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Innovative Tech Class Named 'Program Of Excellence' In New Rochelle

Anthony Stirpe's filmmaking class has been named a Program of Excellence at the New Rochelle High School.
Anthony Stirpe's filmmaking class has been named a Program of Excellence at the New Rochelle High School. Photo Credit: Peter Olsen

NEW ROCHELLE, N.Y. - A New Rochelle High School teacher’s innovative program has earned statewide honors for its use combining technology and the arts in the classroom.

Anthony Stirpe’s Writing and Filmmaking program in the high school has been named as a New York State English Program of Excellence by the English Council.

Each year, the English Council recognizes unique programs that have been installed for at least three years that have aided English Language Arts instructions by providing creative and innovative opportunities for students and teachers.

While the use of phones is forbidden in most classrooms, Stirpe’s program encourages the use of devices. Students are tasked with analyzing the writing of classic and modern authors in different ways. Using their devices, students create films and documentaries based on the literature, which is then presented to the class.

This isn’t the first award for Stirpe and his filmmaking class, which replaced a script writing class when a teacher retired two years ago. In the past three years since its inception, the program has won the Content and Curriculum Achievement Award from the International Society for Technology in Education and the Center for Digital Learning and the Pioneer award from BOCES.

Stirpe and the students will be awarded the Program of Excellence on Friday, Oct. 21 in Albany.

“Really, it is the kids I am excited for,” he said. “They have demonstrated how innovation can transform a traditional classroom, and it is exciting that NYSEC has recognized the significance of the stories they are creating and the critical thinking that is involved tackling such a significant endeavor.

“And, I have to admit, it is fun to see kids use their mobile devices as a learning tool, and not just silly Snapchats and Facebook posts.”

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