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Grant Funds Awarded for Digital Learning Coaches

Caldwell County Schools is one of 12 school districts and charter schools in the state awarded grant funding for innovative planning and implementation through NC’s Digital-Age Learning Initiative powered by the NC Department of Public Instruction and the Friday Institute at NC State. 

As a 2020 grant recipient recently approved by the State Board of Education, the school district was awarded $50,000 to establish a team referred to as Caldwell Coaches of Digital Learning composed of central office staff, school-based administrators, and teacher leaders. This team will develop a vision and mission for Caldwell County’s digital learning initiative; participate in professional development to become Google Certified Educators (Level 1 and Level 2); and create a Google Site to share micro-credentials and a training module for others to utilize and follow within the school district and across the state. 

According to the grant proposal, coaches will be the ‘lead learners’ in their schools, modeling appropriate instructional practices and ensuring that content encompasses appropriate digital tools, resources, and pedagogies. Since it is a one-year grant, the district will begin activating the timeline immediately. Currently, teacher leaders are being recruited and if teachers within the school district are interested in becoming a distinguished Digital Learning Coach, they are encouraged to complete an application. The link is posted on the district website at caldwellschools.com for the next two weeks.

The team of coaches will be selected by the end of 2020, then the professional development certification process starts followed by training sessions in digital learning platforms that will continue throughout the remainder of the school year. An emphasis will be placed on developing a professional learning plan for the following school year. 

Based on the district level results of the NC Digital Learning Progress Rubric, Caldwell County Schools ranked as “Developing” in several areas among a rating system from “Early” (the least achievement level) to Developing, Advanced, and Target - the highest level.  Through this process, the district has identified areas of need, specific to digital learning and professional development for teachers and administrators to meet the needs of students. The grant funds will allow the district to develop teacher-leaders or Digital Learning Coaches to address these needs not only in the district but also at the school level.

“The long-term goal is to create teacher leaders within the schools to blaze a pathway for the district in implementing and integrating digital learning and technology in the classroom and to assist fellow teachers in increasing their knowledge and abilities related to digital teaching and learning,” Assistant Superintendent for Educational Program Services Dr Katrina McEllen said.