Admiral Rigorious (a.k.a. Mike Penn) honored as 2014 Champion of Change


Shaler Area Elementary GATE teacher Mike Penn stands with district superintendent Wes Shipley at the Connected Educator Month luncheon where Penn was honored as a 2014 Champion of Change.

Extra, extra!  Read all about it!  Mike Penn, flight director and STEAM Coordinator at Shaler Area School District, was honored as a 2014 Champion of Change last month!

Here’s a juicy snippet from the article:

A dozen Shaler Area School District educators were recognized for their innovative use of technology to enhance learning by the Allegheny Intermediate Unit’s Center for Creativity and Common Sense Media.

Mike Penn, a Shaler Area Elementary School gifted teacher, and the 11 educators that make up Project Advancing Classroom Education, or ACE, were honored as 2014 Champions of Change during last month’s Connected Educator Month luncheon.

“They’re really setting a very high standard for districts in Allegheny,” said Jennifer Beagen, senior program director for teaching and learning at the intermediate unit.

This is the second year for the Champions of Change awards. Educators are nominated for demonstrating blended learning, modeling professional development or employing Maker Movement ideas, Beagan said.

The 12 Shaler Area educators were part of a group of 64 recognized this year from 19 local school districts and one local charter school.

Penn was recognized for his work with developing educational missions for students to complete in the IKS Titan, a simulator classroom designed to replicate the bridge of a spaceship that takes students through interactive learning simulations.

The district partnered with Dream Flight Adventures, an education-technology firm, to design the simulator, which was made possible through an $80,000 grant from The Grable Foundation.

Penn was individually recognized for his work with the IKS Titan, which is a simulator with seemingly endless applications.

“It’s taught far more than just curriculum points,” Penn said. “The teamwork, communication skills it requires … Sometimes you see leadership skills in kids you’d never expect to see it in.”

The Project ACE Team, made up of 11 district and building administrators, was honored for its work in changing the culture of learning at Shaler Area by promoting enhancement, engagement and enrichment of content delivered in all classrooms, according to a district release.

The team includes Superintendent Wes Shipley, assistant to the superintendent Kara Eckert, director of curriculum and technology Bryan O’Black, director of business affairs Charles Bennett, Burchfield Primary Principal Jeff Rojik, Reserve Primary Principal Eloise Groegler, Shaler Area Elementary Assistant Principal Venice Piveronas, middle school Assistant Principal Shannon Howard, high school assistant principals Heather Berney and JoAnne Townsend, and district technology support person Mitch Stivason.

Congrats to you all—it’s certainly well deserved!

Read the full article here:



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