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For Immediate Release:
July 12, 2016

Contact: Amber Taylor

20 Superintendents Recognized for Commitment to Raising Student, Parent, Educator, Community Voices

Honorees’ Districts Had Exceptional Participation in National Speak Up Research Project

Washington, DC —Twenty school district superintendents from across the country received the first Speak Up Shout Out Awards as 2016 Outstanding Superintendents for their districts’ exceptional participation in the Speak Up Research Project for Digital Learning.  The awards were announced here during AASA’s Advocacy Conference.

“More than 2,600 districts participated in Speak Up 2015, but these 20 stood out to us for their commitment to raising the voices of their stakeholders, notably students, parents, community members and educators at all levels,” said Julie Evans, CEO of Project Tomorrow. “Speak Up, in addition to being a national research project, is a free service open to all schools, and we are thrilled to see so many taking advantage of the online surveys and national reports.”

“Superintendents across the country are dealing with an array of educational technology opportunities and Speak Up offers a platform so they can learn directly from their stakeholders about what students, parents and teachers are looking for now and in the future,” said Daniel A. Domenech, Executive Director of AASA, The School Superintendents Association. “The superintendents being recognized by Project Tomorrow are leaders in the effective use of technology for learning.”

The Speak Up Shout Out Awards for 2016 Outstanding Superintendents (by state):

  • Matt Massey, Madison County School District, AL
  • Randy Fuller, Shelby County School District, AL
  • James P. Lee, Paradise Valley Unified District, AZ
  • Gregory O’Brien, Centinela Valley Union High School District, CA
  • Kevin Holt, San Marcos Unified, CA
  • Terry Decker, Solana Beach School District, CA
  • Desmond K. Blackburn, Brevard County School District, FL
  • Robert W. Runcie, Broward County School District, FL
  • Ann Linson, East Noble School Corporation, IN
  • Philip G. Downs, Southwest Allen County Schools, IN
  • Todd White, Blue Valley Schools, KS
  • Sonja B. Santelises, Baltimore City Public School System, MD
  • Dallas Dance, Baltimore County Public Schools, MD
  • Eric Bracy, Sampson County Schools, NC
  • Joseph Siano, Norman Public Schools, OK
  • Juan Cabrera, El Paso ISD, TX
  • Huey Kinchen, Tomball ISD, TX
  • Pamela Moran, Albemarle County Public Schools, VA
  • Karen Garza, Fairfax County Public Schools, VA
  • David T. Sovine, Frederick County Public Schools, VA

Quotes from some of our 2016 Outstanding Superintendents:

“I am honored to accept this award on behalf of our governing board and our incredible, innovative staff at PV Schools,” said James P. Lee. “Project Tomorrow’s annual Speak Up survey has allowed us to infuse the voice of our entire school community into key decisions around trends in technology ubiquity, mobility, video and personalization, K-12 use/misuse of social media, and the expansion of classroom walls connecting us to the world. Annual data from the survey is analyzed and shared among stakeholders, creating awareness and conversations that have led to action. The data has helped to generate community support for bond initiatives that resulted in needed infrastructure improvements and wifi coverage throughout the district. Survey trends also alerted PV Schools of the need for our Digital Citizenship initiative offered to students and parents across the district. These changes have allowed us to focus on our mission of Cultivating World-Class Thinkers.”
"East Noble School Corporation continues to find the Speak Up Survey to be a valuable tool used to measure our progress with technology use, instructional integration, and overall effectiveness," said Ann Linson. "Having the ability to annually match stakeholder perception to district perception creates an invaluable reality check that leads to instructional growth and improved outcomes."
“Southwest Allen County Schools is very proud to be a part of Project Tomorrow’s Speak Up Survey,” said Philip G. Downs. “We are grateful for the national work Project Tomorrow is doing, and the information and assistance it gives to local school districts and parents. Your work helps to inform our work as we prepare today’s learners for tomorrow’s opportunities."
"It is an honor for our district to be recognized for our digital learning initiatives," Joseph Siano said. "We are fortunate to have a tremendous team of professional educators who work diligently to develop and implement solid instructional technology practices in our classrooms. The team’s innovative work is helping our district provide all of our students with access to technology and equal opportunities to succeed.”
“Frederick County Public Schools (Virginia) has participated in Speak Up over the past 5 years,” said David Sovine. “Each year, FCPS has increased participation and used the Speak Up findings to inform and guide our efforts toward professional learning opportunities for teachers.  The information gained about our school division and the ability to directly compare that data to state and national trends has been invaluable as we have planned and implemented our division-wide 1 to 1 Chromebook initiative.”

About the Speak Up Research Project for Digital Learning and Speak Up 2015
Speak Up is an initiative of Project Tomorrow®, the leading global education nonprofit organization dedicated to the empowerment of student voices in education. Each year, the Speak Up Research Project polls K-12 students, parents and educators about the role of technology for learning in and out of school.  This survey represents the largest collection of authentic, unfiltered stakeholder voices on digital learning. Since fall 2003, more than 4 million K-12 students, parents, teachers, librarians, principals, technology leaders, district administrators and members of the community have shared their views and ideas through Speak Up.  K-12 educators, higher education faculty, business, and policy leaders report that they regularly use the Speak Up data to inform federal, state and local education programs.

In fall 2015, Project Tomorrow surveyed 415,686 K-12 students, 38,613 parents, 38,157 teachers, 2,061 librarians, 662 district administrators, 2,868 school administrators, 736 technology leaders, 270 communication officers and 6,653 members of the community representing 7,825 public and private schools from 2,660 districts. Schools from urban (25%), suburban (40%), and rural (35%) communities are represented. More than half of the schools (58%) that participated in Speak Up 2015 are Title I eligible schools (an indicator of student population poverty). The Speak Up 2015 surveys were available online for input between October 1 and December 18, 2015.

Some of the national findings were detailed in From Print to Pixel: The role of videos, games, animations and simulations within K-12 education: www.tomorrow.org/speakup/SU15AnnualReport.html

The online survey is supported by many of our nation’s most innovative companies, foundations and nonprofit organizations including Blackboard, BrainPOP, CDW, DreamBox Learning, Qualcomm® WirelessReach™ and Scholastic.