Professional Development

These honorees are delivering effective faculty PD that mirrors and in some cases, takes place alongside the experiences their students are having with educational technology. From training school district personnel as technology coaches to encouraging teachers to take greater control of their PD and how they incorporate education technology in their classrooms, these schools are adapting to changing expectations and enabling faculty and students to thrive in an ever more connected world.

Cumberland Regional School District, Bridgeton, New Jersey

Challenge: The greatest failure rate in high school occurs in ninth grade, and students who fail ninth grade are 50 percent less likely to graduate. At-risk students need to strengthen academic and social-emotional skills to successfully navigate the transition to high school.  

Hamburg Central School District, Hamburg, New York

Challenge: An estimated 1 in 5 youth suffer from a mental health disorder, with half of all chronic mental illness beginning by age 14. Untreated mental health problems can lead to poor school performance, strained family relationships, trouble with the law, substance abuse and other risk behaviors.  

Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools, Charlotte, North Carolina

In a 1-to-1 device district with nearly 20,000 English language learners, Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools educators were eager to design lessons that would foster academic conversations and build language skills for those students. District leaders also saw technology as a solution that could provide students with opportunities beyond class time to practice language skills and to participate in collaborative projects.

Bellefonte Area Middle School, Bellefonte, Pennsylvania

Bellefonte Area School District wanted students and teachers to have their own Chromebooks and to know how to use Google programs. So the Pennsylvania district gradually introduced staff and students to apps in G Suite for Education during the 2016-17 school year. Meanwhile staff members participated in small-group training opportunities each time they received a new program. 

Next, the district gradually distributed Chromebooks to its 2,700 students and 450 staff members. Each deployment required the IT department to make Wi-Fi upgrades. 

Red Lion Area Junior High School, Red Lion, Pennsylvania

In 2014, teachers at Red Lion Area Junior High School were concerned when the district announced its plan to implement a 1-to-1 initiative. Many educators were concerned about using Chromebooks, so the Pennsylvania district introduced a program where teachers could constructively critique one another’s performance. 

Liberty Union-Thurston Local Schools, Baltimore, Ohio

Educators at Liberty Union-Thurston Local Schools in Ohio wanted to learn how to use new technology, but were struggling to find the right opportunity. 

After reaching out to other local school leaders, Superintendent Todd Osborn launched Fairfield County PD Day, which provided time to investigate new instructional tools and

“Our goal was to develop a systemic process to define the basic technology skills each teacher should possess,” says Osborn. 

Auburn School District, Auburn, Washington

In 2014, the community in Auburn, Washington, voted for a $22 million technology levy, a vote that increased local property taxes so the Auburn School District could provide 1-to-1 learning in grades 2 through 12. 

Chromebooks, powered by Intel Celeron processors, were deployed to classrooms over the next two years, and by January 2018, all students and teachers will have their own. 

Roosevelt Middle School, Roosevelt, New York

Roosevelt Middle School of Roosevelt Union Free School District in New York wanted to create science-based curricula spanning all core subjects. School administrators decided the best way to accomplish this was by developing science-focused PD for teachers.

Burlington High School, Burlington, Kansas

Educators involved implementing Burlington High School’s 1-to-1 initiative in 2013 realized the need for edtech-based PD beyond simply training teachers how to turn on devices.  

“We saw this opportunity to move up to teaching the higher-order thinking skills,” says Doug Vander Linden, director of educational training for Burlington USD. “We wanted to take advantage of that by helping our teachers understand what project-based learning was and wasn’t, and how cooperative learning fits inside of that.”

Vancouver Public Schools, Vancouver, Washington

After adopting 1-to-1 learning that came about through a state technology levy passed in 2013, Vancouver Public Schools recognized that teachers and students needed extra training beyond traditional classroom time on how to use—and get the most out of—new education technology. 

Starting in 2016, the district encouraged teachers and students to participate in “Hour of Code”—a one-hour introduction to computer science led by, a nonprofit dedicated to expanding access to computer science.