Sharing and Rewarding Your Successes, Failures: The Sylvia Charp Award for District Innovation in Technology Will Once Again Honor a District for Its Pioneering Application of Technology Districtwide

Article excerpt

WHAT IS YOUR district doing with technology? I ask because it's that time of year for T.H.E. Journal and the International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE; www.iste.org) to bestow the Sylvia Charp Award for District Innovation in Technology on a school district that has shown effectiveness and innovation in the application of technology districtwide. As I noted in my commentary last month, Sylvia was the outspoken, and often acerbic, editor-in-chief of T.H.E. Journal for 30 years, and an avid supporter of ISTE and its mission.

When Don Knezek, CEO of ISTE, and I talked about the creation of this award after Sylvia's death in the fall of 2003, we decided to focus on district-level implementation of technology. (Sylvia had worked at the district level in Philadelphia schools before becoming our editor.) While Don and I both agreed that the school is often the unit of change for educational reform, we also believe that the district is key for the successful--and equitable--implementation of technology at the K-12 level. The district sets the vision for all children and their use of technology; the district ensures that an appropriate and sufficient infrastructure is in place, functioning and supported; the district provides students and teachers with access to a variety of technologies for teaching and learning; and it's the district that guarantees equity of access to professional development for all staff. While different schools within a district may, and should, use technology differently depending upon the needs of the students, teachers, and neighborhoods feeding that school, the district is the one responsible for setting the tone for all the schools and supporting them.

Our first winner, Irving Independent School District (TX), was just the kind of district Don and I imagined when we launched the award. …

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