Mr. Donohue is a CTE department leader at the Academy of innovative technology high school. He started out working in a newsroom, publishing a website for a radio station, fifteen years ago.
He started his teaching career in a different school than AoIT. It was a zone school and the kids who attended did so, mostly, because they had to, not because they wanted to. It wasn’t an active choice and usually, when a child is not given a voice in decisions which affect him or her, it shows in the work they do and in their engagement, or more precisely, their lack of it.
As Mr. Donohue pitched ideas on how to get kids in the school that wanted to be there and truly benefit from what he could teach, the school ignored his proposals and turned the other way. He saw that the school wasn’t really looking for change, so he began a search for a school that was. In 2011 he went to a hiring fair for teachers and encountered the principle of The Academy of Innovative Technology, or AoIT- Ms. Cynthia Fowlkes. She loved what he was offering, and wanted for her school, exactly what Mr. Donohue was trying to accomplish. Since then he has worked very hard to bring in kids that want to come to AOIT, rather than kids who have to come here. Now he is very happy to says kids are choosing to come to our school for all the right reasons, because they want to learn what is being taught here. Many of the students currently attending selected AoIT based on their participation at one of the city’s high school fairs, where they got a chance to see everything that AOIT has to offer; programs such as: web design, computer repair, game design, graphic design, and robotics.
Mr. Donohue is very happy on how the school has progressed over the past six years. When he first started here there were only two Computer labs, his room looked really broken down and had out of date computers. In addition, coding wasn’t being taught at the time. Initially the main focus of his classes was advanced design view. However, when he took over as head of the CTE department, he brought coding in and now more than half of the classes we have to offer deal with acquiring coding skills that are in high demand in the world of technology. He also helped to build a robotics program which previously hadn’t existed at AoIT at all.
Over the years Mr. Donohue has worked on expanding the school's corporate connections and technology partnerships so kids can have summer internships at tech related companies such as Verizon. He has also committed himself to ensuring that AoIT’s tech program reaches a level rigorous enough that colleges would actually acknowledge and accept the credits students receive from AoIT computer classes. One such college that has already agreed to this is St. Joseph’s college.
As much as he has accomplished, Mr. Donohue’s work is far from done. The next step in his vision for our school is to build a program where the credits received here can carry on to every New York State CTE college. This would be a great benefit to the school, helping to attract even more talented students, and continue AoIT on its trailblazing path.