About Paige Rios
Since the August 1993, I have been a teacher at St Helena High School in St Helena, CA. I hold credentials in mathematics and social science. Over the my teaching career, I have taught the span of math classes from Pre-Algebra to Pre-Calculus as well as World History, US History and ELL "sheltered" courses. It was in the Fall of 2001 that I was given the opportunity to implement and teach our AVID program (the first in Napa County). Within the context of AVID teaching, I found my true passion in education: to raise the bar for all students who were willing to take the challenge. The longer I taught AVID, the more I realized the need to offer academically rigorous upper-level courses that would give students the preparation needed for college success. The most pressing need was for a math course beyond Algebra II apart from the calculus track: enter Statistics. This eventually led to an AP Statistics offering and now our school offers both college prep and AP Statistics. Two years ago, I proposed implementing AP Psychology at our school; the 2013-2014 school year marked its beginning. I am proud that, through the development of both programs, we have successfully mirrored our school's ethnic and socio-economic diversity, while at the same time maintained Advanced Placement pass rates well above the national average. I hope in the future to share my work with other Advanced Placement teachers to demonstrate that, with proper support, ALL students with the willingness to work can be successful in challenging and rigorous courses.
Reflections on My Journey
It started with a question: If exposure to rigorous curriculum can open educational opportunities for students, shouldn't ALL students have access? From there, I have been on a journey to figure how to provide access to any material that may present a challenge to a student, whether it be required math or Advanced Placement. In the digital age, access should be open to ALL students, doors should be opening not closing.
About 5 years ago, my journey began as I expanded the walls of my classroom by blogging, then on to classroom websites, and, now with the impetus of the program to using an LMS. I am so intrigued by the use of digital tools to bring my classroom alive. The more I integrate technology, the more I find that I can hear the voices of more students (not just the "good" ones). The more opportunities given to students to express and share, the more I find them engaged.
My DILEMMA: technology and its tools iterate so often that they journey was becoming overwhelming. Too many websites, too many portals, too many new things. As a full-time teacher, I found the digital management was overwhelming the content. Enter the SOLUTION: a learning management system....
Lasting Learning from the Innovative Learning program
Being part of the Innovative Learning Program has allowed me to focus on creating a system to deliver Advanced Placement material to a more diverse population. The increased focus upon content delivery through technology integration has re-energized my passion for teaching rigorous material to ALL students. My participation in the program has given me the opportunity to not only study an area of education that I am passionate about but also to experience digital learning first-hand. Participating in a fully-online, synchronous learning experience has given me insight about how to best integrate digital tools to make a blended learning experience more effective. What I have been able to research and develop over the past year has carried over into all of my teaching. It has renewed my desire to make sure that ALL students with the will have a way to access the most rigorous academic material available, which, in turn, will open more doors to them in the future.