For a third time, the district had committed to participate in a strategic planning process to ensure that its investment in its educational technology resources was both appropriate and beneficial to the educational community. Although the planning methodology had varied with each revision of the district’s plan, the goal remained the same.
As an initial activity, a cross-section of district staff members had participated as representatives in an initial fact finding meeting. This was a good starting point as it included a large number of staff members who contributed many worthwhile ideas.
From the pool of staff members who attended the initial planning meeting, a smaller working group was invited to serve as members on the district’s Educational Technology Planning Committee. These staff members, joined by the district’s Technology Specialists, a team of administrators, community representatives, and other contributing agencies were charged with the responsibility of charting the district’s course into the 21st Century.
The planning process designed required that all committee members attend three full day work sessions, one or two smaller-scale informational meetings, visit and report on one or more area schools with exemplary technology programs, and participate in scheduled technology "futurist" presentations and product demonstrations. The school district had provided release time for staff members to facilitate the completion of these activities.
This planning process was designed to first present committee members with relevant information in the format of an executive briefing, and then to engage them in work sessions that focused on strategic visioning, data collection and action planning activities. As a result, the district’s standing vision for a preferred future was modified and our educational technology mission statement was renewed. A situational analysis was performed on the relative state of all technology-based initiatives being implemented at the time, strategies for change management were generated and potential barriers to change were examined.
The data generated during this phase was compiled and classified within target areas. These target areas were identified as solutions-based initiatives or support structures. The Action Plan portion of this document was developed to include goals related to each of these target areas, tasks related to each goal, responsible persons named for the completion of each task with timelines, linkages with other programs, resources required, benchmarks and estimated cost information identified.
All components developed were reviewed to ensure compliance with New Jersey State Department of Education Guidelines required for funding from several state and federal sources, and included the establishment of linkages with both external technology plans and other ancillary local plans. The related plans identified, at least in part, serve to determine and reinforce roles and levels of responsibility of individuals, schools and the district as a whole, toward meeting the technology goals in the Voorhees Township School District.
Corporate partners and other technology vendors were consulted throughout the planning process as solutions for voice, data and video applications were placed under consideration. In addition to the review and selection of technology products and services, opportunities for educational institutions, creative-financing programs, customer support options and product futures were explored. Relationships formed or renewed in this process have continued to serve the district during the incremental implementation of this plan.