Seeking to enhance learning through a far more effective use of technology, the Mebane Foundation collaborated with Davie County Schools and Appalachian State University’s Reich College of Education in 2008 to create a 30-month, first-of-its-kind, academic degree program for 15 Davie County teachers.
Initiated through the $750,000 Mebane Technology Challenge grant, the Mebane Masters program dramatically changed the face of education in Davie County, grades K-12. Providing an innovative method for teaching tech-savvy students through interactive technology, Mebane Masters earned overwhelmingly positive responses from students, teachers, administrators and the community.
The teachers remained in their Davie County classrooms while pursuing their Master of Arts degrees in Instructional Technology. The training prepared them to serve as their school’s primary resource for questions about the best and most practical ways to maximize technology in the classroom. It was the Foundation’s first look at real-time, teacher-driven, in-house professional development.
A student-teacher component became another crucial piece of the Mebane Masters Program. Over five semesters, sixty Appalachian student teachers were housed in Davie County, spending their 15-week semester paired with one of the 15 master teachers. The technology-rich environment provided within their housing units fostered an innovative spirit and an intensive learning environment for the student teachers.
Many of the master teachers remain in Davie County and embrace their professional-development roles. Also, many of the student teachers who rotated through the program decided to teach in the Davie County Schools.
In summary, the Mebane Masters Program…
Substantially improved education for students in every classroom at every grade level throughout Davie County Schools;
- Created a powerful, new model for teacher education and professional development;
- Made it much easier for Davie County Schools to recruit and retain the best teachers;
- Laid the groundwork for STEM Infusion.
It is our hope that the Mebane Masters Program has created a model for teaching, learning and professional development that can reshape the educational landscape and address many of the issues facing public education in our state and nation.