Friday, November 21, 2008

Site Visit with Howard Adams, Bakersfield Adult School

I had the good fortune to visit Howard at BAS on November 12th. After a looooong drive from Sacramento, I arrived at the Bakersfield Adult School around 1:45 pm. The first thing that struck me was the size of the campus. This place is HUGE! It took a bit of a hike to find Howard's ASE classroom, but once I found it we were able to continue with our visit. (I was enjoying watching the sheep graze in the field next to his classrooom buildings. How pastural!)

Bakersfield Adult School opened it's doors in 1917, serving the central valley for over 87 years. It is ranked as the 8th largest adult school in the state. The main campus is on 40 acres, shared with the district's Regional Occuption Center, and serves over 28,000 students. Additional sites include a campus downtown and classes offered the outlying communities of Arvin, Shafter, Kern Valley and over 50 other schools, community centers churches, and retirement centers.

Howard and I spent the better part of 2 hours talking about ideas for his project, identifying quality 'mentees' and what are the realistic expectations of his project. In my mind, one overarching message from me is "Keep It Simple." TIMAC members are traditionally a group of dedicated, visionary types that look far into the future and see things bright and shiny. But often the reality of time-constraints, budget cuts, even personal issues, reminds us to restructure the scope of our projects down to a managable and "doable" size.

As BAS completes their application for their Technology Plan, they are asking all their teachers to complete the Technology Skills Assessment. It is Howard's plan to use this data to identify 3 or 4 individuals who indicate they have low skills, but high need for specific technology training. The details of what those topics will be are not available until November 20th. It will take some time for Howard to analyze all the data, then approach those individuals who may want to participate as one of Howard's "mentees" for the rest of the academic school year.

Howard's enthusiasm and positive attitude toward technology will be a positive draw for anyone at his school site who is looking to improve their technology skills -- no matter what their interest may be. Keep up the great work Howard!

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