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Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Sustainability

Just got off a conference call with a school district in Wisconsin. One of the topics was sustainability of 1-to-1 programs and my first thought was "funding" - that if the program isn't funded year after year and if the people, resources, hardware and infrastructure don't have the financial support to move forward, the program will languish and possibly fail.

But this school district brought up the sustainability of Professional Development. The light bulb went off in my head.

Here's a possible sustainability list:

1. Funding (hardware, software, applications, infrastructure, resources, support, people)
2. Professional Development - most schools/districts will have an initial "let's get going" PD plan with all attention on teachers and the classroom - but how is this maintained/refreshed year after year? If after say 4 years the school/district has 25% new teachers and maybe another 10% teaching something different - can the remaining 65% of teachers who benefitted from the initial PD carry it forward? Without a plan - doubtful.
3. Leadership - again after several years leaders will move on or move to other spots - do the administrators and teacher leaders still have the initial goals still clearly in focus?
4. Goals - do the initial goals still work and are they sustainable as it or do they need a refresh, update, clarification
5. Measurement - if the goals need refreshing so will the metrics
6. Tech support staff - skills, goals, etc. Has there been turnover in the people supporting the program and if so how have they been brought onboard?

Many schools/districts get high grades on the rollout because so much attention, time, resources, and money is involved. Sustainability needs to also be considered. Your rollout plan ought to also have a Sustainaibility Plan.

1 comment:

Tami Brass said...

Sustainability is huge. It takes a lot of energy to start a 1:1, but it takes a significant ongoing commitment to help it survive. I'm in my 2nd 1:1. The first ended in spring of 2010 (I left in 2006, three yrs in). My current program is struggling with all of the above to maintain; we're moving toward year nine. A 1:1 can't be taken for granted - it needs constant care and feeding of all constituents to maintain.