KCS teacher professional development includes micro-credentials, Google

Rick Wagner • May 27, 2018 at 10:15 PM

KINGSPORT — Is your child’s teacher a holder of at least one micro-credential and/or certified proficient with Google tools?

If so, he or she may be part of two overlapping groups of educators in Kingsport City Schools.

The micro-credential educators in Kingsport City Schools and across Tennessee are in a pilot program of the state Department of Education, which two local educators said is designed to help teachers improve their ability to teach.


Robinson Middle School Language Arts Teacher Rachel Heaton and Director of Professional Learning Stephanie Potter presented a report recently to the Board of Education regarding the KCS Micro-Credential Pilot, now in its second year as a professional development program.

In a nutshell:

• Micro-credentials are one way teachers can demonstrate professional competencies and provide evidence of outcomes from professional learning.

• This pilot program has been conducted by the state to gather feedback and explore avenues for providing more personalized learning for educators across the state.

• Within KCS, 26 teachers participated in the pilot, with 26 micro-credentials granted.

Potter said the program is digitally based and that participants must demonstrate a particular competency-based skill to apply for a digital badge and that they receive the badge if their credential is approved. Plans are for the program to continue into its third trial year, she said. This school year, 177 educators across 10 districts participated, including the 26 in KCS. Across the 177, 88 were granted at least one credential and 20 were denied.

Heaton, a Digital Promise ambassador, does a blog on the pilot program and was among five KCS employees interviewed for forthcoming Digital Premier Videos on the program. Another one was Sara Shaffer, digital arts teacher at D-B EXCEL. She said the professional development program has a lot in common with the blended/online learning of students at D-B EXCEL. She said earning two credentials is the equivalent of 10 hours of professional learning.


Instructional design specialist Alyson Dowda of Dobyns-Bennett High School recognized KCS educators who have shown enthusiasm for using Google tools in the classroom and have been engaged in the certification process to gain proficiency and demonstrate expertise.

In a nutshell:

• Level 1 educators are those who have learned the fundamentals of using Google tools in the classroom. It requires 13 units or 12 hours, and those who finish can pay $10 to get a three-year certification after passing a three-hour test.

• Level 2 educators are those who are "super users" and enthusiasts of Google tools.

KCS teachers achieving Educator Level 1 are from Dobyns-Bennett, including: Wayne Buchanan, world language; Katie Beth Byerley Boggan, English; Dowda, instructional design specialist; Jana Engle, world language; Jason Jones, library media specialist; Cindy McGuire, social studies; Natalie Pickett, science; and Wayne Saul, science.

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