District Administration magazine has named Mahopac a 2017 district of TechXcellence for its Choose Your Own Adventure professional development program, in which educators create their own collaborative teaching projects using the latest technology. Eleven schools and districts from eight states were honored with the award.
“Empowering our teachers and administrators to have more voice and choice with regard to their professional growth has been exciting and motivating for everyone,” said Mahopac Assistant Superintendent for Curriculum, Instruction and Staff Development Adam Pease. “We’ve embraced this model and use it to collaborate with each other and stretch our professional practice as we develop innovative learning experiences for our students. We could not be more satisfied with how this unique way of delivering professional development has propelled us forward as a district.”
TechXcellence was created by District Administration magazine in conjunction with Hewlett Packard and Intel to recognize schools that have implemented innovative, effective and replicable technology programs that contribute meaningfully to student or operational success. The Mahopac Central School District initiative underscores the importance of embracing technology as part of the education process moving forward in the 21st century.
“Over the past two years, Mahopac Schools have made more progress in educational technology than they have in the previous 10 years,” according to Mahopac Schools Superintendent Dr. Dennis Creedon. “With this growth in using educational technology, we shifted to our teachers as leaders in facilitating the professional development for each other so that our schools are professional learning communities.”
Mahopac is a pioneer in teacher-led conferences. “We don’t know of any district doing this,” according to Pease. “We have broken the mold of the traditional conference day to better model what we expect teachers to do with students. We have allowed them time, space and support to collaborate on innovative projects of their choosing.”
Mahopac teachers have implemented more than 150 innovative and collaborative lessons as a result of these conference days, including STEAM (science, technology, engineering, art and math) art-bots in high school art class and ozobots (toy robots that blend the digital and physical world) for geography classes at the elementary level.
“These achievements are in great part due to the leadership of Dr. Adam Pease and Dr. Gregory Stowell,” said Creedon. “Under their leadership, we will now see Chromebooks in the hands of all of our grade 4 to 12 students this coming winter. Mahopac Schools are on the cutting edge when it comes to innovation and usage of educational technology for our students and staff.”
JD Solomon, editorial director at District Administration magazine, which bestowed the award, said, “We hope our readers are inspired by the creativity demonstrated by these honorees to launch similar initiatives in their own schools.”