A call went out in June 2016 for students, staff, parents/guardians and community members to apply for the committee. We then sent out another call in August prior to the start of school. We received more than 18 applications from staff, parents/guardians and community members, but did not get any from students. We sent out a targeted message to 4th-8th graders and reached out to principals and staff to pass on the message to students who might be interested. We then received 10 student applications. In September 2016, we finalized the team with members coming from almost all of the buildings. We have and will continue to work to get members from all of our schools, and will utilize various avenues to ensure that each building has a voice in this work.
During the school year the committee has focused on creating goals aligned to the districts goals, reviewing and evaluating current technology plan, advising to adapt tech plan as needed for recommendations that would go to the board and develop plans for the future. All of the work for the year is still being planned and no recommendation has been taken to the board of education. As part of this work we are in the middle of data collection from focus groups with students and staff, as well as, data collected from BrightBytes. Following the data collection we will put together a recommendation for the upcoming year to the board. The recommendation will also be dependent on the referendum passing. We are expecting this plan to go to the board in late April or early May.
The team is comprised of five students, four building/district office administrators, two teachers, four parents/guardians and one community member. During October and November, the members attended three meetings that were focused on grounding our work and tying it back to the district vision. During these meetings, we reviewed the district vision and two big rocks, and discussed how they relate to the work being done by the committee. In another meeting during this time period, the committee reviewed the enclosed article drafted by Education Reimagined. The group had a great conversation about the five elements in the article and how the outcomes beyond school are very different than they were during the industrial age (when the current system was devised). The group talked about what learning looks like to them and the best learning experiences they had during school. This led to conversations about how those impactful and game-changing learning experiences can take place more often.
In December, the group participated in an exercise that pushed them to think big. Part of this experience was based on a professional learning experience I participated in this summer with Dr. Kelley in conjunction with the AASA summit, which was held at Google and focused on prototyping. We focused on thinking 10X (brainstorming ways to improve something by 10 times), and what the learning experience could look like from our perspective in the future. The groups were asked to keep the district goals and the elements of the Education Reimagined article in mind during this activity. Finally, I pushed the committee members to challenge themselves by drawing pictures and using fewer words when brainstorming, which helped activate their right brain thinking.
In January and February, the committee will be planning the focus groups that are scheduled to take place in all 10 of our schools. I will be leading these groups with the help of any other committee members who are available. The goal of the sessions will be to get feedback from students about their learning experiences, including how these experiences are influenced/impacted by technology. From our work to this point, it became evident that our committees focus would be on how we can make a greater impact on personalization of learning and examine and identify ways we can impact the learning environment/space to support student learning. At all locations I was available for students and then any staff to participate.