Goals: 2013

Our Superintendant asked us to create goals and last week we had a follow up meeting. I figured I would share the memo that sums up what we are doing. 

Team

For the past several months we have been working hard in my department to help teachers as fast and as friendly as possible. We are working closer with teachers than ever before. We have started to curate a troubleshooting document that will assist techs and teachers to fix any technology issues that may present themselves. My team has also grown leaps and bounds over past years and they are doing a great job serving our teachers at Huron City Schools. My team has been diligently tracking their time in order to find balance between their duties (library & technology).

 

Purchasing

This year we have been able to get most of our scheduled upgrades completed in the district. We have installed a new state of the art computer lab at HHS to better serve our students who are entering the art and technology fields. We have replaced over 15 aging staff machines and we have seen a decrease in helpdesk requests due to the implementation of JAMF (Our Mac management software). There are still a few things that were planned for this year that have not been able to be completed to due to funding issues.

 

Professional Growth

This year I have had the opportunity to partake in several learning experiences that have benefitted the Huron City Schools. I have been involved with the Ohio Etech State Conference, Educon 2.5, Vermillions 1:1 learning event, as well as a Project Management Seminar. These experiences have helped me become not only a better leader but also a better manager for the projects that are currently in the works at Huron City Schools.

Marketing

Marketing and communicating are an integral part to having a successful school district. This year we have put a larger focus on our marketing initiatives. We are now regularly communicating with our stakeholders on a regular basis via social media outlets like Twitter, Facebook & Youtube. We have also been able to debut a new newsletter system (Mailchimp) that allows us to get better demographic and overall better analytical data. With the administrative team help the newsletter has seen great growth and I see a lot more future potential as we move forward in building our new website.

 

Current Projects

There are several projects currently in the works at Huron City Schools in the area of technology. We are working with the Huron Playhouse to help remodel the auditorium at McCormick Junior High to create a performing arts center for the community. This project includes new lighting, sound and it will also incorporate other multimedia tools such as digital projectors and wireless internet.

 

Attached to this document you will find the Wifi implementation plan to go district wide with wireless. This project is currently on hold due to funding issues.

 

Over spring break I plan on working with the maintenance department to hang 2 new interactive white boards at Woodlands Elementary. This will provide our science lab and art room with the ability to interact via touch with scientific models as well as create art work within the classroom.

 

Some of the staff feedback that I have received is the lack of adequate PD opportunities made available to our staff. Going forward I will be working with key players in the district that have shown mastery in different areas (SMART, iPads, Schoology, etc.) and develop and build an online and in person training opportunities for the staff of Huron City Schools. These resources will be made available on our new website in the form of recorded lectures and videos.

 

Since mid fall, Chad Carter, Scott Mathany, Chris Standring and myself have been meeting in regards to a 1:1 initiative at Huron City Schools. We have worked to build a mission statement as well as order 25 chromebooks for staff and students to test and try out. So far the feedback has been very positive and we are currently testing the computers in the lower grades. As of right now this project has been placed on hold and will resume following the technology committee meeting on March 27th.

Last year we (Chad, Scott, and Myself) decided to move forward in testing out Schoology, our free online learning management system that would allow for a teacher to create and manage a digital classroom and allow the students to have 24/7 access to their learning. This year the program was voluntary for staff. Soon I will be meeting with Scott and Chad to gauge the success of the program and figure out if we want to move forward with the integration into the curriculum.

 

While at the Technology and Literacy conference, I was introduced to the limitless library program. Limitless libraries is a partnership set up between the Nashville public library system and the Nashville schools. This program has allowed both programs to grow and promote literacy amongst students. Going forward I will be talking to our local library and seeing if we can also make this partnership work in order to help the students of Huron City Schools.

 

This year I have been asked to work with a few Woodlands teachers to create an after school “Code Club”  this club will learn about computer science and learn about developing projects. The curriculum is free and there is no cost to the district. I think this is an exciting opportunity for our students here at Huron City Schools.

 

This year we have introduced the Huron City Schools Technology Innovation Committee. This committee will be charged with providing and promoting technology in the district. This committee has 4 sub committees and they are as follows:

 

The website committee which will be researching websites for our transition to a new site in fall of 2013

The 5 year planning committee which will be building a roadmap outlining how our district will be moving forward in the coming years.

The Student / Staff Voice committee will be responsible for getting feedback from staff and students in regards to technology and future initiatives.

The marketing group will be in charge of spreading the message of Huron City Schools via technology such as social media, email, and multimedia.

 

I believe having teachers and administrators at the table will help move the district forward in a manner that will be a positive environment for our students at Huron City Schools.

 

In the past we have paid for web development services for our website. Moving forward we will be cutting costs by bringing that internal and managing it ourselves. This will allow us more flexibility and the ability to pivot if the need arises. We will be moving to a more open platform known as wordpress. WordPress will allow for all of our teachers to have blogs in which they can run their classroom sites in a more robust manner.

Future Projects

In building a transparent leadership team I would like to start recording our board meetings and putting them on Youtube for our community to see. This would promote transparency as well as ease some of the stress placed on us to produce public records.

 

As we all know funding cuts are a reality so to help combat that I have started to brainstorm several Technology Fundraisers such as a Carshow, festival, and technology conference. Moving forward I will find volunteers in the district that can help with the planning of these events in hopes to bring more funding into our district.

 

I would also like to create an engage page in which we can as the community questions such as “Should students be able to use personal electronic devices in class for educational purposes”. This would allow for stakeholders to weigh in on decisions. This would also be a great way to gather ideas from the community to where they would like to see our schools go. I see this as a continuous online town hall.

 

I am constantly researching ways to save money in the district. One way to save money is to move more paperless. Going paperless saves not only money but also time. I would like to move forward in implementing a registration gateway in which we can have things like transportation requests, emergency medical, student registration all online. This would make the data easier to access and also save time and money.

As you can see we are at a very exciting time in education. With the fury of changes coming down from above we will be working together to find solutions that work for our community, staff, and students. By working together and building strong partnerships our community and school will become the best in the area and the state. We have an amazing staff who is dedicated to the education of our students. This train is definitely moving and i’m excited to be along for the ride.

If anyone has any questions on what we are doing or have any other questions feel free to email, call or tweet me.

Thanks

TJ

TJ Houston

TJ Houston the Vice President of Managed services at Epiphany Management Group. TJ leads professional development in all areas of technology and loves developing ways to make teachers, students, and staff's lives easier with the use of technology. TJ also loves photography and his portfolio can be found at http://www.tjshots.com. All of the views on this site are his own.