Articles in the T+L category

Call for proposals for NSBA’s 2015 Annual Conference

2015 NSBA Annual Conference

The National School Boards Association (NSBA) is requesting proposals for breakout sessions to be conducted during our 75th Annual Conference in Nashville, Tenn., March 21-23. The conference will draw thousands of attendees, exhibitors, and guests representing nearly 1,400 school districts, and will feature distinguished speakers and hundreds of workshops, presentations, and other events that will help school board members develop leadership skills, boost student learning, and improve school districts’ operations.

If your school district or organization has an idea for a high-quality breakout session that focuses on a topic of critical interest to school board members for presentation at this conference, please complete a proposal online by the deadline of Monday, June 16 at 5 p.m. EDT. Only proposals submitted through the online process  will be considered. Breakout sessions will be 30, 45, or 75 minutes in length and will be scheduled throughout the conference.

Proposals are being solicited for the following focus areas:

• Innovations in District Management
• Legal and Legislative Advocacy
• Professional and Personal Development
• School Board/Superintendent Partnerships
• Student Achievement and Accountability
• Technology + Learning Solutions

NSBA and CDE name 2013-2014 top 10 digital school districts

The tenth annual Digital School Districts Survey

The tenth annual Digital School Districts Survey were by CDE and NSBA

Top-ranked school districts have been announced in the tenth annual Digital School Districts Survey by the Center for Digital Education (CDE) and the National School Boards Association (NSBA). The survey showcases exemplary school boards’ and districts’ use of technology to govern the district, communicate with students, parents and the community, and improve district operations.

This year’s recognition goes to school districts for their expanding use of innovative technologies district-wide as well as in the classroom.

The first-place winners in each classification are:

Here are a few of the examples of the technology and information used in the school districts who placed first in each classification, based on student enrollment.

Prince William County Public Schools’ school board meetings in Virginia are televised and streamed live, and available via podcast and on-demand, connecting the public digitally without having to attend Board meetings in person. They have embraced social networking from email, blogs, and discussion boards to forums and more. They use Twitter as part of communications with parents, students and the community. They teach students proper techniques and standards for participation, and explain issues of privacy, tool use and network etiquette. Plus, they expanded their virtual high school (VHS) to include 22 courses for over 9,000 students.

Henry County Public Schools has the largest digital textbook initiative in the Commonwealth of Virginia. Currently sixth graders have their science book installed as an e-text, with plans to add more textbooks as they become available digitally. Plus, the new Parent Connect mobile application not only links parents and students to the same apps, it also extends the curriculum to all mobile devices.

Springfield Public Schools in New Jersey has continued their one-to-one laptop initiative creating a virtually paperless environment with almost no textbooks in the classroom. Teachers use web-based curriculum and students and teachers have e-lockers and e-portfolios.

“Schools and school districts are embracing technology and it is really exciting not only to see the innovative ways they implement technology, but how they are using technology effectively to teach and advance education,” said Alan Cox, Senior Vice President for the Center for Digital Education. “These education leaders serve as an inspiration to other school districts nationwide for their creative efforts to provide an outstanding education for today’s students. Congratulations to this year’s winners!”

“Technology innovations enable local school boards to connect with their communities and support students and teachers in ways that were unimaginable even a decade ago,” said NSBA’s Executive Director Thomas J. Gentzel. “The 2014 Digital School Districts Survey offers powerful examples of technology’s role in the transformation of public education.”

The top ten rankings are awarded to those school boards/districts that most fully implement technology benchmarks in the evolution of digital education, as represented in the survey questions.

All U.S. public school districts are eligible to participate in the survey within the three classifications based on size of enrollment.

There will be a reception honoring the school districts at NSBA’s Annual Conference next month in New Orleans.

Full list of 2013-2014 Digital School Districts Survey – Top Ten-Ranking Winners:

Large Student Population District Category (student population 12,000 or more):

1st Prince William County Public Schools, Va.

2nd Colorado Springs School District 11, Colo.

3rd Hampton City Schools, Va.

3rd Savannah-Chatham County Public School System, Ga.

3rd Township High School District 214, Ill.

4th Houston County School System, Ga.

4th Richmond County School System, Ga.

5th Houston Independent School District, Texas

5th Kent School District, Wash.

6th Fayette County Schools, Ga.

6th Katy Independent School District, Texas

7th Klein Independent School District, Texas

7th Northwest ISD, Texas

8th Forsyth County Schools, Ga.

9th Cherokee County School District, Ga.

9th Hall County School District, Ga.

10th Blue Valley Unified School District #229, Kan.

Mid-sized Student Population District Category (student population 3,000 – 12,000):

1st Henry County Public Schools, Va.

2nd Monroe County Schools, Ga.

2nd School District of Janesville, Wis.

3rd Decatur City Schools, Ala.

3rd Jefferson City Schools, Ga.

4th Oconomowoc Area School District, Wis.

4th Center Grove Community School Corporation School District, Ind.

5th Harrisburg School District 41-2, S.D.

5th Mt. Lebanon School District, Pa.

6th Fayetteville Public Schools, Ark.

7th Colquitt County Schools, Ark.

8th Bergenfield Public Schools, N.J.

9th St. Charles Parish Public Schools, La.

10th City Schools of Decatur, Ga.

Small Student Population District Category (student population 3,000 or less):

1st Springfield Public Schools, N.J.

2nd Hanson School District 30-1, S.D.

3rd Maine Regional School Unit 21, Maine

3rd Lindop School District 92, Ill.

4th Lower Moreland Township School District, Pa.

4th Carroll County School District, Ky.

5th Allendale Public Schools, Mich.

6th Chickamauga City School System, Ga.

7th Cedar Bluffs Public Schools, Neb.

7th Goochland County Public Schools, Va.

8th Charlton County School System, Ga.

9th Taylor County School District, Ky.

10th McIntosh County Schools, Ga.

Selected Survey Findings and Trends:

School Board Meeting Availability:

  • Board meeting agenda and docs e-displayed on screen – 80 percent
  • Televised – 31 percent
  • Streamed and Archived – 32 percent
  • Via Podcast – 22 percent
  • Fifty-two percent of states allow Board members to participate/vote in school board meetings remotely.

The district allows alternatives to core content instruction in classrooms:

  • Students can take fully online classes for core content credit – 79 percent
  • Blended classes are offered and meet core content requirements through a combination of face-to-face and online instruction – 67 percent
  • Core content is currently delivered online – 61 percent
  • The “flipped classroom” concept is utilized- 61 percent
  • Video conferencing for instruction is utilized as part of core content – 47 percent
  • The district has developed plans to deliver core content online – 33 percent
  • No alternatives to core content face-to-face instruction are being explored – 3 percent
  • Describe the district’s strategy regarding mobility:
  • District offers professional development for teachers on how to use mobile devices and apps for instruction – 88 percent
  • Student-owned mobile devices can be used in the classroom – 83 percent
  • District encourages the use of mobile apps for instruction – 81 percent
  • District provides mobile apps for students to use for instruction – 67 percent
  • District has successful actions in place regarding physical protection of district-owned devices – 65 percent
  • District provides 1:1 mobile devices for students to use in the classroom – 46 percent

Status of BYOD:

  • Implemented – 56 percent (up 22 percent from last year)
  • Of the 56 percent that have implemented, in which grades?
  • 9th – 12th – 84 percent
  • 6th – 8th – 74 percent
  • 4th and 5th – 62 percent
  • Pre-K – 3rd – 51 percent
Alexis Rice|March 27th, 2014|Categories: School Boards, Teachers, Announcements, Educational Technology, Student Achievement, Leadership, Student Engagement, T+L, Technology Leadership Network|Tags: , , , , , |

National School Boards Association announces “20 to Watch” education technology leaders

The National School Boards Association’s (NSBA) Technology Leadership Network (TLN) announces its “20 to Watch” honorees for 2013-2014. These distinctive education leaders from across the country are being recognized for their ability to inspire colleagues to incorporate innovative technology solutions that contribute to high-quality learning environments and more efficient school district operations.

“The ’20 to Watch’ honorees offer real-world examples of how new technologies are being used to impact learning and how these new tools may influence or inform policy,” said Thomas J. Gentzel, NSBA’s Executive Director. “From ‘BYOD’ and the Maker Movement to virtual schools and the increased use of the cloud, these inspirational pioneers are paving the way.”

Ann Flynn, NSBA’s Director of Education Technology, shared that common characteristics across honorees include their willingness to take risks, share learnings with colleagues, and inspire others to believe that they, too, can effectively use technology. “Their voices and experience will inform local, district, and state approaches to education technology decisions for years to come,” Flynn said.

This is the eighth year of the NSBA “20 to Watch” program, created in 2006. This year’s honorees are being recognized at the 2014 Consortium for School Networking (CoSN) Conference on March 19 in Washington, DC, along with a TLN-hosted luncheon at NSBA’s 2014 Annual Conference in New Orleans this April. TechSmith Corporation is sponsoring the “20 to Watch” celebration events and is providing software scholarships to the honorees.

The 2013-2014 NSBA “20 to Watch” honorees are (listed by state/territory):

John Andrews, Chief Information Officer, Dysart Unified School District, Az.
John Andrews facilitated “BYOD” as a solution for integrating technology at a time of hyper–growth when the district had limited funds for sufficient technology purchases. He led development of iPAL (iPlan, iAssess, iLearn), an assessment and resource software providing teachers with live and historical student data, instructional resources, and professional development opportunities. Andrews provides a combination of technical and pedagogical support for each of the district’s schools.

Matt Meyers, Teacher, Greenwich Public Schools & CEO, Slate & Tablets, Conn.
In addition to writing his school’s new computer science course, Matt Meyers “changed the high school forever” through his creation of a world-class, mobile app that replaced the traditional paper plan book used by teachers and students. Hailed as beautiful and functional, this popular Planner app was developed by Slate & Tablets, the company Matt started with his brother and where he serves as CEO.

John Connolly, Director of Technology, Consolidated High School District 230, Ill.
John Connolly has transformed District 230 with his ideas, collaborative leadership style, and technology improvements. Setting a vision which includes directing a 1:1 and “BYOD” program, leveraging social media, digital citizenship, Google migration, and website overhaul, Connolly’s energy and passion inspire colleagues.

Brad Hagg, Chief Technology Officer, Warsaw Community Schools, Ind.
As a Certified Education Technology Leader (CETL), Brad Hagg has become an invaluable resource in his district with the introduction of an online data dashboard and tools that enhance student safety. Hagg serves on the Indiana Department of Education’s 2014 eLearning Leadership Cadre to help the state focus on strategic components of 21st century teaching and learning that directly impact student achievement and instructional practice.

Rob Dickson, Director of Technology, Andover Public Schools, Kan.
Rob Dickson’s technical understanding of how technology should support student learning contributed to his district’s ranking among the “top ten” digital districts in the nation four of the past five years. Key among Dickson’s accomplishments are leading the first VBlock cloud data center installation in K-12 education and serving as an advisor of the BLEgroup helping schools across the country with their technology planning and integration.

Dr. Beth Hudson, Associate Superintendent, Geary County USD 475, Kan.
Beth Hudson’s work focuses on understanding the relationship between technology and learning and creating professional development opportunities, including the district’s K-12 Technology Learning Fair, in which teachers acquire the skills essential to effectively use their tools to support authentic learning experiences. Hudson wants teachers to view their devices as a portal to the world.

Roger D. Cook, Superintendent, Taylor County School District, Ky.
Roger Cook continually pushes the boundaries of how education is delivered, from providing iPads to all high school students to challenging teachers to embrace a Flipped Classroom concept. The district assists students with “24/7” learning opportunities and allows adults who previously dropped out of school to enroll in the Virtual Academy to receive their high school diplomas.

Timonious Downing, Teacher & Technology Liaison, Prince George’s County Public Schools/Walker Mill Middle School, Md.
Timonious Downing pioneered a flipped and gamified English/Language Arts class at his school where Gifted and Talented 7th graders are placed in guilds that engage in academic competitiveness with a leader board to foster comradery and teamwork. He shares his success stories from his paperless classroom with other colleagues through blogging, conferences, and Google Hangouts and provides after school support for the Minecraft Club.

Brad Waid, Teacher, Eastover Elementary, Bloomfield Hills Schools District, Mich.
Brad Waid goes beyond showing his students technology, he lets them explore it and more importantly, have a voice in deciding how they think it could be used in their classroom. His students are using and creating their own Augmented Reality to enhance their learning and deepen their engagement, while utilizing their iPads for various projects. Waid’s contagious passion for teaching and learning has made him a game-changing educator.

New Jersey:
Dr. Barry Bachenheimer, Director of Curriculum, Instruction and Assessment, Pascack Valley Regional High School District, N.J.
Improving instruction, while appropriately promoting the use of technology, drives the work of Barry Bachenheimer. District educators are successfully creating “Virtual Days” to take the place of snow days; creating a hybrid master schedule to maximize student choice that supports individual learning opportunities; flipping classrooms, embracing social media to provide authentic global learning experiences; and focusing on digital citizenship as a result of his leadership.

Laura Fleming, Media Specialist, New Milford High School, New Milford School District, N.J.
Laura Fleming’s blog, Worlds of Learning, shares many of her initiatives including the development of a digital badge program to acknowledge teachers’ informal learning. Her media center, now packed with students every period, has become a makerspace with a 3-D printer, Raspberry Pi and Makey Makey Kits to unleash students’ creativity to construct new knowledge.

New York:
Dr. Luvelle Brown, Superintendent of Schools, Ithaca City School District, N.Y.
Luvelle Brown’s vision is to create a student body of 6000+ Thinkers, encompassing every student in the district. The district’s mission to engage, educate, and empower is supported by ubiquitous wireless coverage and contemporary learning spaces, designed to be responsive to pedagogical shifts influenced by technology tools.

Tracey Dunn, Teacher, Hopkins Elementary, Mentor Public Schools, Ohio
Tracey Dunn pioneered a kindergarten blended learning model in her district’s research and development classroom, Catalyst, focused on small-group instruction. With the support of QR codes and a 1:1 iPad program, students rotate through stations to engage with the teacher, digital content, and digital storytelling. Her enthusiasm is contagious and her humble approach has made it easy for others to want to share in the magic of her success.

Rich Kiker, Director of Online Learning, Palisades School District, Penn.
Rich Kiker designed and built the K-12 blended and online learning program at Palisades School District that established a new relevance for learners and saves the district hundreds of thousands of dollars every year. When his home district needed to replace a school board director, Kiker was unanimously appointed to serve on the Pennridge School Board.

Bradley Wilson, Curriculum Leader of Customization & Instructional Technology, Upper St. Clair School District, Penn.
Bradley Wilson is an innovative 7th grade teacher who leverages technology to customize instruction for his students through flipped learning and “The Explain Everything” app, among other strategies. He demonstrates leadership in both formal and informal settings as he continues to champion district wide initiatives and capacity building activities.

Dr. Kecia Ray, Executive Director of Learning Technology, Metropolitan Nashville Public Schools, Tenn.
Kecia Ray has been instrumental in lobbying for state laws and policies that facilitate and eliminate barriers to virtual learning after the success of the district’s first virtual school launched under her leadership. In her role as President of the International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE), the contributions Ray has made to learning technology extend well beyond Nashville borders.

Joli Barker, Elementary Educator, Slaughter Elementary, McKinney Independent School District, Texas
Joli Barker is leading the way in game-based, project-based learning in her Fearless Classroom where lessons include real-world, global-minded empathy games. The Fearless Classroom movement she started is inspiring educators world-wide to change the way they approach lesson design, pedagogy, and the art of teaching.

Elaine Plybon, Instructional Resource Trainer, Keller Independent School District, Texas
Elaine Plybon’s motto of “relevant and meaningful” is reflected across all aspects of her work as an Instructional Resource Trainer whether she is delivering professional development, serving on the Leadership Council of the Discovery Education Network, or exploring ways to address gender issues. As co-founder of Girls of Technology (GOT), she has inspired girls interested in STEM to pursue career opportunities in that field.

Dr. Barbara Gruber, Technology Resource Specialist, Loudoun County Public Schools, Va.
As a true champion of 21st Century Learning, Barbara Gruber’s schools are thriving environments where students become excited about STEM through collaborative projects with peers, both locally and overseas, as they work on solutions for relevant projects. Students are supported through videoconferencing with field experts; NASA-guided simulations, and the opportunity to create 3-D objects through Makerspace Centers (or innovation labs).

Jennifer Maddux, Assistant Principal, Byrd Middle School, Henrico County Public Schools, Va.
As an assistant principal, Jennifer Maddux has brought life and energy into her school’s culture using skills she honed as an Instructional Technology Resource Teacher to facilitate process change and coach teachers in student-centered, engaged instruction. The suite of resources and training portals she developed support the delivery of high-quality, 21st century instruction.

Alexis Rice|March 7th, 2014|Categories: Teachers, Educational Technology, STEM Education, Student Achievement, Student Engagement, T+L, Technology Leadership Network|Tags: , , |

NSBA’s “20-to Watch” announced

The National School Boards Association’s Technology Leadership Network (TLN) has named its “20 to Watch” honors for 2011-2012. These education leaders from across the country are being recognized for promoting the incorporation of innovative technology into high-quality classroom learning and school district operations.

“The ‘20 to Watch’ honorees are role models to advance student achievement with the use of technology in education,” said Ann Flynn, NSBA’s Director of Education Technology. “Their accomplishments provide real world examples for school leaders and board members to examine as they debate the best electronic tools and strategies to positively impact learning and address the growing digital divide.”

“20 to Watch” program was established in 2006. This year’s honorees will be recognized at 2012 Consortium for School Networking (CoSN) Conference on March 5 in Washington and also at TLN-hosted luncheon at NSBA’s 2012 Annual Conference in Boston this April. They also will be showcased in future NSBA education technology publications. 

The 2011-2012 honorees are (listed by state/territory):


Matt Akin, Superintendent, Piedmont City School District, Piedmont, Ala.

Superintendent Matt Akin’s district has seen impressive gains on state tests in math and reading since he launched the MPower Piedmont 1:1 initiative to transform teaching and learning in this rural town where over 65 percent of the student population participates in the free/reduced lunch program. Akin believes engagement is key to all learning and through his visionary leadership, MPower Piedmont has closed the digital divide by providing a MacBook laptop for every student in grades 4-12, many of which have never had access to technology and the Internet in their home.  He has also introduced technology-enabled assessment strategies providing immediate feedback to both teachers and students with the goal of improving student achievement through data-driven decisions.


Felicia Owen, Math Teacher, Lavaca High School, Lavaca Public Schools, Lavaca, Ark.

Rather than seeing Facebook as a distraction, Geometry teacher Felicia Owen is now using it for interaction both inside and outside the classroom. She first started receiving questions from students and parents on her personal page about homework or tests and eventually decided to make a page of it. By allowing students to submit assignments using their cell phones, some previously underperforming students who had refused to do homework, became very responsive. For many of her students, their only online access is through their phones. Owen’s innovative use of social media in the classroom has inspired other teachers and attracted local press coverage.


Mike Lawrence, Executive Director, Computer-Using Educators, Inc. (CUE), Placentia, Ca.

Mike Lawrence became CUE’s Executive Director in 2005, at a time of crisis for the non-profit organization.  His vision has reinvented and revitalized CUE by creating innovative initiatives and partnerships. Key accomplishments include co-founding the Google Certified Teacher program, directing the California Student Media Festival, and forming a national Alliance of over 30 non-profit organizations, universities, and educational agencies to develop the Leading Edge Certification for 21st century education professionals in the areas of educational technology and curriculum innovation.

District of Columbia:

Alex Inman, Director of Information Services, Sidwell Friends School, Washington, D.C.

Alex Inman has a history of innovation having launched one of the earliest US 1:1 wireless programs in 1999, launching a 600 seat Linux-based laptop program in 2005, and helping found Educational Collaborators, a national network of 75 educators that help other teachers and administrators around the world. Inman helped write a One-to-One Readiness survey that has been used by more than 800 schools as they prepare for their 1:1 programs.  He recently became the Director of Information Services at Sidwell Friends School  where he is taking on bring your own devices and exploring how big data can impact schools at the individual building or district level. Work on big data projects goes beyond the capabilities of conventional database tools and is on the cutting edge of innovation within K-12.


James Roodhouse, Technology Director, Geneseo Community Unit School District 228, Geneseo, Ill.

Since arriving in 2007, James Roodhouse has completely re-framed his district’s infrastructure,  led a crusade to unify its platform,  facilitated a new digital, web presence that pushed the district to earn two national awards as a “Digital School”, and  provided amazing support to teachers and administrators through development of classroom walk through and observation apps for iPhone and iPad. The apps enable teachers and administrators to focus  on “best practices” including use of technology which can be monitored, and then immediately communicated to the classroom teacher to help improve teaching performance, ultimately leading to greater student achievement. 


Andrew Markel, Ed.S., Technology Director, Crothersville Community Schools, Crothersville, Ind.

Students have always been at the forefront of Andrew Markel’s work in the Crothersville Community Schools.  Under his leadership, students can be part of the  S.W.A. T. (Students Working to Advance Technology) group that utilizes various technologies for a plethora of projects including  Social Media Awareness, the Bossman show, and taping of school sponsored events. As the 2011 Dell state technology director for Indiana, Markel spearheaded a virtual desktop and server initiative that has replaced the entire corporations aging computer system and is launching an Android based 1:1 initiative to provide all  students in grades 6-10 with their own personal corporation provided tablet for computing needs.

Kay Reinoehl, Technology Director, East Noble School Corporation, Kendallville, Ind.

Kay Reinoehl’s  vision, dedication, and passion for preparing students with 21st century skills contributed to the success of the East Noble School Corporation’s 1:1 program that was implemented across the 3,800 student district in one year with less than eight months of planning and preparation.  By fall of 2011, eight school buildings became wireless and 600 iPods, 900 iPads, and 2400 laptops were distributed to students. In this rural district with high unemployment, many students in grades 5-12 who can take their laptops home, are now teaching their parents how to use this technology and who previously had no hardware or Internet service. Reinoehl was instrumental in convincing building administrators and teachers that even kindergarteners can effectively maintain and use an email account.


Greg Lumb, Principal, Morris Hill Elementary, Geary County Unified School District 475, Junction City, Kan.

A voracious learner, Greg Lumb uses Web 2.0 tools such as Wordle, Storybird, Epals, Wallwisher, and Voicethread to support his highest priority of using technology to extend his students’ learning beyond the four walls of school.  Fourth and fifth graders connected with Iraqi students  via videoconferencing  and other students experienced global projects recording world events on October 10, 2010 by blogging, creating websites, and practicing  Internet safety. Lumb planned the district’s first technology fair and worked with media center specialist to secure a district-sponsored grant that pays for authors to videocast with students. Under Lumb’s direction, Morris Hill Elementary is currently serving as a pilot school for using Facebook as a communication too.


Arlene Vidaurri Cain, AP/Gifted Science Teacher, Lake Charles Boston Academy of Learning, Calcasieu Parish School System, Lake Charles, La.

Arlene Cain has piloted and developed online science courses for the district and the Louisiana Virtual School for the past ten years and taught oceanography to Louisiana teachers every year since 1996. She utilizes a variety of technology tools and techniques within her classroom including Promethean boards, computer simulations, hand-held data collecting devices and probes, student produced videos, Web 2.0 tools, and graphing calculators that allow her to differentiate instruction and address the different learning styles of her students. 

New York:

Jeannette Gautier-Downes, Instructional Technology Professional Developer, District 75/P.S. 811, Queens, N.Y.

Jeannette Gautier-Downes brought the UFT Teacher Center to P.S.811, a school for students aged 5-21 with moderate to severe disabilities.  This state funded program provides professional development and teaching resources to all staff.  Since coming to P.S. 811, she  has provided professional development/inquiry studies to more than 90 percent of the teachers/paraprofessionals at P811’s nine school sites. Technology highlights under her guidance include initiating a 1:1 program for students with autism that links learning activities to IEP goals and objectives and engaging students through 3-D World, a program that enables students to create themselves (avatar) and complete real-world tasks in a virtual world.

Marc Lesser, Education Director, MOUSE, New York, N.Y.

Marc Lesser engages and inspires students to be leaders, innovators, makers and thinkers  through MOUSE,  a youth development program which impacts thousands of under-served students across the country. Lesser has been at the forefront of the creation of digital badges to recognize student’s 21st century skills and knowledge ; served as an adviser to the Mozilla Foundation; and spearheaded Emoti-con! NYC Youth Digital Media and Technology Festival, a venue for students to connect as youth media producers and technologists.  In addition to developing the help desk curriculum for students, he led the design of new specialist areas in robotics and game design and  is currently involved with Solar One to explore curriculum that supports teaching green technology.

Greg Partch, Director of Education Technology, Hudson Falls Central School District, Hudson Falls,  N.Y.

Greg Partch authored and designed the North Hudson Electronic Educational Project, a Title III Technology Literacy Challenge Grant  focused on promoting compelling and effective educational opportunities for children and teachers in resource-challenged areas of New York. Hudson Falls School District, the Lead Educational Agency,  was funded over five years for a  total of $5,500,000 allowing over 5,000 teachers to receive  professional development  in the use of instructional technologies.  Partch recently secured Quality Zone Academy Bonds funding  of $140,000 per-year  over the next five years to establish  an alternative learning academy focused on 21st century career and technical education skills for youth at risk.


Dr. Dale P. Lynch, Superintendent, Hamblen County Schools, Morristown, Tenn.

Dale Lynch has a natural curiosity and is first in the district to obtain new technology, model usage, & encourage others to find applications that enhance learning, leading, & efficiency. Through his leadership, Hamblen County Schools is part of the first P-20 mobilized consortium in the nation and a leader in moving Tennessee to provide e-books.  iPhones and iPads provide administrators with real-time feedback and the recent hardware refresh for each classroom was supported by job embedded professional development from technology coaches to ensure its seamless integration.  ESL students and those with disabilities use iPads and Smart Tables to support learning while classes in video-production and app development remain popular.  A parent portal offers a range of services and the board room is paperless.   From sound amplification to video-conferencing, technology innovation reaches across the district and into the community.


Kyle Davie, Chief Technology Officer, Fort Worth Independent School District, Fort Worth, Texas

Kyle Davie insists on systemic, systematic implementation of technologies that includes educational technology staff to plan, train and assist groups or individuals on how to effectively and efficiently implement the district’s powerful educational technologies. He successfully completed the largest implementation of interactive whiteboards in the nation as part of a $593 million capital improvement bond program that created 5,500 digital classrooms and partnered with Chief Academic Officer Michael Sorum to create a district-wide curriculum framework with a teacher portal and curriculum guide incorporating essential questions. Davie supports cloud computing through Google tools, virtual professional development opportunities using open source, and e-books and e-readers as part of the library modernization effort at 140 school sites.

Andrea Keller, LIFE K-5 Special Education Teacher, Elliott Elementary School, Irving Independent School District, Irving, Texas

Andrea Keller has taught special education for nine years and the last four of those years have been in a pervasive developmental disorder K-3 unit.  Although Keller’s students are often low-verbal or non-verbal, she adapts and modifies so they can participate in podcasting, vodcasting, and video conferencing . Her grant for 50 webcams allows all of the self-contained LIFE/PDD units in the district  to video conference with other special needs students and classrooms around the globe. Texas service centers are using her classroom set-up videos for Autism 101 online training to understand how she uses technology to connect with others and her Busy Bee blog,  with hits from all over the world, allows her to share what she has learned. 

Darlene Rankin, Director, Instructional Technology, Katy Independent School District (KISD), Katy, Texas

Darlene Rankin is a dynamic change agent for technology. She has championed three strategic initiatives that when combined, philosophically change the way instruction is delivered in KISD classrooms. The  first initiative incorporated digital citizenship into classrooms, encouraging students to operate responsibly on the Internet not just in school, but outside the classroom walls as well. For the second initiative, she worked with the Curriculum & Instruction Department to develop a Web 2.0 toolbox of apps and sites aligned with KISD curriculum. The third initiative is a mobile learning program for fifth grade students that introduced smart phones into the classroom that, in its third year, has grown to over 2300 devices at 18 elementary campuses and provided the foundation for a program that allows  students at all KISD campuses to bring their personal devices and connect to the district’s public Wi-Fi.


John “Coach” Brishcar, Teacher, Warren County Middle School,  Warren County Schools, Front Royal, Va.

John Brishcar’s 30 donated laptops and free public domain software, a server, and a Moodle classroom management platform, operating without an Internet connection, comprise “The BrishLab”, a classroom where sixth graders are becoming independent learners and thinkers capable of working in teams without constant cuing from a facilitator.  Brishcar’s class materials are mirrored  at, while the science text book he authored  working with,  is published as a public domain document at .  As the moderator of Yahoo’s 2,500 member “Middle School Science Teacher” user group and the “High School Science” user  group, he influences teachers around  the world. 

Janet Platenberg, Principal, Steuart Weller Elementary, Loudoun County Public Schools, Ashburn, Va.

Janet Platenberg seeks effective, research-based solutions to address her students needs and understands that technology is a quintessential  component of good pedagogy which requires providing time and professional development opportunities for her staff.  Platenberg s school conducts project-based learning opportunities, differentiates instruction and designs curriculum in real-time. Gesture-based computing, using Microsoft’s Xbox Kinect in all subject areas, is among the innovative initiatives supported by Platenberg. 

Melany Reeves Stowe, Communication Coordinator, Henry County Public Schools, Collinsville, Va.

Melany Stowe has secured over $1.5 million in competitive grant funds over the past three years to support increased student achievement initiatives using cutting-edge technology in classrooms, providing quality after school programming, and purchasing emergency communications equipment to connect several agencies across the school district in the event of a large scale emergency. Stowe secured local support for two robotics teams and provided leadership for the district’s Explore Camp, a free one-week summer camp focused on STEAM topics and career clusters for students in grades 4-8; an iPad checkout program to address the digital and technological access gap; the Career Hub, a mall-based program providing students and families with access to information for college and career preparation; and the development of A Stranger Online, an Internet Safety comic book shared with districts around the country.


Lisa Greseth, Manager, Information and Instructional Technology, Vancouver Public Schools, Vancouver, Wash.

Lisa Greseth leads the design and deployment of performance management tools vital to building a shared understanding of student and system progress that fosters continuous improvement.  From her work with the Learner Profile and the data dashboard, to identifying and implementing conditions for 21st century flexible learning environments like bring your own devices, Greseth links teaching, learning and technology services in ways that promote shared understanding, solution-oriented conversations, and agile implementation of new ideas all with an explicit focus on student learning and engagement.  She moves new ideas into structured exploration through technology pilots and ensures that decisions reflect the voices of the  district’s students, staff, parents, and community.

Since 1987, TLN has served local district leadership teams that establish policy and implement technology decisions to enhance teaching and learning, administrative operations, and community outreach.

Naomi Dillon|February 29th, 2012|Categories: T+L, Technology Leadership Network|Tags: , |

Using data to drive reform

Ever since No Child Left Behind became law, we’ve heard a lot about student assessments and school ratings and the need for basic reforms in schools not making the grade. Data-driven reforms are one of the keystones of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. The Race to the Top grant program offers money to states to improve their ability to use data to drive student achievement.

In a recent press release, the U.S. Department of Education cites research findings from their report, “Use of Data at the Local Level” , that stresses the importance of viewing data-driven decision making as an ongoing process for improving school performance. The report states that data systems must provide relevant diagnostic information on students’ learning needs, with the data providing a direct connection to instructional practice changes. This report also points out that to be effective, data use must be combined with human and organizational supports – put simply, teachers must be given the time and the training to connect data to improved teaching practices.

Independent education consultant Kathy Gemberling, is a recognized expert on using data to drive school reforms. She is currently the project director of The Center for Public Education’s initiative to help school boards use data effectively in their decision making. This project is a partnership between the Center and state school board associations in Illinois, Michigan and California. Gemberling will be addressing this topic in a workshop at the 2010 NSBA Annual Conference, April 10-12, in Chicago, where she will share more information related to data-driven reform initiatives. 

The Technology Leadership Network suggests you also check out the The Center’s, Good Measures for Good Schools, on which the data-driven decision making effort is based. This practical guide identifies the key questions related to school assessment and pairs them with links to the relevant national and state data.

Colleen O'Brien|January 28th, 2010|Categories: Student Achievement, T+L|

What generation gap?

With music and art classes facing cuts by schools forced to deal with budget shortfalls, the Technology Leadership Network has commented frequently on the importance of arts education. One fact we often hear cited by supporters of music education is that it improves math scores – but maybe that’s the wrong way to look at it.

Renowned jazz musician Wynton Marsalis says instead that math classes help people with music. A strong proponent of arts education, Marsalis speaks often about the value of music education in our schools. In his 2009 address before a Congressional Committee on Arts Advocacy Day, he says “music is Superman” because it integrates everyone, no matter their age or background. In Marsalis’ view a strong education in the arts erases the generation gap and gives kids — and students of all ages — the ability to “converse and face the world with confidence.”

Take a look at this remarkable speech:

Wynton Marsalis will be the keynote speaker at the 2010 NSBA Annual Conference in Chicago on April 11, where he will not only share more thoughts on arts education but also give a special musical performance.

Colleen O'Brien|January 11th, 2010|Categories: Student Achievement, T+L|

Has social media improved child literacy?

Yesterday Mashable raised the question how has social media changed us? Over the past several years, we’ve seen social media evolve from web 2.0 technologies. We’ve witnessed the rise and fall of social networks, the creation of a new industry, and the political, cultural, and social impact of this new form of media. But has it changed us?
The first trend Mashable mentions is child literacy:

It stands to reason that children who read and write more are better at reading and writing. And writing blog posts, status updates, text messages, instant messages, and the like all motivate children to read and write. Last month, The National Literacy Trust released the results of a survey of over 3000 children. They observed a correlation between children’s engagement with social media and their literacy. Simply put, social media has helped children become more literate. Indeed, Eurostat recently published a reportdrawing a correlation between education and online activity, which found that online activity increased with the level of formal activity (socio-economic factors are, of course, potentially at play here as well).

The survey of children (from England and Scotland) who text, blog, and use other aspects of social media focused on those between the ages of nine and sixteen. 24 percent of these children maintain a personal blog, 73 percent use instant messaging, and 82 percent text regularly.

The survey also indicated that connected kids use written language more frequently and fluently than non-connected kids. They also seem more confident. Of non-connected kids, 47 percent said their writing skills were good. Of blog/text/chat-users, 61 percent said their writing was “good or very good.”

Jonathan Douglas, director of the National Literacy Trust, told BBC News, “Our research suggests a strong correlation between kids using technology and wider patterns of reading and writing.”

While we don’t think technology is some magic bullet, the Technology Leadership Network does believe that social media and other technologies can certainly improve student achievement. They key is effective implementation.

Colleen O'Brien|January 11th, 2010|Categories: 21st Century Skills, T+L|

The 2009 T+L Conference Was a Great Success!

Are T+L session handouts available? 

Visit “Online Conference Planner” and search by session title.  If the presenter provided handouts they will be posted under each session; you will need to search for each session independently. Please note that presenters were encouraged to provide their handouts for posting, but it was not mandatory. If a session doesn’t have handouts posted, and you would like a copy, please contact We will contact the presenter to request their handouts/presentation, but no guarantee can be made. 

How do I stay connected with the T+L and TLN community?

Join the online community!  You can find us on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn.  Additionally, the conversation continues on the T+L Blog.

How can our district join TLN? 

The Technology Leadership Network (TLN), where leaders connect, collaborate and achieve more together, is paving the way for innovation and education. Learn more about how to benefit from our on-going professional development and content rich webinars, attend our three day intensive Site Visits, network with other leading districts, and much more.  JOIN NOW!

Plan now for the 2010 T+L Conference!

Mark your calendars for T+L in Phoenix, Arizona, October 20 – 22, 2010.  See you there!!

Erin Walsh|November 4th, 2009|Categories: Student Achievement, T+L|

Project RED: Changing Policy to Support Schools

I missed the first 10 minutes of the Project RED presentation, but was immediately engaged by the slide displayed when I walked through the door. More than half of survey respondents (62%) reported that ubiquitous technology in their schools increased high-stakes test scores, and 48% reported a reduction in disciplinary action.

Project RED is the research project of Jeanne Hayes, the Hayes Connection; Tom Greaves, the Greaves Group; and Leslie Wilson of the One-to-One Institute. Through surveys and interviews, the group seeks to show the true financial benefits of education technology. They have focused on two key issues:  student achievement and the financial impact of technology on state budgets. To my knowledge, no other group is making a research-based financial connection between education technology investment and state economies by analyzing cost savings, cost avoidance and revenue enhancements to state budgets with investment in educational technology.


Karen Henke|November 3rd, 2009|Categories: Student Achievement, Leadership, Computer Uses in Education, T+L|

Mobile Technologies and the Legal Questions You Need to Answer

So many conference goers skipped out on the Friday morning sessions and to me these were among the best offerings of the week.  In fact there were three I wanted to attend at the same time.  I finally chose Mobile Technologies and the Legal Questions You Need to Answer.  I wish it had been a seminar with a round table discussion afterward.  It was fascinating.  I understood the lawyer that spoke to us could not address our questions about a specific state but his insight and expertise into the law regarding this issue was very informative.  Some of us that gathered after the session discussed the topic and we agreed that rules and regulations weren’t necessarily the answer as much as the mind set of those who were supposed to follow them.  The idea that it is OK for one to text their child in class because it is “their” child is in a lot of ways the root of the problem.  Rules are not made to be broken but need to be changed if they are not working.  One of the other sessions I had wanted to attend Friday morning was Cell Phones as Classroom Tools.  I like the idea of not fighting an uphill battle so to speak and allowing cell phones to be used.  But, one thing that was very pointed out during this session: What if an emergency happens and all the students get out their cell phones and start making calls.  First you end up with jammed airways that are needed by emergency personnel, then you will have parents telling their children to do one thing when the people they should be listening to are physically with them and know what is best and safest for the student and these instructions might be the exact opposite of what the student is being told by their parent.  Something parents who think their child the exception to the rule about texting/calling might think about.

Mary Carter|November 2nd, 2009|Categories: Educational Technology, Student Achievement, 21st Century Skills, T+L|
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