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Shared Vision & Rationale

Lisa Flicker

Instructional Technology Leadership

Spring, 2018

Mr. Chet Fuller

Keywords: Instructional Technology, Personalized Learning, Digital Divide,


Holcomb Bridge Middle School Shared Vision & Rationale

Vision Statement

Holcomb Bridge Middle School’s stakeholders have a shared vision that includes

fostering educational excellence and cultural enrichment through a safe, respectful, and

technology-based global learning environment. This vision is to be achieved through

innovative teaching, comprehensive and continuous progress monitoring and assessment,

data driven decision making and the usage of 21st century technology. At Holcomb

Bridge Middle School, diversity is valued and there is the continual striving for vested

community involvement. Holcomb Bridge works diligently to be inclusive and allows

opportunities for all students and families to be able to share what makes them unique

and special. The importance of technology and providing equitable access has been a

priority for Holcomb Bridge. Students have been given free access to the internet though

devices issued to them along with a 5GB monthly data package. Personalized learning is

to be promoted in classrooms through the integration of enriching and authentic

instructional technology programs. Teachers will be supported through choice learning

opportunities that are provided via in-school and on-line professional development



The incorporation of technology and its implementation in to all aspects of a

student’s education, the day to day functions of a school, and the training of teachers has

increased tremendously over the last ten years. Schools, in today’s digital age, need to

make sure that the usage of new technologies is able to productively enrich and benefit

all students and their individual needs. According to the ISTE Policy Brief (2008), there

are seven factors for successfully implementing technology in to learning. These include

technology being incorporated in with the daily learning schedule, programs and

applications being provided with on-going and continual feedback, technology use

allowing for collaborative environments, and project-based and real life scenarios being

included as a main focus. Furthermore, the ISTE Policy Brief (2008) also includes the

importance of leadership, support, and modeling from teachers, administration, and all

other stakeholders in order to successfully promote technology integration.

The HBMS leadership team, including HBMS literacy, math and graduation coaches,

have delved in to the data accumulated through Georgia Milestones, STAR, and formative

and summative assessments, to come up with several smart goals for Holcomb Bridge

Middle School. These goals include Smart Goal #1, which states that HBMS is to increase

the percent of students in grades 6th through 8th scoring at Proficient or Distinguished

Learner on the Georgia Milestones ELA from 42% to 46% for the 2017-2018 school year.

Smart Goal #2 is to increase the percent of 6th through 8th grade students scoring At/Above

Benchmark on the STAR from 41% to 45% for the 2017-2018 school year. Finally, Smart

Goal #3 includes increasing the percent of students in 8th grade scoring at Proficient

Learner or Distinguished Learner on the Georgia Milestones Science from 37% to 40% for

the 2017-2018 school year. Data from Milestones and STAR testing showed that low SES

and ESL students showed the lowest growth within the school. Therefore, specific

strategies need to be directed toward helping these particular populations to achieve.

After having conducted interviews with stakeholders from various groups within

Holcomb Bridge, including administration, literacy and math coaches, teachers, and

support staff, several important factors were evident through the findings. First, it can be

determined through the data collected that our students, including our very transient and

ESL student populations, need additional support in reading and science. Second, we

need to focus more on bringing up the scores for our low SES and ESL student

populations. However, teachers were not as confident in how to achieve this and felt they

did not have the necessary tools in order to be successful. Teachers were much more

confident being able to support non ESL than they were our English Learner population.

Professional development opportunities focusing on incorporating higher-order thinking

activities through technology and geared toward assisting low SES and ESL students at

HBMS should be implemented on a more regular basis and based on the teacher’s

individual needs.

As reported in the article by Ritzhaupt et al (2013), almost all public schools provide

internet access. However, the digital divide still exists. This digital divide is evident

through significant differences found in low SES schools that tend to use skill and drill

practice more with their software as opposed to higher SES schools which use more

higher-order productivity software for educational purposes (2013). Holcomb Bridge

Middle School is very cognoscente of this fact and wants to ensure that through

differentiated personalized learning opportunities, students are given access to authentic

and meaningful lessons that are rich in technology infusion. To further support this

shared vision, HBMS should promote WICOR AVID strategies through the increased

usage of technology based application systems and incorporated in all subjects. Also,

through collaboration of community resources and past AVID student mentors currently

at our feeder high school, specific strategies can be directed toward low SES and ESL

students. Through the implementation of technology software, HBMS will help increase

not only reading and science achievement but also support the HBMS personalized

learning initiatives for blended classrooms.

However, a shared vision can only be successful by making sure all stakeholders feel

ownership in the vision and have created for themselves a sense of buy-in. Buy-in may

not happen immediately and it depends on the amount and type of communication

relayed to all stakeholders. As HBMS is a relatively small middle school, qualitative

measures to assess buy-in can be conducted (IRIS Center, 2018). Check-ins with random

stakeholders is suggested to make sure that adjustments or a reassessment of the shared

vision is not needed.

Holcomb Bridge Middle School is currently in its third year offering 1:1 through

distribution of iPads to all students. Also, the school is in its final year of a grant through

Digital Promise and Verizon which offers each student a 5GB monthly data package.

Through this implementation, specific software should be added in to student catalogs

that they may access and can be used in the classroom and at home to help support

literacy across all disciplines. The ISTE Policy Brief (2008) said research has shown

that when incorporating technology with innovative student-centered and inquiry-

based instruction, students show higher growth in achievement and test scores than

those who do not have this type of instruction. This was further documented

through the implementation of Missouri’s eMints and Michigan’s FTL programs

(ISTE, 2013). According to Boser (2013), technology access also allows more

opportunities for students to work collaboratively and that technology has the

ability to help promote higher order thinking. In fact, within the ISTE Policy Brief

(2008), studies showed that students working in pairs and with technology tools

while also receiving feedback from instructors outperformed those who did not

when it came to comprehension. Therefore, higher order and hands-on research

opportunities need to be provided for students and through applications that allow

them to collaborate together with on-line work spaces. Furthermore, as mentioned

in Ritzhaupt (2013), the key to “minimizing the digital divide is not the access to or

utilization of high-tech information but whether the user knows how to use them for

the betterment of their quality of life” (p.294). Students must understand how to

create artifacts with technology and by doing so this will better enable them to

compete in our rapidly changing global society in the future. Students can complete

Web Quests, participate in collaborative learning opportunities with students

and/or community resources outside of school, and use new information to create

digital artifacts to be published and shared (2013). These strategies with low SES

and ESL students will be implemented to support the HBMS shared vision.

Technology will be used to support Smart Goals and assessed through growth in

STAR and Milestones Standardized testing in the areas of ELA and Science.

Diversity Considerations

Due to Holcomb Bridge Middle School’s very transient and large ESL population, it

has been determined that additional support needs to be provided in reading, and across

all disciplines for our ESL and low SES students. Being a 1:1 school that promotes

personalized learning, HBMS understands it needs to find appropriate technology

resources that will further enable us to reach students who are struggling with reading and

across all disciplines. Studies have shown, as stated in the Reich et al (2015) article, that

there are two major challenges to technology usage with Web 2.0. First, there is difficulty

in supporting teachers in using technology for innovation instead of just for skill and

drill. Second, that innovations in technology implementation seem to be much more

evident in higher socioeconomic schools than those that are not as high (p.8). HBMS

needs to make sure that the technology resources we utilize are instrumental in promoting

innovative and authentic learning opportunities for all our learners, and specifically those

targeted groups like our ESL and low SES students.

Furthermore, and as stated in Naizer (2014), there is a gender gap evident between

middle school males and females and especially in their attitude towards math, science,

and technology that needs to be considered. This is very important for HBMS to consider

if it is to successfully reach and help all students achieve. The article by Naizer (2014)

states that the gender discrepancies could be related to several factors. Those factors

include puberty and that the rate of confidence that females feel towards math and

science declines at an alarming rate as they get older. Although women make up half the

workforce, they are greatly underrepresented in STEM related careers. Therefore,

programs like the Maximizing Motivation Targeting Technology Project discussed in this

article and implemented in rural areas to help lessen the gender gap should be considered

in regard to motivation and increasing STEM interest in middle schools girls. The MMTT

program uses real world, hands-on, higher order thinking and application projects during

a two-week summer camp. Teachers and students work together and learn

simultaneously. Results from this project showed that in the long term, gender gap

differences were minimized. This could be attributed to the increased interest that was

achieved in this STEM project, and the comfort students felt after being able to work in

real life situations and problem-solve while also gaining a greater understanding of how

they could benefit and contribute to the field (p. 32). By HBMS utilizing the same

philosophy during the regular school year, this could help increase motivation and

interest for female learners. HBMS could also utilize more community resources

available through local technical universities as collaborators for planning and as

speakers for students. Local corporations and government organizations like Kimberly

Clark and the CDC could help us provide authentic hands-on projects that include real-

world problem solving opportunities. These learning opportunities would help to show

students how they can use what they are learning to create collaboratively. HBMS female

students need help feeling empowered and just as worthy and important as their male

counterparts in all disciplines, especially those that are STEM related.

Furthermore, support for the gender and achievement differences between males and

females can also be seen through the acknowledgement that girls are more likely to be

motivated when they establish supportive relationships with teachers and peers in

interpersonal connections and collaborative interactions (Kim, 2016). Girls, as the article

by Kim (2016) states, like technology based programs that present frequent and verbal

feedback and in positive and motivational manners. Therefore, the increased use of

technology applications that incorporate this feature would be beneficial for this specific

population at Holcomb Bridge Middle School. Programs can be utilized like the game

Mission: US which uses characters interacting with students and through situations based

on their specific decisions. Further programs that have built in on-line tutors should be


In regard to the Shared Vision and assisting the large ESL population at HBMS, the

article by Tong et al (2014) states that it takes 5-7 years for English Language Learners to

acquire a comparable level of proficiency in academic language to that of native-English

speakers. This article further recommends that an interdisciplinary English reading

literacy-embedded science intervention program be implemented. This is supported

through reading strategies involving hands-on and inquiry based instruction (p. 414).

Therefore, by importing technology that can enable us to differentiate instruction for our

various learners and through personalized learning opportunities, we will be able to better

support this population of learners.

I found it interesting to note that consideration needs to be made between ESL and

non ESL gender differences as well, and especially in consideration towards supporting

our shared vision. As stated in Tong et al (2014) and according to a large scale study

conducted on gender differences in reading and science literacy for ELL’s, background

factors significantly predicted science achievement in high stakes science tests.

Specifically, female students scored significantly lower than their male counterparts, and

the gap increases as they progress through the 12th grade. However, in the area of English

literacy skills, there was an advantage for ELL girls who had received initial instruction

in their native language and with their achievement in expressive English vocabulary

acquisition (p. 414). We need to give students the opportunity to explore science through

reading and provide inquiry-based instruction that allows students to represent their new

information in personalized ways that consider voice and choice opportunities.

Stakeholder Roles

Personalized Learning Coach/Personalized Learning Leadership Team


The Personalized Learning Coach is a valuable resource for teachers and staff to

access for technology tools to use with targeted groups, such as our lows SES, ESL, and

female learners. Teachers and the Personalized Learning Coach can work together during

their content meetings to discuss strategies for accomplishing the HBMS shared vision

and by helping specific population groups at HBMS to achieve to higher levels. The

Personalized Learning Coach needs to provide opportunities for modeling, observation,

and feedback for these new strategies that will be implemented, and as discussed in

Knight (2007). They will model differentiated experiences that can be altered for various

learning styles, interests, and goals of the targeted groups HBMS is trying to focus on

(ISTE-C 2e). Furthermore, reflection and dialogue are important aspects of this process,

and if there is resistance and possibly the initial plan is not working for the teacher, than

other possibilities and options should be considered for the success of the students

involved (2007).

Also important is for the Personalized Learning Coach to comply with ISTE-C

standards while supporting the Shared Vision. The Personalized Learning Coach at

HBMS will be responsible for the timely distribution of all necessary communication

regarding the shared vision between stakeholders, and as stated in ISTE-C 1a. They will

be the go-to person for implementing and sustaining the new strategies being

implemented for the shared vision and in support of the targeted groups we are trying to

help achieve (ISTE-C, 1d, 2011).

The Personalized Learning Coach could work with ED Tech Teacher to create a new

course for teachers specifically geared on assistive learning tools for the large population

of ESL learners at HBMS. She could assist teachers with finding specific technology

applications that would appeal to female learners by having built-in on-line tutors that

interact with students as they progress through the game or activity and as suggested in

the article by Kim (2016).

The Personalized Learning Leadership Team was implemented two years ago to help

with the HBMS strategic plan for personalized learning and technology implementation.

Further use of this team can be utilized to specifically find resources to help with the

shared vision and smart goals for increasing reading and science achievement through the

incorporation of reading strategies across the disciplines and through the use of

technology applications. Their goal for supporting this shared vision is also to provide

professional learning experiences to help teachers. These opportunities would be utilized

to help teachers understand how to use tools the team feels could assist with student

achievement and especially with our targeted ESL, low SES and female populations.

Some future collaborative tools they could consider introducing through professional

learning opportunities should be Popplet, Scribblar, or Edublogs (Solomon & Schrum,



Understanding that calculated risks are acceptable and that failing forward and

learning from mistakes is sometimes just as beneficial and an important a concept to

understand as just the act of accomplishment (ISTE Team, 2015). The administration of

Holcomb Bridge Middle School needs to continue providing opportunities for teachers

and staff to access new technologies and to feel safe knowing that if they do not succeed,

they will be allowed to search and explore other means to help students achieve.

Administration needs to find resources within and outside the school to facilitate

teachers’ specific needs for learning tools to assist their low SES and ESL students.

Resources could be found from other schools and in other districts that they may access

from their professional learning networks. This can also be achieved through technology

departments at local universities and especially ones specializing in education and

technology, as with KSU, or through the various educational technology organizations

like Digital Promise and Ed Tech Teacher. They need to help promote opportunities for

teachers to learn and practice with these new tools through enriching professional

learning sessions offered both on-line and face-to-face that will help to target our low

SES, female and ESL learners.

Furthermore, administrators need to be modeling and supporting their teachers, as

stated in ISTE-2b, 2c. The administration team needs to make sure that the technology

being implemented is innovative and being used to promote an enriching and authentic

learning environment for students, including the various diverse learners found in HBMS.

They also need to lead the effort in finding funding for the professional learning and

innovative strategies that HBMS needs to achieve the share vision goals, as stated in

ISTE-A, 1c.


At Holcomb Bridge Middle School, teachers are responsible for supporting the

shared vision in several ways. As stated in ISTE-T (2008), standard 4b, educators at

HBMS need to “address the diverse needs of all learners by using learner-centered

strategies that provide equitable access to appropriate digital tools and resources”.

Teachers need to be able to create learning activities that address the diverse learning

styles of their students and provide digital tools to support students moving in to more

critical thinking tasks (ISTE 2c, 2d). Assessments need to be able to conform to the

specific needs of their diverse learners. Teachers need to understand that there are various

forms assessments can take and that they need to utilize the formats that would accurately

show what their students have learned. Students do not all learn the same, and this applies

to how they also are able to show what they have learned. Special consideration should

be taken to this concept.

At HBMS, we have also found the importance of utilizing and building upon the

growth of relationships between teachers and students. Motivation in many of our

students, and especially at this age level has been a factor with student achievement. This

was evident through research obtained and through conversations had during the

interviews conducted. For example, as evident in the article by Kim (2016), it is

important for teachers to foster positive and nurturing relationships between individual

students who may be struggling. Students then tend to become more motivated to achieve

and want to be successful.

Teachers need to also make sure that they incorporate in to their lessons female

leaders and role models who have made accomplishments in the areas or subject matter

they are studying. Particular attention should be paid to the STEM subject areas in which

female representation is lower than males. This can help promote interest and confidence

in these fields as well.


Students have several roles in supporting the shared vision for HBMS and especially

since they are the most important stakeholders in all of this. According to ISTE Standards

for Students, they need to be empowered learners. They can accomplish this by using

their voice and choice to create personal learning goals, as stated in 1a. ESL and low SES

students need to make sure they use their own voice to show what they have learned and

to improve upon what they are learning (ISTE-S 1c, 1d).

Furthermore, it is of upmost importance that all students at HBMS follow positive

digital citizenship rules. This includes making sure that they are acting in a positive, safe

and ethical manner through their technology access and that they understand the

consequences for not doing so as well as the harm that it could potentially cause others

(ISTE-S 2a, 2b, 2c).


As mentioned in the ISTE article “8 Ways to Establish Shared Vision” (2015),

you need to show and not just tell. This includes taking stakeholders, such as parents and

community members who are not as familiar with educational strategies to places where

the initiatives you are trying to support are being utilized successfully. Communities that

surround schools need to become vested in with the shared vision of their local school

and help provide resources to support those initiatives.

Furthermore, parents should have opportunities provided to them at school to

learn the platforms and technology applications that their children are using at HBMS.

This will help foster a better school to home connection and allow parents a greater

understanding when assisting their child. Parents should also make sure to monitor that

their children are practicing digital citizenship as they reinforce new skills learned during

the school day.



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