As the mother of 11 children, Kristina MacBury considers herself a lifelong learner who believes in the power of technology to enhance personalized learning. That’s right, 11 children. “Necessity really is the mother of invention,” she said. “Think of how easy it is to google information. Technology can be the great equalizer to maximize student success.”
At Sarah Pyle Academy in Wilmington, Del., MacBury created a personalized learning plan model shared with stakeholders on Google Apps for Education (GAFE) and had all students and staff obtain GAFE Level I certifications.
MacBury has been an educator for more than 20 years, but it is her experience as a parent that defines her personalized approach with students and families. Four of her children are adopted from Colombia and have mental health issues, so she understands that the process of engaging with a school can be overwhelming, particularly for single-parent families. If a parent can’t make it to a conference, the parent can connect with the school online.
“We celebrate parent engagement in whatever form it comes because it breeds more success in every part of life,” she said. “If you’ve worked the night shift every night and, instead of criticizing, the school appreciates you checking in, that can be a powerful message.”
MacBury and her wife started Educate4Hope, a leadership coaching program, to empower principals and district leaders. The organization also offers professional development opportunities relative to technology.
She says people often forget that teachers and administrators are learners, too. When she teaches, MacBury models what she’d like them to do in the classroom. She finds out their interests beforehand, then focuses on the strategies that they want to work on and how those are tied back to the school goals.
“I like kids. We have our own baseball team at home,” she said. “As educators, we really need to expect our staff and our kids to do one thing in life — their personal best every day.” — Jennifer Snelling