2. Planning Process
b. Integration / coordination with other long-range planning initiatives
Guidelines / Requirements for compliance in this section (from the Peer-Response Rubric):
- There is a clear description of how technology planning is coordinated with regular, consistent, System-level planning initiatives.
- There is evidence that this plan results from intra-System collaboration between the technology department and System-level staff development, curriculum, media, Title I, special education, and ESOL personnel.
Our current process for determining technology direction is based on several district-wide planning activities. First, a comprehensive document developed by educational leadership teams defines the requirements for instruction in every GCPS school. This document, the Educational Specifications, or Ed Specs, clearly outlines all components of the school environment, from administration to school food and nutrition to facilities, and includes technology. Ed Specs are prepared biannually, and are developed by a cross-functional team who represent school administrators, teachers, educational programs, facilities, information management / technology, and school food programs. The Ed Specs provide a blueprint for all existing and new schools, and include guidelines for instructional and administrative uses of technology in schools.
Second, the textbook selection process for our 99 schools and 8 additional educational facilities regularly evaluates new software applications and components to support our Academic Knowledge and Skills modeled after the Georgia Performance Standards from the State DOE. This extensive review process occurs annually, and includes a thorough pilot in multiple schools and classrooms. All instructional areas are part of this process, and parents, teachers, administrators, and central office staff members are invited to provide additional feedback after reviewing the materials. The Information Management Division (IMD) of GCPS is part of the selection process and vendor selection, and has participated in meetings of the textbook selection committee and pilot team members when instructional technology is being evaluated. As textbooks increase the amount of Internet and multimedia content, participation of the Information Management Division (IMD) has become necessary in the selection process, specifically for the evaluation of the network’s ability to deliver these digital resources across the district.
Third, Gwinnett County Public Schools’ strategic partner, IBM, provides input on process and technology improvements throughout our school district. They are able to bring a wider understanding of uses of technology for review by the district leadership. IBM resources are also used to identify and evaluate effective instructional support using technology in other school districts in Georgia and throughout the United States.
Organizationally, the GCPS Information Management Division supports a local-school technology team in each school consisting of the media specialist, Local School Technology Coordinator, and Technology Support Technician. The district-wide media center leadership group is physically housed within the Information Management Division, so there is close integration between the technology initiatives and the media services provided to schools.
Within schools, this technology team provides new electronic educational and information resources through the function of the media specialist, integration of resources into the curriculum through the local school technology coordinator, and support of the local school infrastructure through the technology support technician. Centrally, IMD provides staff development for all three of these staff members, and provides instructional-program specific support for new hardware and software support throughout the school district. All staff development activities are tracked through the GCPS Department of Professional Learning, and appropriate credits are provided for qualifying staff development.
As evidence of intra-system collaboration, the GCPS Executive Cabinet includes members of each division. During regularly scheduled Cabinet and Board Planning sessions, GCPS leadership reviews current technology progress. Through working sessions, goal-planning activities, and budget processes, the priorities of each division are set and evaluated. Each division follows its own internal processes for developing and implementing specific activities that support the mission and vision of the school district. The plans, called Organizational Management Plans, are reviewed during cabinet meetings and reflected in budget discussions.
Below is an organizational chart of the Executive Cabinet as of April 2006. Through this divisional structure, the Information Management Division (IMD) and System-level staff development, curriculum, media, Title I, special education, and ESOL personnel are represented and given opportunities to collaborate on technology planning activities. Please visit the Credits page to see the full list of contributors to this plan.
In summary, our strategic plan is designed to focus the entire GCPS organization on the business of teaching and learning.