Making a Difference:
Professional Development for Teachers


Once I realized the things I would be learning, I decided that was mandatory PD for me every year—because it usually introduced me to new and upcoming technology that I could immediately integrate into the classroom and my lessons.

Jessica Holmes

Library Media Specialist, Westridge Elementary School

Just like the high-school and college teams she cheered on in Bardstown and at Transylvania University, the youngsters at Frankfort's Westridge Elementary School are the beneficiaries of Jessica Holmes' boundless enthusiasm.

But instead of urging athletes on to victory on the field, the library media specialist now encourages academic success utilizing the latest technology for her eager charges. Jessica Holmes

"I am in charge of teaching children 21st-century skills," said Holmes, who's now in her fifth year of teaching. "I do a lot of research classes, classes on how to use technology—pretty much anything related to helping kids find information."

To ensure she remains on top of that mission, Holmes utilizes KET's education resources. She finds particularly helpful KET's annual summer Multimedia Day and other professional development sessions, or "PD."

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"I have literally used things I learned from the very first one," she said. "Once I realized the things I would be learning, I decided that was mandatory PD for me every year—because it usually introduced me to new and upcoming technology that I could immediately integrate into the classroom and my lessons."

While many traditional professional development trainings are more geared to classroom teachers and their curriculum areas, Holmes finds that, without KET, there are few opportunities for her to advance her knowledge.

"I needed something that would help me teach my content, which is 21st-century skills," she emphasized.

"By going to the KET training, I'm learning how to incorporate technology, and use Web 2.0 tools and video editing tools with kids in a way that will help them better understand the content—and show them ways to show what they've learned in a more creative way."

Beyond the skills she imparts to all Westridge students, Holmes' expertise is a valued asset to the school's Student Technology Leadership Program (STLP). Sponsored by the state Department of Education, the program encourages school-community partnerships and increased technology proficiency in a science fair-like competition. Its goal is to create student leaders of technology in each school who become resources to teachers and fellow students alike.

"KET Education Consultant Larry Moore comes out and actually does a session with my STLP kids. Just like he taught me when I was there at Multimedia Day, he does a two-hour session with them during one of our STLP meetings where he teaches my kids how to do video, and how to do the best shots, and sounds and lights. And they use it!"

One group in this year's Westridge STLP has made extensive use of this expertise in video editing. After a schoolmate lost a sibling to cancer, they decided to work with a hospice patient to create a video scrapbook as a lasting gift to family and friends.

"In the beginning of the year, I ask them what means a lot to them, and what they'd like to know more about. Talking to this other student and finding out what (he'd) been through, they thought, 'We'd like to help.'"

Another group has put together a project that connects them to students in other states. "A lot of our kids are on free and reduced lunch," she said, "and they never even get outside of Frankfort. This gave them a way."

Apart from STLP, Westridge integrates technology seamlessly in its instruction, thanks to the knowledge Holmes has accumulated through KET.

"I rely on that PD over the summer as my primary professional development in current trends in technology integration," she said. "I needed a PD that would show me how to take what the teachers are doing and relay it to the kids in a way that is relevant to their lifestyle, what they're experiencing today and that's anything related to technology," she said.