What a fall! One of the two courses I took this fall at San Diego State was Enterprise Architecture, with Dennis Danielson (San Diego County Office of Education Director of Educational Technology) and John Cusack (San Diego County Office of Education Senior Director, Infrastructure and Operations). This was a fantastic class and a great way to continue my Master of Educational Leadership program at SDSU.
This particular course focused on enterprise architecture and started to provide an understanding, and actually an awareness, for EA. One of my biggest take-a-ways from the course was that EA may look daunting, but once dissected, is actually a novel way to bring teams together to work together on a common vision, using common language. It is like putting our three-year budget, Local Control Accountability Plan, Strategic Plan, WASC together, all while working on the vision through the lens of the mission. It truly ties an organization together.
Another take-a-way was reviewing a system in its current state, and where we would like to see the organization move. This could either be with the same system or finding a new system to meet such a need. It was enlightening to review some of the current systems at AAS and reflect on where the organization could go.
Many take-a-ways, and a final one to reflect on in this post is on technology bricks. The idea follows the first two (2) points, and is a visualization of where a system or tool is today, where it will be in the short-term, and where it will be in the long-term. It also shows how the evolution of the tool may impact other systems and/or tools, providing insight on what may no longer be needed or what gaps may be created through this evolution.
I continue to be impressed with the program thus far. It is truly rewarding to be able to learn with my cohort, my peers! Thank you Dr. Danielson, Mr. Cusack, and my cohort, for another great semester at SDSU!
In my EDL 610 course, which is Visionary Leadership, we are working on developing a leadership platform. This is meant to be my belief post as I create this platform.
I firmly believe that every child should be given all the tools they need to be successful on their chosen path. This does not mean being spoon-fed answers and information; rather, the skills to ask the right questions and be able to make informed decisions and choices based on those answers. I was proud of my AAS staff who came together to rewrite our vision statement earlier this year, which in part reads "inspiring scholars to appreciate the ways in which arts and sciences nurture a curiosity for life-long learning, and prepare scholars to take responsibility for their future success."
I share this sentiment - I believe education is about preparing scholars to take responsibility for their future success, whether that is to continue to earn a bachelors degree after graduating high school, or entering the workforce. The choice is theirs and they will have the tools to be successful.
In my EDL 610 course, which is Visionary Leadership, we are spending time learning, teaching and demonstrating the Habits of Highly Effective Learners by Stephan Covey. This week, the topic is on being proactive.
Covey said it best: "I am the captain of my life. I can choose my attitude. I'm responsible for my own happiness or unhappiness. I am in the driver's seat of my destiny, not just a passenger." To be proactive then is to take control ... control of the steering wheel, and choosing the route(s) to the final destination. It was shared in a lecture that Sonya Friedman said we only have power over three things: "what you think, what you say, how you behave ..." It all fits - take control of the steering wheel.
As I reflect on this habit, to be proactive, I think of the times I've waited for something to happen, to be pushed to react and respond. My staff have shared recently they sometimes feel like firefighters, because we have not been proactive with some of the roll outs of our programs and systems. We have reacted and been pushed to respond. I would rather get to the point where we know the final destination and are on the path to reach that destination. It is OK to make adjustments based on the reality of the day, of course, but the destination must be reached. I was reading How to Create a Culture of Achievement by Douglas Fisher, Nancy Frey and Ian Pumpian, and in the book they shared the notion of being in a marathon. And in the marathon, it is OK to run it, to walk it, to take baby steps. It is OK not to be moving forward.
When it comes to making a commitment on this notion of being proactive, my commitment is to create road maps through involved and proper planning. We will know the destination, and understand the 'why' of trying to reach that destination. And we will involve folks along the way, to give input and create understanding of that road map. We will live the hashtag that we preach so much #teamworkmakesthedreamwork. I am committed to ensuring my teams have the tools to be proactive and are not set up for failure. This starts at AAS at the senior management level, and will work its way through the ranks of the organization. We will start to create road maps and have conversations on those maps during the weekly senior management team meeting division meetings.
It's time to take control of the steering wheel, and let everyone know the destination. Just like the family vacation, we will create the road map together and reach that final destination, together.
In my EDL 680 course, which is Introduction to Enterprise Architecture, we are wrapping up the course and reading several pieces of information and research on enterprise architecture and frameworks. As the course winds down, it is time to reflect on the various types of plans an organization has, and whether they should be separate or inclusive of one another.
Typically an organization is going to have its educational plan, along with a technology plan. They may also have a strategic plan, and for those school districts in California, we also have our Local Control and Accountability Plan (LCAP). We simply like to plan. But to what end? And are each of these different?
When I became the President & CEO of Academy of Arts and Sciences in the spring of 2016, I was committed to creating a strategic plan for the organization. In addition to this plan, we would work on our LCAPs and lay the groundwork for our WASC three-year study (another plan really). After some reflection, I nixed the idea of a strategic plan ... it is basically the same as the LCAP, and if there were any missing pieces, it would be easy enough to add them in.
My thinking is evolving on this concept of a plan. I still love planning, and having a road map to follow. I do not love separate maps however. All of these plans can be, and actually should be, consolidated into one master plan. This will ensure the entire organization is on the same page, and that we properly deploy our resources: time, talent and treasure. This gives us the big picture of where we are going, the resources that are needed to get there, and the inputs and outputs to measure success.
It is time to develop one plan, ensure the organization is on the same page, and start advancing together towards the future.
What a fall! One of the two courses I took this fall at San Diego State was Methods of Inquiry, with Jim Marshall (independent consultant to corporate business entities and school systems). This was another class in my Master of Educational Leadership program at SDSU that truly applied to my professional world as the course was happening.
This particular course focused on research and evaluation, and understanding how to go about collecting data to inform an evaluation. We spent considerable time looking at the pros and cons of the various ways to collect data, from observations, to surveys, to focus groups. As I was going through the course, I was thinking about ways to apply what I was learning to AAS and one of our new programs, the Learning Coach Lounge. I was able to use the course to work with our Parent Advisory Council and others to think critically about the LCL.
There were plenty of take-a-ways from the course. The biggest was thinking about the broader questions that need to be answered; not creating the survey but seeing the bigger picture and thinking about which tools will help answer those questions. Of course, being able to then move forward and think through the ways to gather the right data. The capstone for the class was creating a Program Evaluation Plan, which is linked to my website. My plan was designed to fully review the Learning Coach Lounge and utilize many data collection methods. I hope to use this plan in the spring to look for ways to enhance this program and others at AAS.
I continue to be impressed with the program thus far. It is truly rewarding to be able to learn with my cohort, my peers! Thank you Dr. Marshall and my cohort for another great course at SDSU!
In my EDL 680 course, which is Introduction to Enterprise Architecture, we are reading several pieces of information and research on enterprise architecture and frameworks. These past two (2) weeks we have focused on the systems of an organization; earlier I wrote on a systems review, now on the concept of a 'brick.'
According to this course, "a “brick” specifies technical standards and protocols or technologies and products. They define current and future standards. They also define products or standards in the current environment that are to be retired or contained. From a planning point of view, once they have been evaluated holistically and approved centrally, the Bricks become ‘the bible’. They describe future plans and containment/retirement targets. Therefore, for example, if a proposal is offered that attempts to build a new service on something is marked as a retirement target the team can have a fully informed conversation about whether to recommend against that."
Great concept, and glad we spent some time talking about it. This is something that we can utilize at AAS and elsewhere, as it helps create an understanding of where we are and where we are going in the short and long term. I tested this model with our SIS and LMS systems. It helped me understand all the systems we use for our SIS and LMS, and what would happen in the near and far term if we ever made changes to either system.
The 'brick' is a terrific way to understand a system or process, and the implications of change, both on the system and process and on some of the support systems that surround said system or process. This is a system that should be used to truly understand the evolution of change within an organization.
In my EDL 680 course, which is Introduction to Enterprise Architecture, we are reading several pieces of information and research on enterprise architecture and frameworks. These past two (2) weeks we have focused on the systems of an organization, such as teaching and learning systems, administrative systems, back-office systems, and supplemental systems. Another timely section as AAS reviews a few keys systems of its own.
While we have been studying systems in EDL 680, AAS has been reviewing some of its systems. Our current focus has been on our student information system (SIS) and learning management system (LMS). For those who know our systems, know and may appreciate our use of a number of solutions for our SIS and LMS. We have a few great partners in this areas, from FuelEd to School Pathways, and some others in between. As we started to evaluate options for the 2017-18 year and beyond, a new potential partner was introduced by our new back office provider. First, how great to have the introduction from a current partner who had a great opportunity to share.
We assembled a team to start our reviews. We assembled an administrative team, with our coordinators and managers, along with a new Curriculum Review Committee. We deployed both teams to review some of our options and provide recommendations. After a month-long intensive process, which for some aspects actually started in the spring, a solid and near unanimous decision was reached and shared with senior leadership.
As this is posted in our Academic Affairs Committee packet for their October 13 meeting, it is OK to share that we believe we have found an integrated solution for our SIS, LMS and curriculum. Both committees, along with administration, have found and are recommending a new partner for AAS for the 2016-17 year. I am very proud to say this process involved input and feedback from a number of staff within the organization, and if the Academic Affairs Committee and full Board of Directors approve the recommendation, will allow us time to fully implement and execute the new system and ensure we continue to provide a rigorous, robust educational experience for our scholars.
What is most important to note in this post, is the decision and determination to involve our staff in this process. Clear expectations were set at the beginning of the process, reminders shared throughout, and final reports submitted. Information continues to be shared to ensure the organization is on the same page, and is ready to start implementation if the governing body gives its final approval.
J.J. Lewis - a blog sharing the journey throughout SDSU's MA.EL. program.