Week 7 & 8: Community

Waiting in the Spokane airport for my flight to Seattle makes me think of community. I’m heading home from an NCCE board retreat, and I’m just trying to capture my feelings about where I am professionally. I’m also ready to go home for game night with friends and Mike, but a little blogging first.

One of my job roles is working with secondary teacher leaders, a community of teachers that “get it.” Our TIFs (Technology Integration Facilitators) are asked to leader their colleagues in professional learning surrounding technology integration.

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TIFs work together to plan professional learning.

Oftentimes they are working past their normal day, setting aside papers to grade and lesson plans to construct. so that they can help their friends use technology effectively with students. They stand up at staff meetings to share ideas or lead discussion that could get tense (technology, after all, can bring out frustrations). I look forward to our meetings so much because this group keeps me connected to schools and helps us focus on work on what will support teachers and students. And – at the end of the day – it’s fun.

I’m also with a community of NCCE superstars known as the Board of Directors. This is my last year on the board, as my term as president is coming to an end on June 30 (also my birthday). I was elected in 2012 as the middle school rep, with 2 years later moving into the president role. This team of educators are professional, fun, energetic, committed, and eager to serve. We laugh together when something is funny, ask questions when something is challenging, and aren’t afraid to dive in. This group has allowed me to the room to develop my leadership style, and I’m grateful for the 5 years I’ve been with them. I trust them and value their commitments to education. It was a bitter-sweet weekend for me (our annual retreat); I’m going to miss this group and I’m going to welcome some freedom in my schedule.

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Office “decorating” (#gohawks)

My other community is my team. I’ve written about them before, and this time I’m going to mention them in light of teamwork. One project we all share is meting with our teacher leaders and their administrator in their buildings. It’s a chance to review the professional learning plans our TIFs create and to facilitate a discussion with their administrator. This fall we are doing them in pairs as a way to introduce our new members to the process. This has provided the opportunity for good conversations and introspection about our beliefs and values. It’s as much a professional learning time for us as it is a support meeting for the teachers we support. These meetings invigorate me and challenge me to be better facilitator.

These last weeks have been busy, with teacher leader meetings, make up sessions for new teachers, cap tech levy planning, and a full day with Jennifer Donahoo talking about collective efficacy. Busy, challenging, meaningful, purposeful community-focused work.

Now I’m heading home to laugh and play with my community of friends, an act that will ultimately make me a better teacher. We all need support, and our communities help us be the best “us” we can be. That’s nothing new or surprising, but a reminder to me to seek out communities that will challenge me to be a better and more authentic version of myself.

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Annual “friends-giving” dinner with my community.

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Week 6: Well then…

It was one of those weeks. One of those “I just left a meeting that generated work, but I can’t start on it yet because I’m off to another meeting.” Over and over again.

That sounds like a complaint. And it’s not that I like meetings, but sometimes we get into meeting so much that we don’t have time work on the things that we need to meet about. That being said, I’m liking my projects and the overall tone and attitude of the team.

Big things on the horizon: final round of new teacher instruction, first (regular) teacher leader meeting, WeVideo class, and going into the field to work with teacher leaders and admins.

The weeks are going by very rapidly (6 already?) and conference deadlines are approaching. So while I took the afternoon off to watch the Hawks beat the 49ers, I also worked on National Board renewal and got caught up on other work this weekend.

Plus brunch.

And date night (movie and dinner).

Good week. Good weekend. 🙂

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Week 5: Hawks

It’s Seahawk’s opening game day. I’m in my house watching alone (but with snacks, thanks to my husband). It’s also more like fall outside. In other words – it’s a good day.

I’m taking the new Hawk’s alternate logo to heart this week. I’m gong to meet challenges head on. So this shirt post is my way of saying “here we go!” I should write more, but my chicken strips are getting cold.

#gohawks

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Week 4: Get(ting) Into the Groove

Year 2 for any position brings advantages and potential challenges. My sophomore year as a Tech Integration Specialist has started with a lot of work, interesting collaborations, and a good vibe around the office. My team is finally complete, and all five of us will be now be around full time. It’s pretty exciting.

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Everyone at LWSD has gone mobile!

Exciting because we have some good opportunities coming up for us. Our initial work with rolling out Surface Books came to a close on Friday as I did the last “roll out” presentation to a very eager group. They had great questions and enthusiasm around the device. The presentations involve coming with a team from technology operations, who are a stellar group that makes this work easier (for me and for classroom teachers). I’ve so enjoyed these presentations, and will miss them. Until the next big tech rollout; then we get to start planning again!

Now our work will focus more on the impact the device makes in the classroom. We started a focus group of early adopters (teachers who got their device a few weeks before the rest of their colleagues). The format mainly provided time to look at our resources and share what impact the device is having on teaching. My teammate and I were so pleased with how the conversations went, and were excited to share how people are using the new equipment. We hope to continue these sessions and increase our support for classroom transformation.

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LWSD early adopters discuss classroom impact.

We’ve also started planning for our we will support our teacher leaders in their work. Our time will be spent visiting teacher leaders and meeting with them and their administrators. These conversations will focus on their professional learning plans for their buildings. I find these dialogues so valuable to my work and a chance to know what I need to do in order to support technology integration efforts.

My team is also working through some opportunities to be more intentional about support teachings in using digital resources. CIPA and COPPA guidelines have necessitated the filtering of some web tools that teachers would like to use (or had access to at one point). This always causes frustration, and we are developing a plan to help everyone understand why and how to use sites well. This has brought up some hard conversations, and I’m grateful for a team that will have them and not just pretend something isn’t happening. I’m also grateful for a supervisor who will engage in this dialogue with us and model leadership through empowerment. The things that challenge us provide the great opportunity for growth.

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So as fall greets me (yes – I am ready for fall!) with a strong sense of the work ahead. It’s going to be a very busy year: National Board renewal, writing a new technology levy, supporting 2 new teammates, NCCE conference (I’m putting in 4 or 5 proposals – and 1 for ISTE!), and the other work my team does. But I feel good about my choice to be in this position. Groovin’.

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Week 3: Teacher Leaders

img_4034The bulk of the work these past 3 weeks has been preparing for our Technology Integration Facilitator (TIF) meetings and Educator Introduction Academy (EIA). Both programs are made possible by our dedicated and talented group of teacher leaders. While it doesn’t make sense for me to go into all the details about both programs, I do want to highlight how they build teacher leadership within my district.

TIFs have  undergone a name change and a role upgrade. The change in title is from a “Mobile Access for Students” facilitator to the new TIF title. It’s meant to echo the img_4055department (Technology Integration) and its roles (Technology Integration Specialist). But it’s more reflective of the work we ask from our leaders. Rather than just leading all-day trainings around classroom technology and how to use them, our TIFs are empowered to develop their own course of Professional Learning for their building. So our meeting day focused on facilitation ideas, adult learning theory, and time to plan what they would do within a given framework. That framework is our district’s technology standards and goals for effective use of our technology resources.

We’ve all received good feedback from the day’s meeting and positive reinforcement for the changes in our program. I’ll write more about its features later, but I wanted to share the overall idea and its initial kickoff for the 2017-18 school year.img_4058

Another program that is dependent upon strong teacher leadership is EIA. We ask classroom teachers to lead our new hires through 7 hours of training that focuses on our technology resources. This has been a good program in the past, and it was time for an update. So this year we incorporated support for mobile teaching strategies and use of OneNote in the classroom. Breakout EDU was utilized as a vehicle for teaching an admittedly dry (yet important) chunk of the day. We also spent more time working together as a team around common messaging, best practice, and how to support our new teachers with so much technology. My team of teachers were professional, engaging, enthusiastic, and exactly what our new educators needed.

I am very proud of the work we’ve accomplished already this year. My team is clicking together well, and we are on track to have a fantastic 2017-18. I’ll have to write about WeVideo (taught  class last week that focused on student presentations) and this year’s journey with the MIE Program (year 4!). But it’s Monday night, and I have quiet evening with my husband to enjoy. We got to spend the weekend at Sun Lakes Resort with some great friends, and I’m happy to have a restful night in.

 

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Week 2: Training like Oprah

This was a fun (albeit crazy) week in the life of this Tech Integration Specialist. The culminating event was presenting 250 new teachers with a Microsoft Surface Book and 1 hour training about the device. The work that lead up to it has been meaningful and memorable

Let’s back up: each August, Lake Washington School District provides 6 days of training to its new teachers. The Educator Introduction Academy introduces District policies, goes over curriculum, provides information about benefits, the union, and other guidelines for working with our students. 1 day each year is dedicated to technology integration.

In the past, this technology day involved helping new teachers set up their account and use a temporary laptop. Every year, there was more than one person who wished they could keep the device all year. We, as facilitators, always agreed with them. This year, the teachers get to keep the device. For as long as they are employees (or until it is upgraded). We referred to it as the “Oprah moment” for our new teachers, and they were nothing but pleased.

We also enlisted a new model for training this year. The laptop portion of EIA was moved from the all day session to 1 hour during the “nuts and bolts” day. We also delivered this instruction to everyone at once, which means that we would need more people to do the training. So all of our Professional Learning Specialists and teacher coaches helped out. It was fantastic.

This was my first event that I coordinated and packaged. It came about through collaboration and team work, and I’m grateful to everyone who provided feedback and helped work through logistics and problems. Our LWSD Technology Operations worked tirelessly to get all of the devices ready to go, and they were onsite to help with any problems that arose. This has been one of my favorite team efforts so far, and I’m so prod to be part of this school district.

The one drawback from the day: I had no time to take any pictures. 😦

This week we deliver the all day training, so I will same my reflections on that for next week.

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Week 1: Welcome Back TOSA

 

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Mount Rainier hiking (one of many fun summer adventures)

Five wonderful weeks of summer vacation have merged into a busy, and exciting, fall in Redmond. 75% of our team assembled this week to begin planning for the work that we hope to accomplish during the 2017-18 school year. Even though we did a majority of this planning back in June, the work ahead of us is palpable as we begin to dive into technology standards, new resources, updating existing programs, and preparing our teacher leaders to support excellent teaching in their buildings.

Lake Washington administrators attended several technology sessions this week so that they can support their staff with mobile teaching. We discussed acceptable use policy, ideas for using a mobile device as a teacher, and took him through different activities using the OneNote staff notebook. These topics were mainly influenced by the fact that all Lake Washington teachers now  have a new Surface Book to use in the classroom. Our goal is that administrators of a model effective mobile teaching strategies so that their staff can see how a device can impact instruction.

 

We are also continuing to prepare for over 240 new teachers to arrive on Friday. We will help them get to know their new device and start thinking about what quality technology integration looks like. I also get to meet with my trainer is on Friday to review the material that we planned last spring. I’m always excited for new teacher orientation, as it is a chance to meet so many dedicated teachers who are excited and eager to start such an impactful career.

On Friday we reviewed our plans for the work we will do with her teacher leaders next week. We are fortunate to have at least one teacher leader in every building whose job is to coordinate professional learning with their colleagues. We have an active day planned will be looking at adult learning strategies, relieving mobile teaching strategies, and getting together in smaller groups to begin planning for the year.teamwork-sign1

As I reflect back on this week, it’s no surprise how tired I was at the end of each day. . I’m honored to work with such dedicated professionals who focus on how we support teachers who are leading the students in their classrooms. We have one new team member, and another new team member arriving this week. We have laughed, problem-solved, disagreed respectfully, worked through challenges, and ended the week with a shared vision that focuses on quality teaching.

I’m looking forward to my second year in this role, and I’m eager to continue developing my brand as a Technology Integration Specialist.

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