Thank you Passaic

I will be leaving the Passaic Public Schools. This is one of the most difficult decisions I’ve ever had to make. The past eight years have been professionally extraordinary and personally rewarding and I am humbled by this experience. When changes around you prevent one from being effective, the realization of having to make this decision becomes clear.

I am most proud of the lives that I have had the privilege to impact, and the people that have had an impact on me. During my first five years, I was fortunate to lead the GEAR UP project and support the PHS Class of 2011 beginning when they were in 7th grade, truly one of the most talented group of students I have ever met. Hundreds of students earned college credits, enrollment in honors and AP courses more than doubled, and most importantly students graduated high school and enrolled in colleges in greater numbers. The perseverance and success of these students, in spite of many obstacles, has taught me more than what I think they learned.

When I started in Passaic, technology was extremely limited and use was mostly application based. Over the last few years, I partnered up with an incredible group of teachers and techies to provide 21st century learning opportunities for our students. Educational benefits drove every decision and we focused on how technology can be leveraged to truly empower the student and developed our own curriculum and vocabulary focusing on Transformative Teaching and Learning.

We accepted the challenge and executed over five years worth of technical upgrades and professional development offerings in under two. We overhauled the entire district network installing 1.7 million feet of Ethernet cable, 21,000 feet of fiber, 6,200 new data drops, and provided WiFi access to 95% of all schools for the first time. Internet bandwidth increased more than 10 fold and we are providing Chromebooks in the hands of all 4,800 students in grades 7-12, laptops for teachers, and mounted interactive projectors in every K-12 classroom. I now walk through the schools and see students engaged on their Chromebooks and in classrooms collaborating on shared docs and projects. Truly inspiring.

Finally, I would like to thank the Passaic Board of Education for providing me this opportunity, the students for always rising to the challenges, the dedicated teachers for embracing the change, and of course my awesome tech team, an exceptional group of professionals without equal. Passaic will always be part of me.

Link

Weighing options: 1:1 initiatives in AL, NJ, and SC

Excellent, well researched article by Tajuana Cheshier in the Jackson Sun describing the salient points schools and districts should research how a district decides to go 1:1. Included are interviews and narratives from the Huntsville City Schools‘ 1:1 implementation from Huntsville, AL, our experience from the Passaic Public Schools in Passaic, NJ and fromDonna Teuber from the Richland 2 School District in Richland, SC.

Some key points from the article include:

  • Have a clear vision of what you want to achieve when deciding to go 1:1
  • Provide ample opportunities for teacher Professional Development
  • Plan, plan, and plan some more

Article one page (click “cancel” when prompted to print)