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Christen Thompson

EDIT 760 D2
12 June 2016
NETS-A Standard 1, Visionary Leadership Brief Paper
Introduction
The ISTE Standards for Administrators aim to guide educational leaders in the everchanging world of digital learning. Educational administrators, perhaps more than educational
staff, have the power to encourage a positive transformation of the educational environment. As
such, educational administrators should exhibit certain qualities, such as visionary leadership.
Visionary leadership is the topic of ISTE NETS-A Standard 1, which states: Educational
administrators inspire and lead development and implementation of a shared vision for
comprehensive integration of technology to promote excellence and support transformation
throughout the organization.
South Carolina Connections Academy is a free online virtual public school. South
Carolina Connections Academy is part of the South Carolina Public Charter School District,
whose headquarters is in Columbia, SC. South Carolina Connections Academy is a branch of
Connections Education, which is a company with many different types of virtual and hybrid
schools across world. Connections Education serves kindergarten through twelfth grade. South
Carolina Connections Academy aims to: [provide] a personalized education for students to
master the knowledge and problem solving skills needed to achieve their college and career
goals. In terms of educational leadership, South Carolina Connections Academy is led by an

governing board and executive director as well as principals and vice principals (one per grade
level--K-5, 6-8, 9-12), and a special education director.
Indicator 1
According to indicator 1: Educational leaders facilitate the shared development by all
stakeholders of a vision for technology use and widely communicate that vision. The governing
board of South Carolina Connections Academy, or the board of directors is comprised of
members to represent all stakeholders in order to ensure that development is a shared vision
among different perspectives. The board of directors includes a parent representative (Frank
Thomas Sr., who serves as the board vice president), multiple education sector representatives
(who serve as members of the board) as well as a business sector representative (Gary Prince,
who serves as board president). These school board members are readily accessible to the public
through contact information posted on the schools website. The board members contact
information can be found here: http://www.connectionsacademy.com/south-carolina-virtualschool/about/school-board/directors. This accessibility and representation of stakeholders from
different sectors of the public (education, business, parents) ensures that the board is able to take
into account viewpoints from different roles within Connections Education. These board
members are also held accountable to the public through school board meetings, which are
regularly scheduled and open to the public in compliance with South Carolina open meeting
laws. The dates of these meetings are posted on the school website
(http://www.connectionsacademy.com/Portals/11/caschools/scca/documents/pdfs/board/2015/SCCA-Board-Meeting-Schedule-15-16-Approved.pdf).
School leaders (executive director, vice principals, principals, special education director) and

staff (teachers, school psychologists, etc.) are encouraged to attend and be involved in these
meetings.
Indicator 2
According to indicator 2: Educational leaders maintain and cohesive process to develop,
implement, and monitor a dynamic, long-range, and systemic technology plan to achieve the
vision. Connections Academy believes that educational technology works best when it makes
learning more relatable, meaningful, and fun. In accordance with that belief, Connections
Education develops many of its own technology resources (internal email, secure community
message boards, etc.). Connexus is the online educational management system where learning
at Connections Education takes place. This system allows students to connect with their
teachers, resources for classes, and their lessons. Since Connections Education is an
international program, a management team consisting of the president, vice presidents, an
advisor, and an executive director of strategy are responsible for implementing technology plans.
Each individual school within Connections Education has a technology implementation team
that works to help bring technology accessibility to their own schools.
Indicator 3
According to indicator 3: Educational leaders foster and nurture a culture of responsible
risk-taking and advocate policies promoting continuous innovation with technology. The
management team has a systematic process through which they develop, implement, and monitor
technology. Each school is responsible for developing a technology plan that is in compliance
with Connections Education expectations for technology use. These plans encourage continuous
innovation and inspire schools to take risks that are based in research and best practice.

Indicator 4
According to indicator 4: Educational leaders use data in making leadership decisions.
The leadership at South Carolina Connections Academy uses data in order to drive leadership
decisions. Teacher, student, and parent surveys are frequently sent out through the internal email
system in Connexus in order to gain feedback from these members of the educational process.
Connexus also hosts an area that encourages feedback on anything related to Connections
Academy including curriculum or other questions families may have. By seeking out opinions
of these important stakeholders, educational leaders at the school and executive level are able to
make their decisions around teachers, students, and parents best interests.
Indicator 5
According to indicator 5: Educational leaders advocate for research-based effective
practices in the use of technology. Educational leadership at Connections Academy and South
Carolina Connections Academy encourage research-based practices in the use of technology
through professional development sessions. For the first three years of a teachers career at
Connections, they are enrolled in a PL Series ranging from 100 level to 300 level depending on
experience. These sessions cover topics about teaching methods and the latest research-based
practices involving technology. The school also offers learning coaches (parents) and students
Getting Started courses when they first begin a school year or enroll with Connections. These
courses encourage best practices in the use of technology, particularly with families who may
need additional technology assistance. Learning Coach Central is also a great resource for
parents and students who may need help utilizing some of the features in Connexus.

Conclusion
Based on data such as anecdotal evidence and surveys, South Carolina Connections
Academy educational administrators exhibit the visionary leadership defined in ISTE NETS-A
Standard 1: Educational administrators inspire and lead development and implementation of a
shared vision for comprehensive integration of technology to promote excellence and support
transformation throughout the organization. As a virtual school, it is important that South
Carolina Connections Academys leaders serve to encourage and lead technology
implementation at their schools. The leaders at South Carolina Connections Academy are led by
the Connections Academy management team, who work alongside stakeholders to plan and
develop integration of technology that will promote excellence in Connections schools.