2016 Innovation in Education Awards Announced

Posted in: CFF News

On May 25, 2016, the Classroom of the Future Foundation (CFF) will hold its 13th annual Innovation in Education Awards at the University of San Diego. This event brings together more than 500 educators and business leaders to highlight champions of educational innovation in the community, as well as exceptional students pursuing careers in STEM education.

At the event, CFF highlights specific school programs with “Innovation Awards,” a very special recognition that honors classrooms that are getting students excited about learning and increasing student achievement. Classrooms apply for Innovation Awards through an online application process. On March 31st, an application review panel consisting of leaders in the business and education community met to select winners in the following award categories:

  • Impact Award: This award is a best-of-show award given to the one program that best embodies all three CFF goals – to inspire, innovate and achieve.
  • Inspire Award: This award illustrates the unique attributes of the program that get kids excited about learning. This award specifically focuses on the program characteristics responsible for increasing student interest and enhancing student learning.
  • Innovate Award: This award showcases the creative innovations of the programs that facilitate enhanced learning. This award specifically focuses on the uniqueness of the “program actions” that increase student interest and drive achievement.
  • Achieve Award: This award demonstrates the tangible program results that drive student learning. It specifically focuses on the “program evidence” that directly correlates to positive student outcomes.
  • Innovation in Technology Award: This award recognizes innovation in education by a SDCUE member.

CFF is excited to announce its 2016 Innovation Award winners:

  • Impact Award: Health Sciences High and Middle College, San Diego Unified School District, “Health Pathways” program
    • Honorable Mention: Cajon Valley Union School District, “TEDxKids@ElCajon” program
  • Inspire Award: Orange Glen High School, Escondido Union High School District, “Maximizing Ability, Minimizing Disability for Optimal Success” program
  • Innovate Award: Montgomery Middle School, Cajon Valley Union School District, “Engineering Science – Makerspace Lab” program
  • Achieve Award: Hilltop Middle School, Sweetwater Union High School District, “Foreign Language and Global Studies (FLAGS)” program
  • Innovation in Technology Award: Tom Nusser and Jo-Ann Fox

These classrooms and individuals exemplify the mission of CFF and are truly making a difference in the lives of students. Join us in honoring them today.

Congratulations to our award winners!

Impact Award: Health Sciences High and Middle College, San Diego Unified School HSHMCDistrict, “Health Pathways” program

This program in City Heights is a four year, 9-12 grade comprehensive career development model that integrates an on-site healthcare internship and coursework leading to industry certification and SDUSDpreparation for a certification exam.


Honorable Mention: Cajon Valley Union School District, CVUSD“TEDxKids@ElCajon” program

This program allows students to turn their ideas into TED talks and share them on stage in front of a global audience.


Inspire Award: Orange Glen High School, Escondido Union High School District, eusd“Maximizing Ability, Minimizing Disability for Optimal Success” program

This program for students with intellectual disabilities utilizes technology in ways that go well beyond the typical educational expectations. Students use technology to share interests, experiences, and challenges with others, allowing for greater creative expression, social connection, and a sense of belonging. This program’s goal is to better prepare students for future independence and employability.

Innovate Award: Montgomery Middle School, Cajon Valley Union School District,  CVUSD
“Engineering Science – Makerspace Lab” program

This program transformed a 20th century wood shop class into a 21st century Makerspace lab where students use the design process in a variety of mediums. Students discover and learn about Adruinos, electronic circuits, mechanical engineering, and additive manufacturing (3D printers) to create products that solve a problem or satisfy a need.

Achieve Award: Hilltop Middle School, Sweetwater Union High School District, “Foreign sweetwaterLanguage and Global Studies (FLAGS)” program

This program focuses on expanding students’ global awareness through a foreign language curriculum that utilizes modern technology. Students choose various languages to learn, and engage in a hands-on curriculum that includes mock trials, Socratic seminars, blogging, creating multimedia presentations for authentic audiences, showcasing skills to parents and teachers, and curriculum-centered field trips.

Innovation in Technology Award: Tom Nusser Tom Nusser

Tom Nusser is a rocket launching, balloon car racing, mixing it up science teacher at Innovation Middle School, a neighborhood school in San Diego Unified School District. Tom holds a Bachelors of Earth Science Chemistry as well as a Masters in Educational Technology. He has taught science for 18 years in both middle school and high school and currently teaches in a 1:1 iPad environment where he enjoys working with amazing and dedicated teachers. Teaching and working with middle school students in the process of investigating science is Tom’s life. He strives to share his passion for engineering and robotics through his science curriculum as well as school wide STEM projects he designs, develops, and disseminates school wide. Tom prides himself in providing a blended, inquiry based, student-centered curriculum geared toward Next Generation Science Standards.

Innovation in Technology Award: Jo-Ann Fox Jo-Ann Fox

Jo-Ann Fox has been an elementary teacher in the Escondido Union School District since 2000. She spent over a decade teaching in the primary grades and the last several years working with upper elementary students. She is currently working as an Instructional Coach at a new innovative upper elementary and middle school called Quantum Academy, which she helped to design. Jo-Ann is a Google Certified Teacher, 2012 San Diego County Teacher of the Year, 2012 Semi-finalist for California Teacher of the Year, a CUE Lead Learner, and CUE Rockstar Faculty. In addition, Jo-Ann served on the California Education Technology Task Force with State Superintendent Tom Torlakson. Jo-Ann is a co-founder and moderator of California Edchat (#caedchat), which is a popular Twitter chat where teachers from all over California collaborate and discuss educational issues.  She is a co-planner for Edcamp San Diego which for the past three years has provided free professional development for educators from all over Southern California. Jo-Ann shares her experiences in integrating educational technology, STEAM learning, and design thinking at conferences such as National CUE, San Diego CUE, South By Southwest Education, and GAFE Summits. Jo-Ann holds a Masters in Literacy Education from California State University San Marcos and is a member of the San Marcos Writing Project. Jo-Ann also runs her own website www.AppEducation.com where she blogs about the innovative use of iOS apps and Google Apps for Education. Jo-Ann’s passion as an educator comes from inspiring children to have a love for learning, a thirst for creativity, and a desire to watch students make a positive impact on the world around them.

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