Posts Tagged ‘GG4L’

Fostering Community from the Inside-Out

A Vision for School Safety

One of the most significant steps you can take when it comes to implementing initiatives and reaching organizational goals such as School Safety, is growing and maintaining healthy, active relationships. Districts find that executing a vision can be more seamless and successful when trusting, transparent organizational and community relationships are in place. Yet, this step is often circumvented due to time constraints and planning logistics. No doubt a grass-roots community building takes time and effort. But it is critical to obtain the support and commitment needed to successfully carry out your School Safety vision over a multi-year period. The more people who understand what you are trying to do and how students will likely be impacted by it, the greater commitment and support your stakeholders will demonstrate.

Relationship building starts with regularly connecting to your constituents about the district’s School Safety vision, aligned initiatives and goals with your local partners, community members, parents, building administrators, teachers and students. Depending on how far along you are in the process, you might be interested in forming a steering committee representing multiple perspectives to create a shared vision. Wherever you are, consider regularly asking for feedback and provide open, transparent communication pathways. This feedback cycle will assist you in developing the next phase of the initiative.

Pinpoint digital and face to face opportunities that offer synchronous and asynchronous communication.

You will notice a domino effect occurs when positive relationships are in place.

  • Buy-in from multiple entities maximizes visibility of School Safety
  • Visibility increases accountability
  • Accountability increases the likelihood of success in terms of improved student well-being and safety
  • Positive student outcomes demonstrate a Return on Investment when it comes to the digital solutions and programs adopted by the organization

Districts across the country are joining the Safer Schools in America Impact Initiative, led by Global Grid for Learning (GG4L) and McREL using a framework based on the National Student Support and Academic Enrichment (SSAE) Program from Title IV-Part A. School Safety is beyond background checks, visitor check-in software and intruder procedures. It offers a multi-faceted framework that looks at:

  • Emergency Preparedness & Management
  • Emotional & Behavioral Health
  • Physical Health & Wellness
  • Physical Campus Security
  • Digital Safety

It is not likely that stakeholders and board members will protest about investing in School Safety and making it a top priority for your organization. But what may happen is that something gets lost in the translation of School Safety. It extends beyond physical campus security. That’s where using standard visuals, description and definitions comes into play. Regardless of who is facilitating or contributing to a School Safety conversation, developing a common language across the board ensures that everyone hears the same message. This simple but intentional act will dramatically elevate misunderstandings and confusion while talking about how the district intends to secure the safety and well-being of its students and staff.

While the activities and outcomes will vary- the vision is driving everyday Safety in Schools. Specific examples of implementing your vision effectively include the following:

  • Align training and professional development activities to the vision outcomes within schools as well as district sponsored training and PD.
  • Request that all building administration include the School Safety vision and goals within their school improvement plans by integrating it into existing priorities and initiatives.
  • Capture students and classes in action that represent vision outcomes through video and audio recordings that are shared out via social media and website.

Consider two-three recommendations you can start integrating into your existing processes and activities. Impactful, committed community building can be so powerful and rewarding for all parties involved. Inclusiveness and trust draw people in and keep them coming back for more.

If you haven’t already, consider joining the Safer Schools in America Impact Initiative as a next step. As a part of the program, schools qualify for grants that fund between 2 and 5 pre-integrated innovative safety EdTech solutions from over 25 global providers to be deployed and measured at no cost to the schools for a minimum of three-year program term.

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.

Supporting Schools Safety and Security

FilterED is Teaming up with Global Grid for Learning and McREL!

GreyED is an organization of nationally recognized K-12 education leaders with deep experience helping institutions transform themselves for the digital age. GreyED shines the light on district’s existing technology ecosystem, teaching and learning via our cloud-based data analysis tool, FilterED. Stakeholders take an online, adaptive inventory responding to statements that apply to their role, experiences and perceptions in six critical areas that make up a tech ecosystem. The results are presented on a dashboard that provides highly visible data that are organized, measurable and impactful. Customized profiles, bright spots, prioritized opportunities for growth, recommendations and talking points are all available at both the district and school levels. The platform also helps key players engage with one another so they may find consensus and set course toward positively increasing learner impact.

Recently, GreyED joined Global Grid for Learning and McREL’s partner program, “Safer Schools in America Impact Initiative.” This grant-based program adopted the national Student Support and Academic Enrichment (SSAE) framework found within Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA).  

“All students should feel safe and supported as a condition for learning.”

Joining collaborative forces in this high caliber mission is just what GreyED was looking for as an extension of our ongoing work with districts. The evidence and context generated by FilterED helps school systems effectively prioritize, measure and monitor ongoing implementations.  At the same time, leadership can gain insights into technology and school climate, community engagement, digital safety as well as emergency preparedness and management.

We love the thoughtful, long-term planning behind Safer Schools in America Impact Initiative’s structure. GreyED sees it as a way to level the playing field for GG4L Members, who can apply for a grant that allows three schools within a district to evaluate a handful of solutions offered by partners like us. This pilot process helps to ensure that the digital solutions are a good fit for the entire organization before substantial monetary and resource investments are made.  While this process potentially staggers the planning and execution phases for the district, it is a best practice that GreyED has always embraced and recommended to both vendors and districts alike.

Over the coming months, we will feature a series that includes best practices and smart hacks in the FilterED areas that align with the Safer Schools framework.  These areas include Healthy Culture, Engaged Community and Digital Safety.

Not a GG4L member? No problem! To learn more about this innovative program and try out FilterED risk free, go to