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Friday, October 05, 2012

Interview with Paige Johnson, Intel: Innovators in Education Series

Educational transformation requires a significant investment, and not just from a single source. The most effective educational growth often occurs when companies, communities, educators, and committed volunteers join forces and determine the best and most strategic way to invest. With that in mind, Intel Corporation has initiated a new program, Intel Teach, which awards Intel Schools of Distinction

Welcome to an interview with Paige Johnson, education strategist for Intel Corporation. In this interview, she  describes how Intel, the Intel Foundation, and Intel employees have donated resources and time to help underserved communities have access to technology and know-how in order to achieve true transformation of their educational programs and goals.

 Paige Johnson, Education Strategist

1.       What is your name and your relation to innovative learning?
My name is Paige Johnson and I am the education strategist for Intel Corporation. Intel gets directly involved in education programs, political advocacy and technology access efforts that enable today’s youth to develop the skills they need to be the innovators of tomorrow. Over the past decade alone, Intel and the Intel Foundation have invested more than $1 billion and Intel employees have donated close to 3 million volunteer hours toward improving education in more than 60 countries.

Intel has invested millions of dollars in education transformation efforts through our Intel Teach program, which offers professional development to over 10 million teachers around the world, to Intel’s support of the K-12 Blueprint, which helps with technology planning and deployment in schools.

2.       What does it mean to be an Intel school of distinction?
The Intel Schools of Distinction Awards program honors schools that have 21st century learning environments and offer innovative programs that inspire students to excel in math and science. To be considered an Intel School of Distinction, a school must develop curricula that meet or exceed benchmarks -- including national mathematics and science content standards -- and an environment that fosters excellence and excitement in these critical subject areas.

3.       What are some of the projects and what is the goal?
Intel Schools of Distinction integrate a wide variety and science and math programs into their curricula. Here are some examples of projects from two of this year’s winners:
·         The Sadie Tanner Mossell School in Philadelphia, PA utilizes a unique partnership with the University of Pennsylvania and extended teacher hours to propel its student body to success.
·         The TAF Academy in Kent, WA integrated math into all of its subjects and created an additional period in the day for struggling students to receive extra help.

The primary goal of the Intel Schools of Distinction Awards is to identify, recognize and help replicate the successful teaching methods of the nation’s top performers in science and math education. By promoting these innovative institutions and bolstering their efforts through grants and sponsor awards, we aim to extend the reach of their impact to other schools, who often seek out the advice of institutions who earn the coveted title of Intel School of Distinction.

4.       Please describe three schools that have been considered for awards and what makes them impressive.
Elementary Math winner: At George Hall Elementary School in Mobile, Ala., instruction is differentiated to meet the varied learning styles and levels of understanding of students, 99 percent of whom are minorities and 90 percent of whom come from financially disadvantaged families. Instructors engage students in hands-on activities where they are given the opportunity to work with manipulatives and see concrete examples before thinking about abstract meanings. Lessons are designed to help students make real-world connections and engage in authentic problem solving. The results of George Hall’s transformation are staggering: Whereas only 30 percent of students reached proficiency in math eight years ago, 96 percent of fourth graders achieved proficiency in 2011.

Star Innovator/High School Science winner: A philosophy of inclusion guides STEM instruction at Ossining High School in Ossining, N.Y., where all students – regardless of test scores or grades – are encouraged to enroll in the school’s scientific research course, gain hands-on experience in STEM projects, and consider the possibility of a career in science. Through project-based instruction, students act as scientists, working both individually and collaboratively, and reaching out to experts in their field to further learning. All students are encouraged to present their work in an annual symposium.

Ossining, New York, High School

Elementary Science winner: At Legacy Elementary in Madison, Ala., students don’t acquire science knowledge by reading about it; instead, they experience it firsthand in the school’s outdoor learning laboratory. Instruction is inquiry based, student centered, and technology infused. Students plant vegetable gardens, create and study habitats for wildlife, examine microscopic organisms, and apply math strategies as they learn about land and water ecosystems. Students manage the high-tech weather station and produce educational videos with teachers acting as guides on the side. More than 90 percent of fifth graders achieved proficiency on state tests in 2009, 2010, and 2011.

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