How to Put Together a District-Level Digital Leadership Team
Your school district has decided to purchase the latest digital devices from a leading edtech company. How can you roll out all of these digital devices at once with the greatest success rates? Fortunately, plenty of school districts are already paving the way for the best practices in a digital device rollout. Following the example set by others can help you to implement your rollout more effectively. Here are a few digital leadership tips to help your device implementation move more smoothly.
Steps to a forming a district-level digital leadership team
When attempting a digital device rollout, the district must first assemble a digital leadership team to oversee the implementation. Groups no larger than seven usually work best. The team can be made up of a variety of district personnel and staff. Digital leadership teams normally consist of IT personnel, a school board member, the superintendent and assistant superintendents, principals, teachers, and other pertinent individuals.
Once the team is created, efforts must be made to assess the district’s capacity for implementing and sustaining digital learning. The team must ask itself whether the district has all of the resources needed to implement and sustain successful digital learning. In extreme cases, when the district feels it is unable to coordinate its digital learning initiative, the team might want to consider allowing a consulting firm to oversee the process.
Many well-qualified firms will be able to either work in conjunction with a digital leadership team or oversee the process themselves. Note, however, that this can turn into an enormous job with an enormous price tag. It will require resisting the urge to compromise on any phase of the device rollout process.
The consulting team or team leader must be committed to finding and implementing innovative strategies that have the potential to implement your digital device rollout effectively. Assembling a top-notch team is simply not enough, however. All of the major administrators, including the superintendent and school board, must fully support the decisions of the digital leadership team.
Remember that parents, community leaders, and policymakers must be included in the device rollout. Many parents are involved in their students’ educational plans and simply want to be informed of any changes, and may have questions about digital learning issues such as screen time and digital addiction.
The digital leadership team will need to decide if parents and community leaders should be included as formal members of the districts restructuring team, or to simply illicit their advice and expertise as needed. When making decisions concerning what individuals will populate the leadership team, remember to include members have the expertise to be taken seriously within the district.
Prepared agendas are essential for smooth meetings and excellent communication among the team. Preparing agendas are the team leader’s responsibilities. The leader of the team must remain patient, but a sense of urgency must be the catalyst for all meetings. Outside consultants could be considered but are not necessary for the success of the device rollout. Since the team will be made up primarily of school district personnel and various other community members and parents, having an outsider on the team will give the team valuable expertise, in addition to an objective lens with which to gauge progress.
It will be helpful to determine what viable options for implementation that the team can utilize. If the district rollout is district-wide, each school will need to analyze its individual needs and the options available. A district-wide plan must be developed while bearing in mind that each school will need to modify the plan based on the needs of the students. Once the system of device rollout is created and approved by all team members, the plan will need to be approved by the superintendent before it is presented to the school board.
A word to the wise, don’t attempt to rollout your digital devices to all schools at the same time. Try a phased approach. Maybe start with elementary schools, then move to middle schools and finally high schools. It’s important for digital leadership teams to work together to effect positive change – but it doesn’t happen overnight. Careful planning must be part of the plan and input from several sources for the best results to take place.