Google, JCPS Team Up To Share Innovative Ideas

Riverwood Middle student Bri Simerman (left) shares her experiences with Google during the teacher and student panel. Beside her is her mother and West Smithfield Assistant Principal Intern Danielle Simerman.

Johnston County Public Schools and Google partnered together to give a behind-the-scenes look at how schools in the district are transforming their approach to teaching and learning using innovative technology on Tuesday.

The event, called Google Leadership Roundtable, was hosted at East Clayton Elementary and brought together nearly 100 educators and community members from across the state to collaborate on ways to best use Google in the classroom.

“This is an exciting way to share what’s happening in our classrooms and how our students are benefiting from the technology,” said Amy Stanley, JCPS Director of Innovation and Digital Learning. “We invited leaders from all across the state to come and see what Johnston County is doing with Chromebooks and Google accounts.”

The roundtable was put together after months of planning between the JCPS Office of Academic Innovation and Google. JCPS became a Google district in 2012 and has since used several of the company’s tools to enhance education.

East Clayton Elementary set the stage by demonstrating how public schools in Johnston County are using Google in their classroom to personalize learning for every student.

East Clayton Elementary students (from left) J.R. McLean and Jayden Stokes collaborate for a Google exercise during Tuesday’s roundtable event.

“We’re honored that we got this opportunity. Every day we have amazing things happening in our school, and to be able to show it off to the world is phenomenal,”  said Jamie Tyler, Principal of East Clayton Elementary. “Our teachers have put in so much time and energy establishing an amazing foundation of relationships, relevance, and innovation. As it becomes part of our culture, our guests get to see how this becomes who we are and how it enhances what we do every day.”

Students got in on the action at the roundtable by showing leaders from JCPS and other school districts how they are learning every day. Guests were invited into every classroom where they found students either in small groups, having individualized lessons, or using flexible seating to finish an assignment.

“Google impacts us in small ways and big ways,” said Tyler.  “It allows us to personalize education, and to build relationships with students. It enhances what we do and allows us to break barriers we weren’t able to break before.”

Teachers and students were eager to share how Google makes learning enjoyable and efficient. They shared their thoughts on the technology and answered questions from roundtable participants at a teacher and student panel.

Google Southeast Regional Managers Drew Sidel and Sireesha Kalapala shared the company’s vision and product updates with the roundtable participants. Sidel and Kalapala were available to answer questions and to discuss ways educators can use Google’s products in schools.

JCPS Superintendent Dr. Ross Renfrow, keynote speaker for the Google Leadership Roundtable, speaks to a crowd of nearly educators from across the state.

“This is a showcase event. Google shared some exciting things with us today that they’ll be coming out with,” said Stanley. “In return we were able to share our successes of how we’ve grown as a Google district.”

Google Leadership Roundtable participants attended breakout sessions where they were able to learn how to overcome technical hurdles and learn more about Google’s products from experts who use them in Johnston County.

“Everything our guests saw here today is attainable and reachable,” said Tyler.  “We do great things here because we commit ourselves to being the best leader, teacher, or student that we can be every day, and Google just enhances that. Everyone can be part of this.”