Project SMaRT   

A Technology Initiative in the Palm Beach County School District

 

Interested in Joining Project SMaRT?

 

Background


First announced by Teresa Wing in January 2005, Project SMaRT seeks to support student achievement, promote student and teacher technological literacy, and encourage effective integration of technology resources into classroom instruction through the development of Technology Integration Mentors (Ambassadors) and representatives (Lead Teachers).  Project SMaRT began as a No Child Left Behind: Enhancing Education Through Technology (NCLB:EETT) Title II-D Grant Initiative through the Department of Educational Technology designed for certified secondary teachers from approved private or charter schools and public schools that are part of the Palm Beach County School District.


The project’s main goals are to improve student achievement, bridge the digital divide, and improve teacher professional development.  The district has provided over sixty thousand instructional work stations but according to Florida STAR (System for Technology Accountability and Rigor Survey, now referred to as the Florida Innovates Survey) student and teacher use is at or below standard usage.  Therefore, professional development will focus on teachers using technology effectively to teach.  Project SMaRT is not about teaching teachers how to use technology.  We strive to teach teachers how to integrate technology into their everyday curriculum.  We do not believe that technology replaces curriculum, rather it provides a medium to deliver curriculum.


Curriculum


Project SMaRT takes a long-term professional development approach, and all participants are expected to commit to remaining in the project for multiple years.  Participants begin their training by getting acquainted with existing District standard programs.  They learn how to utilize them in their everyday environment.  Participants meet with colleagues from other schools in the project to discuss innovative and challenging steps to integration.  In addition, participants learn how to create digital content to deliver, enhance, and motivate today’s digital learners.  Participants in the project share what they have learned with their colleagues at their school centers as well as with other colleagues around the District through the annual District Technology Conference. 


Lead Teachers are equipped with technology tools such as laptop computers, digital cameras, scanners, and camcorders, and they are expected to develop and integrate instructional multimedia projects that support their curriculum areas.  All activities are geared toward increasing student achievement.  Lead Teachers are expected to participate in training sessions designed to support them in this effort.  The equipment is issued to Lead Teachers through the Department of Educational Technology, and they may use all equipment as long as they remain a member in good standing in the project.


Assignments


Teachers that participate in this project need to know that there is quite a commitment required.  Teachers are required to complete assignments that reflect what is delivered in the workshops.  These assignments will require time to implement in their classroom as well as extra time outside the classroom and outside of mandatory workshops to plan for the assignments.  After each assignment, participants work in learning environments that help them discuss successes and challenges to their implementation to continue the development.  Each workshop is a stepping stone to building a solid foundation.  Participants that complete all components will earn stipends, inservice points, and the use of equipment pending grant funding.


Incentives


In-service points are earned based on attendance an homework assignment completion.  To earn in-service points, participants must attend 80% of all sessions and complete 100% of assignments.  In addition to points, participants are issued a MacBook computer and various other peripheral equipment.  Participants may use the equipment as long as they remain in good standing in the project.


All equipment is property of Project SMaRT.  Since considerable time and money has been imparted to that participant, if a participant moves to a different school and wishes to continue in the project, they may keep the equipment.  If a Lead Teacher has to exit project, they must provide notification to their ambassador, principal, and project facilitator via email.  All equipment must be surrendered in a timely manner.  Other digital tools will be provided based on funding and will adhere to the process outlined above.


Selection Criteria


Selection of Lead Teachers should take considerable thought.  We have enough equipment for each school to select between two or three teachers.  There is no requirement regarding subject area.  Teachers from all subjects are accepted but please note that some assignments require emphasis on reading instruction.  Potential candidates should have some basic computer knowledge but they do not have to be ‘super-users.’  Prospective candidates must demonstrate an open mind to new ways of teaching.  Some other expectations they must demonstrate are:


  1. Classroom Teachers


  1. Willingness to collaborate with other teachers


  1. Willingness to consistently integrate technology with curriculum


  1. Aptitude and interest in instructional technology

  2. Open to new ideas

  3. Ability to adapt to unexpected situations

  4. Ability to convey a positive attitude

Prospective candidates should are expected to complete the following:


  1. Accept a long-term commitment

  2. Attend at least 80% of workshop dates

  3. Active participation in workshops and in the District Technology Conference

  4. Complete all projects

  5. Keep a digital portfolio of all work


We realize the commitment needed for this project is extensive, but the ultimate reward is a teacher that knows how to create a digital learning environment capable of improving student achievement and developing life long learning skills. 


Participants are accepted into the project once per year in August.  If you are interested in joining Project SMaRT or if you would like to know who is part of the project at your school, contact John Shoemaker, project facilitator.  Each August, Mr. Shoemaker will email principals that have vacancies in the project asking for representatives.  Once Mr. Shoemaker receives the principal recommendation form, the new Lead Teacher will be notified.  At the first meeting, new Lead Teachers will meet their SMaRT Ambassador who will be the communication channel for future training, meetings, and orientation.


Thank you for your interest in this project.  For any other questions, please contact John Shoemaker