Mrs. Victoria DeRoner has worked as a High School Social Studies Teacher, in a virtual setting, since 2007. As a seasoned distance learning educator for 10 years, and now a trusted Teacher Technology Coach for PA Distance, Mrs. DeRoner teaches her colleagues and students new things.
Mrs. DeRoner graduated from Duquesne University with a Bachelor’s Degree in Secondary Education and has a PA Certification in 7-12 Social Studies, 7-12 Citizenship, K-12 Instructional Technology, and AP European History. Mrs. DeRoner began working at a cyber school where she taught for six years while simultaneously earning her Master’s Degree in Instructional Technology.
Now, as a member of the PA Distance family, Mrs. DeRoner is a full-time Instructional Coach for her colleagues while also teaching a Financial Literacy elective class to high school students. As an Technology Coach sharing responsibilities with her colleague, Mrs. Katie Heiles, she helps teachers understand educational technology and the various programs that PA Distance uses within virtual classrooms.
“My position is designed to be a resource for teachers who are using various forms of technology in their classes. If they need help with a program or piece of educational technology that the school has purchased, I can coach them through that and help them use it in a way that benefits the students,” she explained.
“Mrs. Heiles and I also maintain a professional development website for the staff that contains helpful resources,” she added.
In a role that was originally formed in 2016 and has evolved since then, Mrs. DeRoner has worked to make her Technology Coaching position into a valuable resource for PA Distance staff.
“When I started at PA Distance in 2013, I was a high school social studies teacher, and several years into my time here, it became evident that there was a need for a Technology Coach role,” Mrs. DeRoner explained. “We are always looking for new things to introduce to staff to help them more and more each year.”
Mrs. DeRoner and Mrs. Heiles also provide a Google Form where PA Distance staff can indicate that they need help with a particular program or technology tool. They also often team up with Curriculum and Instruction Coach, Mrs. Tanya Contos, when they have a teacher who wants to introduce new technology into a specific lesson plan.
A big portion of their work each year includes planning and organizing the annual Ed Camp sessions where staff members meet for a one-day conference designed to personalize professional development. This school year, Ed Camp will continue as a unique way to provoke thought and encourage internal collaboration and discussion.
“We are here to support teachers and staff and help them grow,” Mrs. DeRoner said. “As day-to-day support for teachers or a consultant for our administration, I am always prepared to assist in a variety of ways.”
Mrs. DeRoner also teaches an elective Financial Literacy course to high school students where they learn about the importance of money management and preparation for the financial aspects of life after high school.
To supplement this course, PA Distance recently received a $10,000 grant from the non-profit financial education-driven organization, Next Gen Personal Finance. The awarded grant comes with the requirement that a Financial Literacy course will be added as a graduation requirement for high school students, now making PA Distance a “Gold Standard School”.
[Read more about Mrs. DeRoner's role in the Grant, here]
Instrumental to this development, Mrs. DeRoner as well as PA Distance’s High School Principal, Ms. Crooks, and financial literacy team members, Mrs. Colbert and Miss. Cameron, as they got together to apply for the grant and develop the plans for the course.
“When I approached our administration about making Financial Literacy a graduation requirement, they did not hesitate to support this initiative,” she explained. “Students can benefit from this course, its information they would use in everyday life post-graduation.”
“The class dives into what a car loan looks like, interest rates for mortgages, payment calculators and amortization tables, what a rental agreement looks like for an apartment lease, how to use online banking, and so on,” she explained.
“This is an area that I am passionate about outside of work, too,” she said. “Years ago, I took a class of my own that changed my life. I want students to have that same experience.”
“We are excited to work on our implementation plan and revise the course in preparation for the graduation requirement to go into effect for the 2021-2022 school year,” Mrs. DeRoner said.
“At PA Distance, we genuinely care about our students even though we are teaching virtually,” she said. “We form relationships with them and love to hear from them after they graduate.”
“From administration down, every person is in it as an invested educator. Everyone is passionate about what they do,” she said.