In reviewing the need and importance of strategic planning, I was reminded of the work I did in graduate school in my Technology Infrastructure class on systems security and disaster recovery. The COSN module on strategic planning emphasizes the importance of both — as well as the vital step of matching technology purchases and plans to the needs of the students and the district. In a dramatic and disappointing twist, it does not mention Gimple’s phenomenal pizza assertion; however, I did notice there was a contact section so maybe I could make a suggestion.
Why we need strategic planning-
In education, it would be wonderful if positions had continuity and stability. Unfortunately, it is not always possible to maintain a staff and limit attrition. In our system, our technology director has been a stable part of our administration in the district; however, with a solid strategic plan, the leadership could shift and change and all stakeholders still have a roadmap to the overall SMART goals the organization is striving to meet.
This is where you do not want your firewall to go- down for the count. Systems security is integral to the priority of keeping students safe online. Tunneling apps and VPNs threaten to make our filtering at the schools obsolete and we must continue to improve our security to help regulate what access students have using the school network. We will not be able to prevent everything but diligent effort goes a long way to securing our schools.
All systems will have disasters intermittently. What is more important is that all stakeholders are briefed on the disaster recovery plan. As more and more instruction moves online or teachers have blended classrooms, no longer is technology just an add-on to instruction, it is a valuable and necessary instructional tool. It is also instrumental in the testing of students. Troubleshooting and practicing for a network disaster helps the entire system to facilitate and run online testing and instruction more smoothly.
Knowing the funding available, spending money on the technology the district needs to meet student achievement goals and getting stakeholders to have ownership in the plan are all interrelated and important in the process. What we want to avoid is spending money on a resource that does not have teacher support, exhaust funding on devices without the infrastructure to support their usage, and having the community see the plan as unrealistic. All of these must also be considered when developing the plan for implementation.
Strategic planning is not something that I was even aware existed early in my educational career. I had no conceptual understanding of budgeting and purchasing or how the process is vetted and planned. Now, after being exposed to all the work that goes into running successful schools and developing plans, I have a much healthier respect for the individuals who are part of the strategic planning process.
How does technology play into the strategic plan at your school? Why do you think we need strategic planning with technology in conjunction with STEM initiatives? Let me know in the comments below or find me on Twitter @jklcassidy