Funding, Grants & Awards

CoSN Awards Showcase Going Beyond Call of Duty in K-12 Tech

A Virginia school district that has pioneered many aspects of the 21st century classroom, a Virginia CIO who came up with a way to deliver Internet access to students who didn't have any in his district and a Texas CIO who led the effort to produce a new guide on district data interoperability are some of the recipients of this year's CoSN awards to recognize "outstanding commitment and contributions to K-12 education technology."

The Consortium for School Networking, which met this week for its annual conference, recognized Henrico County Public Schools with its team award for its many groundbreaking initiatives. The Virginia district was one of the first to initiate a large-scale 1-to-1 program.

More recently, the district, which has more than 51,000 students, created an instruction rubric, the Teacher Innovation Progression (TIP) Chart, which helps educators gauge the level of digital skills their students possess, including research and information fluency, communication and collaboration, and critical thinking and problem solving. That chart is available on the district's Henrico 21 Web site, a blog where teachers, parents, students, administrators and the community at large can share their work and ideas. A recent lesson, for example, shows students how to "persuade the principal" to make changes in the school. Along with a summary of the lesson, the material includes a lesson plan, student artifacts, a rubric by which to assess students' "persuasive letters" and a rundown on the TIP Chart areas that the lesson touches on.

Vincent Scheivert won the exceptional CTO award for his work as CIO at Albemarle County Public Schools, also in Virginia. Scheivert has worked to develop a 4G wide array wireless network that will in time give "thousands of previously underserved students" high-speed Internet in their homes. He's also launching a 1-to-1 program to equip all students in grades 6-12 with devices and introduced CoderDojo Academy, a wildly popular free coding class, to students initially available in the summertime and now available year-round.

CIO John Alawneh received CoSN's volunteer of the year award for his work in two areas. First, he led a team of district IT leaders to develop a recently published guide, Interoperability Standards for Education, a new primer for CoSN members that educates readers on important areas of data interoperability. He also organized a CoSN-sponsored school tour of his school system, Katy Independent School District in Texas.

CoSN recognized Education SuperHighway as its "partnership that matters" recipient. This organization played a "crucial role" in reform of E-rate last year, CoSN said, by "laying the groundwork" for the Federal Communications Commission's decision to increase federal funding by $1.5 billion annually and dedicate it to improvements in school networking infrastructure.

CoSN also presented an award to Gary Mainor, an executive vice president at Pearson Education, to acknowledge his leadership in co-chairing this year's conference and his help in guiding the association's international delegations to Portugal and Singapore.

About the Author

Dian Schaffhauser is a former senior contributing editor for 1105 Media's education publications THE Journal, Campus Technology and Spaces4Learning.