Dr. Bart Rocco, Key: Collaboration Between School Systems

The Path to Higher Ed is a SchooLinks hosted podcast community that explores trending topics and issues in the area of college and career readiness. Our featured guests are pushing education forward by constantly learning from, innovating and applying their college and career readiness practices.

Dr. Bart Rocco, Superintendent of Elizabeth Forward School District, joins us to discuss how his small district has been able to rethink how it operates in the midst of statewide budget cuts within Pennsylvania. EFSD began pushing tech forward within the district by leasing technology and partnering with local businesses and philanthropies to develop its data infrastructure. As a result, EFSD has been able to serve as a model for other districts in the state looking to innovate in the area of tech integration and data management. Listen in as Dr. Rocco describes how it was able to share and collaborate with other organizations like Carnegie Mellon University and The University of Pittsburgh to transition his school system from a closed one to an open one.

About Dr. Bart Rocco

Dr. Rocco has worked in public education for 35 years as a teacher, principal, and assistant superintendent. For the last eight years, he has served as the Superintendent of the Elizabeth Forward School District, Elizabeth Pennsylvania.

He was awarded the Distinguished Educator Award from the Tri- State Study Council and the University of Pittsburgh. He was also the recipient of the 2014 Outstanding Educator from the Elizabeth Forward Alumni Association.

Dr. Rocco also received his BA and M.Ed. from Duquesne University and he earned his Ed.D. from the University of Pittsburgh.

About Elizabeth Forward School District

EFSD has established partnerships with local universities such as Carnegie Mellon University, The University of Pittsburgh, and California University of Pennsylvania. The district has also partnered with Pittsburgh based technology companies to implement game design courses at their high school. The district has MIT Certified Maker Spaces at their high school and middle school, as well as, a Mobile Fab Lab that is used at the elementary school and community events so that children can learn about digital fabrication. They created a SMALLab, which is a multimodal, embodied, mediated learning environment at the middle school, and an Energy Lab with arcade like games to teach students about energy. The district has also redesigned several libraries in the district into creative learning environments where students use all types of media.

Five years ago, the district instituted a one to one learning initiative where all students K-12 received iPad computers. They are one of two districts in the State of Pennsylvania that have initiated such a program and are focused on personalized learning for children as well as staff.

The district has been recognized as a Digital Promise School District from the League of Innovative Schools, has received an Apple Distinguished Program Award through 2017, and is classified are a Digital Citizenship Certified District.

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