Making the Grade: Knowing the ‘Inns’ and outs of his students
March 29, 2010
TRUCKEE, Calif. and#8212; The boy had long hair, dark clothes and a negative attitude.
After too many frustrated chats with principal David Inns, his father finally asked for a recommendation. Inns quickly told him to cut his son’s hair, get him different, brighter clothes and get him playing a sport.
and#8220;The second half of the year, the kid was a perfect student,and#8221; Inns said.
Inns, now the assistant superintendent for human resources at Tahoe Truckee Unified School District, said he likes witnessing people grow, and it means a lot when one of those students sends a note to him thanking him for what he did.
and#8220;You save those,and#8221; he said. and#8220;You don’t get a lot of them, so you put them in a file.and#8221;
But if Inns’ latest project takes off as he hopes, he’ll get a thank-you e-mail the next time instead of a handwritten note.
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Inns is the head of the district’s technology committee, which has just implemented a $319,000 technology plan for all students.
and#8220;We have all this technology in the district, and we needed an overarching plan,and#8221; Inns said.
Inns’ position originally included some supervision of curriculum and instruction, but that job grew too large, and a curriculum position was created for Dave Curry. Since Inns was interested in technology and professional development, he took on the technology committee, an assignment that resulted in a unified plan for the district.
and#8220;It was a good fit,and#8221; he said.
The district hopes to move toward what Inns calls and#8220;one-to-one computing,and#8221; the idea that every student utilizes his own technological device for individual explorations, experiments and projects. Netbooks and other computers, a total of 244 in all, will begin appearing in TTUSD classrooms soon, and Inns said he hopes the computers will augment traditional learning experiences.
and#8220;It’s now a tool to help them extend their learning, their creative thoughts,and#8221; he said. and#8220;It’s good stuff.and#8221;
Inns, who said he’s probably an above-average user of technology but no expert, said the teachers on the technology committee provided the bulk of the ideas for the plan. He said their forward-looking approach to enhancements in the classroom benefits students.
and#8220;It’s a highly trained group and a great resource for the district,and#8221; he said.
Ann Delforge, a parent and allocations chair for the grant organization Excellence in Education, said she’s been waiting for the district to have a cohesive tech plan for years, but it never happened until Inns took over the committee.
and#8220;I really have to applaud David. I think his leadership has helped to steer that whole process,and#8221; Delforge said.
Scott Beaudry, technology teacher at Kings Beach and North Tahoe Elementary Schools, said Inns has provided help and been an effective conduit between teachers and the school board.
and#8220;He’s really taken it on and moved it forward in a way that really supports learning in the district,and#8221; Beaudry said.
Inns splits his time between Truckee and Davis, Calif., where his last job was and his wife still lives. He said he likes the Truckee/Tahoe area because he loves fishing.
and#8220;I like the areas where trout live. I think they’re the most beautiful,and#8221; Inns said. and#8220;And so being in Truckee is great.and#8221;
But Inns also likes that TTUSD’s board is committed to improving its student results. That’s meant a number of late nights preparing for board meetings, he said, but the effort pays off.
and#8220;It’s a dynamic district. The board leadership has really mapped out a road for student achievement,and#8221; he said.
A former middle school teacher and principal, Inns said he’s always enjoyed watching his students grow from year to year. As an administrator, the growth he sees is now from teachers.
and#8220;You move up and you do the same thing with adults,and#8221; he said. and#8220;It’s a people job.and#8221;
Since he’s been an administrator for 20 years, he’s seen a large number of teaching techniques and can help teachers implement them and better their lesson plans, he said.
and#8220;I guess what gives my life purpose and meaning is to see the growth of others,and#8221; Inns said.
TTUSD Superintendent Steve Jennings hired Inns with high expectations for the job, and Jennings said Inns has done consistently good work, working as long as necessary to do everything possible to set students and teachers up for success.
and#8220;He certainly is a person who’s very dedicated and committed to the district and really has a strong passion,and#8221; Jennings said.
Inns said he always remembers seeing things come together, whether it’s a more creative lesson plan or a new academic approach for a student, like the long-haired boy from several years ago.
and#8220;It made a difference,and#8221; he said. and#8220;It was fun to see.and#8221;