eSchool News and Xirrus Announce the Grand Prize Winner of the Innovate to Educate Awards Program

Contest showcases groundbreaking ed-tech initiatives, and the growing impact of the connected classroom on teaching and learning.

Online PR News – 09-December-2016 – Bethesda, Md. – eSchool News, in partnership with Xirrus, the leading provider of next generation, cloud-enabled Wi-Fi networks, announced that Anne Arundel County School District (AACPS) in Annapolis, Md. is the grand prize winner of the Innovate to Educate Awards program—a nation-wide contest created to highlight the best examples of digital learning success, and provide a platform for schools to share their stories of successful technology integration.

The entry from AACPS describes its use of a telepresence robot for distance learning of home and hospital students. With the help of this robot, students who cannot come to class can now interact with their classmates and teachers, and be included in activities that learning in isolation cannot provide. To make this initiative a reality, teachers, parents, students and the administration received specialized training. Additionally, full wireless coverage was necessary so the robot could travel from class to class, throughout the school with no drop-out points. Read the full entry here.

“It is our firm belief that to be a great school system, we must meet the needs of every single child enrolled in our schools,” AACPS Superintendent of Schools George Arlotto said. “That requires us to think outside the box and explore options like this that go above and beyond traditional classroom settings. The value of allowing students like Peter Jauschnegg to remain—as much as possible—with their friends, essentially in their classrooms, and on continuing their academic studies on an appropriate pace is simply priceless.”

As the Grand Prize winner, AACPS will receive a multi-faceted eSchool News media package that school leaders can use to showcase and share their “Virtual Inclusion for Homebound and Hospitalized Students” program with local and national stakeholders and constituents. The award package includes a feature story in the eSchool News magazine, along with a Success Story, and a custom-designed “Innovate to Educate Winner” icon for online posting and promotion.

“Xirrus supports excellence in teaching and learning through digital tools and new practices,” said Dirk Gates, founder and executive chairman, Xirrus. “We would like to recognize Anne Arundel County Public Schools, the grand prize winner of the Innovate to Educate program, for exemplifying the true meaning of integrating technology into the learning process. Implementing a way for in-home or hospital students to collaborate and engage real-time with teachers and peers by using robotics is an exceptional enabler of distance learning. At Xirrus, we strive to create robust, high performance solutions designed to handle these types of applications that depend on the Wi-Fi network to succeed.”

The distinguished Innovate to Educate judging panel—Laura Devaney, managing editor, eSchool News; Clifford Russell, CIO, Morehouse College; and Dirk Gates, founder and executive chairman, Xirrus, reviewed each award entry to assess overall education vision and strategy, project goals, program success and the level of innovation.
Two “Community Choice” winners were chosen in October by eSchool News readers through online public Facebook voting: Florida Virtual School (FVS) and Yuma Elementary School District One. FVS initiated a program called ClassTime, where two times a week students and teachers work together online in a blended environment—participating in discussions, sharing, taking turns, answering questions and working as a class. The Yuma Elementary School District introduced iTEAM KiDS Technology Ambassador Program, a student led professional development program where students teach teachers about the latest apps and technology to help increase teachers' comfort level with using technology in the classroom. Each winner will be featured in an editorial spotlight on, and receives a Community Choice Winner icon they can use to promote their successful initiatives.

Innovate to Educate entries were submitted from over 75 schools and districts nationwide. Educators, technologists and administrators described their innovative ed-tech initiatives using videos and pictures, and responding to specific questions about the program, the challenges they faced and how they overcame those challenges.
“We are thrilled to showcase and share these outstanding examples of ed-tech innovation with eSchool News readers, and to recognize our winners for their truly remarkable programs,” said Robert Morrow, CEO, eSchool Media. “Our goal for the Innovate to Educate contest was to inform and inspire schools across the country as they undertake new technology initiatives to improve and expand teaching and learning, and I think we all agree it has been a huge success! Thank you to Xirrus for their generous sponsorship and their commitment to the education community.”

About eSchool Media
eSchool Media Inc. is a news and information organization delivering online content to more than a million K-20 decision makers and influencers throughout North America and around the world. Its information networks help educators successfully use technology to transform education and achieve their goals. eSchool News is the flagship publication of eSchool Media Inc., which also includes eCampus News, serving higher education, and eClassroom News, an electronic publication network for teachers. For more information, visit, and follow us on Twitter: @eSchoolNews.

About Xirrus, Inc.
Xirrus is the leading provider of next generation Wi-Fi networks. Xirrus solutions perform under the most demanding circumstances, offering consistent "wired-like" performance with superior coverage and security. The Xirrus suite of Wi-Fi optimized solutions – high density access points, access points and cloud services – provide seamless connectivity and unified management across the network. Xirrus provides a vital strategic business and IT infrastructure advantage to industries that depend on wireless to operate business-critical applications. With tens of thousands of customer solutions deployed globally, Xirrus maintains operations and partnerships across the globe and is a privately held company, headquartered in Thousand Oaks, CA. For more information, please visit: and follow us on Twitter: @Xirrus.

For more information:

Program contact:
Janice Budai
Marketing Services Manager
eSchool Media, Inc.

Media Contact:
LEWIS for Xirrus
(415) 432-2463