Without missing a beat, Forest Park Elementary School District 91 hired a new director of instructional technology at the April 10 school board meeting, a month after James Eichmiller left to take a job in Downers Grove.
Amanda Walsh is a former mathematics teacher who used technology tools in her classroom to help students solve math problems at Park Ridge/Niles School District 64, said Assistant Superintendent Edward Brophy.
She worked as an instructional technology coach at the middle school level and oversaw the rollout of a one-to-one classroom initiative with Google Chromebooks and Google Applications for Education in that district, Brophy said. Walsh is well known for her weekly “Under-a-Minute Tech Tip,” short video clips for teacher technology use. Prior to that, Walsh created curriculum for a Digital Exploration Center at Brookwood School District 167 which let students participate in podcasting, digital video production, LEGO robotics and Google Sketchup among others, Brophy said.
D91 is in the midst of an ambitious plan that will update the schools’ connectivity and techo-devices within the next year. Along with the purchase of 250 Chromebooks and interactive Promethean whiteboards, the district is investing $500,000 on connectivity infrastructure that will allow multiple students to take the 2015 PARCC exams on computer simultaneously.
The school board also voted last June to spend $330,000 to purchase 418 new computers, 300 desktop computers for the schools and 100 laptops for teachers. Every teacher in the district will have a Windows-based laptop next year. New desktop computers were purchased for all classrooms throughout the district and desktop computers for the computer labs in the school libraries at the four elementary schools and Forest Park Middle School.
Walsh will also help the district with social media communication on Twitter and Facebook and will keep the district website up to date.
She holds a general administrative certificate and received a master’s degree in Educational Technology from Concordia University. She also received an M.A. in Teaching and Leadership from Saint Xavier University.