Special Report

Managing the Digital District

October 2, 2013
The complex challenges of running today’s technology-oriented school districts can be daunting. This special report, the latest installment in an ongoing series on educational technology, aims to provide guidance for school leaders looking for new ideas and approaches for managing the digital evolution of their districts. It was produced with support from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and the Carnegie Corporation of New York. Education Week had sole editorial control over the content of this report.
  • Standards Districts Upgrade Tech Ahead of Common-Core Testing
    Though more breakdowns likely are inevitable given online testing's relatively new place in schools, the ability to protect the validity, integrity, and security of the process is increasingly crucial.
    Robin L. Flanigan, September 30, 2013
    5 min read
    Lewisville High School officials want students to use the right device for the right task.
    Lewisville High School officials want students to use the right device for the right task.
    Mark Graham for Education Week
    Executive Skills & Strategy '1:X Computing' Aims to Tailor Digital Tools to Learning Tasks
    The idea of a coordinated strategy to give students a choice of devices depending on the task at hand is a potentially powerful new development, experts say.
    Benjamin Herold, September 30, 2013
    9 min read
    Houston Superintendent Terry B. Grier, left, and Chief Information Technology Officer Lenny Schad have learned important lessons about how to work together to use technology to improve schools.
    Houston Superintendent Terry B. Grier, left, and Chief Information Technology Officer Lenny Schad have learned important lessons about how to work together to use technology to improve schools.
    David Z Einsel/Houston Independent School District
    School & District Management Q&A: Houston Schools Chief and CTO Push Digital Learning Vision
    Houston Superintendent Terry B. Grier and Chief Technology Officer Lenny Schad have learned important lessons about how to work together to improve the use of technology in schools.
    Michelle R. Davis, September 30, 2013
    5 min read
    Classroom Technology About This Report
    This report aims to address such questions and provide guidance for school leaders looking for new ideas and approaches for managing the digital evolution of their districts.
    September 30, 2013
    2 min read
    Teacher April Stenger helps kindergarten student Valentino Diego Torres, 5, order lunch using an interactive whiteboard at Minnehaha Elementary School.
    Teacher April Stenger helps kindergarten student Valentino Diego Torres, 5, order lunch using an interactive whiteboard at Minnehaha Elementary School.
    Leah Nash for Education Week
    School & District Management K-12 Leaders Shift From Protectors of Status Quo to Change Agents
    Advancements in technology are forcing superintendents to put more time and energy into crafting and implementing a vision for how technology should be used to improve schools.
    Katie Ash, September 30, 2013
    7 min read
    Teacher Preparation Districts Developing More Intelligent Data Use
    School systems are taking a hard look at the data they have, adding to the information, analyzing it more effectively, and presenting it to educators in user-friendly ways.
    Michelle R. Davis, September 30, 2013
    8 min read
    Executive Skills & Strategy Curating Digital Content Is a Complicated Task
    Schools across the country are overwhelmed by the breadth and abundance of digital resources, but they are identifying better ways to organize open-source and paid content.
    Amanda M. Fairbanks, September 30, 2013
    7 min read
    School & District Management Talented Chief Tech Officers Hard to Find for K-12
    Many school district leaders themselves lack an understanding of how a smart CIO or CTO can help transform their schools, experts point out.
    Michele Molnar, September 30, 2013
    5 min read
    The Los Angeles Unified School District is providing iPads to students like Tiannah Dizadare (smiling as she works with classmate Avery Sheppard) at Broadacres Avenue Elementary Schools in Carson, Calif. Proponents hope an emphasis on technology will boost achievement and give low-income students new opportunities. Skeptics have questioned the financing of the multimillion-dollar project.
    The Los Angeles Unified School District is providing iPads to students like Tiannah Dizadare (smiling as she works with classmate Avery Sheppard) at Broadacres Avenue Elementary Schools in Carson, Calif. Proponents hope an emphasis on technology will boost achievement and give low-income students new opportunities. Skeptics have questioned the financing of the multimillion-dollar project.
    Bob Chamberlin/Los Angeles Times/AP
    Meeting District Needs Q&A: How Los Angeles Negotiated a 1-to-1 Deal With Apple
    In a question-and-answer session with Education Week, Mark Hovatter, the architect of the groundbreaking agreement, addresses issues related to the $30 million deal.
    Benjamin Herold, September 30, 2013
    5 min read
    First graders at Discovery Elementary School in Joint School District No. 2 in Meridian, Idaho, experiment with new technology with the help of Superintendent Linda Clark. The district used federal dollars to give technology grants to teachers with innovative ideas and then held an expo to encourage educators who received the grants to share their experiences with colleagues.
    First graders at Discovery Elementary School in Joint School District No. 2 in Meridian, Idaho, experiment with new technology with the help of Superintendent Linda Clark. The district used federal dollars to give technology grants to teachers with innovative ideas and then held an expo to encourage educators who received the grants to share their experiences with colleagues.
    Glenn Oakley for Education Week
    Curriculum Building a District Culture to Foster Innovation
    What is the "secret sauce" in a district's culture of operation that allows good ideas to flourish, and how can those attitudes and approaches be replicated?
    Katie Ash, September 30, 2013
    7 min read
    Jan Mathis, left, and Brian Kayes, employees of the Erie 1/Board of Cooperative Educational Services and the Western New York Regional Information Center, speak in an unused wood shop turned technology storage and work area at Ripley Central School in Ripley, N.Y. The school district does not have a single tech leader, but instead uses the nonprofit BOCES for help with everything from tech support to staff training.
    Jan Mathis, left, and Brian Kayes, employees of the Erie 1/Board of Cooperative Educational Services and the Western New York Regional Information Center, speak in an unused wood shop turned technology storage and work area at Ripley Central School in Ripley, N.Y. The school district does not have a single tech leader, but instead uses the nonprofit BOCES for help with everything from tech support to staff training.
    Brett Carlsen for Education Week
    School & District Management Many Districts Go Without a Chief Tech Officer
    Even as schools juggle a daunting array of evolving technological demands, federal data show that roughly half of districts do not have a full-time chief technology officer.
    Sean Cavanagh, September 30, 2013
    8 min read
    School & District Management Ed. Leaders Balance Risk-Taking and Failure
    One vital characteristic of innovative, forward-thinking districts, observers say, is a commitment to encouraging administrators, teachers, and students to take risks and not be afraid to fail.
    Katie Ash, September 30, 2013
    2 min read