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Two EPS staff named TIES Exceptional Teachers

Aerial view of Kuhlman stadium with water tower in foreground.

Two teachers from Edina Public Schools (EPS) will be honored as TIES Exceptional Teachers during the TIES annual Education Technology Conference, Dec. 9-12. Tim Berndt, Project Lead The Way (PLTW) teacher at Edina High School and Valley View Middle School, and Jessica Schmidt, kindergarten teacher at Normandale Elementary School, will be recognized for effectively and creatively using technology to engage their students and personalize learning, as well as mentoring and encouraging colleagues to do the same.

During his tenure with EPS, Berndt has served as a PLTW/STEM instructor in all three district secondary schools, coordinator of eLearning2 Digital Age Learning program, and as Middle School Design Coordinator. Berndt was an early adopter of social media as a tool to engage and motivate students to share their work with the world. His students use Twitter and Google Hangout to share their work and collaborate with students around the U.S. on engineering projects.

Last year, Berndt challenged his PLTW Capstone students to develop simple machines that could help adaptive physical education students participate inclusively with their peers. The PLTW students researched needs, adhered to a budget, then designed and built catapults to help students with special needs shoot baskets, play ladder golf, throw Velcro balls at targets, play badminton and participate in other gym games. It was a melding of authentic learning and service learning, and a demonstration of unity across ability levels.

Schmidt engages her young students with a variety of tools that support their learning, reflection, and collaboration. She uses an interactive board, document camera, and iPads to bring the world into her classroom. With a background in computer science, Schmidt also introduces coding to her students using Box Island and robots. As a teacher in a French Immersion environment, there is the added challenge to use these tools to support language development. Schmidt has created hundreds of screencasts featuring singing and rhyming, and uploaded videos in French to GoNoodle. She collaborates with her teaching team to use Seesaw in creative ways, and uses Schoology to help families support their students at home.

Technology is an everyday support in Schmidt’s kindergarten classroom. She shares ideas and successes via emails to colleagues, Twitter, and by presenting at conferences, including TIES and ISTE. Schmidt is a lifelong learner, currently working on her masters in technology education, in addition to a long list of certifications she already holds.

TIES is a statewide technology collaborative of Minnesota schools, providing management software, information technology, and education technology professional development.