This year’s K-12 Hero Awards Program, sponsored by JAR Systems and SAP Concur, will recognize the dedicated efforts of education professionals across K-12 departments, including IT, curriculum, instruction and administration. The nomination period runs from June 27 – September 1, 2022.
Nominations will be judged by a panel of education experts including Laura Ascione, eSchool News editorial director, Kevin Hogan, eSchool News editor-at-large, and Eileen Belastock, CETL, Belastock Consulting. Three winners will be announced on eSchoolNews.com in early October.
“The great education beta test brought on by the pandemic has resulted in discoveries and innovations across education — from distance learning and closing the digital divide, to addressing the need for diversity, equity, and inclusion in schools, and so much more,” Hogan said. “I’d like to encourage everyone to participate in this year’s Hero Awards, so your real-life challenges and successes can be celebrated and shared with the education community.”
In the coming weeks, Hero Awards nominations will be highlighted on eSchoolNews.com. Winners will be featured on the site throughout Fall 2022, and on the eSchool News podcast, Innovations in Education hosted by Hogan. The winners and all program finalists will also be published in a custom K-12 Hero Awards ebook at the program’s conclusion, which will be available for download.
Last year’s winners were three nominees that stood out among the many inspiring nominations that flooded in:
- San Diego Unified School District, nominated by Trox: SDUSD’s Instructional Technology Department was nicknamed the “First Responders” due to its proactive approach to COVID-19. From showing teachers how innovative technology could help improve learning outcomes to ramping up workshops geared toward preparing educators to teach online, this small but mighty team of six went above and beyond to make an impact during unprecedented times.
- Brevard Public Schools, nominated by PDQ.com: In the thick of the pandemic, on an evening in October 2020, Florida’s Brevard Public Schools began experiencing the onset of a ransomware attack. IT Director Barrett Puschus immediately called his team to action, waking many of them up, so they could shut down the district’s entire system. After identifying that the attack was enabled by phishing, Puschus worked across the district of 74,000 students and nearly 10,000 staff to tighten security protocols and prevent another incident.
- Navajo Preparatory School, nominated by Kajeet: When COVID-19 forced NPS to shut its doors in March 2020, the entire technology department quickly mobilized to ensure learning continuity in a completely virtual environment. This proved especially challenging as its student population spans the whole Navajo reservation, including some of the most rural areas of New Mexico, Utah, and Arizona. In traveling to students’ homes to disperse Wi-Fi hotspots, faculty quickly became aware of the challenges students faced. To support students, NPS would use school buses equipped with Wi-Fi to run weekly routes to deliver a week’s worth of dry food as well as art supplies, books, laptops, and other educational materials.