Poster Session

Road Map to Build a Digital Learning Environment

Providing technology alone is not enough transform teaching and learning, but it is the step in the right direction.  In this session, find out the how Elizabeth Public Schools created a robust infrastructure and is laying down the foundation to connect other essential components, such as, teacher evaluations, curriculum development, assessments, data to drive instruction, budget and funding and professional development to support a digital learning environment for over 27, 000 students.   We will share the challenges, successes and lessons learned in the implementation of a One-to One initiative and moving beyond creating a culture that will truly transform teaching and learning.

Tracy Espiritu

Joseph Griffith

Donald Sheehy

Tracy Espiritu left a career as a product engineer in the aerospace industry to become a middle school science teacher.  She later became a STEAM teacher (science, technology, engineering, architecture, and math) at Dr. Albert Einstein Academy School No. 29. Espiritu has been instrumental in the design and implementation of the K-8 STEAM curriculum at School No. 29, which aligns well with the United States Department of Education’s goals of increasing student proficiency and interest in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) education, as well as the “Educate to Innovate” federal initiative designed to attract, develop, reward and retain outstanding educators in STEM educational fields.

Students at School No. 29 have benefitted from the successful curriculum. The school was among 25 selected from throughout the United States to become a NASA Explorer School in 2007. During its partnership with NASA, Espiritu has served as the NASA Explorer School Team Leader.

In addition to her positive impact on students, Espiritu continues to enhance the STEAM program through effectively training her colleagues in implementing STEAM instruction. The professional development she has provided to fellow STEAM educators has helped increase rigor and raise the level of achievement.

Currently, Espiritu has taken the role as a district Instruction Technology Coach where she coordinates district wide technology initiatives and professional development on the pedagogy and integration of technology in instruction.  She was contributory to the deployment of 17,000 student devices initiating the district’s One-to-One initiative in grades 3 to 12 and the district’s adoption of the SAMR model as the framework for technology integration.

In December 2014, Espiritu was awarded the prestigious $25,000 Milken Educator Award at a special ceremony at Dr. Albert Einstein Academy School No. 29. Milken Family Foundation Co-Founder Mike Milken, together with First Lady of New Jersey Mary Pat Christie and New Jersey Acting Education Commissioner David C. Hespe, made the announcement before School No. 29 students, staff, and local dignitaries.

In October 2015, Tracy Espiritu is among six distinguished Rutgers University School of Engineering alumni who have been selected to receive the school’s most prestigious awards for professional achievement and service to the community.   Espiritu was awarded the Dean’s Award for Service for her efforts in advancing the engineering profession through personal commitment and dedication.

In June 2016, The Lowell Milken Center (LMC) for Unsung Heroes in Fort Scott, Kansas, an international educational non-profit, has awarded its prestigious Fellowship to Tracy Espiritu.  The LMC Fellowship is awarded on the basis of merit to educators who have distinguished themselves in teaching respect and understanding through project-based learning or who have the potential for this distinction. The Center selects exemplary teachers from across America and Europe, drawn from a variety of disciplines, to collaborate on projects that discover, develop and communicate the stories of Unsung Heroes in history.