Transitions among senior leadership in a school district are always challenging. New leaders often bring with them fresh ideas, direction, and their own perspectives on district direction as it relates to teaching and learning. Simply put, when leadership changes, a period of transition often follows, often leading to a period of inactivity, confusion, and frustration as to what direction the district will take in future years.
The Digital Convergence Framework changes this mindset. When the Digital Convergence Framework is in use by a district, the artifacts produced from success indicator progress provide new and existing leadership with guidance and direction for next steps. A new leader can easily view these artifacts of past work and, using the framework as a reference, easily understand the next steps, easing frustration of existing leadership.
Elizabeth Forward School District of Pennsylvania has been a Modern Teacher Network member since April of 2017. Soon after joining, they established a brand name for the work of Digital Convergence – IGNITE. This brand name allowed unification of all stakeholders around the work of Digital Convergence and gave it a community stamp. IGNITE is what people think of when they imagine the Conceptual Age and Modern Learning in Elizabeth Forward.
Just recently, Elizabeth Forward School District School Board announced the retirement of Superintendent Bart Rocco, and appointed Todd Keruskin, formerly the Elizabeth Forward Assistant Superintendent to Superintendent. Additionally, a new Assistant Superintendent would need to be selected. By reviewing the work of Digital Convergence with the School Board early on, the School Board understood and valued the direction the district had taken with IGNITE. They were able to select the right leader for the job, ensuring the work of the district would continue in this direction. The School Board and school based leadership welcomed Keith Konyk as the new Assistant Superintendent. The Digital Convergence platform provided an easy access entry point to the work happening in Elizabeth Forward..
With progress well underway to IGNITE innovation in all students, the district was able to execute plans to continue moving the work of IGNITE forward because of the dynamic and iterative journey outlined in the Digital Convergence Framework. This fall, the district will launch their very first Professional Learning Cohort of teachers to engage in the Professional Learning Modules and the district will begin the process of scaling teacher proficiency as it relates to their Professional Learning Goals. Elizabeth Forward is committed to having rock-star teachers in each and every classroom, not just a select few. The launching of cohorts is the tipping point to making this happen and the monitoring and coaching of teachers within the platform ensures this will happen. With both a new Superintendent and Assistant Superintendent, the work of IGNITE continues to move forward. Principals have begun to articulate the plans for professional learning so all teachers in their building will be fluent with the work of IGNITE.
Elizabeth Forward isn’t alone. The Assistant Superintendent of Colonial School District in Delaware, Dr. Lori Duerr, announced her departure last month. Her existing role will be shared by two individuals, Pete Leida and Jeff Menzer, both grounded in the Digital Convergence Framework and committed to growing the Colonial Power Of We Instructional Model. When Lori introduced the concept of Digital Convergence to Colonial, she realized the need to incorporate a variety of stakeholders into the conversation. Working as a team has created a shared ownership of this work ensuring that the work of Digital Convergence and The Power Of We would not be an initiative that would come and go, but rather a movement that gains understanding, buy-in, and an actuality, through time. As of today, The Power of We is the way of business in Colonial classrooms.
Having a proven framework to ground both new and existing leaders eases the transition and creates consistency for district leaders, resulting in continued progress toward district goals to carry out the vision of Modern Learning.
Dr. Lori Duerr has recently been named the new Superintendent of Falmouth Public Schools in Falmouth, Massachusetts. Congratulations, Dr. Duerr.