Model Program: Southern Lehigh High School, Center Valley, PA
Colelli, Richard, The Technology Teacher
It is a true honor to be recommended to author a Model Program article for The Technology Teacher. Our school district is presently providing an educational program known for its excellence and forward-looking perspective, which is sensitive to the changing needs of our students. The community, faculty, parents, and students have joined together in striving to maintain and enhance that excellence. Our students have access to a plethora of technologies throughout the district. Students have access to wireless Internet, teacher and student laptops, and in the near future, all students will have a personal laptop for their academic learning. Students and teachers have access to video streaming and Internet II, which has a variety of curriculum-enhancing software programs. Within our technology education curriculum, students have a variety of interactive CAD software programs, and computer-numerical-controlled equipment, as well as desktop rapid prototyping equipment, robotic programming software with Mindstorm Robotic activities, pneumatics, hydraulics, electronic activities, and desktop publishing. We also provide two extracurricular clubs, the Technology Student Association (TSA) and the FIRST organization (robotics). A few years ago our high school experienced a $23 million renovation, which included new technology education laboratories. The new labs, along with new equipment and software purchases, have enabled our students to achieve a greater number of state and national science and technology standards.
The Technology Education Department at Southern Lehigh High School believes that the study of technology must place emphasis on developing the student's ability to discover, experience, share, and use knowledge rather than simply retain it. Experiences in technology education courses encourage our students to be responsible for creating, monitoring, and evaluating their learning processes. The teachers use differentiated instruction techniques throughout the learning process. We incorporate learning strategies that extend past structured time periods and free students to inquire and create, as stated by science and technology standards. Our courses emphasize social interaction and teamwork. Students who study technology learn about the technological world that inventors, engineers, and other innovators have created. Because technology changes quickly, we believe that our department's teachers should spend less time on specific details and more on concepts and principles. The goal is to produce students with a more conceptual understanding of technology and its place in society, students who can then grasp and evaluate new bits of technology that they might never have seen before.
I arrived at Southern Lehigh High School in 1999 and found the quality and competence of my fellow technology education faculty members at the highest level. We joked with one another other about who had received a better undergraduate education. My former colleague, Travis Lehman, graduated from Millersville University of Pennsylvania, and I graduated from California University of Pennsylvania. I mention Travis because he helped to establish our quality technology education program at Southern Lehigh High School. His replacement, Rob Gaugler, also received his undergraduate degree from Millersville University and his master's degree from Ball State University, and now takes the brunt of my jokes. It is a "Pennsylvania thing" Rob has brought a huge shot in the arm of enthusiasm to our students within the Technology Education Department through innovative projects and activities. I received my master's degree from North Carolina A&T State University, and then completed all supervisory certification course work from Millersville University. This November the National Board of Professional Teachers will notify me of my attainment of National Board Certification. …