord. Darren Massa holds the position of Science Coordinator at the Glenn County Office of Education. He is a Google Certified Innovator and CUE Lead Learner. Misty Kluesner is the Campbell Union School District’s Digital Innovation Coach, and a MERIT 2016 graduate. Dominic Bigue is San Mateo Union High School District’s Technology Coordinator. He is a MERIT 2009 Fellow, an Apple Distinguished Educator, and a Google Certified Innovator.

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