Pioneer Awards Honor Putnam Valley, Ramapo, East Ramapo, Lakeland, and South Orangetown
April 21, 2006
The Putnam Valley Central School District, the Ramapo Central School District's Superintendent of Schools, a library media specialist in East Ramapo, an English teacher in Lakeland and a technology teacher in South Orangetown were among the recipients of the Lower Hudson Regional Information Center's Pioneer Awards, which were handed out at a conference held April 21st in Westchester.
The April 21st awards ceremony, held at the Westchester Marriott, was attended by more than 100 educators and guests and featured keynote speaker John Kuglin, a nationally known educational consultant.
LHRIC Co-Director Peter Reilly noted that the word "pioneer" comes from the French word for "foot soldier," and noted that the Pioneer Awards we expanded this year to include teachers/staff members who have made a difference in the arena of instructional technology.
Technology Leader - District:
Putnam Valley's administrative and technology team were honored for a laptop initiative that was introduced to Middle School students in 2005 and will be phased in until all secondary students have their own laptops that they will use until they graduate. In a PowerPoint presentation by Middle School Principal Edward Hallisey explained that the Apple IBooks have enhanced study skills, research skills, and classroom communication at the Middle School. The District has trained its teachers on how to integrate the laptops into the everyday curriculum, and they now use a variety of digital tools, including electronic bulletin boards and teacher web sites, to enhance instruction.
Technology Leader - Administrator:
Dr. MacNaughton was honored for persistently working to develop a vision for the use of technology throughout the Ramapo Central School District, where he has been Superintendent for the past eight years. Among his initiatives, Dr. MacNaughton was instrumental in bringing digital photography labs to the Ramapo High School art program and a keyboarding lab to the High School music department. Under his guidance, classrooms in the District are equipped with computer clusters, projection devices, wireless tablets, mobile labs, and adaptive technology for special education students.
Technology Leader - Teacher:
Sarah Chauncey, Library Media Specialist at the Grandview Elementary School in East Ramapo, was honored for transforming the library at that school through the use of technology. Mrs. Chauncey has automated the library collection at Grandview, installed an interactive whiteboard and projection system, and acquired 24 wireless notebook computers, two scanners, a sound system, a multimedia notebook with video capture and editing software, and a four-unit desktop computer station with two printers.
Mrs. Chauncey's use and knowledge of technology has had a major impact on Grandview students, who are collaborating on group research projects using the new technology available to them. A web-based school newspaper that incorporates text, images and podcasts was created by Mrs. Chauncey, along with the Grandview Library web site, which includes a digital school newspaper, parent newsletter, the library's catalog of publications, research resources, podcasts, lesson plans, and more.
Susan Erichsen, an English teacher at Lakeland School District's Walter Panas High School, was honored for being a pioneer in the area of technology, a committed member of the District's Instructional Technology Team and a driving force behind the articulation of District-wide technology benchmarks for students. The final benchmarks have been used as a model by many other districts. Ms. Erichsen also created a web site for Walter Panas, and assisted Lakeland with a major staff development initiative in which 300 teachers were trained on the use of EdLine, a web-based electronic home-school communications tool. She was the teacher-leader of the initiative and developed staff development materials that would ensure equity and uniformity in the use of EdLine throughout the District.
Ms. Erichsen also created a new course at Walter Panas called "Composition and Computation," designed to teach students how to conduct online research, use electronic spreadsheet programs to compare college tuition costs, and use web sites to make appropriate decisions about their post-secondary education. Ms. Erichsen also developed a groundbreaking program involving the use of an online discussion board to engage students in high-level thinking and discussion about classic literature, a project that became a model for other teachers, and recently held a digital storytelling film festival in her 12th grade collaborative English class.
Jacob Tanenbaum, technology teacher for kindergarten, first-grade, fourth-grade and fifth-grade students in South Orangetown, was honored for his creative use of instructional technology at the District's Cottage Lane and W.O. Schaefer schools. With his guidance, students who read the book "Madeline" by Ludwig Bemelmans also took a virtual trip to Paris using Google Earth and other web sites. Other students created a tour of their school using a PowerPoint presentation, designed a West Point Bridge strong enough to hold a virtual truck using a simplified CAD program, and researched planets in the solar system using a three-dimensional modeling program.
Mr. Tanenbaum has applied to go to sea on a research vessel through the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's Teacher At Sea program. If accepted, he will send regular updates to his students via a blog that will include daily math problems and answers to students' questions.