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Etowah County School System 3200 West Meighan Boulevard Gadsden, AL 35904 (256) 549-7560 Kim Mintz, Ph.D. Director of Assessment and Accountability [email protected] Melissa Shields, NBCT Director of Instructional Technology [email protected]

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Etowah County School System

3200 West Meighan Boulevard

Gadsden, AL 35904

(256) 549-7560

Kim Mintz, Ph.D.

Director of Assessment and Accountability

[email protected]

Melissa Shields, NBCT

Director of Instructional Technology

[email protected]

project timeline melissa shields
Project Timeline: Melissa Shields
  • Create and Publish Professional Development Wiki and Ning: December 2009
  • Create ENGAGE website: March 2010
  • Write and Submit ENGAGE for ACLD PLU Approval: April 2010
project timeline dr kim mintz
Project Timeline: Dr. Kim Mintz
  • Create acronym (ENGAGE) for new initiative: July 2009
  • Research and share instructional technology best practices with principals and counselors, i.e. curriculum journeys and Photo stories: Beginning March 2010
  • Evaluate and record each building principal’s participation in the 5 ENGAGE PLU activities: Beginning May 2010
project timeline dr kim mintz and melissa shields
Project Timeline: Dr. Kim Mintz and Melissa Shields
  • Create Twitter Account and “tweet” daily: Beginning December 2009
  • Create public ECBOE Facebook and update daily: Beginning March 2010
  • Collaborate on 5 required activities for ENGAGE PLU: Beginning March 2010
  • On-site observations: March – October 2010
executive summary
Executive Summary

Dr. Kim Mintz, Melissa Shields, and Dr. Jon Paul Campbell collaborated to create a local initiative entitled "ENGAGE" (Empowering Next Generation with Authentic Global Experiences). ENGAGE is an ongoing, transforming process to better prepare Etowah County students for the 21st Century workplace. Through this process, administrators and interested teachers with administrative certificates will earn ONE Professional Learning Unit (PLU).  Other components of this initiative include ongoing, sustained professional development in project-based learning, integrating 21st Century skills into the core curriculum, increasing rigor and relevance of assignments, and ensuring readiness for students to move to the next stage of their lives.

problem statement
Problem Statement

To successfully integrate technology into the instructional process, technology must be understood and valued as a powerful tool to enhance teaching and learning. The Etowah County School District recognizes the power and potential of technology in student growth and achievement and will move to integrate it into the daily operations of students, teachers, and administrators. The first phase of the ENGAGE initiative strongly emphasizes the importance of administrators meeting NETS-A (National Educational Technology Standards for Administrators).   Close attention has and will be paid to Alabama\'s IMPACT (Indicators for Measuring Progress in Advancing Classroom Technology) Literacy Content Standards found in Alabama\'s Technology Course of Study.

project objective
Project Objective
  • The goal of this project is to develop a cadre of administrators to act as 21st Century technology leaders at their schools to improve the integration of 21st Century skills into the curriculum, thus improving student achievement and graduation rates.
  • Within the ENGAGE initiative, the Etowah County School District has adopted a new set of "The Three R\'s":  Rigor, Relevance, and Readiness.  This initiative will allow the district to achieve a higher level of 21st Century integration and provide the training and the experiences to sustain this level, well after the completion of the Professional Learning Unit timeframe (first round to be completed by October 2010).
project implementation and management plan
Project Implementation and Management Plan

The following activities are requirements for ECBOE administrators to earn the PLU through the ENGAGE initiative:

  • Conduct ongoing 21st Century Professional Development
  • Participate in ENGAGE Training
  • Improve School and District Web Presence
  • Join District Professional Development Ning and Wiki
  • Experience Social Media Exposure


Ongoing 21st Century Professional Development

Etowah County Schools will continue to have ongoing professional development for administrators and teachers to further demonstrate project-based lessons and 21st Century technologies that should be integrated into the curriculum. Some of the ongoing professional development will be "in-person," while other trainings will be video podcasted to all administrators from the Central Office. These meetings will provide training, resources, and exposure to 21st Century tools and teaching strategies. Student assessment data and NETS-A (National Education Technology Standards for Administrators) will also be addressed.



  • Person(s) Responsible: Melissa Shields and Dr. Kim Mintz
  • Implementers: Central Office and School Administrative Staff
  • Partners: Jacksonville State University Regional Inservice Center; The University of Alabama, Gadsden Center
  • Beneficiaries: All Etowah County stakeholders
  • Timeline: To be completed by October 31, 2010
  • Sustainability: This activity will incorporate a “train the trainer” model. This training will be replicated and refined as technology evolves.


Conduct ENGAGE Training

Principals must conduct THREE ENGAGE trainings at their respective schools and/or the Etowah County Summer Technology Fair. They may demonstrate or share best 21st Century practices, Web 2.0 tools, or other 21st Century technologies. A description of these trainings must be posted on a pre-selected online social network (to stimulate discussion).



  • Person(s) Responsible: Melissa Shields and Dr. Kim Mintz
  • Implementers: District and local school administrators
  • Partners: SchoolWires; Promethean Technologies; JSU Regional Inservice Center; Alabama State Department of Education (Technology In Motion)
  • Beneficiaries: District and school level administrators, teachers, and students
  • Timeline: To be completed by October 31, 2010
  • Sustainability: ENGAGE training will be ongoing indefinitely.


Improve Web Presence

It is required that all administrators will continue to improve their professional web presence for themselves and their respective schools. They will attend trainings and/or conduct trainings to help them accomplish this goal. They will update their pages regularly and send e-alerts when they do so.

Criteria such as school subscriber lists, up-to-date content, and variety of online tools, will be utilized to determine the effectiveness of their websites.



  • Person(s) Responsible: Melissa Shields
  • Implementers: District and local school administrators
  • Partners: SchoolWires Web Hosting
  • Beneficiaries: All Etowah County stakeholders
  • Timeline: To be completed October 31, 2010
  • Sustainability: Web presence will continue to improve with ongoing training throughout the life of this web hosting.


Join Ning and Wiki

On the administrative end, Web 2.0 tools will facilitate ongoing and sustained collaboration among teachers and principals, which is so vital to student success. Web 2.0 tools provide a user-friendly venue to communicate on their own time. Administrators will utilize Nings, wikis, and/or blogs for teachers to post best practices and student projects, thus creating a 21st Century culture of collaboration and professional growth. Participants must also upload a "best-practice" podcast to the Ning for others to view and comment. This podcast, which must feature the participant, may demonstrate project-based learning, 21st Century technologies being utilized, or general commentary about the use of these tools. An ECBOE Administrator Wiki has been created to provide necessary resources to support the ENGAGE initiative. Administrators will join this wiki and visit it often for updated information and assignments. They will be encouraged to add supporting ENGAGE content (widgets, pictures, links, etc).



  • Person(s) Responsible: Melissa Shields
  • Implementers/Partners: District and local school administrators
  • Beneficiaries: District and local school administrators, teachers, and students
  • Timeline: To be completed October 31, 2010
  • Sustainability: Both the wiki and Ning will be updated regularly to provide best practices and information regarding emerging technologies.


Social Media Exposure

Social networking tools have become an integral part of students\' lives. It is paramount that educators are exposed to these tools, as well as experience them, to fully understand their potential impact on students, both negative and positive. In our online discussions, we will investigate how these tools could be used in the classroom for instructional purposes, as well as how to teach students appropriate online behavior while using them (for either instructional or personal use). Administrators will "follow" ECBOE on Twitter and/or join the ECBOE Group on Facebook. If they choose to become "Twitterers," they must tweet at least once a week. If they join the Facebook group, they must post a discussion question or respond to a currently posted question (at least four times). These tweets and discussions will be in direct response to the ENGAGE initiative.



  • Person(s) Responsible: Dr. Kim Mintz
  • Implementers: District and local school administrators
  • Partners: Unofficially - Facebook and Twitter
  • Beneficiaries: All Etowah County stakeholders
  • Timeline: To be completed October 31, 2010
  • Sustainability: Both Facebook and Twitter will continue to be active (updated) indefinitely.
project monitoring and evaluation
Project Monitoring and Evaluation
  • Through ENGAGE, administrators\' effectiveness will be measured as they complete the Professional Learning Unit (PLU), thus making them more qualified to evaluate teachers in the new Educate Alabama teacher evaluation system.  Benchmark data will be gathered from the evaluations to measure improvement throughout the implementation of ENGAGE.     
  • Etowah County will review the effectiveness of the action steps and activities schools are carrying out, in terms of technology integration, collaborating with other teachers, and enabling students to meet rigorous standards.
  • Melissa Shields and Dr. Kim Mintz will conduct frequent observations of these activities.  In the observations, these instructional leaders will note student engagement and the administrator/teacher use of technology.  If at all possible, they will participate in the lesson as a student would so as to experience the lesson\'s true intent.   
documentation and sharing results
Documentation and Sharing Results
  • The ENGAGE initiative has been granted ACLD approval for a PLU.
  • Melissa Shields and Dr. Kim Mintz will share and/or demonstrate components of the ENGAGE initiative locally and nationally (i.e.: ISTE Conference, collaboration with other school districts, etc.)
  • IMPACT survey results will be distributed to all schools and stakeholders.
  • This initiative’s implementation and subsequent success will be submitted for publication in both state and national professional journals.
  • The fundamental components of this initiative are collaboration and communication. While these elements are vital to the nature of this initiative, they will also serve as documentation and public relations for our stakeholders.
project budget
Project Budget

The ENGAGE initiative requires very little, if any, funding. It was created to make the best use of existing technologies and FREE Web 2.0 tools. Most professional development was (and will be) conducted by in-house experts, thanks to the “train the trainer” model.

important engage links
Important ENGAGE Links
  • ECBOE Web site
  • ECBOE Professional Development Wiki
  • ECBOE Professional Development Ning
  • ECBOE Public Twitter
  • ECBOE Public Facebook Page
    • Etowah County Schools
  • ECBOE Professional Development Facebook Group (Private to ECBOE Employees)
    • ECBOE Group