YARMOUTH — Alice Barr, Yarmouth High School’s Instructional Technology Coordinator, is one of 13 teachers nominated for the 2011 Maine Teacher of the Year award.
She will find out if she is a semi-finalist on Friday, March 12.
A selection committee of past teachers of the year, principals, teachers, Department of Education staff, members of the state’s professional educator associations and members of the business community will screen the nominees and announce the winner in September.
The award goes to an outstanding teacher who best represents excellent educators throughout the state. Winners serve as advocates for the teaching profession, education and students.
Barr said her day is often anything but typical. She meets with students to troubleshoot computer problems, helps teachers design lessons and provides technical support to teachers and students. She teaches parents how to navigate Facebook and other social media tools, and helps teach parents, students and the community how to streamline technology and how to act appropriately online.
“As an integrator, I am a teacher first,” she said.
Barr also teaches at the University of Southern Maine in the summer and is a certified Google teacher. She received her undergraduate degree in elementary education from Wheelock College in Boston, and her master’s degree in technology education from Lesley University.
“I am motivated to learn as much as I can, and technology is my passion,” she said. “I learn from people as I teach them, and I have a fantastic online learning network.”
Barr said it is important to keep up with current trends because technology is so ubiquitous and the students are so advanced. Currently, she has a group of ninth-graders participating in a collaborative project where they work on problems with students in a high school in Singapore.They discuss the differences between Asian and Western cultures and digital citizenship on a global level.
“Students need to learn how to behave in a networked world, since choices made now can follow them through their adult working life,” Barr said. “Digital citizenship teaches students how to present themselves digitally in an appropriate manner. Another goal is to help students understand their digital footprint.”
Barr, who has been at Yarmouth High School for 11 years, said she has watched technological advances throughout her career.
“I have a great job,” she said. “I have been given a lot of leeway to develop programs creatively, and we strive to make technology an important part of the curriculum, not just an add-on. Most importantly, we give the students encouragement and the opportunity to reach their goals.”
Superintendent Judy Paolucci said it is clear Barr is passionate about her job. She said Barr uses technology to collaborate and communicate to teachers and students and does so in an effective manner.
“Not only does she support teachers, she is at the forefront of technological advancements,” Paolucci said. “She empowers students, assists them, and incorporates new ideas to keep things fresh.”
Amy Anderson can be reached at 781-3661 ext. 110 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Yarmouth High School teacher Alice Barr is one of 13 nominees for 2011 Maine Teacher of the Year. She and the other nominees were honored at the State House on Friday, March 5. The winner will be announced in September.