Last year, the Verona Board of Education unveiled a plan to lease more than 400 Google Chromebooks for use at H.B. Whitehorne Middle School and Verona High School. More Chromebooks, a computer designed to work primarily while connected to the Internet, are being leased at the elementary schools through SCA fundraisers. Now, this summer, a select group of teachers from all of Verona’s six schools are going to school to learn how to use the Chromebooks and the educational tools that Google has developed for them.
The Google Teacher Academy is a free professional development program, but spots in it were limited. “We had over forty teachers apply for this exciting opportunity to enhance their classroom instruction,” said Superintendent Rui Dionisio in a prepared statement.
The teachers chosen represent the six schools and a broad range of subjects. They include F.N. Brown’s Megan Pellegrino and Karen Sabatino, both third grade teachers; Forest first grade teacher Joan Weiss and Laning third grade teacher Brian Samples. HBW’s contingent includes Sarah O’Connor (grade 5 and mathematics), Marissa Albano (6 and science), Pete Foster (7 and social studies), Kirpa Chohan (7 and mathematics/pre-algebra), Amy Heckel and Paul Moschella (both 8 and science), as well as Jessica Barnes (special education) and Andor Kish (computer science). From VHS, there is Dr. Marie Meyer (AP Language and Composition, English II Honors), Jon Thai (algebra and geometry), Patrick Bresnan (U.S. History I and II), Casey Harris (science), Jessica Calvo (Spanish IV Honors and AP Spanish), as well as special education teachers Jennifer Errico and Matt Swajkowski.
The participants also include the media specialists from every school library: Corisa Walker and Katey McAuliffe at the elementary level, Jennifer Kleinknecht from HBW and the newly hired Maria Benz from VHS.
“The goal for our Google Teacher Academy is to build capacity with as many teachers in as many subjects/areas as possible,” said Charlie Miller, director of curriculum, instruction, and assessment in a statement.
The school district’s statement said that Verona will expand the Google Teacher Academy to even more teachers for the 2016-17 school year.