Who WE Are – Tom Gavin

Tom Gavin is one of Colonial’s “techies” who was put to the test on March 13, the day the Governor ordered all school buildings to close. As Supervisor of Instructional Technology and Libraries, Gavin knew he had to move quickly to prepare more than 600 teachers in the district to begin remote teaching. The good news is Gavin and his staff already had a plan to train teachers to use more instructional technology, but it needed fine-tuning because the pandemic moved the clock up for all school districts, some of whom didn’t have a plan at all. “We had to rethink and reimagine what school was going to look like. We were in a great position as a district…that’s one of the things I’m most proud of in terms of the work we’ve done,” Gavin said. After spending many 12-hour days and weekends, the plan was launched for teachers who were given five user-friendly remote learning platforms to choose from, the most popular of which was Zoom. With some teachers highly proficient in technology, while others were not, Gavin also had to set up a support team that he credits with making remote learning so successful, as one survey revealed 88% of the teachers felt the district’s professional development prepared them to teach in a remote learning environment that supported student learning. Gavin, who has a second-grader in the district, observed how quickly his child adapted to remote learning using a Chromebook. This district loaned 7,500 devices to students.
“I’ve been amazed at how teachers were able to pivot. Teachers took the risk and were able to successfully teach in a remote learning environment, so that was really neat to see… I think we did a great job preparing them.” he said. Erin Motley, Gunning Bedford’s Teacher of the Year, agrees. “Thank you all for being ‘first responders’ on the frontlines of our challenges. You impacted so many teachers and our students….thank you for leveraging technology to solve problems in a time when we truly needed it!” Motley wrote.

Tom Gavin is Who WE Are.

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