Future projects planned in Bertie

Published 10:31 am Saturday, January 23, 2010

WINDSOR – An international non-profit group intends to continue putting time and resources into Bertie County Schools.

During the Bertie County Board of Education’s regular meeting January 12, Matt Miller of Project H updated school board members on the work of Project H with the county and their future intent.

“Last year, I was here a total of about three months working on different projects,” Miller said. “We do work globally, but we also work locally. Our goal is to develop locally first.”

Project H designed and implemented the Learning Landscapes at all elementary schools in Bertie County. That project, which began in Uganda, came to Bertie County through the efforts of District Transformation Coach Tonya Horton.

Learning Landscape is a scalable, grid-based playground system for elementary math education. The spatial grid is intended to combine active movement and competition with mathematic curricula, providing an outdoor classroom framework for fun and engaged learning.

The next project Miller and Project H were involved in were the updating of the computer labs at Bertie Preparatory High School. In that project, the group took an old, outdated computer lab and changed it to allow for better functionality for teachers and students.

Instead of the computers being lined against a wall with the students sitting with their backs to a teacher, they are now around a console that hides all wiring and makes it easier for students to interact with their teacher.

Miller said Project H works on six design rules. They include: there is no design without critical action; we work ‘with’ not ‘for;’ we start locally and scale globally; create systems, not stuff; document, share and measure; and finally build.

Currently, the group is preparing to take some of their best designs on the road for a tour throughout the United States. They will be making a stop in Bertie County March 4-5.

They are also heavily involved in the Connect Bertie initiative which is set to bring high-speed internet to more than 1,500 households in the county.

Miller also said he and other members of the staff, including Founder and Executive Director Emily Pilloton, hope to teach courses at the Bertie Early College High School beginning as early as next year.

“I have visited the projects you have done in our schools,” Board Chairwoman Emma H. Johnson said. “I wish the citizens of the county would get out and see them as well.”

Board member Pamela Chamblee asked what the computer labs did now that they didn’t do before and Miller explained the benefits of the project, including flow of the room, better teacher contact and the hiding of all cords.

Miller said he would bring more information before the board about future projects in the coming months.