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Congratulations to the honorees in the latest round of DA’s Schools of TechXcellence national recognition program. Their exemplary initiatives serve as worthy models of inspiration for schools across the country. Scroll down or use the search feature to locate a December honoree by district.

December 2018

Honoree: Beechwood Independent Schools Category Makerspaces

Beechwood High School found a way to teach kids to think strategically, build resilience and grow academic engagement—all while creating real-world products and solutions. Administrators established the IDEA Lab, which stands for innovation, design, engineering and application.

Honoree: Prince William County Schools Category Makerspaces

The resounding success of a field trip to Virginia Tech’s Thinkabit Lab inspired Cedar Point Elementary educators to create their own version.  

The Tech Lab at Cedar Point Elementary, which opened in fall 2017, allows Prince William County Schools’ middle school students to collaborate, design and explore technological and coding processes. More than 1,500 students worked in the lab during its first year. 

Honoree: Council Rock School District Category Professional Development

The development of new edtech PD in Pennsylvania’s Council Rock School District began when a group of teachers collaborated to identify learning targets. To achieve their goals—and keep instruction aligned with the Council Rock Educational Technology Standards—the teachers convinced district leaders to add a pair of elementary school technology integration specialists. 

Honoree: Education Service Center Region 11 Category Institutional leadership, productivity

Providing reliable internet service to rural schools is a challenge for any district leader when they’re up against geographical hurdles and limited funding.

During the 2015-16 school year, Education Service Center Region 11 leveraged state and federal programs to launch FIBER11, an initiative that utilizes a consortium model to build fiber networks that provide urban, rural and suburban schools with high-capacity bandwidth.

Honoree: Jurupa USD Category Institutional leadership, productivity

To improve education outcomes in a district where 78 percent of students need supplemental educational services and 36 percent are English language learners, Jurupa USD implemented a 1-to-1 initiative called Digital Gateway. 

Honoree: Lake Elsinore USD Category Professional Development

"We consistently tell our students that every day counts, but our former professional development program regularly took our professionals out of the classroom for professional development,” says Ryan Mulvanny, director of instructional technology at California’s Lake Elsinore USD.

Honoree: Seminole County Public Schools Category Other instruction

High-tech manufacturers in Seminole County and Seminole County Public Schools recognized they needed to address a manufacturing talent gap, particularly for positions that require credentials beyond a high school diploma.

Honoree: Hickory Public Schools Category Math

Every Monday night at 7:30 p.m., Joshua Seabolt, a fourth-grade teacher at Longview Elementary School, can be found in front of his computer, meeting with students from low socioeconomic backgrounds. Together, they work on new math concepts and doodle on Google Sheets. 

Honoree: McAllen ISD Category Institutional leadership, productivity

Facing a districtwide 1-to-1 implementation that involved multiple platforms and 27,000 devices, leaders at McAllen ISD realized they needed to provide training for more than 1,700 teachers on 33 campuses. The challenge: having only four instructional technology specialists to provide all the support.

Honoree: Pickerington Local School District Category Professional Development

Pickerington Local School District leaders believed they had a solid technology plan in place and resources to boot, but couldn’t get a 1-to-1 device program off the ground without first addressing pedagogy.

Honoree: Quakertown Community School District Category Security (cyber and physical)

Savvier computer users can better protect a school from cyberattacks. With hacking threats against K12 increasing, Quakertown Community School District set out in 2017 to educate end users to fortify its first line of defense.

“Our goal was to ensure our end users were educated on a monthly basis with important information to make them aware of ongoing threats,” says Joe Kuzo, director of technology.

Honoree: Centralia Elementary School District Category Virtual and augmented reality

Sometimes, only students performing at or above grade level get to benefit from more innovative approaches to instruction. Educators at Raymond Temple Elementary School in Buena Park, California, set out to extend the five C’s—communication, critical thinking, creativity, collaboration and citizenship (global and digital)—to all students.

Honoree: Republic R3 Category Institutional leadership, productivity

Embarking on a journey of integrating technology into the curriculum, the Republic R3 school district in Missouri sought a grassroots PD approach that would help teachers and staff.

RepMo Ready is a comprehensive initiative that is part of a five-year plan to bring edtech to the district. 

Honoree: Rush-Henrietta Central School District Category Student assessment

When the Henrietta Board of Education approved a 1-to-1 initiative, the Rush-Henrietta Central School District got working to ensure that the additional funding would not go to waste and every student would gain technological skills.

Honoree: Valley Stream Union Free School District 13 Category Professional Development

After a yearlong pilot program, Valley Stream Union Free School District 13 purchased Chromebooks as part of a 1-to-1 initiative for students in grades 3 through 6. A local BOCES provided some Model Schools training, which was primarily focused on network management. At the same time, district leaders overhauled PD to improve instruction and better utilize resources such as personnel and the expanding number of devices.

Honoree: Vancouver Public Schools Category Institutional leadership, productivity

Administrators at Vancouver Public Schools realized during a 1-to-1 rollout that most district leaders and administrators lacked the necessary edtech skills to train teachers and lead the transformation.   

The Future Ready Administrator initiative focuses on developing an administrator’s capacity to drive digital learning and encourage teachers to introduce innovative practices. 

Honoree: Warrior Run School District Category Other instruction

The changing role of the K12 library inspired Warrior Run High School’s librarians in 2017 to integrate technology across the curriculum to bolster students’ multimedia and digital citizenship skills. 

Honoree: Wilmette Public Schools District 39 Category Other instruction

Looking to support the four C’s—creativity, collaboration, communication and critical thinking—Wilmette Public Schools District 39 introduced flexible learning spaces that would be available to entire schools. 

June 2018

Honoree: Bellefonte Area School District Category Professional Development

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. 

Honoree: Irving ISD Category Other instruction

Getting students to connect theoretical lessons taught in class to the real world represents one of the biggest challenges for any educator. 

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