Cushing Academy Leads Way

Cutting-edge amazing!

I can think of no other way to describe one private high school’s sweeping efforts to effectively integrate technology into the classroom.

Forget about Phillips or Exeter.

From here on out, every serious learning institution in the nation should take its cue from Cushing Academy, a leading private school in Ashburnham, MA.

I hardly know where to begin.

For what I can tell, the school has a highly organized “21C Initiative” department, wholly dedicated to “[keeping] current of effective practices, educational theories, and research being done around the globe to guide professional development (technology integration, methodology, content) and share resources with faculty and students.”

And get this! The program even has its own board of advisors, lead by 10 leading industry innovators. Patrick F. Bassett, president of the National Association of Independent Schools, is also a member.

Instead of paying lip service to global education, take a look at Cushing’s experiential opportunities program. An array of opportunities with Boston’s most reputable hospitals, labs and museums encourage students to utilize 21st century skills—all to make them diverse, competitive and capable in an flat, digital world.

Another program “challenges those student-athletes who wish to take their drive beyond the playing fields, through workshops, guest speakers, and off-campus opportunities.”

Still not impressed?

With its “Open Content Curricula” initiative, Cushing makes free more than a dozen detailed lesson plans, all of which embrace “new technologies, new research techniques for winnowing down massive amounts of available data, new ethical and cultural issues arising from the global nature of our shrinking world, and more.”

Several years ago, Cushing made headlines by announcing a bold $500,000 initiative to replace library books with e-readers. According to the Schools web site, this fall, the administration introduced an iPad pilot program.

“The iPads are fully loaded with apps for classroom use and with productivity tools, and any additional apps needed may be added. Apple TVs have been installed in all classrooms, enabling wireless display on the screen from the teacher’s iPad, as well as from other sources.”

Cushing even has some of the most innovative teachers.

Dr. Grant Geske invented what he calls an “iClass Table,” which amounts to a table-sized iPad. The ingenuity behind this device leaves me utterly speechless. I encourage you to watch the video below, as Geske describes how the device works and how to effectively apply its use.

I’m sure I failed to mention plenty of other juicy highlights, and I would love to learn more about Cushing’s program and offerings.

All the same, Cushing represents virtually everything I wish more schools would embrace.

As a coach, history and journalism teacher at Brimmer and May, a wonderful independent school in Chestnut Hill, Massachusetts, I have the absolute best job in the world. I am thrilled to get up every morning to engage with interesting young people, and I'm equally fortunate to have such amazing colleagues and mentors. As the founder of Spin Education, I encourage you to check-in frequently and submit posts and lessons—all in an effort to better our practice as teachers.

1 Comment

  • Reply January 5, 2013

    Nancy Boyle

    Thanks for the great shout out, David! As leader of the Innovation Center at Cushing, I’d love to talk about what we are doing and learn about your work. Please come visit to learn more about our programs and bring some Florida sun with you! Will you be at FETC?

Leave a Reply