Freedom Area Senior High School

For decades, Freedom educated students from rural and manufacturing communities to meet the needs of the local economy. Now, Freedom's students must compete in a global economy, and the community seeks new ways to prepare its students for the digital future. In this case, administrators, faculty, families, and students respond to efforts to integrate technology into the core curriculum.
For decades, Freedom educated students from rural and manufacturing communities to meet the needs of the local economy. Now, Freedom’s students must compete in a global economy, and the community seeks new ways to prepare its students for the digital future. In this case, administrators, faculty, families, and students respond to efforts to integrate technology into the core curriculum.

Dr. Ron Sofo works with his district on sustainable technology integration.

Scene Photo

Freedom, Pennsylvania

Freedom, Pennsylvania, sets on the banks of the Ohio River, just thirty miles north of Pittsburgh, amid rolling hills and abandoned steel mills. In response to the decline of the local economy, the school system shifts its approach. The Classrooms for the Future program offers an educational vision that looks forward to new and better times.

District Vision Statement and District Demographics.

Superintendent Ron Sofo leads the school system through the change process. His long history in the district and involvement in technology initiatives inform his perspective on Freedom Area Senior High School’s mission. Through participation in grants from Project 720 and Classrooms for the Future and other reform initiatives, Sofo promotes institutional change. Moving a traditional school system into a more innovative mode presents great challenges, and technology integration is just one part of a comprehensive growth plan.

Sofo’s presentation on Connecting Project 720 and Classrooms for the Future.

Sofo knows only too well that change can be expensive. He budgets to acquire, utilize, and maintain the technology infrastructure—knowing that technology integration requires ongoing investment and cuts to other programs. With a third of his faculty due to retire in the next five years, Sofo targets staff development for teachers most likely to stay in the system.


Dr. Ron Sofo, Superintendent

Technology coaches support teachers at Freedom Area Senior High School.

School leaders support technology integration.

An established faculty often finds change difficult. But in this first phase of reform, the faculty at Freedom Area Senior High School is enthusiastic about learning new skills and integrating technology into their teaching. From his viewpoint, Principal Rusty Staub sees both the barriers to change and the benefits to the community of moving forward.


Dr. Rusty Staub, Principal


In the recently created school-based position of technology coach, Tom Hickey works with technology coordinator Matt Scala to help teachers and students use technology in their daily lessons. Their outlook is informed by knowledge of the eight learning outcomes adopted by the school and the push to improve achievement. They expect instruction and learning to look very different in five years.



Teachers reflect on technology use—past and present.

Scene Photo

Teachers work with students.

Teachers at Freedom recall when their teaching tools included textbooks, a chalkboard, and an overhead projector. Although many still feel more comfortable with these traditional tools, they are gearing up to meet today’s challenges and beginning to use innovative software and equipment in their lessons. Tackling new skills and learning different models of teaching using these technologies moves teachers out of their comfort zone.


Jim Wilson, English Teacher


Becky Rolinson, English Teacher

  • Samples of student work from the Tuesdays Project NOTE: Due to this video’s large file size, we recommend downloading it to your desktop before viewing. Click on the link and select “save”. [download]

John Rosa, Math Teacher and Union President

Students and teachers broaden learning opportunities.

Scene Photo

Computers make lessons more lively.

Technology allows for unprecedented and instantaneous connectivity between and among students, teachers, administrators, families, and others around the globe. While this idea is revolutionary to the faculty of Freedom and other schools, it is the norm for today’s students. Kim Boggs, Network/Telecommunications Teacher, understands both perspectives.



Many high school students complain they are bored and wonder about the relevance of their lessons to life after graduation. Most of Freedom’s students begin working while still in school, holding down jobs that require twenty or more hours per week. Although 68% of Freedom’s graduates attend college, only half complete degrees. School administrators know they can do a better job preparing students for success. Technology provides opportunities to increase accountability, broaden learning options, and engage students in a more rigorous curriculum.


Students