Meet our 2011 Tech-Savvy Superintendent Award winners

eSN’s 2011 Tech-Savvy Superintendents were selected for their dedication to student learning and technology implementation.

Partnerships with local businesses to provide free Wi-Fi for students … a virtualization project that reportedly has saved $1.5 million in energy costs … an instructional content repository so teachers can share lessons, activities, and assessments: These are among the many impressive ed-tech accomplishments of our 2011 Tech-Savvy Superintendent Award winners.

Sponsored by SMART Technologies Inc., RM Educational Software, JDL Horizons, and K12 Inc., the 11th annual Tech-Savvy Superintendent Awards recognize senior school district executives from around the nation who best exemplify outstanding leadership and vision in using technology to advance their district’s educational goals.

“Research shows that technology can facilitate better teaching and learning, but only when used judiciously,” said Dennis Pierce, editor of eSchool News. “And that starts at the very top, with strong district leadership. If you start with a clear vision for how to implement technology effectively, and you make sure your staff is well trained and supported, and you seek to transform instructional practices to leverage technology’s full potential, then technology really can empower education. And that’s what the winners of our annual Tech-Savvy Superintendent Awards are doing.”

As educators come to rely on technology and the internet to engage students’ interest, track their progress, personalize instruction, and aid in decision making, an understanding of how technology works and how it can be used to transform teaching and learning is now an essential characteristic for the 21st-century school superintendent. eSchool News created its awards program in 2001 to recognize and encourage this quality.

Chosen by the editors of eSchool News with help from last year’s winners, the 2011 award winners will be honored in a private ceremony held in conjunction with the Century Club 100 meeting at the American Association of School Administrators’ annual conference in Denver Feb. 17. The ceremony will be shown live online at www.eschoolnews.com from 11:30 a.m. to 1:15 p.m. Mountain time (1:30 p.m. to 3:15 p.m. Eastern time).

The ceremony will feature Tom Carroll, Ph.D., president of the National Commission of Teaching and America’s Future, who will discuss how education leaders can transform schools from teaching organizations into learning organizations.

To meet this year’s winners, read on. For a list of the criteria we use in judging these awards, click here.

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Up to $1,000 for math and science learning

Are you a K-12 teacher who develops or applies science, mathematics, and technology in your curriculum? If the answer is “yes,” you may qualify for a grant of up to $200 per individual request to supplement your learning program. Each school is limited to up to $1,000 per calendar year. Preference is given to grants that align with the AIAA mission. Please note that grants will not be considered for computer hardware, printers, cameras, equipment and general math and science supplies not tied to a specific lesson plan.

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$1K for biology teachers in higher education

This award honors a four-year college & university faculty member who demonstrates creativity and innovation in his/her teaching. Such innovation may include, but is not limited to, curriculum design, teaching strategies, and laboratory utilization, and it must have been implemented in the classroom and demonstrated to be effective.

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$1,500 for biology teachers

This award will be given to a secondary school teacher who has successfully developed and demonstrated an innovative approach in the teaching of ecology/environmental science and has carried his/her commitment to the environment into the community. In addition to travel and equipment, the recipient also receives a recognition plaque to be presented at the NABT Professional Development Conference, and a one-year complimentary NABT membership.

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1,200 awards of $1K each from Best Buy

This year the Best Buy @15 Scholarship Program will award scholarships to students in grades 9-12 living in the U.S. or Puerto Rico who plan to enter a full-time undergraduate course of study upon high school graduation. 1,200 students will each receive a $1,000 scholarship.

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$175K from Intel for math- and science-minded schools

Every year, Intel honors U.S. schools demonstrating excellence in math and science education through innovative teaching and learning environments. To be considered as an Intel School of Distinction, schools must develop an environment and curricula that meet or exceed benchmarks put forth by national mathematics and science content standards. Up to three schools at each level—elementary, middle, and high school—will be named as finalists in the math and science categories. These 18 schools will receive a cash grant of $5,000 from the Intel Foundation and a trip to Washington, D.C., for a four-member team from their school and district. Six winners will be selected from the finalists and receive a $10,000 cash grant. One of these winners will be selected as the “Star Innovator” and will receive a $25,000 grant. All five winning schools and the Star Innovator will also receive products and services from program sponsors.

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Scholarships to help teens build life skills

Applications are now available online for AG Bell’s acclaimed Leadership Opportunities for Teens (LOFT) program for 2011. LOFT is a four day program designed for participants to develop skills in individual leadership, teamwork, understanding group dynamics, communication, public speaking, and self-advocacy. The 2011 program will take place July 24-28 at the Omni Shoreham in Washington, D.C.

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Top prizes for outstanding college students

USA TODAY honors outstanding students with the All-USA Academic Teams. The top 20 students selected for each of the All-USA First Teams will receive a $2,500 cash award, trophy, and will receive extensive national recognition through coverage in USA TODAY and usatoday.com. Second and third teams are named and each receive certificates of achievement.

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Travel to D.C. for Law Day

The 2011 contest theme is “The Legacy of John Adams: From Boston to Guantanamo.” Students are asked to showcase how John Adams, America’s first “lawyer president,” influenced our nation. Video entries should be as creative as possible in conveying President Adams’ legacy and its effects throughout history. Finalists will receive a free trip to Washington, D.C., for the ABA Law Day celebration, including roundtrip airfare for two people (if necessary for a guardian to travel),hotel accommodations, and a $100 per diem for two days. The winner will be announced during the Law Day celebration.

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$50K for projects that address youth hunger

YSA will award 100 Sodexo Youth Grants of $500 each to support youth-led service projects that address the issue of childhood hunger on Global Youth Service Day (April 15-17, 2011.) We’re looking for projects that engage your peers, friends, families, neighbors, Sodexo employees, and other community members in creative, youth-inspired solutions to ending childhood hunger in your community.

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