Building Leadership Capacity for Digital Transformation
Transforming teaching and learning with technology is a complex process that requires a foundation of shared leadership across all members of the organization. The success of our digital teaching and learning initiative (TL2020) is largely due to the cultivation of district, building and individual staff leadership. While leadership and vision are the foundation of the success of the TL2020 initiative, everyone in the organization has the potential for leadership and shares that responsibility - from students, teachers and administrators to board members. This article provides a glimpse into how the Salisbury Township School District’s focus on leadership is driving a digital transformation.
The administration - Superintendent, Assistant Superintendent, Supervisor of Instructional Practice, Directors and Principals - has worked with the Board of School Directors over many years to define a vision for teaching and learning and then work with parents, students and teachers to embrace the vision and bring it to life in our classrooms. Throughout the year, Curriculum & Technology committee meetings of the Board take place in school buildings where students and teachers have the opportunity to showcase their learning while Board members deepen their understanding of the District’s vision and mission for teaching and learning.
The administrative team meets monthly as a teaching and learning professional learning community to improve and expand their understanding of technology applications, second-order change leadership and new teaching and learning trends involved in improving instructional practice, such as PA Core, SAMR and Webb’s Depths of Knowledge.
Several years ago, TLC, a leadership team consisting of computer technicians, library media teachers and instructional coaches as well as the Assistant Superintendent for Teaching and Learning and the Supervisor of Instructional Practice, was organized to work with teachers to translate the vision of a student-centered, technology-rich learning environment to the classroom. The TLC meets monthly and is responsible for the design, development and implementation of professional development opportunities to support teachers. This past year, the TLC worked with students to lead professional development opportunities on newly acquired software products.
Student leadership has been a significant component of TL2020. Developed six years ago to build the leadership capacity of students, Digital Aces meet regularly to learn advanced features and applications available on the laptop computers. Students share their learning with peers and teachers back in the classroom. This past year, the Digital Aces established a help desk and offered orientation sessions for new students. The orientation provided various stations where students could increase their comfort level with software, hardware and file management.
Individual leadership is modeled throughout the district. Administrators and teachers regularly share presentations on educational and technology topics at national, state and local conferences including the locally organized EduSummit (a collaboration of 3 Project RED Signature Districts), various Edcamps and the District’s Summer Academy.
TL2020 has been highlighted at national, state conferences, specifically, AASA, PETE & C, Pennsylvania’s state technology conference, PASA/PSBA, the state conference for school administrators and school board members, the Bucks-Lehigh EduSummit and the PA Women’s Caucus. Assessing and Evaluating Your Tech Initiative was presented at AASA, PETE&C and the PA Women’s Caucus this past year. In the presentation, a framework from generating goals, collecting and analyzing data to reporting findings to stakeholder groups was shared. Also this past year, SAMR: Leveling Tech Integration was presented at PETE&C. A sampling of previous presentations have included Approaches to Literacy for Generation Z, and Twitter for Superintendents.
Leadership is the keystone of every digital learning initiative. It can be found and nurtured all across the organization, from the school board and superintendent to the teachers and students in the classroom. To learn more about Salisbury’s digital teaching and learning initiative, visit TL2020.org.