Technology Update #13

In this issue

In this issue, lucky #13, we take a look at secondary eMerge and spend some time learning from our colleagues’s experiences at NETA 2017.

Secondary eMerge

When we expanded Westside’s 1:1 program to the elementary grades two years ago, one of the areas we identified that needed focus was professional development centered around effectively using technology in the classroom. This theme also showed up as Core Strategy 3 in our district’s strategic plan and is a key component to the technology department’s technology philosophy of technology use. Student’s should use technology to improve learning outcomes, NOT just to use it. To help with this, the eMerge program was created and implemented at the elementary level. I’m happy to announce that we are now in a position to expand eMerge into the middle school and high school!

What is eMerge?
Members of a eMerge team will be teachers who have a desire to learn and a willingness to implement new instructional strategies while using technology in their classrooms. These early adopters of technology should have experience with running a student-centered classroom and have a capacity for risk-taking. They should have an open mind to collaborating with colleagues throughout the district. eMerge teachers come from both the regular classroom and special education.

Why should I want to join?

  • Be recognized for what you may already do in your classroom and building.
  • Extend the skills and capabilities that you already have through personalized professional development.
  • Gain opportunities to share what you will learn with others.

– Have new opportunities to interact with like-minded colleagues.

How do I join?
Secondary (WMS & WHS) certified staff should visit more information, including team membership requirements and directions for submitting your application. Applications are being accepted now though May 12th at midnight.

Westside NETA Reflections

This year marks my 10th year in education. As I think back to my first year, I’m reminded how quickly that year went by. It was a blur, filled with new situations and many, many questions on what to do. The only way I made it through were the connections I made with my colleagues. They served as counselors, advisors and friends. Most importantly, they encouraged me to try new things in my classroom and keep a focus on what was best for students.

Oh, and they told me I needed to go to this conference called NETA.

Fast forward to April, 2017. NETA turns 30 and I was fortunate to assume the role of President of the organization at the opening general session on Thursday. It’s humbling to now be in charge of such a great organization. I hope to keep NETA going on the same trajectory we’ve been on, while also expanding opportunities for all of our members.

Our conference theme this year was “Pearls of Wisdom”. We made a conscious effort to reach out to various groups who may not have had sessions dedicated to them in the past. For state and district level administrators, we brought in Tom Murray from the Alliance for Excellent Education and Future Ready Schools. We added a dedicated track for librarians, solicited more early childhood and primary sessions, and promoted more content area sessions for secondary teachers. The feedback I’ve received so far on this has been positive. As you think about next year, remember: if there is a session or content area that you would like better represented, submit a proposal! Westside is doing great things; let’s share them!

I hope you enjoy reading through the great pearls of wisdom from your colleagues below. I know I did!

To access the Westside reflections, please visit:


As always, if you ever have any technology integration related questions, please let us know. We are happy to work with you to design lessons, develop workflows and even come into your classes and work with you and your students.