How many times have you as an education leader been faced with a significant challenge and asked yourself—–“Where do I begin?” The charge can often seem overwhelming and impossible to get your arms around. Tackling tough, complex issues frequently requires the best thinking from everyone and accentuates the need for strategies that help people work together to build effective solutions.
In the Springfield, MO Public School District last month, Mrs. Marty Moore, Associate Superintendent of Education Services, worked with key department staff members to begin developing a plan for integration of instructional technology in high school classrooms. This was a complex topic that required a systematic, thoughtful approach…….there was a lot on the line if the “plan” missed critical pieces. Marty structured the work session around four key steps driven by critical questions:
- How will we know we are successful with integration of technology in our high schools? What are those indicators of success?
- What issues/concerns need to be addressed in order for us to be successful with technology integration? What do we need to consider and act on in order to achieve those success indicators?
- Which of these clarified issues are “owned” or “partially-owned” by the Department of Education Services? Of those, which are most critical to begin the action planning process?
- What specific actions should be taken to address the top priority issues? Who will be responsible for each action? When should this be completed?
At the end of the work session, Marty and staff had a much deeper understanding of the issues and variables around successful technology integration in grades 9-12. Their work underscored the need for collaboration with other departments and school leaders/staff at the next level of planning. Marty and staff walked away with a focused action plan that will now drive initial technology integration efforts.
What kind of approaches have you used when beginning the planning process? How have you worked in collaborative situations to determine what needs to be done to reach significant goals?