If They Are Listening

If you could speak openly and honestly to a principal or
superintendent, what would you say? What
would you tell him or her about technology, classrooms, and change?


Hopefully, you have multiple opportunities to do this in an
ongoing professional dialogue about what is best for students. This is one of those opportunities.  What
can I learn from you about how to make a difference in my school regarding
these issues? What can I pass on to my
colleagues in my district and around the country? Someday when I am a superintendent, what can
I do to make a difference in a dozen schools?


There are many criticisms out there about public school
administrators, and many of them are fair, but we also need people to come
forward with ideas and solutions. The
comment on yesterday’s post by Scott Floyd is a great place to start. I’d like to hear from others. Please contribute.

Posted by Steve Poling.

3 Responses to “If They Are Listening”

  1. Our students are going to be entering a world outside of school much different than what we faced. More technological. More advanced. Even different from what they faced in elementary and middle school. It is our job to ensure their readiness.

    We do that by beginning an ongoing discussion that never ends. We (open invitation) should meet quarterly where we discuss what we are doing that is working to prepare our current near-graduates. We continue with what needs to change for those shortly behind them. We make educated decisions on where our infrastructure should be going to stay ahead of the user load for future applications to avoid too much expense all at one time. We talk about the availability of these tools for our students. We find ways to offer free, on-time professional development to our teachers on school time (too much has been forced upon them that they have to be trained on personal time and that leads to rejection of the change). We have staff available to assist with the fusion of technology and core curriculum. Our hardware and software offerings would be expandable (open-source) to meet the needs of the ambitious students and teachers. There would be collaboration between the community, the students, and the entire staff throughout the discussion, design, and implementation processes. Administration would be a part of the discussion, but they would not be the discussion. All topics about the curriculum and its offerings are on the table regardless of cost or ease of training and use. There would be a central discussion point (blog) that would be utilized between meetings so ideas would not be lost and everyone can be more prepared before the next meeting. And most importantly, the reason for the discussion would be central: preparing our students for the real world that they are already dabbling in at home in less than ideal situations. Train them in the right way to use the technologies and there will be less problems to be concerned with.

    Will there be issues regardless? Sure. But there is absolutely no reason to cheat the vast majority of students and teachers who will use the tools for the educational value they were intended.

    Is this a challenge? Heck yeah. Would it be worth it? Absolutely. The one reply I get so tired of hearing is that “What we are doing now is working just fine. Let’s not rock the boat. We don’t have to have all that technology stuff.” There is no room in a productive environment for that.

  2. Wow, your comments are exciting! I love your passion, ideas, committment to student learning. I will not only save your comments for my own reflection but I will make sure my fellow principals hear them. I will be blogging later this semester for a new blog on the National Association of Elementary School Principals website. Your voice will be heard!

  3. Thanks. I’m glad you see that in my writing. I have a drive like you haven’t seen. Funny how it can be wasted like so many other forward thinking educators. I have taken my message to our Capitol with limited acceptance. While there are those who support the idea of a much needed paradigm shift, they refuse to offer the required funding that would accompany it. It is easier to waste away and blame the system than to step up and be a leader to fix/improve it. Makes for better/cheaper election fodder.

    If I could only find a district around here with a superintendent like Doug Otto.

    Thanks for passing on my thoughts. I am more than happy to discuss them anytime.

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