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Educational Report ETEC 6223- Strategic Planning & IDT Programs Beashua D. Spearman University of Arkansas



Abstract The Project Girls Education and Mentoring (GEM) program was a joint collaboration program between the Junior League of Fort Smith and the Arkansas Girls Inc. of Fort Smith, Arkansas. The strategic planning project involved vast preparation that involved the creation of a technology vision statement, a needs assessment, technology evaluation, solution proposals, action plan, and budgeting. Managing such a large task was difficult but eventually the project united to become a wonderful strategic planning process. The project included creating an evaluation that was not difficult to pursue throughout the three-year process. During the creation of this project, I gained invaluable experience as a project manager and I learned the importance of management and evaluation.



Project Description The formation of the Project Girls Education and Mentoring (GEM) committee offered an educational after-school program for girls only aged 5-18. This committee is collaboration between the Junior League of Fort Smith and the Arkansas Girls Inc. of Fort Smith, Arkansas. The development of the technology strategic plan was to provide a safe environment with educational and recreational programs that encouraged girls to take risks and master physical, intellectual and emotional challenges. The accomplishment of this strategic plan was to develop strategic goals and strategies based upon the Project Girls Education and Mentoring curriculum. The specific focal area of technology was web-based technologies, specifically, implementing the use of web 2.0 tools and various web sites that offered applications for girls. These technologies were chosen to promote non-traditional or Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) careers to the GEM participants. The Project Girls Education and Mentoring (GEM) committee and I, the strategic planning facilitator worked together to create a technology vision, technology evaluation, a technology needs assessment, and a three-year technology action plan. The members of the planning group were Monica McKinney, the executive director of the Arkansas Girls Inc.; Sara Harris, the executive assistant of the Arkansas Girls Inc.; Gennifer Arbor, the Committee Chairperson of the Project GEM; Ruth Malden, the committee coChairperson of Project GEM, and Marie Thomas, the committee research chairperson of the Project GEM, Junior League of Fort Smith member, and an Arkansas Girls Inc. board member. First, the strategic project began with regular meetings that culminated in the creation of



the technology vision statement to ensure the GEM participants explored and learned about nontraditional careers in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. Second, the technology evaluation determined the purpose of the needed technologies that measured the current technology use at the Arkansas Girls Inc. Third, the technology needs assessment was conducted based upon the survey methods, which utilized the questionnaire method. Fourth, upon the completion of the needs assessment, we researched and developed the action plan. Fifth, a detailed budget plan was developed to reflect the needs assessment. During the development of the action plan, a work plan was created to display the a responsibility of each stakeholder, the action and the timeline to ensure it was completed. In addition, it listed how to utilize the technologies within the budget constraints of the GEM program. The last step in the strategic planning process was to develop an evaluation plan that encouraged the stakeholders to continue to evaluate the programs effectiveness. The determined methods were the use of online interviews/surveys (using Survey Monkey), and observation. The evaluation plan listed the following three types of evaluations that were utilized by Project GEM: observation, questionnaires and surveys, and the completion of reports and spreadsheets to total the number of GEM participants that were influenced by the program and how the budget was utilized during each year of the project.



Program Identification Standard 4: MANAGEMENT Candidates demonstrate knowledge, skills, and dispositions to plan, organize, coordinate, and supervise instructional technology by applying principles of project, resource, delivery system, and information management. 4.1 Demonstrate ability to utilize project management techniques during the creation and implementation of instructional technologies. I created a strategic plan with the assistance of the stakeholders for the Girls Education and Mentoring project sponsored by the Arkansas Girls Inc. and the Junior League of Fort Smith, Arkansas. This plan included planning and conducting a needs assessment, governance, creating a vision statement, and analyzing the organizations project. In addition, it included the preparation of recommendations for the projects developers. I created an action plan that allowed the project developers to implement each action and delegating it to a member within a timely manner within their development team to ensure the actions were executed promptly. 4.2 Demonstrate ability to effectively manage projects with multiple components. This includes the ability to budget, evaluate, and further the project. During the development of the Project GEM technology strategic plan, I met regularly with the stakeholders of the Girls Education and Mentoring project. I met with the organizations to create a technology vision that would create the direction for the GEM program. In addition, I included a proposal budget in addition to the final justification budget, which was based upon the needs assessment. The needs assessment included gathering information to determine the needs through the technology evaluation and assessment to determine which technologies were currently in use or was outdated. I observed and inventoried the current technology at the Girls Inc. in addition to their website and their curriculum software. The next step was prioritizing the needs to determine which needs were most important and necessary. I met with the stakeholders to facilitate and help guide them to understand between the needs and the wants of the Project GEM. Upon this successful facilitation, the needs assessment as created, and in addition, we successfully created a budget that remained under the Project GEMs budget. I created an action plan that was a working plan to delegate the duties to each committee member or Girls Inc. staff member. In addition, it included a timeline to indicate when it is supposed to be completed and the intended deadline. 4.3 Demonstrate ability to manage multiple resources. This includes the ability to justify the allocation of funds, document cost effectiveness, and the utilization of staff, time, supplies, and/or instructional resources.



During the strategic planning course, I met with the Girls Education and Mentoring (GEM) project committee. We discussed the needs assessment; I conducted the needs assessment to determine what type of technology the Girls Inc. was using. In addition, I determined what type of technology the Girls Inc. needed to ensure the technology aspect of this project would meet the technology needs of the S.T.E.M program. During the needs assessment, I created a budget, a budget justification, in addition, we created a cost effective method, which included in-kind donations from community organizations such as the Junior League of Fort Smith, and other various donors. We received sponsorships and we applied for a grant from Best Buy to complete our budget needs. I created an action plan for the GEM committee members to know which action was delegated a particular person and how it was completed. In addition, it included a deadline and a component to allow the delegated party to list when the action what completed.

4.4 Demonstrate ability to implement and manage various delivery systems of instructional technology. This includes the ability to attend to hardware and software requirements, technical support for both users and developers, and process issues such as guidelines for learners, instructors, and support personnel. I conducted a technology needs assessment that included the current technology, how it was used, the serial number, dates of manufacturing, and it included where the technology was used and how it was used. In addition, I determined which staff member or age group of girls that used the technology in the technology room. For example, based upon that assessment, I created a technology report that I determined which technology the GEM program needed. As a result, we determined that at least five computers needed replacement, a new scanner and printer, staff and volunteer technology training/certification and textbooks. In addition, two new notebook computers and a projector were determined in the needs assessment. Standard 5: EVALUATION Candidates demonstrate knowledge, skills, and dispositions to evaluate the adequacy of instruction and learning by applying principles of problem analysis, criterion-referenced measurement, formative and summative evaluation, and long-range planning. 5.4 Demonstrate ability to develop a long-range plan for the advancement of technology in an organization or institution. I developed a concise and succinct long-range action plan for the GEM committee members to know which action was delegated to a particular person and the time limit including a set deadline, in addition to how it was completed. In addition, it included a final deadline and a component to allow the delegated party to list when that action was completed. The action plan included the following examples; purchasing hardware, ensuring the in-kind donations from



local businesses and donors were received to GEMs budget, the delegations included completing a monthly evaluation and how it influenced the GEM participants. The evaluation plan included evaluation three major components of the GEM action plan, which included staff and volunteer technology training, hardware upgrades, and the technology budget.

Educational Reflection When I first began the strategic planning and IDT programs course, I felt overwhelmed because I did not know what to expect, and I did not understand strategic planning. The initial thoughts of strategic planning were fears that I had no clue what a strategic plan was although I had read them. I had Googled the definition of strategic planning before our class began but it did not make sense to me. After reading the required reading for the first week, I began to understand what strategic planning is and why it is necessary for an organization. I now view an organizations strategic planning as their road map for where they are, what they want to achieve, and hope they plan to continue into the future. Strategic planning is a success plan that enables an organization to continue within a set path to achieve and succeed within a timeline and a given category. I reviewed the Junior League of Fort Smith's strategic plan during the first week of the course and I did not understand but after I had completed the readings for each week, it was as if a light bulb appeared! I began to understand the purpose of strategic planning and I was prepared to learn more, in addition, I was no longer afraid or anxious, I knew I was prepared to excel and learn more about strategic planning. I understood that each strategic step builds from a systematic process but it does not cease, because it continues to an understanding of the Project GEM program, its viability, and its future of that included a beginning and ending result. As I began, the process of arranging meeting times and days, the first barrier that I had noticed was it became difficult to set a definite meeting time because the committee members



had different work schedules. To overcome this barrier, I asked the stakeholders to meet me at a suitable time. This was a wonderful strategy because the stakeholders all emailed me the time they met for the Project GEM activities. I accompanied the to the Project GEM site and I observed the program, in addition, I asked the stakeholders if I could meet them at a central location in the vicinity and that I would provide refreshments and it worked! A second barrier was assuring a naysayer that this strategic plan could work if it was implemented correctly and precisely. I had to assure the stakeholder that the strategic plan was a great asset to their organization and it would create a work plan that would help them build a roadmap to ensure the technology component of the Project GEM was effective and efficient. Once I completed this task, the planning process went smoothly until we lost a stakeholder. A third barrier that I had encountered was one of the stakeholders had to resign from the project due to a family emergency and it was difficult for me to keep the stakeholders on task because the stakeholder who resigned was an essential part of the planning process. When this occurred, I
was anxious and nervous about the possibility of the stakeholders canceling the planning process. To

solve this dilemma; I remained in constant contact to assure the stakeholders that I would assist
them and guide them through the planning process. I contacted the organizations board members

to communicate that I was willing to continue forward if they were prepared to continue. Never the less, I remain optimistic about the stakeholders and their decision to continue the strategic planning process. Within two days, I had received a phone call and an email from the stakeholders and they were excited to continue with the project. During this process, I learned that a strategic planning facilitator must keep the planning team on task and on time because it is vital to the development, implementation, and the execution of the plan. As I continued to facilitate the stakeholders, I learned more about both organizations in addition to learning how to manage a large project and remain optimistic



throughout the setbacks that may occur.