Sami Jo Crivellaro, a business teacher at Parkland School District in Allentown, Pa., has been recognized as an Information Technology Innovator in SunGard K-12 Education’s Lead without Limits Awards Program. From nominations from educators and school administrators from across the country, Crivellaro was selected as the individual who best leverages technology to innovate education.
The Lead without Limits Awards Program recognizes school districts, schools, departments, administrators, and educators that leverage technology to improve student achievement and/or school or district efficiency. Information Technology Innovators, one of the Lead without Limits Award categories, enhance the educational process with technology. Nominees’ information technology efforts support student achievement and/or improve school/district efficiency.
Sami Jo Crivellaro, who teaches at Parkland High School, volunteered to initiate and lead the district’s IT Academy, a blended-learning course providing a pathway for Parkland High School students to achieve Microsoft® Office Specialist certification. Crivellaro built the course curriculum around Microsoft IT Academy video tutorials and GMetrix software practice exams and delivers the course in a blended style, combining the online video tutorials and online practice component with teacher support for her students. The class is self-paced within set timeframes. As a result, students take ownership of the completion of their training exercises.
“I initiated this effort because I feel strongly that students should master computer application skills before they set forth to an institution of higher educational, a career, or professional setting,” says Crivellaro. “Today, students think they understand and can navigate through applications because they spend their time on social media. Social media and Microsoft Office applications, however, are very different, and the IT Academy proves this to them. The students feel a sense of mastery when working through the applications in the classroom and a sense of accomplishment when receiving the Microsoft Office Specialist certification.”
In preparation for implementing the IT Academy, Parkland High School became a Certiport Authorized Testing Center. Crivellaro led the preparation for the administration of the Microsoft Office Specialist (MOS) exams. As a result of her leadership and her work with students, Parkland’s first IT Academy class has 20 of 21 students MOS certified in Microsoft Word. The ultimate goal is to have students obtain at least two MOS certifications by the end of the class.
Parkland School District
The Parkland School District is located in a suburban-rural setting in the Lehigh Valley, Pa. The district is comprised of 11 schools that educated almost 9,200 students during the 2014-2015 academic year. The Parkland School District mission is to ensure that each student is empowered with success strategies for lifelong learning by creating a secure, effective learning environment in collaboration with dedicated staff, involved parents, and a supportive community.