Reston, VA — The National Association of Secondary School Principals (NASSP) today named Robert Eichorn, JoAnne Glenn, and Kathryn Procope as the 2020 NASSP Digital Principals of the Year (DPOY). Each of these principals exhibits bold, creative leadership in their drive to harness the potential of new technologies to further learning goals.
Robert Eichorn, Independence Nontraditional School, Manassas, VA
Principal Robert Eichorn believes that eliminating technology barriers to create educational equity for the most at-risk students and those who serve them begins with a vision of learner- and staff-centered access, modeling applications as a team, and continually evaluating and celebrating successes. Every student and staff member at Independence Nontraditional School is provided with 1:1 access to digital technology, on- and off-site. As a new principal in 2009, Eichorn set out to help socioeconomically disadvantaged students by using available resources in a tuition-free and cost-effective manner to ultimately increase graduation rates while reducing dropout rates for high school students. Independence Nontraditional School expanded all virtual and blended learning options for students enrolled directly at the school while simultaneously offering several hundred seats to students enrolled at all other high schools. It also established a tuition-free virtual learning initiative called the Senior Scholarship Program, a year-round model that allows students to remain in their home school while concurrently taking multiple classes through the program. During nine years of implementation, 2,450 graduates were served, families saved $774,775 in tuition costs, and Prince William County’s graduation rate moved from 83.19 percent in 2008 to 92.1 percent in 2018, with the dropout rate below the state average.
JoAnne Glenn, Pasco eSchool, Spring Hill, FL
Beyond the use of digital content and learning management systems, Principal JoAnne Glenn has made it her mission to select, develop, and refine a suite of technology tools to improve communication with students, parents, and teacher teams, affording stakeholders the opportunity to communicate in a variety of formats within and outside the learning platform. Her staff collaborates to devise innovative strategies to build digital content, learning experiences, and tailored instructional resources that provide students access to supplemental coursework and lessons—regardless of when they need support. These shared tools, practices, and experiences have now gelled into a cohesive instructional model that defines the school’s way of working. Students and parents share common touchpoints in their daily educational experiences that include student choice, flexible scheduling, and mastery-based learning supported by a team of talented teachers. Glenn led the selection and adoption of a new web-conferencing platform for hosting synchronous lessons. Once a tool was selected, a series of tiered trainings was created for teachers to build their proficiency with the new platform. This transition provided an opportunity to familiarize both teachers and students with a new method of collaboration, with a focus on leveraging features that required a more active approach to student participation.
Kathryn Procope, Howard University Middle School of Mathematics and Science, Washington, D.C.
Principal Kathryn Procope believes in transforming the way children learn. At the Howard University Middle School of Mathematics and Science, students use technology to experience knowledge and expand on what they already know in a safe and secure classroom. The blended Summit Learning model provides students with opportunities to supplement teacher instruction with online learning. This approach has enabled students to take ownership of their learning while developing the skills and habits of lifelong learners. Procope also works with community partners to supply internet access to families. The school distributes devices to students so they can pursue academic activities at home. Community partners help support that vision by providing field experiences, professional development sessions for teachers, and training support for parents. When the COVID-19 pandemic required the school to transition to distance learning, Procope shifted the teaching model to ensure it equips students with the habits they’ll need to be successful long after they finish school—like knowing how to manage their time, set goals, reflect on their progress, and reach out for additional help. Today, all students have regular check-ins where they set short- and long-term goals and work with their mentors to make a plan on how to achieve them. Students are also able to track their own progress.
“Principals Eichorn, Glenn, and Procope are exceptional examples of school leaders who have embraced technology to reshape how education is delivered and personalized to ensure the success of each child, and we are proud to recognize them as the 2020 NASSP Digital Principals of the Year,” stated NASSP Executive Director JoAnn Bartoletti. “In light of the COVID-19 pandemic, we are especially grateful to leaders like these who pave the way by using technology to increase equity and access to educational opportunities, and enhance the impact and reach of great teaching.”
Each year, NASSP honors three NASSP-member principals in schools that cover any subset of grades 6–12. Criteria for the award are based on the International Society for Technology in Education Standards for Administrators and the applications of those skills to further NASSP’s Building Ranks™ framework for school improvement.
For more information on the DPOY program, please visit www.nassp.org/dpoy.
The National Association of Secondary School Principals (NASSP) is the leading organization and voice for principals and other school leaders across the United States. NASSP seeks to transform education through school leadership, recognizing that the fulfillment of each student’s potential relies on great leaders in every school committed to the success of each student. Reflecting its long-standing commitment to student leadership development, NASSP administers the National Honor Society, National Junior Honor Society, National Elementary Honor Society, and National Student Council.