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Rural Matters

Mar 4, 2019

Michelle chats with Chris Brown, superintendent of the Butler County Educational Service Center in Butler County, Ohio, and Kirk Koennecke, superintendent of the Graham School District in Ohio and CEO of the Ohio Small and Rural Collaborative, about Educator Success, an app that enables teachers to interact with mentors who are not in same building and to access information for their own professional learning, which has particular applicability in the rural setting. Koennecke notes that as a former principal and current school district superintendent, he is acutely aware of the importance of human capital, especially in the rural setting. More than 75 percent of adults use apps on their phones, “so why wouldn’t we want teachers to tap into that [opportunity],” he says. The app makes the job of a district supervisor easier because the app documents the professional learning courses, certificates, and badges earned by staff, provides a platform for professional collaboration, and serves as a modeling tool for students. Brown notes that professional badges can be earned in STEM education, an area of increasing importance in K-12 education. Since launching this joint effort just over a year ago, the impact has been dramatic—teachers banked hours outside of regular workday and immediately put those ideas in to practice in the classroom, especially in the math area, where progress has been measureable. Teachers who are certified are teaching others, he adds. The app also has the potential for saving money in professional learning and there may be grants available to defray costs, Koennecke notes. This episode was sponsored by the Butler County Educational Service Center,