Initiated through its $750,000 challenge grant and a vision for enhanced learning through far more effective use of technology, the Mebane Foundation collaborated with Davie County Schools and Appalachian State University’s Reich College of Education to create a first-of-its-kind academic degree for 15 Davie County teachers and a profoundly innovative and extravagantly successful program of interactive technology they helped implement in 100 percent of the school system’s classrooms.
The program, Mebane Masters, has changed the face of education in Davie County, grades K-12, since it was launched in 2008. Providing a holistic method of teaching to technology savvy students, Mebane Masters has earned overwhelmingly positive responses from students, teachers, administrators and community.
The core of the program was a 30-month partnership between Davie County Schools and the ASU Reich College of Education. The 15 teachers in the program remained in their Davie County classrooms while pursuing their Master of Arts Degrees in Instructional Technology. They acted as the school’s primary resource for their peers when it came to questions about the best and most pragmatic ways to maximize technology’s benefit in the classroom. It was our first look at real-time, teacher-driven, in-house professional development.
The student-teacher component became another crucial piece of the Mebane Masters Program. Over five semesters in 2½ years, 60 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 laced with a palpable innovative spirit created an intensive learning environment for Davie students, student teachers and master teachers.
Most of these master teachers remain in Davie County and embrace their professional-development roles. Also, many of the student teachers who rotated through the program have 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 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.