Welcome to the KCI's Merit Program
Making Education Relevant and Interactive Through Technology. 

The Merit Program is a highly successful, research-based technology integration staff development program designed to empower teachers to integrate technology-rich teaching strategies into their curriculum.  It provides a unique opportunity for teachers to learn to bolster their curriculum to motivate, challenge and inspire the diverse learners and leaders of the 21st Century.  Teachers learn ways to teach to the strengths, talents, and passions of diverse student populations.  Now in its ninth year, the program puts exceptional educators together to explore and embrace emerging technologies, build innovative lessons and practices, and ground themselves in established theories of effective teaching and learning. The teachers show technical strength or potential, as well as their passion for learning and utilizing the best tools and practices into their classrooms.  Our goal is to increase student learning to a significant degree and in measurable terms.

A shift is occurring in the realm of technology training for teachers. Technology classes previously focused on how teachers, most of whom were “digital immigrants,” could best learn the tools that enable them to teach their students, many of whom were “digital natives.” Now many young teachers are often “natives” because they have grown up in an era of exponential technological growth that has profoundly influenced their education, and, consequently, the form of their teaching. This change allows the Merit Program to take on a new dimension, one in which the instructors facilitate a network of connections between tech-savvy teachers who are becoming innovators in the field of instructional technology.

Mission Statement
To promote a marriage of content, tools, and pedagogy that will have a measurable positive impact on education in the Silicon Valley and beyond.

Program Goals
  1. Prepare teachers to design instruction that integrates technology to create student learning experiences that insure lasting student learning.
  2. Forming lifelong professional learning communities that promote ongoing innovation, collaboration, and support.
  3. To inspire and empower teachers to become agents of systemic educational change at their school sites and districts.

Requirements & Rewards
By completing the Summer Institute portion of the program, each participant will receive eight Foothill College continuing education units, a $2,000 stipend, and a tool to enhance their project. Each incentive is designed to support the ongoing integration of technology into the curriculum. Teachers will receive an additional $1,500 stipend in May 2010, after they have completed all of the yearlong program requirements. These requirements include completing the technology-rich, standards-based, technology-infused curriculum project that will be entered in the California Student Media Festival in April 2010. Participating teachers also actively promote technology integration in their schools/districts and serve as a FastTech program contact in their school/district.  Each participating teacher will mentor other teachers at his/her school to help them further integrate technology.

Ongoing Support
Participants in the Merit Program receive yearlong follow-up mentoring and coaching from the Center’s teachers-in-residence as well as the Institute’s other instructors.  This follow-up support for the Foothill, Mariposa, and Sonoma cohorts includes face-to-face assistance during follow-up workshops focused on their projects, specific software, and emerging tools and practices.