It’s about the community coming together and discussing the value of technology in education.
That’s the reason West Morris Regional High School District Superintendent Mackey Pendergrast has championed the upcoming technology summit, scheduled for Thursday, March 21 at Mendham High School.
Since he took over as the district’s top administrator just a year ago, Pendergrast has been beating the technology drum consistently, overseeing the implementation of a District Supervisor of Technology and a new policy that will allow students to bring in their own electronic devices to the classroom.
“I’m very excited about the tech summit. When I interviewed for the (superintendent) position, I said I didn’t really believe in a five-year long-range plan; more like an 18-month plan,” Pendergrast said, citing the constant change in the technology realm.
Just a week prior to the event, some 250 people had already registered for the event. The Mendham High School auditorium holds 450, and Pendergrast believes turnout will be close to if not at the maximum number.
Having members of the five communities involved is paramount, Pendergrast said, as technology in the school system is a critical component to education the region should explore together.
While Pendergrast has been the summit’s biggest supporter, it wasn’t him alone who designed the event.
“When (District Supervisor of Technology) Erica Hartman came in, she was about five steps ahead of us,” he said of the Google-certified faculty member. “It took us a while to catch up to her vision.”
Administrators took a trip to Harvard University recently and learned plenty about how to best go understand and implement the district’s strategic improvement process.
“We spoke with other teachers and administrators from around the country for about 30 hours,” Pendergrast said. “But we knew keeping the information inside the central office just wasn’t going to cut it.”
The summit will feature three guest speakers: Doug Imbruce, CEO of Qwiki; Jon Rochelle, Google Product Manager; and Bill Davidson, Senior Vice President of Qualcomm, all of whom have donated their time to give presentation at the event.
The objective is for the community to gather and learn about technology to make the district improve, Pendergrast said.
In addition to the three guest speakers, a panel of experts in the world of technology who reside in the region’s towns will also speak and answer questions.
“(The guest speakers) see the value of where we’re going,” Pendergrast said. We’re boldly moving forward, aggressively, but thoughtfully. I don’t know of another district doing something like this.”
Registration for the event is still ongoing and can be done by going to the Community Tech Forum tab at wmrhsd.org.