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The City Journals

Teachers and schools rewarded for technology certification

Jan 18, 2017 03:39PM ● By Rubina Halwani

Canyon View Elementary teachers help the school win an iPad lab. (B.J. Weller/Canyon View Elementary)

By Rubina Halwani | [email protected]
Canyons School District offered an iPad or Chromebook lab to the first seven of 30 elementary schools to have at least half the teachers complete a threshold level of technology certification. Upon hearing about the prize, Principal B.J. Weller at Canyon View Elementary motivated his teachers to achieve this goal.
“We were the sixth school,” Weller said.
At first, Weller had concerns about giving more work to teachers, already juggling multiple tasks. He also mentioned the teachers were already learning a new math program as well this year, Envision 2.0. Yet, when he heard of the prize, he said, “We’ve gotta do this.”
“I gave them coupons for recess or bus duty to compensate for their time it would take,” said Weller.
Currently students in kindergarten and second grade shared one lab, but by winning this prize, the school can now offer one lab per grade.
 “It was great to see teachers across our whole school come together to achieve this certification so the younger grades could benefit from another lab. The entire fourth-grade team achieved this certification,” he added
Weller concluded that his goal was to have a lab for each grade in the school.
Willow Canyon Elementary was the first school to achieve the goal, back in Dec. 2016.
“You can’t go anywhere without them (students) being connected completely to their technology,” said Sen. Howard A. Stephenson (District 11), back in Feb. 2015, when senate introduced digital literacy legislation in Utah.
Stephenson helped to approve S.B. 222 into law, allocating educational funds for digital teaching and learning grants. The law was further updated/amended with H.B. 277 in 2016. It was this legislation that allowed for teachers to gain digital literacy certification. Teachers who completed the first level of certification also received a $275 stipend, as noted on the Canyons School District Education Technology portal.
Level 1 courses include basic computer program courses, such as Excel and Outlook. It also covers training modules on Canvas, Google courseware and grant writing.