Designing a Plan 4 Change- 7/15/19
This post is week 6 of 8 in the 8 Weeks of Summer Blog Challenge for educators.
How are you planning to implement change this coming school year? How will you make it fit within the overall goal of your school culture and goals, but be true to your vision?
On Wednesday, July 17th, I start my new position for the 2019-2020 school year. I am so excited to join the Sangster Elementary School family as their new School Based Technology Specialist (SBTS). This is my second year in this position and I plan to take many of the lessons learned through my first year as I begin this new journey.
1. Be an archeologist
Right now, I am reading Relentless by Hamish Brewer, if you haven't read this book yet- you should. It is full of straight-forward inspiration and will really make you reflect on your priorities as an educator. So when I came upon this page, I was immediately intrigued. Last year, when I started as a SBTS, I started with my vision and what would inspire me as a teacher. Yes, I met with all my teams and discussed how I could help them and work with them, but I didn't dig deep enough, I now realize.
This year, I want to "dig deeper" and uncover Sangster's "glows and grows."
I want to get to know my staff- what they love about Sangster, what they would like to grow at Sangster and what they personally have always wanted to try but haven't yet. I plan to ask a lot of questions in my "archeological digs." I know that I need to do a lot of listening to really hear my staff's voice so I can best meet their needs and help them use technology to enhance their learning goals.
2. Focus on the shared mission and vision
Successful schools have shared visions and missions. They help set the course throughout the year. So as I begin this new journey, becoming familiar with my school's vision and mission is essential. In the first few weeks in my new position, getting to learn how this mission and vision is embedded in the school's culture is a must. My goal is to collaborate with staff to help them reach both of these using technology that matches these goals.
But this goal is not just for me to implement and staff to receive. I want to work with my staff to find out what their strengths are, what their needs are, and develop goal(s) for them related to using technology that are meaningful to them and engage them. This needs to be truly a collaborative experience and I view my job as more of a "matchmaker" where I help staff discover technology tools linked to their learning goals and outcomes.
3. Share Sangster Elementary School's story
Schools now have the unique opportunity to share their stories using so many new mediums. With social media platforms like Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube, we have amazing outlets to connect with the school community and the wider community. If our goal is truly to "Engage, Inspire and Thrive," then we need to share that. School accounts can share that from a central account, but that just gives us one view of the school- one perspective. Getting more staff involved in telling our school's story honors more voices and creates a shared view of the school and connects all of us in new ways.
What is Sangster ES' story?
But more than that, sharing is a two way street. We share our achievements but also benefit from the collaborative nature of #edutwitter community. As we link our school's posts with a school's hashtag, we collaboratively tell the story and can also learn from others' journeys. This takes our collaborative teaching culture to new heights and connects our schools in new ways. Sangster Elementary School is both a model PLC school and Common Sense Recognized School. Think of all the connections and resources available as we share with other like and aspiring schools.
4. Incorporate Choice and Voice
As I set out using all these lessons, one of the biggest ones is allowing choice and voice in the professional learning opportunities I share. By being an archeologist and focusing on the school's mission and vision, I am better able to hear my staff's voice and customize my professional learning to meet what they want in ways they learn best, building on their strengths. Honoring staff choice and voice leads to a culture of learning.
I have so many great ideas but I am only one voice, one perspective. For any change to be successful, it isn't just about one person's vision but the collaboration of many voices and visions coming together to answer these essential questions. They are so essential I have seen them in at least 2 of the books I have read this summer, including #WanderlustEdu and #Relentless. At the end, it is all about our students and their success.