In order to “advocate for policies, procedures, programs, and funding strategies to support implementation of the shared vision represented in the school and district technology plans and guidelines,” I needed to both educate myself and join a community of like-minded educators (International Society for Technology in Education, 2011). Being part of the private school community, I learned that “district”-level change often occurs when collaborating within a consortium of other independent schools.
The Samis Technology Initiative is a decade-long effort to create school change by leveraging technology. The mission of the Samis Technology Initiative is:
To enhance student learning experiences and improve outcomes
in all academic areas both general and Jewish education
by leveraging the integration of technology
and the acquisition of 21st century digital skills
in Seattle’s Jewish Day Schools.
Training Program/Community of Practice
“As the largest investment, Samis’ focus on Teacher-Leaders is paramount to the success of this initiative. This initiative is designed to increase a school’s understanding of technology in the classroom on both a conceptual and practical level.
This [was] achieved by designating 2 teacher-leaders from each of Samis’ 6 beneficiary schools to participate in an ongoing commitment of training classes and a Community of Practice (CoP).
The Training Program/CoP [included]:
-9 Face-to-face sessions (including the orientation and Los Angeles school site visit)
-Monthly assignments designed to connect your learning and reflection to your classroom teaching and school community
-Opportunities to share your learning with your school community and beyond” (Amiel, 2014).
How Did It Help?
I benefited by participating in the Samis CoP in the following ways:
- I visited schools that have successfully implemented technology and have well thought-out policies, procedures and funding strategies. These visits helped me to consider how to utilize these same theories in my own school.
- I had the to opportunity to learn alongside well-respected professionals and up-and-coming educators, all of whom taught me a great deal.
- My participation in the Samis CoP provided me the opportunity to schedule frequent meetings with my school administration and share my new found knowledge. These meetings led to institutional change because the school was excited to implement new ideas and strategies.
- Through my education in the CoP and funding obtained during that time, my school was able to introduce a badge learning digital citizenship course, a coding class and several hardware and software updates, including new Sharp Boards and student iPads.
Amiel, A. (2014). Overview of Samis technology initiative for teacher-leaders [Handout]. Samis Foundation, Seattle, WA.
International Society for Technology in Education. (2011). ISTE standards: coaches. Retrieved June 29, 2011, from http://www.iste.org/standards/ISTE-standards/standards-for-coaches