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.

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. 

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.”

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.

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 Code.org, a nonprofit dedicated to expanding access to computer science. 

Gray Middle School, Tacoma, Washington

Gray Middle School in Tacoma, Washington, wants teachers to master classroom technology tools that enhance students’ understanding of communication, collaboration, creativity and critical thinking. To meet that challenge, the school launched the 21st Century Professional Learning Pathways program during the 2016-17 school year. 

“We put together a cycle of learning for teachers and staff that was project-based to develop capacity and also just to get them excited about learning in our building,” says principal Shaun Martin.

Souderton Area School District, Souderton, Pennsylvania

The vast and evolving power of educational technology—and its unpredictability in the classroom—inspired the Souderton Area School District to do more than simply offer PD. Its administrators created a whole new team of homegrown instructional coaches to provide real-time, year-round training that enhances the tech skills of the district’s teachers. 

“Building the coaches from within allows us to support and develop them in a way that’s aligned with our mission,” says Geri Wilkocz, supervisor of curriculum for the district that’s an hour north of Philadelphia.  

Mary Williams Elementary, Dumfries, Virginia

Teachers, just like students, become more engaged when they get to shape their own learning. 

With that truth in mind, Lynmara Colon, principal of Mary Williams Elementary School in Virginia’s Prince William County Public Schools, revamped her PD program to allow teachers to direct their own development. She was inspired by the EdCamp model, where teachers select topics to study before the PD begins. 

“We have different sessions running at the same time for teachers who are in different stages of their journey,” Colon says. 

Mayfield City Schools, Mayfield Heights, Ohio

When Mayfield City Schools embarked on an ambitious 1-to-1 blended learning initiative for grades 4 through 12 in 2016-17, administrators quickly understood that teachers required help learning to integrate the technology.

“Early on in the plan, we realized that in order for this to truly become embedded into the culture, we were going to need a robust, embedded support system, so we could make it about instruction, and not technology,” says Patrick Ward, director of curriculum at Mayfield City Schools.

Mahopac Central School District, Mahopac, New York

Like so many others around the country, the Mahopac Central School District in New York scheduled teacher conference days throughout the year. And, like so many others, these conferences were usually passive exercises, with teachers convening in the auditorium, surreptitiously grading papers while half-listening to a keynote speaker.

Videoconferencing for PD

When Orange County Public Schools in Florida launched a 1-to-1 program five years ago, leaders knew they had to ensure teachers used the 74,000 devices to their fullest potential.

Pages