TIES Award

Litchfield Public Schools’ Educators Named TIES 2015 Minnesota Technology Leadership Team Award Recipient

St. Paul, MN — December 8, 2015 — TIES announced today that the Litchfield Public Schools Technology Team has been named the Minnesota Technology Leadership Team Award recipient at the 2015 TIES Education Technology Conference.

The Technology Leadership Team Award recognizes a school district team that has had a significant impact on technology’s role in transforming learning. A team consists of key leaders such as the superintendent, technology and curriculum directors, teachers, parents, students, school board members, community members, representatives of cultural entities such as museums and libraries, and state education networks.

“TIES is thrilled to acknowledge and celebrate the innovation taking place within Minnesota’s schools,” says TIES Executive Director Mark Wolak. “Research informs us that effective teamwork is a significant part of improving schools and this team is a terrific role model for all educators as we learn how to improve learning for all students. Thanks to the commitment and dedication of educators like the members of the Litchfield Public Schools Technology Team, more and more students are learning in state-of-the-art educational environments.”

The Litchfield Technology Leadership Team has created a technology-rich environment where the students are active learners, which in turn empowers them to assume ownership of their own learning. In spring 2014, Litchfield Public Schools — with the financial support of a voter-approved bond referendum — embarked on a quest to change classroom instruction, challenge students, and prepare them for their futures in a high-tech, global society by providing one-to-one digital learning devices for every student in kindergarten through 12th grade. Students in grades 6-12 now have MacBook laptops for one-to-one learning, elementary students have iPads, and the preschool classrooms have Smart Tables.

In addition to emphasizing professional development for teachers in order to change and improve instruction in the classrooms, the leadership team also created two staff-embedded positions of technology integrationists whose primary duties are to instruct teachers in how to effectively use digital technologies in their classrooms.

The Litchfield Technology Leadership Team has implemented a number of additional programs to supplement the daily classroom instruction using digital technologies, adopted a K-12 curriculum for digital citizenship using the standards of Common Sense media, and supported a science/technology/engineering/mathematics (STEM) laboratory in the middle school to combat an insufficient workforce in a community with a substantial manufacturing presence.

Litchfield’s great technical and learning achievements would not have been possible without the leadership of the team’s four individuals. These team members, who were recognized at the TIES 2015 Education Technology Conference on December 14, are: Jason Michels, principal of Litchfield High School; Jennifer Ridgeway, district technology coordinator; Darin Swenson, district technology integrationist; and Gregg Zender, principal at Lake Ripley and Wagner Elementary Schools. In addition to receiving the award, the team has been nominated by TIES for the national TEAM Award of the Consortium for School Networking.


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