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Schools Honored for Innovative Implementations of Digital Content and Curriculum 2016

K-12 schools recognized by the Center for Digital Education are successfully using digital content and curriculum to improve instruction and student engagement.

June 29, 2016 - K-12 schools that are breaking new ground in the use of digital content and curriculum were honored by the Center for Digital Education (CDE), in collaboration with the International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE), at the fourth-annual Digital Content and Curriculum Achievement Awards (DCCAA) in Denver last night.

“It’s exciting to see that schools all over the country are moving from pilot projects to full-scale implementation of digital content and curriculum,” said Dr. Kecia Ray, executive director of the Center for Digital Education. “This year’s honorees are taking the practice of education to new heights that show great promise for other districts to follow.”

DCCAA awards are presented to schools in three categories: Large District/Schools (12,000 or more students), Medium District/Schools (3,000 - 12,000 students) and Small District/Schools (up to 3,000 students). Schools earning top honors this year include: 

K-12 Large District/School Honorees (12,000 or more students)

Coachella Valley Unified School District, CA - SAMR Advanced Instructor (SAMRai) Teacher Micro-Credentialing
After implementing 1:1, the district developed a 5-part, 5-week workshop that takes teachers and administrators through the SAMR (Substitution Augmentation Modification Redefinition) Model. Upon successful completion of the program, participants gain the title of SAMR Advanced Instructors, or SAMRai. SAMRai teachers use Skype in the Classroom, facilitate robotics classes, record projects using green screens, and redesign classroom environments.

Katy Independent School District, TX - Connecting Learners to Create Unparalleled Learning Experiences
Katy ISD ensures teachers have tools needed to integrate digital resources through The Connected Learner Initiative. Modules include the New Vision for Public Education, using new assessment and accountability measures; the ISTE Standards for Teachers; the SAMR Model to evaluate how teachers are incorporating technology; and Katy ISD’s 21st Century Learning Skills, called the Instructional Cornerstones.

Rowan-Salisbury Schools, NC - Digital Citizenship Curriculum – Fostering Ethical, Safe and Purposeful Digital Citizens
The Rowan-Salisbury Schools Digital Citizenship Curriculum was created to bolster the district’s new 1:1 take-home device program. Created by 25 teachers and an instructional technology facilitator, the comprehensive curriculum is designed to provide K-12 students with lessons on digital citizenship - including Internet safety, privacy and security, relationships and communication, cyberbullying, and more. Lessons are aligned with common core standards, as well as ISTE standards for teachers and students.

Vista Unified School District, CA - Digital Conversion
Vista Unified has a pre-K-12th student body with 27% who are learning English, 14% in special education programs, and 10% homeless.  The challenge for a 21st-century education prompted initiatives that impacted students’ families - the district built relationships with non-profits and the private sector to provide refurbished low-cost computers and reduced-cost Internet access to families; and donated tablets to students - 86% now have Chromebooks. 

Wilson County School District, TN - Immersing Students with 3D and Virtual Reality Content
With Wilson County’s 3D interactive programs, students experience advanced technology as well as create their own virtual reality content in subject modules for biology, chemistry, physics, mathematics, geography and engineering. Wearing 3D glasses, students explore imagery while teachers use the software to explain difficult concepts. Students create their own virtual reality videos with audio for unit projects.

K-12 Medium District/School Honorees (3,000 - 12,000 students)

Columbus Municipal School District, MS - District's Path to Digital Transformation and OER
Columbus MSD was a D-rated school district with less than 30% of its students meeting grade-level expectations. In under one year, CMSD developed a blended Instructional and Technology Integration Model, administered 2:1 implementation districtwide, and transitioned to Open Educational Resources. Student engagement has increased to upper 90th percentile, parental and community involvement has exponentially grown, and graduation rates have improved 10%. CMSD has also saved and repurposed approximately $800,000.

McHenry School District 15, IL - Making Time to Make a Difference in a Digital World
McHenry School District developed a weekly on-going staff development program utilizing technology as the delivery system. By utilizing technology, the program does not necessitate lengthening the school day, nor a decrease in student instructional time, and has realized savings/ improved efficiency in transportation, staff/teacher time, and outside staff development.

City School District of New Rochelle, NY - Writing and Filmmaking
Housed in the English department, this program partners with the arts and technology classes, as well as the technology staff, for student production of original films using mobile phones - films based on poems or drama pieces applied to 21st century themes. An iPod touch, used to plan, film, and edit, is provided for each student. 

K-12 Small District/School Honorees (up to 3,000 students)

Mineola Union Free School District, NY - Flipping the Elementary Math Classroom
This program supports the Mineola UFSD goal of providing individualized instruction for all students. The district partnered with the private sector to digitize math lessons - the teacher “teaches” the video producer the lesson. The dashboard organizes data so the teacher can identify three sub-groups within the class, to differentiate instruction by targeting the needs of the subgroups in order to reach the common lesson objective.

Piedmont Unified School District, CA - Flipping the Classroom with Video Science Lessons
The new curriculum addresses two of the district’s goals – to improve educational program delivery and to support professional growth and instructional effectiveness. Science teacher Logan Medina had the idea for student-created short videos, and collaborated with the district’s Connected Learning coaches to produce lessons using his classes, and offers assistance so other teachers can do the same.

Sarah Pyle Academy, DE - Blending Technology & Personalization 4 Success
Students and family at Sarah Pyle Academy use the Google APPS for Education (GAFE) Platform, with their student’s Personalized Learning Plan (PLP) on Google Docs. Parents can provide feedback and also join student- led portfolio conferences on Google Hangout.  PLPs and the data dashboards are shared and monitored through Google for Educators and teachers update them bi-weekly.

Sheboygan Falls School District, WI - Elementary Level Computer Programming Scope and Sequence
The district recently launched elementary computer programming, a series of age-appropriate, computer-based lessons taught to first through fourth-graders. Lessons include the use of robots, which teach students to problem-solve and place events in the correct order, among other things. The program increases problem solving/critical thinking, development of programming skills and prepares students for computing classes in middle school.

Read more about the honorees and their award-winning initiatives here.

The Digital Content and Curriculum Achievement Awards program was established by CDE to recognize schools for their innovation and diligence in digital content and curriculum program implementation.

CDE thanks sponsors APEX Learning, Desire2Learn, DreamBox Learning, Edgenuity, itslearning inc.,, Microsoft, NETGEAR, Samsung, SHI and SMART Technologies Inc. for underwriting the 2016 Digital Content and Curriculum Achievement Awards.



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About The Center for Digital Education

The Center for Digital Education (CDE) is a national research and advisory institute specializing in K-12 and higher education technology trends, policy, and funding. CDE provides education and industry leaders with decision support and actionable insight to help effectively incorporate new technologies in the 21st century.

CDE is a division of e.Republic, the nation’s only media and research company focused exclusively on state and local government and education.

For questions please contact Janet Grenslitt, Director of Surveys and Awards, at