“I would call it virtual collaboration—water cooler discussion, but online and nationwide.” That is how Twin Falls teacher Peggy Hoy describes the Great Public Schools Network (GPS), which she and fellow IEA members Kendra Wisenbaker and Kaywin Kidd Cottle have been instrumental in helping to launch.
With time and budgets making in-school collaboration more and more difficult, the National Education Association brought together top teachers from around the country to fill the void with an online meeting place where professional educators, parents and community members can join forces. The GPS Network features more than 100 groups discussing a variety of education issues, plus additional resources to benefit teachers and lead to greater student success.
Hoy serves as a group facilitator for the GPS Network, with her group focused on Common Core math at the sixth grade level, while Wisenbaker and Kidd Cottle facilitate Common Core English and Language Arts groups. “I was already doing much of the online research anyway,” said Hoy. “So I jumped at the chance to get involved when I received a note from IEA President Penni Cyr looking for IEA members to participate.”
Hoy is the President of the Twin Falls Education Association, and made a presentation about the GPS Network to the school board. “The District has embraced this concept and sees the potential benefits,” said Hoy. “I have been working with the district technology department and also working on a plan where teachers could get course credit for participating in the GPS Network.
While the GPS Network is still in its early stages, Hoy noticed an uptick in activity following the NEA Representative Assembly in July, and is optimistic about its future. “We have made good headway so far, and it is an awesome concept. Many of the groups should gain additional traction once school is back in session.”
Now entering her 24th year of teaching, Hoy has spent the last six years as a math teacher at O’Leary Middle School in Twin Falls. She is a major proponent of the role that research can play in pedagogy and curriculum development, and is a strong supporter of the Idaho Core Standards. Wisenbaker is a fifth grade teacher in the West Ada School District. Kidd Cottle teaches at Preston High School in Preston, Idaho.
Explore the GPS Network today at www.gpsnetwork.org.