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Partnering to prepare elementary teachers for virtual classes this fall

by Public Relations and Marketing | Published Jul 30, 2020

This summer, Zion Elementary School District 6 partnered with College of Lake County (CLC) to form a cohort of technology trailblazers to prepare for fall’s digital learning environment. CLC instructors recently completed a four-week pilot program with 27 elementary school teachers and 11 administrators. The class focused on how to adapt their curriculum for digital learning in an e-classroom environment, with an emphasis on project-based learning methods.

Screenshot of CLC instructors and Zion Elementary School teachers in a Zoom meeting“This CLC Technology Trailblazer Program stirs understanding, conscientiousness and refined leadership to better serve our community with the overall struggles in relation to education and now with this e-learning era,” said Jessika Pencak, coordinator of parent program support in Zion’s District 6. “There is always good in every challenge we encounter. The current pandemic has not only made us stronger, but it’s also made it so we all are in this together.”

The class emphasizes real-world problems using technology and age-appropriate resources to engage online teaching. It focuses on the issues of equality and access to technology, addressing its effect on specific student populations. Teachers received valuable, actionable information about how to empower students and their families to be proactive in problem solving, while promoting online learning and academic success.

“Our CLC instructors listened to the needs of the district and its teachers to create culturally relevant class material,” said associate professor of education Michelle Proctor. “They shared the power in the course throughout and developed a relationship that constantly realigned the learning.”

Based on the success of this initial cohort, the college is looking to extend this opportunity to other school districts in Lake County.

Dr. Jeff Stomper, dean of CLC’s business and social sciences division remarked "It’s great to see the Zion district recognize our experience and expertise in remote delivery methods. Our partnership to provide professional development in the area to their dedicated faculty and staff has been wonderful from the start.”

Superintendent Dr. Keely Roberts described the district’s partnership with College of Lake County as incredibly important, especially as they move forward into a new era of education. “We have recognized the district, district staff, students and families will benefit tremendously by the creation of this four-week pilot program, and the outcome will allow us to do our job so much better. The College of Lake County continuously helps us sharpen our skills, and we thank them for their demonstration of not only a commitment to our community, but also a belief in the work we are doing.”

About College of Lake County:

The College of Lake County is a comprehensive community college committed to equitable high-quality education, cultural enrichment and partnerships to advance the diverse communities it serves in northeastern Illinois. Offered at three campuses in Grayslake, Vernon Hills and Waukegan or online, college classes are affordable and accessible to help each student achieve academic, career and personal goals. More than 70,000 students graduated with degrees and certificates since the college opened in 1969. The College of Lake County is the only higher-education institution ranked among the top 15 best places to work in Illinois by Forbes and is a national leader in many areas, including sustainability and conservation.