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School Evaluation Summary by Angela Rutschke

Demographics Charming School (pseudonym) is a K-12 public school with approximately 380 students, and 35 faculty members, and other administrative staff. The school is located in a small rural village in Alberta, with a population of 500 people. The majority of Charming School students are bussed to the school. The average family income is reported to be just over $63 000/year. The school population has a lower than average high school completion rate of 70%. Maturity Benchmarks Evaluation Through completing the Maturity Benchmarks Survey, I determined that Charming School falls mostly within the Islands and Integrated levels. Technology has certainly been implemented and is gaining importance, but there is a significant range in its implementation and integration within the school. There are a handful of individuals that are very technologically advanced, while others rarely use technology in their practice. There is growing acceptance and demand for technological resources and infrastructure within the school, but the school has very little control over such resources, as much of the technology is provided through the school division and not through the school itself.

Policy: Behavioral = Islands, Resource = Islands Planning: Behavioral = Islands, Resource = Islands Budget: Behavioral = Islands, Resource = Integrated Administrative: Behavioral = Integrated, Resource = Intelligent When assessing Administrative maturity, I determined that Charming School falls under the parameters of the Islands and Integrated categories. The school division has some policies in place, but they are very loosely articulated, informal and not adhered to by Charming School in any formalized way. Specific, formal policies for the school itself are not well-communicated and were rather difficult to locate at all! Planning remains in the Islands phase. While there is a Technology Professional Learning Community(PLC) within the school, there remains a disconnect from the planning process and the staff. When new technology is implemented, such as installing Smart boards, or purchasing new programs, the staff at Charming School has had very little input. Technology decisions are most often instituted by the school division without consultation with the school. This

has led to less implementation of technology, as the specific needs of the staff and students may not be met by the changes. The top-down approach has experienced mixed success. On the positive side, every classroom in Charming School is equipped with a Smartboard and projector. However, the meaningful integration of this technology varies significantly within the school. The budget for Charming School is within the Integrated phase. However, there remain large budgetary concerns. Once again, the school division has a great deal of influence over the spending on technology within the Charming Schools budget. In addition, the school is challenged to meet the technology needs of a K12 institution. What would be ideal for an elementary school is insufficient for a high school. This has led to some gaps in technology purchasing, as it has been difficult for Charming School to determine the best technology for its staff and students. Administrative systems are available to all faculty and administrative staff, which is why this area rates as Intelligent. Much of this integration has been mandatory, which has been frustrating for those staff members that find technology difficult to implement. However, all staff members have been trained to use the email system, Google calendars and other such tools to help support communication within the school.

Electronic Information: Behavioral = Islands, Resource = Integrated Assessment: Behavioral = Islands, Resource = Islands Curriculum Integration: Behavioral = Islands, Resources = Integrated Teacher Use: Behavioral = Islands, Resource = Integrated Student Use: Behavioral = Islands, Resource = Emergent The Curricular section of the Maturity Benchmark lands between the Islands and Integrated phases. Electronic information is in the Islands category, as students and staff often use online information, but the dependency varies significantly by teacher and by division. The level of electronic information integration tends to be highest in the middle school years, generally in grades 5-9, but there are pockets of integration in both the higher and lower areas as well. There are very few ebooks, or electronic journals available through the school at this time, although this has been improving within the last year. Meanwhile, I rate Charmings Assessment category in the Islands level, as final grades are posted electronically, but most teachers provide initial assessment and grades through traditional means and later duplicate the work through the

online assessment. Many faculty members view this process as extra work. There are a few teachers utilizing Google docs for assessing students written work, but much of the assessment is still done by paper and pencil. Curricular integration varies greatly depending on the teacher and the grade level. Some teachers are using a great deal of technology integration, while others reject even basic uses of technology in the curriculum. I believe that Charming School would rate in the Islands level, although the school has much of the infrastructure in place for this area to increase significantly in the future. I rate the Teacher Use category similarly. Some staff has difficulty getting access to the technology they would like to use. One example can be seen through the number of teachers that have requested tablets to be connected to their Smart boards, but this request has been declined by the school board. Currently is only one document camera in the building and many classrooms can not connect it to their projectors because of insufficient wiring. The machines in the two computer labs are between five and seven years old, and have technical difficulties regularly. Their processing speed is significantly slower than that of newer machines. Charming School does not have a computer technician on-site and the wait time for service can be as long as two weeks. Teachers have reported that the internet services inability to keep up with consistent video streaming has decreased the amount of technology they integrate into their lessons. Wireless internet is available throughout the school, but there are many areas that the strength of the signal is virtually non-existent. This also impacts how teachers are integrating technology. However, in the area of Student Use, technology would be embraced by the student population if the school could keep up with the demand, as the students report many positive applications for using technology and say they would like to use it more regularly in their studies. Support Stakeholder Involvement: Behavioral = Emergent, Resource = Emergent Administrative Support: Behavioral = Islands, Resource = Islands Training: Behavioral = Islands, Resource = Integrated Technical and Infrastructure Support: Behavioral = Integrated, Resource = Integrated

Support Maturity Benchmark results range from Emergent to Integrated. There are very few of Charming Schools staff involved in the planning and implementation of technology at the school. Most of these decisions are done at the school division level. In the Administrative Support category, the school has a Technology PLC group which is a voluntary group that operates in an informal capacity. This group meets weekly for thirty minutes to share ideas and how technology is being implemented in their practices. Technology planning and implementation are not formalized within the school. The school division has a plan that encompasses Charming School, but it is rather vague and does not outline specific, measurable goals, or any timeline for implementation. Charming School demonstrates growth in the Training category. The school division offers various training sessions for staff, through weekly webinars and a number of conferences and inservice opportunities throughout the year. Several staff members utilize these training opportunities. As well, the division has a fulltime technology coach available for Professional Development consultations. There are training opportunities in place, so it is up to the Charming School faculty to take advantage of the opportunities available to them. Technical Support is also available through the school division, but there is very little on-site support at Charming School. Teachers tend to use each other to solve their technical issues as much as possible, as there can be a significant waittime when using the divisions IT staff. There are three full-time IT technicians for the entire division and this has proven to be insufficient. The technicians are knowledgeable and helpful, but they are pressed for time, due to the number of schools they are responsible for. Some programs within Charming School have had their technical support removed due to this time constraint. One specific example is the Accelerated Reader Program that is run from Charmings library. The librarian was told that the school could continue to purchase tests for this program, but the IT staff would not be able to help install them or troubleshoot if there were any problems. Connectivity LAN: Behavioral = Intelligent, Resource = Islands District Area Networking: N/A, not part of a school district Internet Access: Behavioral = Integrated, Resource = Integrated

Communication Systems: Behavioral = Integrated, Resource = Integrated In the Connectivity Category, Charming School significantly improved this past year. Wireless internet has been implemented throughout the school and this has increased the schools connectivity potential. The staff use of the internet has increased and they are using it in more sophisticated ways. Video, voice, video conferencing and many other uses are being integrated more often with this addition. However, high-speed networking is limited to isolated areas within the school, which is why the infrastructure category is rated in the Islands Benchmark level. Internet access is broadband, and wireless is available across many interior spaces. A significant challenge is that the speed of internet access can be very slow, due to usage overloads. This affects educational video streaming significantly. The division and the school must look at their budget to find a way to increase bandwidth to ensure adequate access and connectivity speeds for educational needs. Many of the other areas of technology integration is significantly affected by this single component. This year Charming School and the entire school division, upgraded its email system to a much more popular and supported system. This allows easier integration of communication, scheduling, and tasks which help to integrate communication into daily life. Email is available to all staff and students, but it is not widely used by students for educational purposes. Innovation New Technologies: Behavioral = Islands, Resource = Islands Comprehensive Technologies: Behavioral = Integrated, Resource = Islands Charming Schools progress ranges mainly in the Islands level of maturity in the area of Innovation. There are a few pilot projects in the school that are looking to improve the integration of new technologies into the curricula, but they are not far-reaching. One such project is the use of online teaching with students that struggle in the regular classroom setting. Each students family purchased a computer and the students then work at their own instruction level, through online courses that are also supported by a classroom teacher and several educational assistants. This is the first year of the program, and it will be very interesting to see what results come from integrating technology in a very focused way. New technologies are not always readily accepted by the staff at Charming School, and sometimes the opportunities for experimentation can be limited. However, the school has been working to address these concerns, particularly in

the past year. Six tablet computers have been purchased, as well as six i-Pads and six Kindles. These are available to students and staff through the library. The Technology PLC group has been sharing new technologies and applications with each other and demonstrating integration into classroom practices. Digital cameras have been purchased for every elementary class this year as well. There is much work to be done to help Charming School achieve the Intelligent level in this area, but the work has begun and that is encouraging. Conclusion After assessing the various areas of the Maturity Model Benchmarks, Charming School achieves Islands and Integrated levels of maturity in most categories. What stands out most, is how the infrastructure needs to be solidly in place for integration of technology to become truly successful. Charming Schools challenges with hardware, because of outdated equipment or basic access, as well as inconsistent internet access, are slowing the infusion of technology significantly. Teachers and students both find the inconsistent access to the internet and equipment frustrating and limiting when it comes to implementation of technology into daily lessons. The technical challenges of non-functioning equipment and limited access to the computer labs are areas of concern. More IT support is required and budget constraints are a deciding factor as well. Funding at a division and school level need to be examined to see how to finance the infrastructure that is required to support true technology integration at Charming School. As well, a formalized school-based budget for technology integration and advancement needs to be developed, implemented and assessed on a yearly basis. The amount of training and competency to integrate technology into instruction varies among the faculty at Charming School. Some staff members are very comfortable utilizing technology and would embrace more, while others are reluctant and overtly unwilling to implement the use of even basic technology into their practice. The diversity found within the Charming School is both a blessing and a curse, as those willing and able are being used to mentor, support and encourage their colleagues, but those people feel overwhelmed by that responsibility as well. The reluctance of colleagues to use hardware and programs, has delayed the schools purchases and integration of some technology, as the administration strives to balance resources with what will actually be used.

Charming School needs a formalized technology plan that includes the input from all stakeholders. A formal plan would help solidify the direction the school would like to take and help with technology budgeting as well. In addition, Charming School needs representation at the division level, when it comes to technology planning, implementation and purchasing. The school is the only K-12 institution in the division and its needs differ because of this fact. Having a voice when making these decisions might help the school embrace technological advances more rapidly. Overall, Charming School has a good start in integrating technology into the academic practices of their staff and students. The vision of those select few needs to be shared with the larger group in order to advance this institution. Fortunately, there is opportunity for that very soon. In the next few weeks, the entire staff will be participating in Visioning and Planning meetings that are to determine the schools goals and plans for the upcoming year and beyond. Technology implementation and funding will be discussed and the opportunity to hear from the entire staff will be invaluable. Charming School has many of the facets in place to assist them in becoming an Intelligent school in the near future. Hopefully, all of Charming Schools stakeholders will view this advancement as important and work together to achieve these goals.