Four days of inspiration, fellowship and guidance give me the hope I’ve been seeking throughout my career as an educator. The past two years I’ve had the privilege of being a part of the Apple/ConnectEd grant and this weekend we celebrated accomplishments and began building plans for the future. Thank you Obama! The ConnectEd grant was designed to bring digital learning opportunities to under-served districts and schools. It’s goal was to bridge the digital equity gap and from my experience these past two years the grant is well on it’s way to success. In fact my dream is that the grant continues to grow so that more schools and districts can experience the transformation in culture that those who are currently in the grant are realizing.
Two years ago I started a new job and my first day on the job was the day the school submitted an intent to apply. Several months later it was announced that the school was going to receive the grant. Eventually all the paperwork was completed, the laptops, iPads, Apple TVs, and everything needed to support those devices were ordered. A group of three attended the kick-off event, created a strategic plan, and began implementing it. Today the school is a technology rich learning environment and ready to transform what learning looks, sounds and feels like.
Throughout my teaching career I’ve heard how schools are failing our students. How schools don’t and won’t change. What I have experienced through the Apple/ConnectED grant is that there is a way to bring about the necessary change and keep the momentum going. It starts with a leadership team who has a shared vision. That team gets together and develops a plan. Throughout the school year that plan is monitored and adjustments made as the learning environment improves. If roadblocks are encountered the plan is revisited and adjusted as needed. It’s crucial that the leadership team meet on a regular basis in order to stay focused on the plan. At the end of the year the team gets together and reflects on accomplishments as well as failures. The team then builds capacity to overcome those roadblocks and sets new goals for the next year.
These past four days have been inspiring, fulfilling and left me with hope for the future. I know that those participating in the Apple/ConnectEd grant have awesome plans for their student’s education. The architecture for transforming what learning looks like, feels like and sounds like is here. Thank you Apple. Thank you ConnectEd. Thank you Obama!