The 2018 Building Bridges Assistive Technology conference was held on April 19, 2018, at Grant Wood Area Education Agency. Over 215 educators were present and enjoyed a full day of learning related to the consideration and integration of Assistive Technology in support of diverse student needs. Each year at the conference recognition is given to outstanding educators from across the GWAEA area who have demonstrated exceptional knowledge and use of assistive technology with students in the classroom.
Special congratulations to Vanessa Rapier in recognition of her recent selection as one of this year's 2018 Building Bridges Outstanding Educator Assistive Technology Award winners. Three educators from across the Grant Wood AEA area were selected and recognized at this year's conference event.
"Vanessa Rapier - Clear Creek Amana School District: Vanessa is a Special Education teacher at Clear Creek/Amana Middle School. Vanessa and her entire staff have done an amazing job helping their 6 different students with AAC devices communicate to their fullest potential at this time. Vanessa has used Core boards in every lesson, she has programmed in specific vocabulary that they might need in a general education classroom (including the entire periodic table), she has unitized techniques to push her students to use their communication devices to make requests, answer questions, or comment on the task they are doing. She has set up social programs with other students to give them time to work on their social skills while using their devices, and she has asked thoughtful questions and responded with a positive attitude to every challenge thrown her way. Additionally, because she has her associates rotate between all the students in her room, this means that every one of her paraeducators has had to learn each one of the 6 different AAC devices. They have done this exceptionally and without complaint or hesitation. Additionally, her staff has provided new ideas and have provided a plethora of communication opportunities for their students throughout the day. To watch them work has been a pleasure, a true credit to their profession, and to the great benefit of their students."
Barb Hunt, Vanessa Rapier and Brad Fox
Middle School 7th Grade math teachers, Hallee Harrison and Ellen Anne Yanik worked together with Instructional Coach Jill Santee to secure a Power Teaching Math grant from the Southeast Iowa Regional STEM Advisory Board of the Iowa Governor's STEM Advisory Council.
Power Teaching Math is an instructional approach that links Common Core, state standards and school curriculum to research-proven instructional strategies and classroom resources, promoting rigor and student engagement. The teachers are excited to co-teach by combining classes and allowing the students and teachers to gain the most from the on-site coaching, real life application and team work that comes with this opportunity.
Ellen Anne and Hallee will be gaining some strong professional learning and new ways to teach through the Power Teaching Math Outcomes:
Rigorous lesson materials that help each student think like a mathematician.
Routines, rubrics and structures to guide powerful discussions and teamwork.
Instruction that helps students learn to think flexibly, articulate solutions and use mathematical practices to master objectives.
Professional development for teachers, including online resources.
Interactive whiteboard compatibility.
Online data tools and analysis.
Alignment with 21st century standards.
Early Out dismissal-1:30pm on Wednesdays