KODIAK, Alaska — An Alaska principal is receiving national praise for bringing technology into classrooms to help school management, teaching and student learning.
The National Association of Secondary School Principals named Kodiak Middle School Principal Jethro Jones as one of three 2017 Digital Principals of the Year.
“I feel honored to be recognized with any award, but I couldn’t have done this by myself,” Jones said.
In his three years at KMS, Jones has developed a new class scheduling system that incorporates career and technical education, along with science, technology, engineering and math.
Jones and KMS assistant principal Damon Hargraves developed a tutorial period at the school, which allows students to choose a class that interests them. Options cover math, science and technology, language and art, the Kodiak Daily Mirror reported (http://bit.ly/2s3WZEB ).
For over three years, he has hosted the weekly “Transformative Principal” podcast, which has allowed him to connect with other principals and leaders in education around the world, and with his students.
“Because Kodiak Middle School is near a Coast Guard base, Jones has used FaceTime or Skype to connect students moving from other coastal U.S. cities to students at Kodiak, in an effort to make a move to Alaska less intimidating,” according to a NASSP news release.
Jones said the great achievements of his tenure at KMS have been increases in math skills for struggling students following implementation of an intervention program, and School Climate and Connectedness Survey results that indicate KMS students have an increased perception that adults in the school care about them.
One way this was increased was through a home visit program.
“We did Facebook live videos to let parents know we were coming,” Jones wrote in an email. “One parent saw the Facebook live video and was so excited she didn’t let her kids go to sleep (they had just arrived that morning from a cross-country flight back to Kodiak) and made them wait for us to get there! When we knocked on the door, she screamed and was so excited to see us.”
Jones has completed his last year at KMS, as he will serve as principal of Tanana Middle School in Fairbanks next year.
The other two 2017 Digital Principals of the Year award winners are from Oregon and New Jersey.