Last week ten Arizona school districts came together for the Southwest Leadership Summit. Teams of key district decision makers – superintendents, assistant superintendents, CIOs/CTOs, curriculum and instruction and finance officials, teacher leaders – spent two full days of beginning or expanding their plans for creating successful 1:1 environments. Intel and One-to-One Institute We got deep into the weeds on the significance of leadership for second order change, how to lead and create a scaffold of support and guidance in these transformative environments.. The need for pedagogical shift from teacher to student-centered and personalization was demonstrated through an inquiry process. Infrastructure, financial sustainability, professional learning, policies and procedures were all part of the summit curricula. Some commented on the provocation of ‘how’ the right work actually gets done and the barriers that arise to impede the processes. There is no sugar coating the tough road to hoe these teams will encounter as they move forward. The experience and many conversations reinforced the tremendous complexity of this work – regardless if one is in a 3500 or 70,000 student district. There are advantages and disadvantages in all scenarios. The key is in the detailed focus, from the onset, of examining the culture, the myriad of factors that contribute to that culture, magnitude of change, engagement of stakeholders in the visioning process in order to get to a workable strategic plan for each unique environment. It was inspiring how most districts had proofs of concept or first step processes in place to launch their efforts toward 1:1 or some ratio of student to computer improvement. There’s a different ‘entry ramp’ for everyone. The other impressive fact was that each district devoted these two days of top leadership involvement in figuring out their next steps and how to build for success. There’s no exception to the phrases, ‘what we think about we bring about’ – ‘what we pay attention to we can create’. These leaders understand the imperative of engagement, focus and modeling to getting the work done well and effectively. There was a lot of discussion about how the details around this work seems overwhelming. But districts began banding together, across district borders, to collaborate, share resources, practices, so they could move forward with reliance on one another. That alone was a major take-away. These districts are moving ahead with connections, resources and hope. That is a great thing for Arizona students and communities.
Leslie Wilson CEO – One-to-One Institute Co-author – Project RED