A Message for School Leaders

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To the Editor:

A recent Education Week article discussed the many challenges facing K-12 technology leaders ("Money, Data, Security: The Biggest Challenges Facing K-12 Tech Leaders," June 11, 2019). While the article touched on data, security, systems, and professional development, it did not talk about empowering teacher leaders to promote using technology to enhance instruction.

Through my experience as an IT analyst, teacher, tech coach, and now instructional technology administrator, I have seen that the primary reason for teacher deficiency in technology is that school administrators have not made it a priority.

Teachers learn from other teachers: As a teacher, I made it a point to include my colleagues in my instructional practices for using technology to enhance learning. What began as an open invitation for a few educators to observe my lessons transformed into a lab site classroom where they could use technology to engage learners. Eventually, I became the school's technology coach. The school rose from one where chart paper hung from interactive whiteboards to one where technology use was present in every room. Were teachers using technology effectively in every lesson? No, but it was a start in the right direction. To create change, you must meet people where they are.

My message to school administrators: School growth in instructional technology will only happen if you make it a priority. My former principal empowered me as a teacher-leader. She saw my motivation, my desire to help students succeed, and my ability to work with others. Her decision allowed leadership development for both me and the school community. I am not an anomaly; there are teachers in your school right now who can shift the learning environment. School administrators, as the school year closes, reflect on those emerging teachers and consider them as collaborators in your school's technology vision.

Jose Santiago
Instructional Technology Director
Brooklyn, N.Y.

Vol. 38, Issue 37, Pages 24-25

Published in Print: July 17, 2019, as A Message for School Leaders
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