A competency-based learning program that blends face-to-face and online instruction, iBooks created for classroom lessons, and computers refurbished by students and donated for use by families: These are among the forward-thinking ed-tech initiatives led by winners of the 2013 Tech-Savvy Superintendent Awards from eSchool News.
In our 13th annual Tech-Savvy Superintendent Awards, sponsored by NetSupport, eSchool News recognizes eight of the nation’s top K-12 executives for their outstanding ed-tech leadership and vision.
Chosen by the editors of eSchool News with help from last year’s winners, these eight exemplary leaders will be honored in a series of national webinars beginning next month, in which they’ll share their ed-tech advice and the keys to their success. More information about these free webinars will be available soon at http://www.eschoolnews.com/events/webinars.
Here are this year’s winners, along with a brief description of their districts’ accomplishments.
Quakertown Community School District
The technology initiatives that Andrejko has put in place for Quakertown Community School District (QCSD) provide a technology integration model for other schools nationwide. These include a one-to-one laptop initiative that started three years ago and will expand from grades 9-12 to 6-12 over the next few years, and a future iPad initiative for kindergarten students district-wide. Her blended learning initiative has been cited by Michael B. Horn, co-author of “Disrupting Class: How Disruptive Innovation Will Change the Way the World Learns,” in a Forbes.com blog post and at iNACOL’s Virtual School Symposium (VSS). QCSD also operates an in-district cyber learning program, called QCSD Cyber.
With guidance from program director Thomas Murray, QCSD Cyber has adopted many forward-thinking initiatives, such as attendance policies based on student achievement in a predominantly asynchronous, competency-based online learning environment; enrollment trial periods for all students; and hybrid-scheduling opportunities, allowing students to receive full-time cyber instruction either on or off campus, a blend of cyber and face-to-face instruction, or supplementary online courses beyond their scheduled work load. Ideas like these helped the QCSD Cyber and blended learning programs earn honors at VSS in 2011, securing iNACOL’s Innovative Online Learning Practice award.
In a new online learning partnership with the Bucks County Intermediate Unit in Pennsylvania, Andrejko forged a cross-district cyber teacher and professional development consortium known as Bridges Virtual. This now connects students across districts and counties to cyber teachers in different districts, all of which share student enrollment and resources while providing learning opportunities for students in QCSD and beyond.
Furthermore, the electronic communication systems in place under Andrejko’s leadership at QCSD have been a tremendous asset, especially for much-needed communication with the community during the recent Hurricane Sandy that devastated the county.