Academic journal article T H E Journal (Technological Horizons In Education)

Leadership Is Ownership: When District Leadership Truly Owns Technology, Innovation Is Possible, No Matter What the Obstacles

Academic journal article T H E Journal (Technological Horizons In Education)

Leadership Is Ownership: When District Leadership Truly Owns Technology, Innovation Is Possible, No Matter What the Obstacles

Article excerpt

STEPHEN MARCUS, the late and much-missed director of the South Coast Writing Project in the 1990s, once said that it was easier to move a graveyard than change a school.

Anybody involved with urban education might elaborate on that metaphor and say that it's easier to move Arlington National Cemetery than to change a big-city school.

Yet this past spring, when I was reading applications for the Sylvia Charp Award (which honors a district that has "shown effectiveness and innovation in the application of technology districtwide"), I was struck by how many urban districts had overcome common obstacles to innovation in urban education to implement technology programs that were actually making a difference in teaching and learning.

My admiration for many of their efforts led to this month's cover story on urbanschool technology success stories (see page 26). None of the districts profiled here took the same course as the other, but they all had one thing in common: They were blessed with extraordinary leadership.

Indeed, when I was reading the award applications, I could almost predict how innovative and successful the district initiative-urban or otherwise--was going to be by the quality of the superintendent's letter that accompanied the submission. Some superintendents wrote about their district's technology initiatives as if they had no connection to the efforts, as if they were an outsider looking in, praising the IT director or some other player who was in charge of the "project." Not surprisingly, the technology implementations in those districts were unsystemic, uninspired, and definitely not award-worthy. …

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