Monday, December 07, 2009


It has been a while since I took the time to blog. Better yet it has been a while since I have had the time to blog but a new approach that we are utilizing in Alabama is worth sharing. Actually, there are two new approaches worthy of mentioning. First, we are now in the process of Implementing RTI or Response to Instruction not to be confused with its predecessor RTI or Response to Intervention. The second approach that we are in the process of Implementing is EDUCATE Alabama. I’m not really that proud of the name but the program does have merit. EDUCATE Alabama is the replacement of the former teacher evaluation process called PEPE. PEPE isn’t a little mule, although some may claim that it had some of the same attributes as a little burro. PEPE stood for Professional Education Personnel Evaluation Program. Part of PEPE is still being used as EDUCATE Alabama takes its place among the evaluation programs but seeks not to evaluate so much as to educate and improve teaching methods.

The great thing about RTI and EDUCATE Alabama is that they both tie together and attempt to improve classroom instruction. In our fast paced 21 century with jobs changing daily both of these programs seem to have a great deal of merit for Alabama educators and students. I attended my first RTI meeting last week due to numerous circumstances and what I came away with was “Student Engagement.” As educators we have and must find creative ways to engage our students in productive learning.
RTI is also about reading and other curricula but as I see it is primarily about engaging students and making them think about the learning process. It is beyond rote memorization and more about problem solving for all students with special emphasis on special populations. The essential components of RTI have to be the three tiers of instruction. Tier One takes into account around 80 to 90 percent of all students. Tier Two takes into account 5 to 10 percent of all students. And Tier Three takes into account 1 to 5 percent of students. In laymen terms Tier One accounts for “What students get from instruction.” Tier Two accounts for students that need a little extra push or “addition focus and intensity.” Tier Three accounts for students that require a great deal of help or “modification of instructional strategies.” All of the tiers require administrators and educators to evaluate students individually and to modify teaching methods accordingly.

EDUCATE Alabama ties into the equation by helping educators understand their current teaching practices. It doesn’t evaluate them with numbers but rather focuses on where they are from an educational standpoint. Is a teacher Emerging, Applying, Integrating, or Innovating in their educational practice? Most average teachers will fall in the Applying range and will have to work on their teaching strategies to reach the Integrating or Innovating ranges. The interesting thing about the process is that it focuses on improving teaching and not just writing down a score. As I see it, RTI will help teachers reach improved levels of instruction which should improve student engagement and learning across the board.

At the Center of Technology we are and have been implementing programs that engage all of our students and we have used some tier instruction. As such, we welcome these processes and look forward to utilizing them within our current programs of study. The key for me is to learn as much as I can about each of these programs so I can help educators do a better job in the classroom. This is the only way that we will be able to supply the workforce of tomorrow. Much of this can and is being accomplished through new innovative 21st Century Technologies. Seldom do I enter a classroom in our school system that the teacher isn’t utilizing technology. Unfortunately, not all teachers have the same ability to utilize technology or care enough about the technology to apply it to their lessons in a meaningful way. This is something that all of the administrators must help with as we move forward not only with RTI and EDUCATE Alabama, but also with technology.

Warm regards,

William “Bill” Bishop AKA LostJohns

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Thursday, March 12, 2009

Career Tech Opportunities

As of January of this year I was transferred to the position of Interim Center of Technology Director/Career Tech Director while retaining the position of Assistant Principal in my school system. As such, I find that my time is even more limited than before. The transition has been wonderful and I am blessed to have the opportunity to work more closely with the great teachers at the center. They are all wonderful teachers and this has made the transition easier than expected. I am trying to help the teachers and the school move toward excellence and we are currently looking for ways to improve all of our programs.

As stated last year, I haven’t forgotten about this blog, but I am trying to figure out how to best to utilize it to help current leaders, future leaders, and technology enthusiasts move forward in the 21 century and beyond. A lot of my time currently is focused on workforce development, grant opportunities and how to best train highly skilled worker for today's workforce and the workforce of tomorrow. If you have any ideas shoot them my way. Thanks for dropping in and God bless.

Warm regards,

Thursday, May 08, 2008


A video from one of the sessions at the ALSDE Summit


Warm Regards

William Bishop (Bill)

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Wednesday, February 06, 2008

New Beginnings!

As of two weeks ago I was named Assistant Principal of my high school. As such, I find that my time is even more limited than before. Nevertheless, it has been a wonderful transition and I am blessed to have the position. We have a lot of wonderful teachers and administrators in the school and this has made the transition easier than expected. I am trying to help the teachers and the school move toward excellence.

In the near future I hope to help teachers more with technology integration among other things. Also, as stated prior in some previous postings, I am also finishing up my Ph. D and this in and of itself takes up a great deal of my time. I haven’t forgotten about this blog, but I am trying to figure out how to best to utilize it to help current leaders, future leaders, and technology enthusiasts move forward in the 21 century and beyond. If you have any ideas shoot them my way. Thanks for dropping in and God bless.

Warm regards,

William Bishop (Bill)

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Thursday, January 17, 2008

Fresh air! Macbook Air

This is really cool. I'm a PC person, but I want one...

Warm regards,

William Bishop (Bill)

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Monday, December 17, 2007

Web 2.0 Student Planning

I was visiting Vicki Davis’ latest post and it seems that she has her students doing some Web 2.0 planning. All of their initial plans look great, but I particularly like the first one. It’s a private school wide social network for parents, students, grandparents, and teachers. Facebook, Bebo, and Myspace move over for Vicki’s class! In Vicki’s words,

“The students decided immersive learning is the best. Additionally, they wanted the elementary students to participate. After a meeting with me, I set up
the site, they joined and I made them administrators (yes I did.) They customized the look, added RSS feeds, and have just done a tremendous job. They are in the process of setting up groups for every class.”

My first thought is what a great concept and tool. My second thought deals with safety issues. My last thought on the issue is a question, How long are we going to wait before we get on board and start implementing these technologies for the good of our students? Of course, I realize that we have to make sure that security is in place, but we must also move forward when we are able.

In most cases our curriculums are out dated due to circumstance. What is the circumstance? Most curriculum coordinators know little or nothing about technology. Technology has advanced at such a rapid pace that it has left most teachers, coordinators, and systems behind. Personally, I have to make time to investigate theses new technologies. That’s what I’m doing right now. Then I have to figure out whether or not they apply to my classes and if we can use them safely. This is exactly what Vicki is doing with her students.

Warm regards,

William Bishop (Bill)

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Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Idle thought and new beginnings!

My class hasn’t had the opportunity to work on our wiki, blog at our blog, or moodle about as much as I would like because our library is being renovated. Nevertheless, I had the opportunity go in there today and it looks great. We have some nice new flat screen televisions on the wall and they should be fully functional soon. Then we will be able to show videos and use them for presentations. Also, our library has new bookshelves, reference desks, and a fresh coat of paint. It looks great!

The students and I are very blessed to have such nice facilities. Our superintendent and the board spent the money well and now that the renovation is almost complete, I hope to get my students back into the media center soon. However, this semester is almost over and with testing taking place in the library over the next couple of weeks things look bleak. Oh well, we will get back in there when we can...

Unfortunately, my aspirations will one day most likely take me away from the classroom and the media lab. Sad but expected! I feel that I could be much more productive promoting 21st Century Skills from an administrative position. Hence, that is why I have to spend so much time away from this blog. Not only do I have my regular duties to attend to, but I also have my doctorial classes to keep up with. Maybe, it will all be worth it one day in the near future. Until then I will continue to do what I can to promote educational technology within my classes. I’m not promoting technology for the sake of promoting technology mind you. I’m using technology to promote learning.

What is the premise of using technology to promote learning? Well, it’s like getting the most bang for your buck. In public education we need to make sure that we are using our funds well and appropriately. We have to think about what teachers and students need and what they get from the experience. For teachers, the most bang for the buck usually comes from professional development. We have to make sure that PD is productive and worthwhile. For students, we need to make sure that we are spending our money in areas that will produce positive gains in learning for their future. I believe by utilizing our state and federal funds correctly this can be accomplished. Moreover, Web 2.0 technologies can provide a positive avenue to accomplish the aforementioned.

Unfortunately, many administrators don’t have a clue as to what Web 2.0 technologies are or how to apply them. This is unfortunate with the expansive growth of the information superhighway and our ever evolving networks. The world is becoming flatter by the second. As such, digital immigrants and digital natives come to mind.

Is there really such a thing as a digital native? If so, does being a digital native really have anything to do with age? Young teachers coming into the system often know less about technology than some of us older folks. Personally, I’m not certain that age has anything to do with technology skills. Technology skills in my opinion come from application thereof. With that being said, who is promoting 21st Century Skills in your school?

Warm Regards,

William Bishop

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