SBSD Sweeps Tech Awards

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Thursday May 12, 2011

At the 2011 Vermont Design Technology Education Association annual meeting last Friday, Steve Barner (SBHS) was awarded “Technology Educator of the Year” and the FHT Middle School and SBHS Technology department was awarded “Program of the Year.”

The technology department at SB High School has a stimulating and varied curriculum and sets the benchmark for technology programs throughout the state. The software available for student use is industry standard. Students use the Adobe Master Suite to edit photos, create website, movies and flash animations. An AutoDesk package which includes 3DStudioMax and Maya are staples for the Electronic Arts strand in the Comolli Center. The department’s resources are continually updated and are used by students on a daily basis. The educators are inventive, continually creating assignments and courses that stay aligned with current technology innovations.

Highlights from the department’s educators start with Jay Hoffman at Frederick Tuttle Middle School. SBN News, the school’s multimedia powerhouse, is nationally known and has won numerous awards for video production. Mr. Hoffman’s lab is an exemplary multi-media lab where amazing things happen. At the high school, The Comolli Center for Technology and Arts still provides 3-D modeling and animation experiences unrivalled in most other high schools. Steve Barner’s Real World Design students continually set the bar for the state-wide competition while other students from the department’s programs frequently place high in competitions such as SkillsUSA. Lynn Amey has crafted a rigorous Business Education program which allows all students the opportunity to succeed. Erin Needham maintains the tradition of “old school” tech-ed courses with a vibrant Fine Metals program. Philip Galiga is using Facebook as a sort of “clearinghouse” of technology information related to the department. The page showcases projects by past and current students, posts information about technology topics, colleges and careers. Additionally, the Facebook page allows alumni to share their post high school experiences, successes and employment. Nissa Kauppila, along with the English CAS, leads “Lights, Camera, Activism,” a class where a group of students plan, research, writes scripts, film and edits a documentary which focuses on a specific social issue that affects high school students.

The department is in the process of creating a new vision for the future. Understanding the need to stay current with technology advances relating to education and the high school student, the SBHS Technology Department’s goal is to establish their department as “the center” of the school. Building off the idea of “concept to execution to delivery” the department will offer real-world experience and skills, vital knowledge and inter-disciplinary education. In the end, the department will be committed to offering students both the physical and virtual tools and instruction to grant quality sophisticated education beyond the user level.

Barner: Teacher of Excellence Award

Steve Barner has many exemplary qualities as an educator and a leader and is known for his consistently positive attitude regarding education.  Mr. Barner’s motto is: “Whatever is best for the students.” He has an encouraging voice for his department and helps direct/adapt educators to cope with the ever-changing face of Technology Education. He has seen these changes first hand during his 17 years at South Burlington High School and persistently “goes to bat” for the importance of technology education in our high school.

Mr. Barner is a vital resource for the entire school district. He frequently participates in technology committees, teaches workshops to educators about technology initiatives, updates and maintains the high school’s website, and makes himself available to help anyone in need of technology advice, trouble-shooting or instruction. I rarely ever see him turn down a plea for help from a fellow educator.
For the past three years, including this year, Mr. Barner has led numerous teams of students who have competed in the Real World Design Challenge (RWDC). Each year the amount of students from South Burlington High School (SBHS) participating has grown and each year, as a result of his leadership and commitment, a South Burlington High School team has won first place in Vermont. This means that for the past three years, a SBHS team has gone on to compete against other state teams in Washington, D.C. The amount of personal time Mr. Barner puts into this project is huge, with the majority being after school and on weekends.

On top of all this, Steve Barner has a great sense of humor. This allows him to keep an “even keel” during the difficulties that result from being the Curriculum Area Supervisor. He listens well, is always professional, and never biased. But, best of all, is that Steve Barner thinks he uses one of the most perfect examples of technology available…the bicycle.