• Strategies to Effectively Manage K-12 Technology Projects this Summer

    Posted by Kristina Young, Manager of Technical Projects & Ivana Ivanovic, Communications Specialist on 6/21/2022 8:05:00 AM

    The last day of school is quickly approaching. While that often means slowing down for most K-12 employees, technology departments are gearing up to begin cyclical work and implement new projects. Summer is the opportune time to tackle projects because of minimal disruptions to learning and the rapid decline of help desk tickets from end-users. The following strategies will help you effectively manage your district's extensive list of technology projects this summer.

    Evaluate Staffing Resources Consider the volume of projects a few months prior and estimate the number of hours it may take to complete each project. You should be asking some key questions: Do we have enough staff to reasonably complete all the projects within the prescribed timeframe? When will staff be taking vacations and for how many days? Should we enforce a vacation moratorium? You may need to hire temporary workers to support your projects, but having strong permanent staff to lead them will go a long way.

    Complete a Magnitude Assessment Simply put, a magnitude assessment is a tool used to evaluate the risk, effort and value of a project, sometimes referred to as the Rough Order of Magnitude (ROM). Consider a range of factors when completing a magnitude assessment, such as the project's visibility and impact at the organizational level and the financial gains. Risk and effort require consideration of the time needed, vendor involvement, coordination efforts, in-house expertise and costs. Mapping all of these out will help technology leaders make thoughtful decisions when analyzing new projects. Ithaca College of Information Technology has created magnitude matrices to guide this process.

    Risk Charts

    "Eat the frog" It may be common sense, but tackling time-consuming and high-priority projects first will save technology departments a lot of grief when the new school year rolls around. Procrastination tends to kick in when it comes to arduous tasks, but this is why a solid plan and the right team helps when faced with these kinds of projects.

    Designate Leaders As a director or supervisor, it is your job to delegate. There is too much work to be done during the ten short weeks of summer. Identifying leaders under your supervision and designating them as leads for the rest of the team will ease the burden of managing multiple projects. Outline expectations and milestones so they know how to direct their team's work, address shortfalls as they arise and communicate progress up the chain.

    Update Your Team's Knowledge Base and Document Repository If you have not already, it is time to spruce up that knowledge base or SharePoint where you can point your team to look for resources related to summer projects. Create a classroom technology readiness checklist that your teams can use to ensure all technology equipment is ready for use on the first day of school.

    Planning K-12 technology projects can be a daunting task, but using these strategies can ease the burden. Your team will thank you for being organized and setting them up for success with documentation, clear leadership and the confidence they need to complete projects before school starts.

    Contact our Technology Project Services team today to learn how we can help you tackle your summer project list!

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  • Asset-Based Support for Multilingual Learners

    Posted by Beth McKee, Instructional Initiatives Coordinator & Ivana Ivanovic, Communications Specialist on 6/16/2022 2:00:00 PM

    It begins with a commitment from all

    Creating opportunities for our Multilingual Learners (MLs) to succeed in all classes and across all content areas begins with access to curriculum, regardless of where students are in their acquisition of English proficiency. This begins with a commitment by all educators within a school community to provide access to rigorous content along with the necessary supports and scaffolds to the literacy and language demands that may serve as barriers to their students.

    Using asset-based strategies to support MLs

    Providing equal access and opportunity to high-quality instruction requires school communities to maintain an asset-based lens when thinking about their MLs. Instructional environments where ML thrive will:

    • value home language and integrate it into instruction. There is strong evidence that development of home-language promotes long-term academic success as well as English acquisition.
    • encourage genuine academic conversations. MLs need regular, authentic opportunities to use their second language for diverse purposes in order to develop communicative competence.
    • utilize the power of background knowledge. Background knowledge is the hook where new learning hangs. And while this is considered one of the most crucial practices in supporting learning, it is important remember that our MLs bring a rich set of experiences and perspectives as well. Linking learning to a students’ personal, academic and cultural capital is key.
    • provide multiple ways for MLs to access instructional content and to demonstrate their learning on assessments. Universal Design for Learning provides a framework that supports all students and compliments an asset-based approach to teaching English Learners.
    • encourage participation in extra-curricular activities. Extra-curricular activities including athletics, art and music class and academic and non-academic clubs provide MLs with supportive spaces to develop language and foster school connectedness.
    • engage and empower families. Families are invaluable stakeholders in our communities. Schools that lift barriers so that all families feel welcomed, valued, and accepted create environments where all students thrive.

    Creating opportunity and equity for MLs

    An asset-based approach to educating our MLs fosters a culture of belonging and creates an environment for academic, social and emotional growth and development. By providing rigorous instruction in all content areas, regardless of English language proficiency, school communities create opportunity and equity for their MLs.

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