Category: CAPS Original

Dawn Martesi - Council for the Advancement of Public Schools
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Neil A. Armstrong Middle School teacher and student highlighted in a Verizon TV spot

Instructional coach Dawn Martesi and eighth grader Chelsie McClease of Neil A. Armstrong Middle School in Bristol Township School District were highlighted in a Verizon TV spot this spring. Armstrong, along with Franklin D. Roosevelt Middle School, also in Bristol Township, are two of only four economically disadvantaged schools in the state to obtain grants that level the technology playing field. The results have been spectacular over the past four years since Dawn first applied to Verizon and their partner, Digital Promise.

Armstrong has since become a Verizon Innovative Learning School and the program has provided accessibility of one-to-one devices as well as data plans at home. Dawn says that the school’s participation “has been the catalyst of change that has catapulted us into another whole dimension.”

While the grants have provided access to a variety of different programs, including a designer maker lab, perhaps most remarkable is the impact of the program on the school and its students. This has included the creation of Tiger Techs, Armstrong’s in-house IT program that enables the specially-trained students to support not only their peers, but their teachers as well, with all their IT issues.

Dawn says, “The kids own the program and are the cornerstone.” They manage all the school’s IT functions including bell schedules and troubleshooting. While in many programs, girls may not be naturally attracted to math and science because of the way that the education is delivered, the Tiger Tech program is now predominantly female. Dawn works to show them a “hands-on helping approach and builds on their natural abilities” and desire to help people, all the while developing skills and confidence in STEM and tech fields. The program also helps to foster leadership, communication, collaboration and critical thinking/problem solving abilities, along with the capacity to work with others as Dawn stresses the need for empathy and listening in their approach.

She ensures that all the Tiger Techs are exposed to female and male role models who have math and science careers such as engineering or chemistry, and the result has been an increase in the number of students who express interest in a STEM career such as engineering or medicine.

The Verizon TV spot was filmed by the socially-conscious Rory Kennedy, the daughter of US Senator Robert Kennedy and Ethel Kennedy. Dawn said, “She was absolutely an amazing person to meet in person and truly exuded the qualities of a great humanitarian. I consider getting the opportunity to meet and work with her as one of the highlights of my year!”

Dawn is one more example of a teacher who does what it takes to create incredible opportunities for her students. We are proud of her, the students, and the school and can’t wait to see where she takes them next!


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Souderton High School Choir on-air with WMMR Preston and Steve

Wow and congrats to the Souderton Area High School Advanced Choir and its director, Teresa Washam, on racking up another great accomplishment with their invitation to perform Queen’s Bohemian Rhapsody...

2018 Touch the Future Art Show
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The 31st Annual “Touch the Future” Art Show awards ceremony, sponsored by the Pennsylvania State Education Association/Mideastern Region (PSEA/MER), and Council for the Advancement of Public Schools,...

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First-Ever Endowed Dr. Selma Burke Sculpture Award to Pay Tribute to Top Sculpture Student  The 31st annual “Touch the Future” art show will honor winners from 26 public high schools in Bucks and...

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The Value of Public School Teachers

The true impact that teachers have on our children is immeasurable. We asked a few of our dedicated educators, parents and community members in Bucks and Montgomery counties to express how they and their...

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Strong sense of community makes public education great!

We wanted to share the insights of Scott Swindells who teaches English honors, literature, and creative writing and is the Virtual High School Site Coordinator at North Penn High School. Over his 16 years...

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PSEA names Susan Lynam of North Penn ESP of the Year

Fifteen years ago, Susan Lynam was looking for a job when she saw an email from the North Penn School District testing a new email alert system. “I wrote back and said, ‘You passed the test....

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Public Schools: A Place for Everyone

During American Education Week, we’d like to celebrate the teachers and students of Bucks and Montgomery counties who are demonstrating every day that Public Schools are for Everyone!    ...

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Right To Work Laws

Teacher unions advocate for student learning conditions that allow all students to succeed. We believe proposed legislation to make Pennsylvania a Right-to-Work state, which would likely mean that union...

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Let’s take another look at the track record of charter schools in Pennsylvania

With the push from the Trump administration and Education Secretary Betsy DeVos for more funding for vouchers and school privatization, it’s worth taking another look at the track record of charter...