Editor's Note: This article has been updated to include details about the other two districts and their award-winning programs.

LIVINGSTON, NJ — The Livingston Public Schools (LPS) district recently took top honors in the New Jersey School Boards Association's (NJSBA) School Leader Awards competition, earning the “Exemplary Program” award for Technology for a Change - Overcoming Through Innovation—a program established in response to the COVID-19 pandemic to address the shortage of personal protective equipment (PPE) facing local medical workers.

During Monday's Livingston Board of Education (LBOE) meeting, NJSBA representative Charlene Peterson announced that LPS was one of only three New Jersey school districts to receive a 2020 School Leader Award for implementing a “creative and effective program that meets the challenges of remote learning.”

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Over the last several months, students and staff from the LPS departments of Technology and Family Consumer Science have utilized the district's 3D printers and sewing machines in remote settings to produce and distribute 1,056 3D printed face shields, 249 printed masks, 3,946 ear savers, 262 sewn masks and 102 surgical caps. Those involved will be recognized during the Oct. 19 LBOE meeting and will also be featured in a future issue of School Leader magazine.

“The LBOE takes great pride in the work of our outstanding staff and students who were selected as one of three districts statewide by the NJSBA as the recipient of the School Leader Award,” said LBOE President Ronnie Konner. “Technology for a Change - Overcoming Through Innovation was a program that allowed our students the opportunity to craft and deliver real-life solutions to the challenge of meeting the need for PPE in our community.”

The School Leader awards annually showcase creative New Jersey public school programs that enhance learning, according to the NJSBA. This year, the board specifically recognized “creative and effective programs and practices that New Jersey schools have used to address the challenges of remote learning created by the COVID-19 school closure.”

According to NJSBA executive director Dr. Lawrence S. Feinsod, who will honor the winning districts during a virtual ceremony later this year, the 34th annual School Leader Awards competition drew 35 entries from school districts across the state.

Joining LPS in the winners’ circle were the following districts and programs:

  • Burlington County Special Services School District - Transition Program
    The goal of this program is to create strong, consistent connections with students and parents during the period of remote learning. It is designed to ensure that the students, who are working to gain increased independence, have the appropriate level of support to continue practicing job and life skills at home.
     
  • Jersey City School District - Speech & Language Program
    The Jersey City School District special education team created a website to enhance speech and language learning at home and to supplement teletherapy services. The program provides speech-language pathologists with resources to share with their colleagues, while giving parents an effective program for their children during the COVID-19 school closure.

Entries were judged on the level of innovation and how well the program addresses specific needs of the students in a remote learning environment, according to the entry requirements.

The students and staff involved in Technology for a Change have established a distribution network to help deliver PPE to various locations, including long-term care facilities, funeral homes, police and fire departments, hospitals, first aid squads and more. CLICK HERE to learn more about how this is being done, or VISIT THE “Technology for a Change” WEBSITE for the latest updates.

The other two winning districts have not been identified publicly at this time.

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