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March 6, 2013

Fraser educator named ‘Technology Coordinator of the Year’

By Maria Allard
C & G Staff Writer

Young

FRASER — With all the technology Fraser Public Schools students and staff use on a daily basis, there has to be someone to oversee such a large and important part of the district.

That person is Kris Young, who, for the past three years, has been the district’s Director of Educational Technology and Information Systems. She is responsible for the district’s technology while working with the district’s educators.

“My job is to work with curriculum and operations to understand their needs and to ensure everything runs smoothly, efficiently, and our initiatives are implemented and supported,” Young said.

“Since I started, we have been working hard to implement technologies and streamline systems to save staff time, make utilizing systems as easy as possible, and provide tools to assist in the teaching and learning process, as well as our overall district operations,” she said.

Others have noticed Young’s dedication. On Feb. 18, the Michigan Association for Computer Users in Learning named Young its “Technology Coordinator of the Year.”

“I was very surprised and thrilled beyond words,” the honoree said. Staff within the district nominated Young. “I was very honored that they thought to nominate me for the award, and was thrilled when I actually won.”

In FPS, students are introduced to computers when they enter kindergarten. There are computers in the classrooms available for student use in grades kindergarten through 12th.

“Our classrooms are interactive classrooms where teachers have a variety of tools to utilize to integrate technology into their curriculum,” Young said. “Each building has iMac and PC computers, digital cameras and various other technologies available.”

Each classroom has an interactive whiteboard, document camera, projector, Apple TV and more.”

This school year — and as part of the district’s $19.9 million bond issue that passed in February 2011 — educators distributed new iPads to the students. The initiative provides kindergarten through second-grade students access to classroom sets of iPads and provides students in third through 12th grades each an iPad.

An iPad is a tablet computer that is smaller than a laptop computer and can be used for learning, reading, taking photos, conducting research on the Internet, games, music education and more. The goal was to offer a personalized learning experience for every Fraser student with the new technology.

“These are just some of the tools teachers and students have available to them to integrate technology into their curriculum,” Young said.

Although technology is a large part of the educational process, teachers and students still use the basics, including books, pens, pencils and paper.

“Technology is just another tool available to the teachers and students to leverage within the learning process,” Young said. “Fraser’s intent is for our classrooms to be a blended learning experience that offers our traditional offerings with the infusion of new digital offerings for our students. Our focus is not on the technology, but on student learning and increasing student achievement.”

“On behalf of Fraser Public Schools, we congratulate Kris on her achievement as we are so pleased that she is being recognized for her work by such a prestigious organization as MACUL,” FPS Director of Human Resources Kerry Terman said. “Her leadership throughout our district’s technology initiatives and the largest iPad deployment in Michigan is second to none.”

“Making a difference” is what Young enjoys most about her work. Young worked in Lake Shore Public Schools in the mid-1990s and the Macomb Intermediate School District prior to that.

“I find it is very rewarding when you can see what you implemented in use and hear someone tell you what you taught them saved them time and made their job easier,” Young said.

In addition to Young’s achievement, the district’s K-8 Media Specialist Lori Wetzel was recently named an Apple Distinguished Educator. Wetzel joins a group of more than 2,000 education professionals worldwide. The ADEs are recognized for exploring new ideas with Apple technology in and out of the classroom.

You can reach C & G Staff Writer Maria Allard at allard@candgnews.com or at (586)498-1045.