Two teachers within the Beaverton School District were chosen to represent a digital library platform for kids to help promote reading remotely.
On Wednesday, Dec. 16, Epic, a digital library platform for kids 12 and under, announced that Sarah Breton from Flex Online School and Maryanna Baldridge from McKinley Elementary School were chosen to participate in the Master Teacher Ambassador program for the 2021 school year.
According to a press release by Epic, the 250 teachers were chosen out of a pool of applicants spanning 37 states and 20 countries.
"I actually felt honored, because I've been using Epic for so long that to be able to be a part of a community of other people who love using it is awesome for me," said Baldridge.
Baldridge has been using Epic for four years. She says the platform is a great opportunity for teachers as remote learning continues.
When asked about her favorite part of the platform, Baldridge said, "That I can see their daily reading. It makes me excited that I can go on to my class roster and see all of the minutes. Especially with comprehensive distanced learning, we are not reading together … but I can see through Epic if students need to read a little more or maybe read some different books."
Epic is also free for educators and librarians. Due to the coronavirus pandemic, the platform is also free for students to use during school hours, weekdays from 7 a.m. to 4 p.m., using their unique class code.
"In the wake of the pandemic, Epic's vibrant master teacher community is a beacon of light, sparking innovation and creativity among colleagues who are searching for ways to engage with their students, in and out of the classrooms," said Jennifer Hart, educator engagement manager at Epic. "Our cohort of educator ambassadors this year are highly regarded within their communities and throughout the nation. Many have received notable honors such as teacher of the year and are published authors and presenters."
The announcement added that nearly half of this year's community of master teachers have over 15 years of experience in their field and support fun and safe student learning across a variety of subjects, from reading and literacy to history geography, the arts, science and math.
"Through Epic School, Epic's educator ambassadors, along with fellow teachers and librarians alike, can provide thousands of quality books to help students in grades six and under boost their confidence while fueling curiosity and instilling a true love of reading," said Epic in a statement. "Fiction and nonfiction books are available on various topics and in multiple languages."
In addition to the program, Breton and Baldridge will help the future development of Epic through surveys, interviews and advisory groups.
"I want to be able to grow their usage and help them to just reach out to as many teachers as they can," said Baldridge. "It's free for teachers, and they should be using it because we don't get a lot of money for books or a lot of funding for extra things. … We can use it to our full potential."
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