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  • 1.  What a HoS can do to support the tech team - advice needed

    Staff
    Posted 23 days ago
    What would you like Heads of School to know about how to better support the Technology Director (and tech team)?

    We have a transition toolkit to help Tech Directors that are new to their roles. There are many schools with new technology directors at the helm, and I'd like to create a secondary resource for the HoS offering some guidance on how to set their new technology leaders up for success. From your perspective, what can a Head of School do to help a Tech Director?

    I appreciate your input!

    #Leadership

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    Dr. Ashley Cross
    Senior Director of Education and Content
    www.theatlis.org
    888-502-8547
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  • 2.  RE: What a HoS can do to support the tech team - advice needed

    ATLIS Member
    Posted 22 days ago
    Hi Ashley,
    This is a great question and when I read it, one thing immediately came to mind. I think the HoS should evaluate the current senior leadership systems (responsible for the decision making process) that are in place. If there is not a representative from the technology team that is part of that group (Director of Technology etc.), the HoS should either consider having them join that group or at the very least meet with that group regularly throughout the year. Communication is everything and if facilitated by the HoS, the new technology director is set up for success and seen as a leadership position.

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    Angela Mackenzie
    Director of Educational Technology and Library; Computer Science Dept. Chair
    St Margaret's Episcopal School
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  • 3.  RE: What a HoS can do to support the tech team - advice needed

    Posted 21 days ago
    At my school I am in all the Director's meetings, I think that is needed for tech at this point. Next, is making sure the HoS makes it clear that others like Lower / Middle heads can't make decisions that affect the tech department without consultation of tech department. An example, rolling out a new communication platform to teachers without any input of tech. I think most HoS don't try to micro-manage tech but that would be a no-no too. A certain level of autonomy I think is good for tech, hire people you trust to make the right decisions.

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    Brian Hoyt
    French American School of Puget Sound
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  • 4.  RE: What a HoS can do to support the tech team - advice needed

    ATLIS Member
    Posted 21 days ago
    Edited by Liz Beck 21 days ago
    +1 for Tech having a place in the admin meetings. It made a huge difference in efficiency and ability for tech to support the various events and programs that take place at the school. Many schools are understaffed on their tech teams, which means that it's critical for the Director of Technology to be able to look ahead and help the team prioritize. 

    Speaking of prioritization, new Tech Directors really need to hone in on their project management skills. H of S would be wise to invest in project management PD for new Tech Directors...seminars, books, etc... Perhaps ATLIS could support some easy to implement methods and tools that can stand alone within a team (versus needing to be implemented across the organization.)

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    Liz Beck
    Director of Technology
    Laurence School
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  • 5.  RE: What a HoS can do to support the tech team - advice needed

    Staff
    Posted 21 days ago
    Excellent suggestions, thank you! I appreciate hearing the language you use to articulate how important it is for the tech director to have a seat at the table. 

    Liz, I also love the idea of providing some resources around project management. That's definitely a skill that a tech director needs, and I think ATLIS could help. We've had some programming on SCRUM before, and I think we could put together some great resources for the community. On it! :)

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    Dr. Ashley Cross
    Senior Director of Education and Content
    www.theatlis.org
    888-502-8547
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  • 6.  RE: What a HoS can do to support the tech team - advice needed

    Posted 18 days ago
    Hopefully they are told of projects with time to plan. Seems like often by the time I know it is a fire alarm.

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    Brian Hoyt
    French American School of Puget Sound
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  • 7.  RE: What a HoS can do to support the tech team - advice needed

    Posted 18 days ago
    I concur with all of these answers.

    A big one touched on a bit, have a conversation with the director about ANY new software/platforms BEFORE initiating conversations with ANYONE. I have been in the extremely uncomfortable position of sitting in an staff audience as the HOS announced a new platform of which I had no knowledge. I had another come back from a conference years ago and announce all of the teachers were getting kindles to research digital texts. Another one came back and announced all of the teachers were getting ipads in prep for a 1-1 ipad initiative. In all of these cases, I was learning of it at the same time as the audience.

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    Jennifer Lamkins, Ed.D.
    Coordinator of Member and Technology Support Services
    she/her
    Northwest Association of Independent Schools
    5001 California Ave. SW (Ste. 112), Seattle, WA 98136
    Office: 206-323-6137
    Direct: 206-323-7005
    jlamkins@nwais.org
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  • 8.  RE: What a HoS can do to support the tech team - advice needed

    Posted 17 days ago
    I totally agree with the Technology Director being involved in "all things" technology at the get go.  I have been brought in to manage projects in process that change scope and you become the contention person because items were left out or not considered when budgeting.  Many times new systems are added that could have been integrated into current systems. The support of all these one-off systems because difficult for the current staff.

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    Donna Muller
    Oak Hall School
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  • 9.  RE: What a HoS can do to support the tech team - advice needed

    ATLIS Member
    Posted 17 days ago
    @Jennifer Lamkins that's wild, I can certainly see that happening, and it's extremely frustrating.

    In any venture, and especially a school, there has to be enough "minding of the store" that the HoS needs to consider who has to be at the table to help ensure the success of a given initiative. Years ago, our HoS gave us a plain cube of wood. She said that with any decision, there are many individuals to consider in the process, and each side represents those people.

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    Dan

    Daniel C. McGee, M.A., M.Ed.
    Director of Technology & Library Services

    dMcGee@LaurelSchool.org
    Direct: 216.455.3051

    Laurel School
    One Lyman Circle
    Shaker Heights, OH 44122
    LaurelSchool.org
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  • 10.  RE: What a HoS can do to support the tech team - advice needed

    ATLIS Member
    Posted 10 days ago
    I'm very interested in project management-type resources, if ATLIS or anyone here would be willing to share. I feel many of us have heard of the different styles and techniques but knowing how it works in an independent school setting with tech would feel very beneficial, imo.

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    Nicholas Marchese
    Director of Academic Technology
    Emma Willard School
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  • 11.  RE: What a HoS can do to support the tech team - advice needed

    ATLIS Member
    Posted 2 days ago
    Ditto to what others have said about the IT leader being a member of the senior leadership team. If any weight need be added to that argument, EduCause, the Higher Ed IT association, says that such a membership is crucial to the success of the IT program.
    In terms of being made aware of changes, one of the most frustrating things for me has been to find out about physical plant changes too late in the game (even as a member of the senior leadership team).
    Depending on the age/experience of your B&G head, and the architect used, they still may view IT needs as an "add on".
    We had language like this added to construction contracts, along with a full spec for wiring closets/IDFs:

    So called "data wiring" is used for many different purposes in our school's buildings: computer networking, voice, access control, security video, HVAC automation, and more, including special- purpose applications such as lighting system control in performance spaces, energy management, etc. It is important to consider data to be a fundamental utility and engineer it into the building's design, and not attempt to add it later as an afterthought.


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    Bill Freitas
    CTO
    Self-employed
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