Watauga High School Spanish Teacher Carmen Scoggins is the recipient of the national Award for Excellence in Foreign Language Instruction Using Technology, presented by the American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages (ACTFL) and the International Association for Language Learning Technology (IALLT). Scoggins, who also teaches at ASU, said she is proud of the award “as a reflection of how the faculty at Watauga High School works very hard to serve our students as well as we possibly can, including through continuous innovations in the effective use of instructional technology.”
Scoggins was nominated for the award by two classes of her students that each wrote letters of recommendation. Her nomination was supported by letters from Principal Marshall Gasperson, Assistant Principal Kelly Walker, and other colleagues. Appropriately, the student letters were composed using technology (a Google documents application) to produce a single letter from each class.
Students in her Spanish I class praised Scoggins as “an incredible teacher who puts a lot of her time, money, and patience into making sure that we do the very best we can…The variety of resources she employs is diverse and extensive, which helps students develop a well-rounded technological familiarity.” Spanish III students lauded Scoggins for instruction that demonstrates “not only her love of technology but also her skilled integration of technology into the classroom setting” and her ability to “select just the right tech tool for the job…She makes us watch and listen to and then reflect on our own videos and audio files and even though it is awful, we learn from our mistakes and improve our proficiency in the language… She implements current technologies during every class to provide fun, engaging, and creative lessons.”
Principal Gasperson described Scoggins as “a model teacher with a toolbox of technology tools that she shares with everyone she knows.Her colleagues turn to her for suggestions on using technology and herstudents rely on her to guide them through the Spanish-speaking world in a variety of ways.”
Scoggins is in her 22nd year of teaching Spanish and was already an experienced teacher when Watauga High School began providing a laptop computer to each student and faculty member in 2010, a transition she describes as both essential and transformative. “The 1:1 initiative has opened so many doors for teachers and students that I can hardly begin to describe the difference it has made. No one here would want to go back to the time when computer use was restricted to a couple of hours a week in a lab. I can’t say enough good things about the 1:1 program and I am very grateful that this school, this school district, and our County Commissioners have made it possible. It has empowered our teachers for creative instruction and enabled our students to experience richer, more authentic, more flexible, and more self-directed ways to learn. I am convinced that our graduates are better prepared to succeed in higher education and at work because of the technology available to them as students at Watauga High School.”
In addition to winning national recognition for her use of instructional technology, Scoggins chairs the high school’s department of foreign languages, leads a professional learning community at the high school, serves on the school’s Media and Technology Advisory Committee, and is a National Board Certified teacher, the highest professional credential available to teachers.
North Carolina leads the country in the number of Board Certified teachers and the Watauga County Schools system has the third highest proportion of Board Certified teachers out of the state’s 115 school districts.
Watauga High School is a comprehensive high school with an enrollment of approximately 1,350 students. The graduation rate at the high school reached a record high of 87.9% in 2015 and the school’s students achieved the second highest SAT scores out of the 115 school districts in NC.