Dynamic duo: Becky Goddard and Jennifer Roberson helping Bostian Elementary move forward
Published 12:00 am Thursday, December 24, 2015
Editor’s note: Nancy Goodnight, the Rowan-Salisbury School System Teacher of the Year, has offered to highlight the good things happening in public education by sharing the stories of amazing teachers each month.
By Nancy Goodnight
Special to the Salisbury Post
Becky Goddard and Jennifer Roberson present a strong, united front in their respective roles as the technology facilitator and media coordinator at Bostian Elementary School. They’re such a cohesive team that they’ve even shown up dressed as Batman and Robin when presenting at state and national conferences. They share a passion for creating and supporting students and teachers in the fast-changing and increasingly digital learning environment.
Goddard came to the Rowan-Salisbury School System as a technology facilitator in the fall of 2012 after teaching sixth grade math in the Mooresville Graded School District for 15 years. Roberson also spent a number of years as a classroom teacher, teaching first grade at China Grove Elementary for 13 years before moving to Bostian Elementary in the role of media specialist coordinator in 2010. They have worked together over three years and developed quite a partnership during that time.
Both agree that they each bring a different perspective to the partnership. Roberson’s profound love of children’s literature and Goddard’s out-of-the-box thinking have complimented the partnership. The evidence is clear as you walk into the media center, a space completely transformed in the past two years. Everything from the new furniture and carpeting to the exciting makerspaces and collaborative work areas that welcome students and teachers.
“There is a constant stream of kids all day long, and the media center is always available for teachers to bring their classes in to use the modular seating areas, walls of dry erase boards, and makerspaces” says Roberson.
The “SPA,” or supported planning area in a former media center office, was created to give teachers a comfortable space to collaborate with one another. The current project underway is converting a former storage space and newsroom into a STREAM lab, a space dedicated to fostering a love of science, technology, reading, engineering, arts, and mathematics. Both are proactive in searching for grant funding to make their ideas a reality. A district makerspace mini grant they recently received will, “Add more high tech elements to our makerspace like robotics, electronics, and 3D pens,” says Roberson.
And Goddard was recently awarded a Bright Ideas grant to purchase furniture and supplies for the STREAM lab.
She says, “We go for any grant we can. … We have to since funding is so limited.”
In addition to transforming spaces for children, Goddard and Roberson stay busy overseeing the interactive, live, student-led morning news broadcast, planning with and researching for teachers, and interacting with students to help them learn to effectively use print and digital resources. Their role in supporting teachers is one of the biggest ways they have seen their roles evolve over time.
“We rotate through three grade levels of collaborative planning each week,” says Goddard, “Teachers come with objectives, standards and data, and we collect resources and research strategies to help them.”
Roberson added, “We are constantly looking for things for the teachers. We try to give them a piece to take away and use.”
“Our teachers are so dedicated to doing the best they can for their students, and they are working so hard. We want to make their jobs a little easier,” Goddard adds.
Goddard and Roberson are amazed by the teachers they work with each day and want to give them all the support they need.
“It is not unusual for us to get emails early Saturday morning or at midnight. … We have teachers who are always working,” says Goddard, “So, if they are working, we are working too.”
The common vision and honesty shared by Goddard and Roberson have made their partnership even stronger.
“Our roles overlap, so we try to do what we can for each other,” says Roberson. But they are both quick to share that while they are honest with each other, that doesn’t mean they always agree.
“We don’t hold back our opinions,” Goddard says, laughing,
Roberson agrees, “A lot of people would tiptoe around things…we don’t. I don’t have to worry if we don’t always agree. We still share the same overall vision.”
That honesty has led them to push, encourage and inspire each other. It has also made them realize they want to stay together for the long haul.
“Whatever we do, we stay together,”Goddard says.
For now, it’s a pretty good bet to say Goddard and Roberson will continue to do their part to transform the educational experiences for the students and teachers of Bostian Elementary.
“We have a principal that is supportive when we have new ideas and helps us make them a reality,” says Goddard.
Stay tuned to this bat channel to see the next adventure in store for Batman and Robin … it’s sure to be a good one!