Published : Thursday, September 15, 2016 | 12:36 PM
Ramona welcomes Mr. Brian Kays as its new Director of Innovation and Technology Integration. In addition to teaching Physics, Honors Physics, and Computer Programming, he runs Ramona’s Maker Den, one of the first makerspaces at an all girls’ school in Southern California. He will also represent Ramona at the first International Symposium on Academic Makerspaces (ISAM) at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in November.
Mr. Kays says, “I am excited at the opportunity to build something unique for the enhancement of the Ramona community!”
In the Maker Den, students practice design thinking, tinkering and exploring, collaborating and creating. In addition to the 3D printer and Arduinos, the space includes tool wall stations for builds, flexible seating for the ever-changing needs of a creative, collaborative space, and four new computers to aid in 3D printing and programming.
Looking ahead, Mr. Kays plans to create an even richer environment for students’ creative explorations. Grants have been written for two additional 3D printers, a 3D digitizer for the copying of 3D objects, and a CNC milling machine. He also plans to add a brainstorming wall, along with a fabric station and a paper crafting station.
As Director of Innovation, he will ensure that teachers and students have access to and training in relevant technology to improve learning. He points out, “Technology is just another tool, albeit a very powerful tool, and teachers can and should utilize it to assist students in the process of learning in the 21st century. It is my stance that technology needs to be infused into education in the same way it has been in our students’ lives— seamlessly so it is indistinguishable for all that they do.”
Mr. Kays has presented digital citizenship workshops to parents and teachers at numerous schools throughout the San Gabriel Valley and will lead Ramona’s digital citizenship program, ensuring that students know how to navigate the digital world appropriately.
A strong advocate for women’s equity in science education, Mr. Kays is an advisory board member of WomenSPEAK, a national health and leadership program for girls.
He holds a B.A. in Kinesiology from San Diego State University and an M.S. in Education from Mt. St. Mary’s College. His Master’s thesis, “Structured Lab Based Inquiry: The Effect on Girls’ Interest and Motivation in Physics,” was influenced by his commitment to promoting gender equity in science.
In addition to teaching, Mr. Kays is an experienced basketball coach for both high school and college teams. He and his wife have a seven-year-old daughter who is the “light of their lives.”
Ramona is a Catholic college-prep high school for girls in grades 9-12. At Ramona, we prepare for life! We are a welcoming community where high standards and expectations ensure an extraordinary education for every young woman. When students graduate from Ramona, they face the future with an extraordinary education in their pocket; with a global vision fueled by Catholic, SNJM values; with an independent spirit and confident leadership skills; with Ramona sisters by their side and a legacy of more than 100 years of excellence at their back.
Ramona Convent Secondary School, 1701 W. Ramona Rd, Alhambra, CA 91803, (626) 282-4151 or visit www.ramonaconvent.org.