CASHION — Stuck in the middle. That was the situation Cashion Elementary School was in because it wasn't poor enough to get government-funding and its students' test scores were high.
The school was desperately in need of new computers, with only 11 working but aging machines and more than 300 students. That's when Principal Lisa Crosslin decided it was time to take action.
Crosslin trained through the Phase 1 Leadership program at the K20 Center in Norman.
“The training had some technology components but really the training was about good leadership practices and instructional practices that you can coach your teachers in,” she said. “You learn about good leadership and then learn how technology can enhance that.”
Through the program, Crosslin also got grant-writing tips and entered her grant proposal to the Oklahoma Education Technology Trust for a total technology overhaul at Cashion.
The first proposal she submitted in 2010 was rejected but trust officials told Crosslin to retool the proposal and submit it again the next year.
The second time, Crosslin's grant was accepted and Cashion was given $65,000 to get a new computer lab with new laptop computers, 30 Apple iPads, a new computer for faculty and staff members and professional development training for staff members so they can learn how to better teach through technology.
Training to teach
Crosslin said she thinks the training is key.
“You can give us all the hardware in the world but we won't know how to use any of it without training, and then everything would be for naught,” said Crosslin, who now works for the state as a coach for the new higher standards curriculum for Edmond, Deer Creek and Guthrie schools.
“We are looking at technology as a tool. The whole end game is improving student achievement and that comes through good, strong leadership and data driven instruction.”
Crosslin said new school standards will ask students to embrace the new tech and use it when making presentations for class.
“Worksheets aren't cutting it for students anymore because you've got to keep them engaged,” she said. “Now they will have access to technology where they can dig in and learn how to use the Internet and use it effectively. We are also stressing good digital citizenship with our students so they can learn how to behave while online.”
Crosslin said the work to get the grant off the ground and get the technology into the classroom was a laborious process but that she's thrilled to know Cashion will be left in a better situation.
“It's bittersweet because of all the work and then I don't get to see it, but that's not really why I did it in the first place,” she said. “I just wanted this to help out as many students at Cashion as possible.”