What Lies Ahead …

Greetings everyone!

I’m sitting at a conference (District Administrators Leadership Institute, e.g., DALI) – it is AWESOME to be sitting and visiting with other superintendents from across the country.  There are some incredible things happening within districts across both Iowa and the entire nation … this led to some reflection on where we’re at within the I-35 district and where we want/intend to go in meeting the needs of our 21st Century learners.

At I-35 we are entering into a very exciting time – at their July meeting, the Board officially approved a 1:1 technology initiative for grades 6-12 to launch fall of 2017.  We certainly have been deliberate in approaching 1:1 within our district; however I believe this to be a positive even though other districts may have gotten into this earlier.  We have been working on answering a basic question:  How can/should a 1:1 technology initiative enhance kids’ learning and overall experience in school?  We will spend a good chunk of our 2016-2017 professional development preparing for the actual roll-out of computers to grade 6-12 students for the start of the 2017-2018 school year.  My belief, supported by much research, is that technology is not the goal, it is a tool/mechanism for the overall goal of increasing student engagement and learning.  That will be our focus in preparation for fall 2017.  Many, many details will be shared in the coming days.

Another initiative we’re learning more and more about is the school partnering with our communities and Interstate Communications in what is known as relationship economic development.  The concept is pretty straightforward – improve the relationship between our communities in becoming even a more inviting place for people to consider as their next home.  Interstate Communications is a major piece of this potential partnership as the availability of high speed internet allows people to consider living within our district and working from home, e.g., bring their job with them.  Again, we’re investigating this but on the surface, this approach to potential growth seems to match very well to our rural district.  Interstate Communication is on-board – we’ll move the discussions to New Virginia, Truro, and St. Charles in the coming days and see where this goes.  It’s perhaps a bit unusual for a school to be leading the charge on economic development – but it’s a new paradigm that makes sense for rural districts.  Specifically, state funding is based on student enrollment and having a stable or slightly increasing enrollment places the school in a long-term viable position.  If we move forward with this process, we’re talking at least a 3-5 year period for substantive change/growth to occur – and it will require a partnership between all of us.  More information coming …

That’s enough for today!  #ROADRUNNERPROUD

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