Top School & District Innovator Awardees 2019

2019 School & District Winners
Doug Cauthen, Learning Counsel


Sacramento, CA (November 24, 2019) The Learning Counsel, a leading education research institute and news media hub, announced this year’s National Digital Transition Survey Award winners at its 2019 National Gathering held in Dallas, TX. Four different categories of proficiency were celebrated in the National Digital Transition Survey Awards. At the bottom of this article, all the winners are listed in reverse order of the top-most "EduJedi" Level of award attainment.

This year, St. Vrain Valley Schools in Longmont, Colorado won as the only District ever to make the level of EduJedi Knight. This stellar district continues to up its game responding to its highest pressure points: social and cultural expectations for consumer-level personalized digital experiences, ever-changing academic and technical standards and increasing technology complexity. Instead of running from those realities, St. Vrain runs towards them, helping lead the entire nation towards the real change needed for schools. St. Vrain is also the only district Learning Counsel has found that is deeply involved in workflow aimed at personalized learning, with 100% digital coverage for core curriculum, 90% for electives, 80% for special needs and 100% for professional development. Most recently they unveiled a new mobile Innovation Lab.

"Innovation happens through intentional design. We provide, support, and sustain technology deeply aligned with our vision. As a result, performance has increased: standardized test scores, AP enrollment and achievement, graduation rates across all demographics, student attendance, and engagement, and post-secondary concurrent enrollment. From the experiences we provide (iPads, cutting-edge digital library, nationally-ranked Robotics program) to the inter-district professional learning we support (top-ranked VrainWaves podcast), at the core of our program is a belief in technology as a catalyst for learning at all levels. This includes empowering schools through our Innovative Tech Framework ( and TeCHoices, knowing that their planning will benefit students as designers, communicators, and collaborators," said Kahle Charles, Assistant Superintendent of Assessment, Curriculum, and Instruction, St. Vrain Valley Schools. 

Over 400 schools and districts responded to this year’s national survey, including many first-time responders.

According to LeiLani Cauthen, CEO of the Learning Counsel, “For insiders who know the education sector, the reason these awards are a big deal is because the Learning Counsel takes a very sophisticated view about what constitutes good work. The survey is written to contextualize education from a multi-industry tech progression reality, not just internal comparatives. Hundreds of administrators tell the Learning Counsel the great effect of this research survey telling them what it really means to transition digitally, what the definitions of things really are, and how to look at new software capacities and digital curriculum for their utility and efficiency. The change in viewpoint is deeply respected.”

“Past award winners tell us that the Learning Counsel Survey Awards are very impactful,” said Daric Aquinaga, Director of School Relations at the Learning Counsel. “Thousands of other school administrators are going to look them up. This is a very high honor we’re bestowing on any one of these winners. This is real and earned.”

This year’s national survey provided exclusive information on education’s use of technology and exposed a wide-ranging level of both expertise in and response to the market pressures driving the digital transition in education. Key takeaways from the 2019 national survey include:

  • The U.S. K-12 Market is experiencing the results of unsustainable growth in total spending without commensurate results – forcing more sophisticated approaches to technology use.
  • Hardware and major systems software spending has leveled, while digital curriculum spending continues a steep ascent, driving change in school and district operations.
  • The social-emotional needs of students are now cited by respondents as the number one pressure point, adding an important new focus in school operations. 
  • Schools and districts are progressing towards new personalized learning models at varying levels but are still heavily entrenched in whole-group teaching.

The EduJedi who take this national survey are part of an open membership for schools and districts that includes this pledge which sounds simple on its face, but is often harder to execute:

“We pledge to transformative relevance by co-opting the best of digital learning technologies, organizing people and resources for a student-centric and highly personalized experience, and to most importantly, leverage our human empathy to the best advantage for learners. We are EduJedi.”

The 5 R’s: The Learning Counsel’s reasons for making this Pact include giving their schools and teachers a chance to:

  • Reset. Computing device deployments and random software usage is insufficient to realize the efficiency and greater service that can be unleashed because of tech reliance. Joining the future requires a mindset change that compliments new social dynamics and economic drivers.
  • Retool. Take practical steps for individual teachers and administrations to get to alignment across the bridge of change and retain relevance.
  • Redesign. The entire experience of learning to provide sufficient core subject understanding while eliciting creativity, curiosity and a high degree of interaction.
  • Reorganize. To change structure, schedules, and personnel in an orchestration that leads forward with challenging environments attractive to learners and parents.
  • Rehumanize. By not compromising on the technologies, we highlight the most important asset, our ingenuity and humanity.

The 2019 National Survey Awarded categories mentioned for each of the winners means this achievement, and all of the winners had additional descriptive reasons not all listed in this article. 

EduJedi Knights - Intentional refinement of ed-tech tactics in play, including a good degree of integration between systems and types of apps, some administrative and personalized learning workflow enablement. Experience focus has moved beyond in-classroom redesign only to involve more spaces, more flexibility, and has emboldened initial changes in instructional/tech staff. Tech is embedded, not a separate "subject" only.  Leadership is leveling up to challenge norms and create even better achievement results.

EduJedi Achievers - Increasing screen/live teaching blended learning creating a magnet for student attendance. In-classroom redesign with some new staff supporting new instructional ed-tech function. An extension of offerings to support varied student and/or community needs and schedules. Various digital systems and resources including both discrete and adaptive digital curriculum becoming integrated; points of proven growth creating an increasing culture of achievement.

EduJedi Innovators - Innovative use of ed-tech to engage students and the community. Trend-aware and utilizing various digital systems and resources to create gains; moving through change-management with students, staff and organizational supports. Making progress working on points of achievement improvement in critical subjects.

EduJedi Gainers - Intentional ed-tech tactics in play. Deploying various digital systems and resources while executing change with students and teachers. Arresting any decline in engagement while already gaining ground with the community; headed for academic achievement growth. 


Here are the 2019 National Survey Award Winners (in reverse order of top winners) are:


Academy for Urban Leadership Charter School, Perth Amboy, NJ


HONORABLE MENTION – EduJedi Gainer            

Cabot Public Schools, Cabot, Arkansas


HONORABLE MENTION – EduJedi Gainer            

Capital Christian High School, Sacramento, CA


COMMENDATION – EduJedi Innovator 

Peru Central School District, Peru, NY            


COMMENDATION – EduJedi Innovator 

Katy ISD/ Bear Creek Elementary, Katy, TX


COMMENDATION - EduJedi Innovator

New Ulm Public Schools, New Ulm, MN


COMMENDATION – EduJedi Innovator 

Leland School Park, Leland, MS


COMMENDATION – EduJedi Innovator 

Dallas ISD, Dallas, TX


COMMENDATION – EduJedi Innovator 

South Pittsburg Elementary School, South Pittsburg, TN


WINNER – EduJedi Achiever

Meriden Public Schools,  Meriden,CT


 WINNER – EduJedi Achiever

Buckeye Union High School District, Phoenix area, AZ


WINNER – EduJedi Achiever

ISD 690 - Warroad School District, MN


WINNER – EduJedi Achiever

Pickerington Local School District, OH


WINNER – EduJedi Achiever

Tampa Preparatory School, Tampa, FL


WINNER – EduJedi Achiever

Anaheim Elementary School District, Anaheim, CA


WINNER – EduJEdi Achiever

Pinellas County Schools, Largo, FL


WINNER – EduJedi Achiever

Anne Arundel County Public Schools, Annapolis, MD


WINNER – EduJedi Achiever

Spring Branch ISD


WINNER – EduJedi Achiever

Buckeye Elementary School District


WINNER – EduJedi Achiever

Schertz-Cibolo-Universal City ISD, San Antonio, TX


WINNER – EduJedi Achiever

Jackson County School System, Jefferson, GA


WINNER – EduJedi Achiever

Meridian CUSD 223, Stillman Valley, IL


WINNER – EduJedi Achiever

Gwinnett County Public Schools


WINNER – EduJedi Achiever

North Union Middle School, Richwood, Ohio


WINNER – Edujedi Achiever

Treeside Charter School, Provo, UT


WINNER – EduJedi Achiever

President Abraham Lincoln Elementary, Honolulu, HI


WINNER – EduJedi Knight

St. Vrain Valley Schools, Denver Area, Colorado



About the Learning Counsel

The Learning Counsel is a research institute and news media hub, focused on providing context for the shift in education to digital curriculum. The membership is comprised of 215,000 Superintendents, tech and instructional administrators, curriculum specialists, thousands of publishers, and interested enthusiasts anywhere in the teaching and learning field.

Today the Learning Counsel produces thirty Digital Curriculum Discussions each year across the U.S. and one Gathering and National Awards event to recognize leading schools and districts and share their annual research report findings on the education space.

About the EduJedi Leadership Program

An EduJedi school or district is committed to transformative relevance by co-opting the best of digital learning technologies, organizing people and resources for a student-centric and highly personalized experience, and to leverage human empathy to the best advantage for learners. The Learning Counsel EduJedi program assists educationl leaders with events, training and strategy development.







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