Prioritizing Diversity and Equity in Technology
Technology equity has evolved over the years, and we must be open to the needs of tomorrow, next year, and five years down the road.
During the edLeader Panel, “Addressing Technology’s Diversity and Equity Through District Policies, Practices, and Personnel,” three leading-edge superintendents and a senior director of IT explained that success in ensuring equitable access and effective use of technology for school communities happens when we develop equity-focused policies, implement best practices, and have intentional hiring and retention strategies.
It is critical that when we say “all,” it does mean “all.” The panelists prioritize equity in their districts by initiating policies for equitable access and effective use of technology. These policies should detail how schools use technology, the scaffolded allocation of technology funding, and fair and equitable hiring.
All students must have access to technology, and having a proactive approach to implementing policies that address technology equity ensures districts have academic excellence across all school buildings.
Distributing all devices is one thing, but are we leveraging what technology can offer our diverse student populations? The panelists provided valuable best practices, including leveraging partnerships, designing innovations within programming, and creating a Portrait of a Graduate that aims to ensure the preparation of all students for high-wage and high-skilled career opportunities.
Planning is also critical for diversity and equity in our schools, with systematically embedded technology professional development for students, staff, and school boards focusing on inclusivity and accessibility.
Hiring and Retention
As districts address technology diversity and equity, leaders should take steps in the hiring process, including updating job descriptions to reflect the district’s culture and beliefs, making sure to include the organization’s equity statement, and highlighting the department’s growth mindset.
A diverse interview panel is also critical and should include other roles in organizations, a range of ages, and cultural backgrounds that reflect a team approach to equity and diversity.
Equally as important to hiring quality employees is being able to retain them. The panelists offered strategies to support and grow their personnel within their districts. Getting people in the right place to succeed can only happen when districts and departments provide frequent feedback, have high expectations, ensure they have the necessary information to grow, and coach them to be independent and critical thinkers.
The panelists agreed that equity policies and practices are only effective when the entire school community understands that their actions are vital for the students they serve. Connecting their responsibilities to the organization’s strategic direction and providing training and support to ensure everyone knows what they are doing regarding equity, inclusion, and diversity is essential to students’ success in and out of school.
Learn more about this edWeb broadcast, “Addressing Technology’s Diversity and Equity Through District Policies, Practices, and Personnel,” presented by CoSN and AASA, and sponsored by ClassLink.
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AASA is the premier association for school system leaders and serves as the national voice for public education and district leadership on Capitol Hill.
CoSN (the Consortium for School Networking) is the premier professional association for school system technology leaders. CoSN provides thought leadership resources, community, best practices and advocacy tools to help leaders succeed in the digital transformation. CoSN represents over 13 million students in school districts nationwide and continues to grow as a powerful and influential voice in K-12 education.
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Blog post by Eileen Belastock, based on this edLeader Panel