Design & Technology | News and Announcements

  • Design & Technology Department Wins Statewide Excellence Award

    Posted by Danielle Dagounis on 5/20/2019

    The New Jersey Technology and Engineering Educators Association (NJTEEA) recently announced their statewide award winners, and the School District of the Chathams’ K-12 Design & Technology (STEM) Department has won the Program Excellence Award.

    This award "recognizes outstanding programs, teachers and administrators in the field of TED [Technology, Engineering & Design] Education. Excellence Award recipients “apply most relevant technological tools, meaningful instruction (or supervision) with regard to 21st Century Skills… (and) are leaders in the field, setting an example for future educators of technology."

    The School District of the Chathams’ Design & Technology Department is one of the only comprehensive K-12 STEM programs in the state of New Jersey providing weekly STEM instruction starting in Kindergarten, and building up to advanced courses in computer science, creativity and innovation, as well as in 3D engineering design at the middle school and high school levels.

    The program design ensures that all students are granted access to integrative-STEM education from an early age, engaging them in authentic problem solving, collaboration, innovation, and critical thinking, while developing creativity and perseverance. As a result, female enrollment has grown, with some specific courses and sub-programs reaching higher than a 50% male/50% female enrollment. The program also has a higher than school average enrollment of special education students, showing the District’s commitment to “STEM for all.”

    The program and various courses emphasize process over product, Design Thinking and the Engineering Design Process as foundational underpinnings. The program has served as a site visit location for close to 40 school districts looking to start a STEM program and has also been highlighted nationally for their high school FIRST Tech Challenge (FTC) robotics program and Advanced Placement Computer Science Principles female enrollment.

    The District, and more specifically the K-8 Design & Technology program, has also been selected to spearhead and participate in a STEM school partnership with elementary and middle schools in Wenzhou, China through the Kean University Sister School Cooperation Program that will kick off on June 1st.  

    The program has a top-notch teaching staff spanning grades K-12 who are all trained in integrative-STEM education and/or have their Technology Education teaching certificate, and is supervised by a former integrative-STEM educator, Danielle Dagounis.

    The award ceremony is taking place on May 31st at Charlie Brown's Fresh Grill in Chatham.

    Full Tap Into Chatham article can be accessed here.

    Full Patch article can be accessed here.

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  • Chatham Robotics Program Thriving Under Ryan; 50 Percent Participation by Women; Qualifies for Worlds Again

    Posted by Danielle Dagounis on 3/25/2019 7:00:00 AM


    CHATHAM, NJ - The thriving Chatham High Robotics team came to the recent board of education meeting, showing off its latest robots and reporting on the progress of the four-year-old program.

    Robotics coach Julie Ryan, who recently received the "Outstanding Veteran Coach Award" from NJ FIRST, said that the team began with just a few female members and now has 50 percent participation.

    The //Cougars team is advancing to the Worlds tournament in Detroit. It is the second straight year that a CHS team has qualified.


    Click here for the full Tap into Chatham article with videos.

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  • Chatham High Robotics Coach, Julie Ryan, Wins Outstanding Veteran Coach Award from NJ FIRST

    Posted by Danielle Dagounis on 3/18/2019 7:00:00 AM

    Chatham High School Design and Technology teacher and robotics team coach Julie Ryan won the Outstanding Veteran Coach Award. The NJ FIRST board, which coordinates the runs the NJ FIRST Tech Challenge competition for high school robotics teams, selected Ms. Ryan for the award.

    Each year the NJ FIRST board gives out this award to a veteran coach, someone involved in FIRST Tech Challenge for more than three years.

    “I was completely shocked to hear I won this award because there are so many outstanding coaches in the state who are so deserving," Ryan said. "This is my fourth year as an FTC coach. The first year I had one team of six students, and, by the second, I had two teams of eight students each. Each year my students have grown and advanced to new levels of competition.”  Ryan noted that, by the second year of the program, both CHS teams earned a place at the state championship and one team advanced to the next level of competition. Last year, the CHS Robotics team went to states, super regionals, and the world championship.  “And this year,” Ryan said, “the students earned their way to Worlds!”

    Ryan complimented her students, saying that the students in the program the past two years have helped her plan and run a state qualifying tournament at CHS each December.  Coaching an FTC program is an immense time commitment. Ryan and her students have spent nearly 300 hours working on their robots outside of class time already this year.  “And that doesn't include the hours I spend planning and organizing and doesn't begin the count the amount of hours they spend outside of classroom offered hours working on their documentation and robot,” Ryan said.

    Ryan continues to coach because she says, “However tiring the 12-hour competitions may be, it's so rewarding to see the excitement on my students’ faces after each small or monumental success. It can be as simple as testing their programming in the classroom and finally getting the vision recognition to work, or as gigantic as when members are losing their minds realizing they qualified for the World Championship. Each success is as great as the next.”

    Chatham Supervisor of Instructional and Design & Technology Danielle Dagounis said, “Ms. Ryan's dedication to designing, building, and sustaining our high school robotics program has been phenomenal, and it is not surprising at all that she is being recognized for the outstanding work she has done over these past four and half years. Her time and dedication have enabled our students to engage in experiences they never would have had access to before, including various trips to state, national and world competitions. Ms. Ryan is an asset to our program and district.”


    Link to the full Tap into Chatham article can be accessed here.

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  • Chatham High School Earns First College Board AP Computer Science Female Diversity Award for Achieving High Female Representation in AP Computer Science Courses

    Posted by Danielle Dagounis on 3/11/2019 7:00:00 AM

    Chatham High School is recognized with the AP Computer Science Principles Female Diversity Award


    Chatham, New Jersey – Chatham High School (CHS) has earned the first College Board AP® Computer Science Female Diversity Award for achieving high female representation in AP Computer Science Principles. Schools honored with the AP Computer Science Female Diversity Award have expanded girls’ access in AP Computer Science courses. Out of more than 18,000 secondary schools worldwide that offer AP courses, CHS is one of only 685 to accomplish this.

    “We are honored by this recognition and are proud of our students studying computer science for their achievements,” said Danielle Dagounis, District Design & Technology supervisor.  “As a District, we are committed to continuing to provide all students with access to computer science courses and learning experiences across grades K-12, as well as AP Computer Science courses.  Mr. Hajdu has done a phenomenal job of connecting with our female students to ensure continued interest and success in the subject area, as well as overall growth of the program which has seen a 375% increase in enrollment since the 2013-2014 school year.”

    Schools receiving the AP Computer Science Female Diversity Award have either 50% or higher female representation in one of the two AP computer science courses or a percentage of the female computer science examinees meeting or exceeding that of the school’s female population. Only 490 schools earned the AP Computer Science Female Diversity Award for AP Computer Science Principles.

    “By inviting many more young women to advanced computer science classrooms, Chatham High School has taken a significant step toward preparing all students for the widest range of 21st-century opportunities,” said Trevor Packer, College Board senior vice president of the AP Program. “We hope this inspires many other high schools to engage more female students in AP Computer Science and prepare them to drive innovation.”

    The AP Computer Science Principles course launch in 2016 was the largest in Program history. AP Computer Science Principles has promoted the growth of AP computer science in high schools. AP computer science course participation increased 135% since 2016, broadening STEM career opportunities for more students. The number of female, rural, and underrepresented minority students taking AP computer science exams has more than doubled in that period.

    Providing female students with access to computer science courses contributes to gender parity in the industry’s high-paying jobs and drives innovation, creativity, and competition. According to UNESCO’s Institute of Statistics data, less than 30% of the world’s researchers are women; in North America and Western Europe, it’s just 32%. Research shows women are more likely to pursue computer science if they’re given the opportunity to explore it in high school.




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  • Chatham High Senior Rhea Sinha Wins National Center for Women and Information Technology Award

    Posted by Danielle Dagounis on 3/8/2019 7:00:00 AM

    Chatham High School senior Rhea Sinha was named Affiliate Winner in the National Center for Women and Information Technology Aspirations in Computing Awards. Last year Rhea was an Affiliate Honorable Mention.

    “I was really excited to be recognized because I've loved all my computer science courses at CHS so much and I can't wait to learn more about the subject in college and hopefully work in the field in the future,” Sinha said.

    For consideration for this award, Sinha completed an application detailing her interest in Computer Science, including the classes she’s taken at CHS, which include the following: Intro to Computer Science I, Animation and Movement, Intro to Computer Science II, AP Computer Science Principles, and AP Computer Science A!.

    “Rhea has been an exceptional member of our computer science program at Chatham. Having taken every computer science class available and being president/founder of the Mental Pursuits club, her activity has been an inspiration to others," John Hajdu, CHS computer science teacher, said. "As the latest member of our ever-growing group of NCWIT award winners, she should be very proud of her achievements!”

    Sinha enjoys coding - and problem-solving more generally - and has coded in Java, JavaScript, C++, and HTML.

    Last summer, she participated in several activities and leadership roles in the field of computer science. She attended Camp Codea, a programming camp at the financial technology company Liquidnet in New York City. She also participated in the Girls Go CyberStart competition last year, which she enjoyed.

    Sinha plans to major in Computer Science and Biology next year in college.

    The awards ceremony will be at Kean University on April 2nd from 5-8 p.m.


    The full Tap into Chatham article can be accesseed here.


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  • Chatham Board of Education Open Curriculum Meeting Featured Presentations in Mathematics, Design & Technology

    Posted by Danielle Dagounis on 12/18/2018 7:00:00 AM

    CHATHAM, NJ – Which one doesn’t belong – flexible seating, technology integration, desmos, the Mathematic Twitter Blogosphere, Edpuzzle? They all belong. These words, including ‘which one doesn’t belong, were all used by K-12 Mathematics Supervisor Stacy Winters during a presentation before the school board on Monday, Dec. 17.

    She was describing the changes in the mathematics curriculum in the previous five years.

    Her presentation was one of two at the Open Curriculum Meeting that preceded the regular board meeting. Both presenters offered thanks to the Board of Education for supporting their ideas for programs and space, and the Chatham Education Foundation, the PTO, and Preferred Freezer Services for supporting their departments and students with targeted donations. Winter’s presentation can be seen on the YouTube Video beginning at 11 minutes into the video.

    There have been so many changes in the mathematics curriculum that her first slide read, “What we do now that we couldn’t/didn’t do five years ago.”  Some changes are obvious, flexible seating with white boards on the table tops and around the spaces, allowing for collaboration.

    The district now uses Illustrative Mathematics, a problem-based curriculum, which incorporates an active classroom, the use of apps as a way to “see” how students are thinking, fluid resources and technology integration.

    The #MtBoS – the Mathematic Twitter Blogosphere, which started in 2015, allows one to post a question on twitter and receive advice and suggestions from people around the world.

    Among the apps now being used by students and faculty are: Demos, Edulastic, Edpuzzle and Which One Doesn’t Belong.

    Demos, created in 2014, is an interactive tool that allows the student and teacher to communicate during a lesson. A teacher can pose a question to multiple students and have a live discussion on the screen. There can be immediate real-time assessment of how a student or students are progressing on a topic. The attention can be individual (anonymous) or group.

    Edulastic is a data-heavy app actively used in the middle school and some high school classes. It can show the teacher when a student has achieved “standard mastery” of a subject and will isolate those areas where additional work is needed.

    Edpuzzle is an app which allows students to watch a video – either as a refresher on topics with which they should be familiar, or as an introduction to a new topic  During the video, there will be pauses during which the student will be asked a question and the teacher can review the video later to see if the student needs help, and if so, where. Teaching mathematics has changed – the focus is now on applying skills and explaining strategies to finding an answer.

    Which One Doesn’t Belong is one of those apps, which asks open-ended questions that “allows all students to be right and explain their thinking,” said Winters. This is being used at all grade levels – from Kindergarten through high school.

    Estimation 180, which is an app used in fourth and fifth grade, asks students to estimate something, given a few pieces of information. Things will continue to evolve. After all, some topics which were first addressed in high school are now taught in middle school.

    The second presentation was by Design & Technology Supervisor Danielle Romero Dagounis, who, made her first presentation on the topic in the 2013-2014 school year. There were only two classrooms available to the program and they were in the high school.

    “Only if you were a high school student were you able to engage in our Design & Technology or our STEM program,” she said. Three programs which are now in the Design & Technology curriculum, Introduction to Computer Science I, Introduction to Computer Science II and Advanced Placement Computer Science belonged to the math department, Dagounis said.

    At elementary schools in the beginning of 2014, they turned computer labs connected to the libraries into STEM labs. The desktop computers were in the way, which didn’t align with the STEM program goals.

    At the middle school, they took over a computer lab and a regular classroom, which led to a lot of clutter and didn’t allow for a lot of hands-on design work and limited what they were able to do. That was then – today things are quite different. At the elementary level students learn how to work as a team – not as easy as it seems at that age.

    Thanks to PTO donations, they now have collaborative seating at all levels. Students in K-3 develop a foundation and at fourth and fifth grades in Lafayette, they can apply that foundation and engage in coding, CAD and 3D printing.

    At the Middle School, all the courses have been redesigned and some new ones created. In addition, they added sports journalism and media production to the course listing. The addition which is dedicated to their course offerings has provided lots of additional space, including floor space and white boards on walls, and ability to expand their offerings.

    The addition has three labs – the Innovation Lab; Prototyping Lab and Design Lab.
    At the middle school there is also a video/media production classroom and a studio. The Technology Club was turned into a Lego League Club.

    This is the first year of the entire redesign of the Design & Technology program. There are two AP Computer Science classes, and a way for students to enter and exit the robotics and computer science classes. Other courses include Digital Media Design, which can transition into Video Production, TV Production and Short Films.

    For more details about the Design & Technology program today, watch the video of the Curriculum Meeting on YouTube. Design & Technology beginning at 29 minutes.


    Full Tap into Chatham article can be accessed here.


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  • NJIT to Host Engineering Career Day

    Posted by Danielle Dagounis on 10/22/2018 8:35:00 AM
    New Jersey Institute of Engineering (NJIT) is hosting an annual Engineering Career Day on Friday, December 7, 2018. 
    The program is designed to give high school juniors and seniors an opportunity to explore engineering and consider engineering as a career path.  Students will be escorted throughout the campus to meet current engineering students and faculty, and be presented with systems, devices, robots and vehicles.   
    Specific fields that will be explored (all in the same day) include Biomedical Engineering, Chemical, Biological & Pharmaceutical Engineering, Civil & Environmental Engineering, Electrical & Computer Engineering, Mechanical & Industrial Engineering, and Engineering Technology.  
    For more information, please see the following link -
    DATE:  Friday, December 7, 2018
    TIME:  7:40am - 2:30pm  (departure and arrival at CHS)
    WHERE: NJIT Campus - University Heights, Newark, New Jersey 07102 USA 
    COST: $20 per student (includes transportation, lunch will be free and served by NJIT)
    CHS has been invited to take a maximum of 20 students (juniors and seniors).  If interested, please complete this form by Thursday, October 25.  Students chosen to attend will be taken in order of sign-up - first-come, first-serve.
    If you have any questions, please reach out to Mrs. Elizabeth Tully-Cano or Mrs. Kaitlin Sleight.
    Sign up here:
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  • CHS Robotics Team Placed in World Championship Competition

    Posted by Danielle Dagounis on 5/18/2018

    After countless work sessions, hours documenting their journey in their engineering notebooks, and even late night adjustments to the CADD, the Chatham Cougars Robotics team competed at the FIRST Tech Challenge (FTC) World Championship this past week held in Detroit, Michigan. The team battled it out in a four day competition against 128 teams from around the world including Romania, China, South Korea, The Netherlands, and Germany for a chance to call themselves World Champions.

    A rookie team at the World Championship, the Chatham Cougars had a total of nine qualification matches to rank high enough to move into the semi-finals elimination bracket of the tournament. After a 20 minute judged interview on their process, robot inspections, and winning their first match, the team ended the first day with confidence. At the end of the second day, the team’s record was 5-1, and their ranking at the competition was bouncing between 4th and 7th place. The team’s excitement grew as they continued to win matches and prove they deserved to be at the World Championship. With one more day of qualification matches to go, the Cougars’ confidence soared. 

    However, two of their opponents on Friday push past by a few points. The team ended the week at the FTC World Championship with a record of 6-3, finishing at 20th in the World, a feat very few teams accomplish.

    Team in front of their Pit at the Cobo Center

    Team in front of their Pit at the Cobo Center
    Left to right: Co-captain Chris Landolfi, Aliza Reshamwalla, Vedant Kudalkar,

    Tessa Mason, Amber Reshamwalla, Chris Doherty, co-captain Carson Storm


    Julianna Ryan, Robotics teacher at Chatham High School, said, “The journey of this team over the past year has been incredible. I could not be prouder of their hardwork and dedication, which truly paid off at the championship. Collectively, my two teams spent over 600 hours working on their robots outside of class time, and it shows. As this year comes to a close, we will graduate the last group of founding students who have been with us since the beginning of the robotics program three years ago, but I cannot wait to see what they all accomplish at the next stage of their lives.”

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  • CMS Cycles Teacher Awarded CEF Grant for iPad Teleprompters

    Posted by Danielle Dagounis on 5/7/2018

    The Chatham Education Foundation awarded Chatham Middle School Cycles teacher, Elissa Cohen-Michel, a grant to purchase two iPad teleprompters.  These teleprompters allow students to practice their public speaking skills, which are emphasized and practiced throughout projects in the Argument and Debate, Sports Journalism, and News Media Cycles.  

    The use of teleprompters enables students to read text and deliver news stories and advertisements “like the pros,” while at the same time, reduces the anxiety that often coincides with memorizing lines and public speaking. Additionally, teleprompters provide students with a more authentic and realistic experience, as well as an opportunity to integrate and utilize more advanced technology.




    Photographed: Grace Tortorella, Collin Fitzgerald, Spencer Burke and Sam Paone

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  • Chatham High Technology Teacher Jason Mariano Wins 'Image Award'

    Posted by Danielle Dagounis on 5/4/2018

    Chatham High School Technology teacher Jason Mariano was recognized by the New Jersey Technology and Engineering Educators Association with their 2018 Image Award.

    The award honors "individuals who make a special effort that results in positive reflection of TED Education outside of the profession. Recipients of this award have received recognition in their community for their support of advancement of technology education through innovative projects and meaningful student experiences, resulting in positive community response."

    “While I do not know who nominated me for the award, I know I am being presented this award alongside many outstanding individuals in the field of technology education from all parts of New Jersey," Mariano said.  "Being a technology educator has brought so much success and enjoyment to myself professionally and part of it is due to the community of technology teachers that work together within the NJTEEA organization. This award recognizes teachers that support the field of technology education outside of the classroom.

    "I am currently bringing 3D printing to summer camps in NJ that wanted to enhance their STEM content without the need to purchase and maintain the high end 3D printers. I have three 3D printers I bring to a camp in Florham Park and would like to expand to more summer camps. I firmly believe that introducing this type of technology properly into early ages increases interest in engineering and closes gender gaps in all fields of design and engineering.”

    Chatham High School Supervisor of Instructional and Design Technology Danielle Dagounis said, “It is a great honor for Mr. Mariano to be recognized for his dedication to the profession over the past 20 years, 11 of which have been with the District. He was also honored eight years ago through the NJTEEA Innovative Technology Educator award program. Our department is proud to have Mr. Mariano recognized yet again.”

    Mariano will receive his award at the New Jersey Technology and Engineering Educators Association Awards Ceremony on June 8th.

    Link to TAP into Chatham Article


    Chatham High Technology Teacher Jason Mariano is the recipient of the 2018 Image Award

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