How are Technology Implementations Contributing to School Culture and School Safety in your District?

What does school culture have to do with integrating technology into teaching and learning? How does this foundation lend itself to school safety? School safety relies on a myriad of systems and technology to ensure that all the aspects of school safety are communicating and working together as a symbiotic unit. However, if the fundamental systems, practices and mindset aren’t in place to support and sustain a school safety ecosystem, it’s wasted time and resources. It’s worth the due diligence to assess your current culture, leadership and technology ecosystem if school safety is an urgent priority. Reputable digital solutions such as FilterED can help you with this task. So before diving into piloting and adopting school safety solutions, zoom out and look at the big picture. 

Gary Phillips (1996) defines school culture as, “The beliefs, attitudes, and behaviors which characterize a school.” Dr. Christopher Wagner (2006) adds:

  • Shared experiences both in and out of school
  • Agreement on how to do things and what is worth doing
  • Staff stability and common goals
  • Recognition of school stakeholders

We offer a few easy steps to help you take a pulse on the existing school culture and technology foundations developed in your district.

  1. As you reflect on the district as an organization and each school as its own entity, identify examples of how each of the actions and behaviors above are integrated into the culture. School communities are more likely to see increased positive student outcomes and safe spaces when a healthy school culture embraces trusting, transparent relationships and the purposeful use of technology.
  2. Ask yourself:
    • How is technology currently integrated into our everyday routines?
    • What’s our staff’s comfort level around the amount of technology we are using?
    • What processes, timelines, and protocols are in place for vetting and piloting digital solutions?
    • What does the planning, execution, management and collection of data look like around technology implementations?
    • Would the current actions transfer to designing, implementing and maintaining a school safety ecosystem?

  3. The table below is divided into possible inputs that the district and schools contribute to this side of tech support, training and PD services. Many of these practices can be extended to school safety. Identify which ones you have in place and if there are any you can add to your foundation.
District-supported services School building-supported services 
Teachers across multiple school buildings receive support from the district in a combination of ways. School administration encourages and provides opportunities for staff within a building to participate in multiple activities that support staff needs while providing convenience.  
District technology troubleshooting support School building troubleshooting support  
The district provides school personnel with a multi-tier approach to technical support that may include one or more steps:
  • Following a series of standard, recommended troubleshooting steps
  • Approaching the building technology facilitator or technology lead teacher within the building for assistance
  • Submitting a work order to the district help desk
  • Contacting a student-led help desk
If staff follow the suggested troubleshooting steps and cannot solve the problem, the individual goes to a designated colleague within the building for assistance.
District technology training                  School building training  
These sessions are usually held off-site (in a location other than the teacher’s assigned school building) or online. The focus is on:
  • Establishing a knowledge base
  • Building a skill set
  • Attaining additional practice and experience
Summer months and professional development days are popular times to offer these types of training
Training in a school building happens formally and informally throughout the year and utilizes internal resources. It may include:
  • One-to-one time after school
  • Department working through new material during a team meeting
  • User groups where teachers can practice and share
  • Q and A sessions during preparation times
  • Staff meeting
District professional learning School building professional learning
These sessions are usually held off-site (in a location other than the teacher’s assigned school building) or as online webinars or user groups. The focus is on:
  • Expanding an established knowledge base
  • Refining and cultivating a skill set
  • Synthesizing the knowledge base and skill set to integrate the best practices in teaching and pedagogical district initiatives
  • Offering credit for alternative professional learning – social media, virtual networking, online webinars
Summer months and professional development days are popular time for face-to-face PD sessions. Online opportunities offer greater flexibility and can be made available after the school day.
Ongoing professional development can take on many forms. Examples include:
  • Encouraging staff to develop and perform action research
  • Inviting teachers to observe colleagues. Peer reviews provide an excellent way to see how others do things.
  • Offering a Professional Learning Community (PLC) in which teachers can come together multiple times a year to focus on the integration of technology
  • Encouraging staff to engage in alternative professional learning – social media, virtual networking, online webinars
Taking advantage of professional development days by providing workshops, sessions or collaborative workdays focusing on interactive digital materials and resources.

Interested in learning more? Take the FilterED Micro Inventory and contact us for a review of your organization.

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