Investing in People & Professional Development: Achieving Scale & Sustainability with SMART

SMART Technologies Customer Story with Marlborough Public Schools

Technology Leadership and School

Tom Plati, Director of Instructional Technology
Instructional Technology Specialists (ITS):
  Nancy Marrese, Elementary Schools
  Cheryl Pulkowski, Middle School
  Chris Henry, High School
Marlborough Public Schools, Marlborough, MA

Key Challenge

Effectively achieving scale and maintaining sustainability throughout a district integration of SMART into classroom learning experiences.

SMART Solution

SMART Board® Projectors & Displays

SMART Learning Suite (SMART Notebook®, SMART lab™ & SMART response® 2)


Ongoing SMART support and training for MPS staff and teachers will ensure continued success of instructional strategy implementation using existing curriculum enhanced with SMART Solutions.

“Investing in people and professional development is the only way to improve classroom instruction today, tomorrow, and as technology evolves.”
Tom Plati, Director of Instructional Technology

Motivation: Ongoing Training & Support

Marlborough Public School (MPS) District in Massachusetts services 4,598 students. They provide educational services via an early childhood center, 3 elementary schools (grades K-4), a middle school (grades 5-8) and a high school (grades 9-12) — which includes an additional alternative program for high school students. Their district mission values excellence as a standard, ensuring that each student has the opportunity to be successful in an information-rich, global society.

Through high expectations of both teachers and students, MPS has maintained strong academic programs enhanced by technology to prepare students for the challenges ahead, and the importance of becoming a contributor to their community in both future college and career opportunities. However, a key challenge they faced was effectively achieving scale and maintaining teacher sustainability with their SMART Solutions investment.


There was no question in Marlborough educators’ minds after evaluating multiple flat panels, that SMART offered the quality product that best met their needs in terms of durability, visibility of content and easy-to use features. Moreover, Director of Instructional Technology Tom Plati, believed SMART to be the most viable partner to foster robust, ongoing professional development for MPS. SMART’s Efficacy and Implementation (EIM) Team worked closely with Tom and his team of Instructional Technology Specialists (ITS) to empower Marlborough teachers with the tools they needed to motivate students and help create engaging classrooms with integrated technology tailored to specific learning needs.

Constructing Needs-Based Professional Development:

As part of their 3-year technology plan, MPS knew they wanted to reference research and evidence-based professional development practices to ensure they could effectively support their teachers in using SMART Solutions. After partnering with the national group Project Tomorrow®, Tom and his ITS team developed a strategic implementation plan based on teacher needs and suggestions and laid out professional development (PD) opportunities for the entire district — highly leveraging small group and 1 on 1 coaching/mentoring along with 2 district full-day PDs, after-school workshops and in-service courses.

Then, by leveraging SMART’s EIM Team, MPS was able to design and develop more meaningful PD opportunities for their teachers, showcasing effective use of SMART’s hardware and software solutions inside a classroom learning environment — rather than just focusing on features and functions. Additionally, working with the MPS ITS team, SMART was able to help highlight how SMART Solutions could effectively be integrated to enhance their curriculum as well. This overall shared commitment between MPS and SMART ensured that their ITS team remained well-versed and up-to-date on how SMART Solutions could support best teaching practices and curriculum enhancement.


In a feedback survey taken during this past school year, the MPS Instructional Technology Team found that 80% of their teachers who had received coaching from members of the ITS Team (whether in a small/whole group or 1-on-1 setting) rated their training as Effective or Highly Effective. Additional data gathered this year pushed this percentage even higher. This further supports Tom’s philosophy of investing in people and PD. Additionally, the ITS Team observed throughout the school year, that many MPS teachers were now using the SMART Solutions available in meaningful ways to enhance their classroom teaching practices. For example, they saw SMART Solutions helping students better achieve Individualized Education Program (IEP) goals, increase the level of participation for students with severe disabilities (from visual and intellectual impairment, to gross and fine motor skill delays) and grow students’ curiosity and engagement in curriculum content.

Next Steps:

With the above success, the MPS Instructional Technology Team, led by their Instructional Technology Specialists will institute a year-long initiative on all the different instructional capabilities of the SMART technology and emphasizing their powerful new collaboration tool, the SMART Learning Suite Online. Additionally, they are working with SMART to create a robust Professional Learning Community (PLC) for their teachers to internally collaborate within, and share exemplar lessons with one another — to continue to grow their effective technology integration.

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Posted: September 23, 2018
in Outcome Studies