Chatham High School Technology teacher Julie Ryan was recognized by the New Jersey Technology and Engineering Educators Association with their 2019 Image Award. The School District of the Chathams K-12 Design & Technology program was awarded the Program Excellence Award through this same organization.  

The Image Award honors "individuals that make a special effort that results in a positive reflection of TED Education outside of the profession. Recipients of this award have received recognition in their community for their support of the advancement of technology education through innovative projects and meaningful student experiences, resulting in positive community response."

The Program Excellence Award "recognizes outstanding programs, teachers and administrators in the field of TED Education. Excellence Award Recipients should encompass a true technology educator by applying most relevant technological tools, meaningful instruction (or supervision) with regard to 21st Century Skills and should pay careful attention to Common Core Standards. Excellent TED Educators are leaders in the field, setting an example for future educators of technology."

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“It was an honor to be recognized by our state organization with this award," Ryan said. "Fellow awardees included a few of my high school tech teachers, the mentors who first encouraged me to pursue a career in Technology Education. I was so fortunate for these truly incredible role models growing up, and I am so grateful for the opportunity to provide that experience to my students.

"Growing the robotics program at CHS from the ground up has been a labor of love, but the students I've had the privilege to work with have made every minute of it worth it.”

Ryan received this award at the New Jersey Technology and Engineering Educators Association Awards Ceremony on May 31st.

Chatham High School Supervisor of Instructional and Design Technology Danielle Dagounis said, “Ms. Ryan is a dedicated member of our high school department, developing new courses and engaging students in various competitions and challenges that enable them to practice their skills in a hands-on manner with students across the state and country.  One example is the success that Chatham High School's FIRST Tech Challenge (FTC) teams have seen recently under Ms. Ryan's tutelage, which also resulted in her winning the Outstanding Veteran Coach Award from NJ FIRST Board this year. Ms. Ryan is an asset to our department.”

The School District of the Chathams Design & Technology Department is one of the only comprehensive K-12 STEM programs in the state of New Jersey providing weekly STEM instruction starting in Kindergarten, and building up to advanced courses in computer science, creativity and innovation, as well as 3D engineering design at the middle school and high school levels.  The program design ensures that ALL students are granted access to integrative-STEM education from an early age, engaging them in authentic problem solving, collaboration, innovation, and critical thinking, while developing creativity and perseverance. As a result, female enrollment has grown, with some specific courses and sub-programs reaching higher than a 50% male/50% female enrollment.  The program also has a higher than school average enrollment of students with Individualized Education Plans (IEPs), showing the District’s commitment to “STEM for all.”

The program and various courses emphasize process over product, using Design Thinking and the Engineering Design Process as foundational underpinnings.  The program has served as a site visit location for close to 40 school districts and schools looking to start a STEM program and has also been highlighted nationally for their high school FIRST Tech Challenge (FTC) robotics program and Advanced Placement Computer Science Principles female enrollment.  The District and more specifically the Design & Technology program has also been selected to spearhead and participate in a STEM school partnership with elementary and middle schools in Wenzhou, China through the Kean University Sister School Cooperation Program that will kick off on June 1st.

The program has a phenomenal teaching staff spanning grades K-12 who are all trained in integrative-STEM education and/or have their Technology Education teaching certificate and is supervised by a Technology Education certified educator.