Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Progress toward Building Goals

This question was recently posed to me: "What progress has been made on the collaboratively developed building goals?" And my reply in a word, "Technology". Our district at large was also prioritizing our technological needs globally, knowing full well that at-large we were in need of a technological overhaul. Our little district in the far rural suburbs of Chicago didn't even have the infrastructure and fiber optics to make an building visions come to fruition. So with their own agenda in full swing, our building joined the cause as we have been in desperate need of technology upgrades for quite some time. After all, we live in the generation of devices and social media, and every minute that passes where we deprive our students of their right to technology literacy within the school day, is a very sad minute. We started the year with a computer lab and a really stringent computer lab schedule, and that was the extent of our technology access. True story. We assembled a committee representing every grade level and department in the school, and away we went, meeting, envisioning, researching and working. And every time the committee met, individuals went back to their grade level/support teams and disseminated what was discussed and collected feedback that would help to guide our proceedings. Meanwhile, our principal and a few members of the committee maintained conversation with district "officials" to gain their support with our intentions and to make sure our building vision was aligning with the district building. And in one year, with the help of the district and our very aggressive and forward-thinking principal, our committee did the following: brought Apple TVs into every classroom, secured a Smartboard for the building, gained notepads or iPads for students receiving support services, obtained enough laptops to open a second computer lab freeing up more opportunities for technology access, investigated, researched and invested in a number of apps and web-based resources for students, and organized weekly professional development sessions called "Technology Fridays" where short and sweet demonstrations were offered to staff members on all things technology (apps, Google, social media, educational websites, annotation websites, and of course the list goes on...). Success!!! What a year!! We know that we have miles to go to really make our building technologically literate; however, for a years work, we are really proud of the gains we made. We want our students to know we hear their voices, and we want to move them forward. And so, we work. Meanwhile, our district made significant strides with infrastructure and next year we will go 1-to-1. We are learning together, and it is making a difference.

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