Future Ready Spotlight (March) – TEAM! Dr. Laurie Noll, John Grunwald, & Chuck Benge from Fairfield CSD

This month’s Future Ready Spotlight, lands on a team of #changeagents: Dr. Laurie Noll (Superintendent), John Grunwald (Technology Director), and Chuck Benge (Curriculum Director). 

Dream. Think. Lead. Act. This is the mantra of Fairfield Community School District’s vision and it proves true even with their educators and leaders when it comes to future-ready learning for their students. “Future Ready” thinking is not something new for Fairfield CSD. With the adoption of Canvas 6 years ago, their learning management system, they started dreaming and thinking about how can learning be more flexible and personalized, to empower students and give them voice and choice in their learning. To put this into motion, they even toured a variety of Wisconsin schools through the Institute for Personalized Learning. It was clear that not only flexible learning opportunities would impact students but also the design of the classroom to enable these flexible and student-centered opportunities. Five years ago they were one of the first school districts in the area to create a specialized classroom to support authentic and 21st-century learning pedagogy. Learn more about Fairfield’s 21C Learning Classroom here.

This story has evolved since then, as with most school districts the pandemic has expedited the evolution of our classrooms in both physical and digital spaces. How do we meet the needs of our learners in a flexible and engaging way, even at a distance? It is this very question that is on the mind of Dr.Noll, as the team begins to explore and research the latest technologies to support immersive digital learning environments. Asking questions and planting seeds is a huge part of empowering teams to make awesome happen for kids!  Among awesome for kids, would be the brand new Family and Consumer Science Classroom. According to Chuck Benge, it was time to update this space to help provide access and increase safety for students in the cooking classes. “It was time for a change”. And change they did! They were able to metaphorically tear down barriers, and digitally bypass the physical barriers (pillars and space) that prevented students from learning or sharing cooking demonstrations. Their new space now has monitors, cameras, and mics set up all around the room to be able to showcase any of the 6 student kitchens or the teacher’s kitchen. No more huddled-up groups around 1 stove and instead students can watch from a distance (at their kitchen or from home!).  Students can now literally create their own cooking show and broadcast this to youtube or other live streaming platforms or record locally and drop their video right into their Canvas course.

Stay tuned for future spotlights to see clips of this in action and meet the teacher behind the camera! Also, keep a lookout for some amazing new developments in Esports at Fairfield. They are currently building a brand new Esports Arena! For all these reasons and so many more, this is why Fairfield CSD is our Future Ready Spotlight!

Connect with Supt. Dr. Noll at laurie.noll@fairfieldsfuture.org, Curriculum Director Chuck Benge chuck.benge@fairfieldsfuture.org, or Technology Director John Grunwald john.grunwald@fairfieldsfuture.org to learn more! 

Want to share your future-ready story? Connect with laura.williams@gpaea.org!

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