Williamsfield Schools recently played host to a variety of federal, state, and local leaders. The event was part of the US Department of Education's 2015 Back-to-School Bus Tour which was led by Education Secretary Arne Duncan, a senior member of President Obama's cabinet. Upon arrival, Secretary Duncan was treated to a Smartgrid presentation from members of our STEM team, after which Mr. Duncan paused so Hunter could get a selfie of the group (a pic that turned out to be one of the Secretary's favorites from the multi-state bus tour). After the student presentation, Mr. Farquer led a round-table discussion with a group of educational leaders. The focus of the conversation was "Open Education Resources (OER)" and how OER is being utilized to enhance teaching and learning in our classrooms. Round-table participants included:
- US Secretary of Education Arne Duncan
- US Congresswoman Cheri Bustos
- IL Secretary of Education Dr. Beth Purvis
- President of Carl Sandburg College Dr. Lori Sundberg
- Associate Director of the Center for Workforce Development Jeanne Kitchens
- Williamsfield Schools Life Science Pathway lead Lori Secrist
- Williamsfield Schools Business Pathway lead Kathy Wight
- Williamsfield Schools Principal Zack Binder
- ROWVA CUSD Superintendent Joe Sornberger
- Galva CUSD Superintendent Doug O'Riley
- Knoxville CUSD Superintendent Steve Wilder
- Williamsfield Schools Superintendent Tim Farquer
The event included the naming of Andrew Maricnek as the first-ever 'Open' Resources Adviser by the Department of Education. Andrew's role will be to help states and districts make a transition similar to ours, from conventional textbooks to more dynamic openly licensed learning resources. This announcement was a very big deal within the "open" community. The announcement indicates additional federal support for the open sharing of information, knowledge, and ideas. Williamsfield Schools is very honored the Department chose our school and our community as the location to make this historic announcement.
The high profile nature of the event brought many state and local leaders to town in addition to those who participated in the round-table. Prior to the event, many of them were treated to campus tours by student ambassadors from 4th, 8th, and 12th grade. The feedback we received from VIP tour participants was outstanding! Everyone left extremely impressed with our students, our building, and our staff. Please enjoy a few of our favorite pictures from the event. We can't wait to host additional dignitaries as we continue to strengthen the innovative learning opportunities we provide our kids.