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  • Meet Academy Innovator Billy Jo Bonar, teacher of Earth and Space Science at Salina Central High School, who wants to make better use of the technology available to USD 305 students.

    The Academy of Innovation might be the answer, providing time and funding for Billy Jo to research the creation and use of digital notebooks in her science classroom. A hybrid of teacher professional development, the Academy steps away from prescribed training and instead encourages individualized professional development.

    It wasn’t easy to get into the Academy of Innovation; application was required. At the end of the process 24 teachers – including Billy Jo Bonar – were approved to participate in this first year. “The Academy participants are highly motivated,” said Katy Vinson, instructional coach. “They identified teaching ideas with great potential that need research, development and testing.” For these 24 teachers the Academy provides a foundation for risk taking and creativity as they design new learning experiences.

    Billy Jo Bonar uses Google classroom and sends her students a digital notebook - known as a “lesson” to some - that is interactive. It contains a worksheet, links to readings, graphics, videos and other resources. Using their Chromebooks to access these materials, students work independently or in small groups. Billy Jo circulates throughout the classroom checking on progress and answering questions.

    “The digital notebooks have allowed me to teach a little differently,” said Billy Jo. “Eventually I’ll be able to flip my classroom where they’ll have the notes already before they come in.” The possibilities are exciting and another example of the USD 305 commitment to continuous improvement and academic achievement. Katy Vinson added, “It’s instruction connected to what the kids need and how they learn best. We’re meeting them where they are today and preparing them for careers tomorrow and down the road.”


Last Modified on November 20, 2017