I recently mentioned to Comanche, Texas ISD Superintendent Tony Daniel that Texansunited.com would like to do more to promote our area schools and the kiddos and teachers who have such success there. Tony was quick to refer me to Coach Jeff Roemisch who heads up a new program called KATS and after visiting with Jeff about it, I have to say that it is one of the best ideas to come down the pike yet!
In a nutshell, high school seniors are getting community service hours to help teachers with technology issues; however, outside of the proverbial shell, this is a huge undertaking for the students and an even “HUGER” help to already overworked teachers who just do not have the time to do everything for themselves.
So, what is this thing called KATS, you might ask?
KATS is an acronym that stands for Kids Assisting Teachers Service, and it is a wonderful program “designed to help teachers integrate technology into their classrooms by having students assist them with various aspects of the process.”
For instance, students might be called upon to install new technology in a certain classroom or they might actually be called to see if they can discover why a certain piece of technology is not functioning properly…all things that would take teachers away from their actual teaching if they had to install or repair these things themselves.
The KATS travel from campus to campus during a period designed for just such things and for their work, they are given those coveted community service hours that all students need for college applications. Plus, the KATS gain unbelievable knowledge as they tackle these technology problems.
Of course, the program would not be possible without the leadership of Jeff Roemisch, who is himself a bit of a tech wizard and who has agreed to integrate one more thing into his already very busy schedule.
“I have nine active kiddos and two part-timers who work with me. I developed the program after seeing what some of the other ISDs were doing; however, in Comanche the kids do not actually attend a KATS class as most of the other schools have them do. Our KATS are office aides who are seniors, and they do all of their KATS work during their office period.
“Basically this is an on going process, and we are still learning how to make it better. Teachers can go to web page and fill out a work order for what they need done and when they need it. Sometimes it is something that a KAT knows exactly how to do. At other times, if they need something like a projector or a smart board installed, I have to teach the kids how to do it before they can actually do it for the teacher.”
Now, in case this sounds like a bit of chaos, I have to tell you that I saw for myself that Coach Roemish is extremely organized. His work orders are printed out and if they are extremely important, they hang on the wall. If the order is something that can wait a day or so, it is put in a certain bin. Students come in and look for the orders each day during their aide period.
My question was what exactly happens if a student gets to a job and has no idea how to fix the problem. With Coach Roemisch in class and the KAT on another campus, how can this work?
Of course, the answer was quite simple…Skype! With this fairly new brand of technology, the student can access Mr. Roemisch and even use the camera to show him exactly how something looks and hopefully get the help he/she needs to continue the job.
After the work is done, the kids come back and file the work order and their notes on exactly what was done. This way, if the same problem arises again, they have the notes to use to help with the next problem.
“As I said, we are still evolving we are figuring now how to make all of this work even better, but we will eventually have it.”
AND the students will have many of their community service hours, and the teachers will have some major help. It looks like a win/win situation to those of us here at Texansunited.com and our hats are off to both Coach Jeff Roemisch and his KATS for a job very, very well done!