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Regional Grant Provides $380,000 for Digital Learning

R7dlaEleven districts from around Region 7 met in December to write a collaborative grant to bring high-quality technology and digital learning professional development to our region.  The eleven districts participating in the grant are:  Alexander County Schools, Alleghany County Schools, Ashe County Schools, Caldwell County Schools, Catawba County Schools, Elkin City Schools, Hickory City School, Mt. Airy City Schools, Newton-Conover City Schools, North Carolina School for the Deaf, and Watauga County Schools.

Heather Mullins, Chief Academic Officer, chairs the steering committee for the grant.  “We are thrilled about this opportunity for Newton-Conover, ” said Mullins. Out of the 105 slots for participants, NCCS will receive 8.  That number is based on the population of each district.  Travel, subs, materials, and meals are covered by the grant.

Mullins shared, “It will be an honor to be selected.  Participants will have the unique experience to receive high-quality professional development from experts in their fields.  Furthermore, participants will have the opportunity to collaborate with technology leaders from around Region 7.  For a small district like Newton-Conover, this provides us with a wonderful opportunity to grow professionally.”

Mullins encourages all interested teachers, coaches, administrators, and central office staff to complete the application for the Digital Learning Academy. Participants will implement, monitor, and sustain digital teaching and learning professional development. Please click this link to apply.  Applications must be submitted by March 3, 2014.

“We are really excited that there is a strong possibility that we will be able to fund a trip to ISTE, the International Society of Technology in Education, conference this summer.  The conference is in Atlanta, Georgia, so, being able to pay for the registration, travel, and hotel for participants will provide them with something no school district can really afford with such massive cuts to professional development,” shared Mullins.

Participants in the Digital Learning Academy will be expected to attend all sessions.  Participants will also be charged with working with their district team and district leaders to develop a plan for sharing content with the district during the 2014-15 school year.

Please keep in mind that travel, subs, and lunch are covered by the grant.  If you have questions, contact Heather Mullins –


Session 1

Exploring  the LMS: Exploring Open Class, collaborative tools, and functions of online shared spaces; administering pre-assessment. Presenter: Jayme Linton, Lenoir-Rhyne University

April 1, 2014 – 9:00 AM – 4:00 PM


Session 2

Developing High-Quality Assessment Items and Instructional Resources:  Creating and sharing instructional resources in SchoolNet/ item writing (Presenter: TBD)

April 17, 2014 – 9:00 AM – 4:00 PM (Tentative Date)


Session 3

TPACK/Creating Digitally-Enhanced Content: Developing a deep understanding of Technological Pedagogical and Content Knowledge to create content and lessons that seamlessly integrate technology. Presenter:  Dr. Lisa Hervey, Friday Institute

May 2, 2014 – 9:00 AM – 4:00 PM  (Confirmed Date)


Session 4

Gaming for Learning: Pursuing ways to incorporate gaming into various content areas; creating resources to share. (Presenter:  TBD)

May 14, 2014 – 9:00 AM – 4:00 PM (Lucas Gillespie, Instructional Technology Coordinator, Pender County Schools)


Session 5

Building Online Courses/Blended  Learning Opportunities:  Implementing research-based best practices for delivering online content; incorporating tools for flipping; developing asynchronous, synchronous, and semi-synchronous learning options; structuring the online platform. (Presenter:  TBD)

May 28, 2014 – 9:00 AM – 4:00 PM (Tentative Date)


Session 6

Google Suite of Tools: Building a Plan for Sustainability Reflecting on the consortium, planning for the Region. (Presenter: TBD)

June, 2014 – 9:00 AM – 4:00 PM (TBD)

About Heather Mullins

Heather Mullins is the Chief Academic Officer in Newton-Conover City Schools. She is a North Carolina Teaching Fellow who spent 12 years as a high school English Teacher. She received her B.S.Ed. in Secondary English Education from Western Carolina University. Heather completed her National Board Certification in Adolescent Young Adult English Language Arts in 2002. She holds an M.Ed. in Academically and Intellectually Gifted from UNC-Charlotte. Heather has served as a Curriculum Specialist in Hickory City Schools, an adjunct professor at Lenoir-Rhyne University, and a Professional Development Consultant for the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction. She completed her Ed.D. in Educational Leadership through Western Carolina University. Heather is one of the co-founders of #NCed Chat, North Carolina’s first Twitter chat for teachers. She is passionate about innovative practices, instructional technology, student ownership of learning, and supporting teachers. Heather serves on the advisory board for the North Carolina Digital Learning Plan, North Carolina School for the Deaf and Catawba Science Center. She is a recipient of the 2015 NCMLE Central Office Administrator to Watch Award. She also received the 2016 Don Chalker Award for Excellence in Educational Leadership. Heather is the proud mother of one son, Jackson.

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