You have recently been hired as the technology administrator for a midsize school district in a rural area. You are responsible for technology throughout the district. This includes all computers, networking devices, telephone services, workstations, laptops, software, etc., for four elementary schools in four different towns, one middle school, and one high school. Prior to your arrival there was no technology administrator—only a teacher or technology coordinator at each school with responsibility for any local technology.
You were hired to ensure consistency in technology throughout the schools. Your mandate includes working with teachers to help them create a plan for ensuring students K–12 are proficient in the use of technology as they move from grade to grade and also includes ensuring student records can follow them as they move up in grades and from building to building. You were also hired to streamline processes, to create a centralized location to house all student records, to maintain current technological equipment in each of the schools, and to plan for future growth and emerging technology adoption. You must do all of this while remaining within tight budget constraints.
The elementary schools use Macintosh machines in the classrooms and Windows machines in the office. The middle school uses Linux machines in the classrooms and Windows machines in the office. The high school uses Windows machines in both the classrooms and the office.
Currently, students moving from one of the elementary schools to the middle school have their academic records saved on DVD. These DVDs are transported at the end of the year by the school janitors and delivered to the desk of the middle school records clerk. The middle school records clerk was hired specifically to upload individual student records from DVDs into the middle school’s record system. The transition from the middle school to the high school is the same. Each school has sufficiently fast Internet that was installed as part of a massive state “get connected” initiative in the past year.
In addition to the technology issues, you quickly discover there are neither set expectations nor a reporting structure.
The elementary school teachers responsible for the technology in their buildings are classroom teachers and handle the building technology for an additional stipend each year. You discover that there are some power conflicts between these teachers. Each disagrees with how the others handle the technology at their schools, thus each school handles technology and student records differently. Also, each of the elementary school teachers report to their respective building principals, not to you.
As the technology administrator, you have to figure out how you can get the four elementary school teachers to work together while also not overstepping your authority with their building principals. After briefly chatting with each of the four elementary school teachers, you discover that they all think the mission the superintendent has given you is impossible. They don’t believe you will be able to centralize the student record system or create consistency in how each school manages technology, much less how each school teaches technology to the students.
The persons responsible for technology at the middle and high schools were hired as technology coordinators. The teachers responsible for technology at the elementary schools resent the middle and high school technology coordinators because they only have responsibility for technology, not classroom teaching or management. The middle and high school technology coordinators report directly to you (starting immediately) rather than their building principals. The high school technology coordinator is a retiree from a very large computing firm and likes to be known as the resident expert in Windows machines—even though this coordinator has not remained current on emerging systems and technology since retiring more than 10 years ago.
Prior to making any changes or proposing any plans, your superintendent has asked that you put together a presentation about possible solutions that you will eventually present to the school board.
Task: Questions to be answered.
A. Develop a strategic plan to be presented to the school board that outlines how you would address the issues in the scenario by doing the following: 1. Justify which strategies you will use for promoting innovative solutions to the principals, teachers, and other stakeholders in the scenario. 2. Discuss strategies that could be employed within the culture of the school district in the scenario to build commitment and buy-in for the project. 3. Explain how you plan to integrate strategies for overcoming obstacles with competing sources of power and influence in the scenario. 4. Justify which conflict management strategies you will use for handling issues and maximizing results for stakeholders in the scenario.
B. Write a personal reflection on your leadership strategies in which you do the following: 1. Justify how the leadership style you adopt for the scenario might influence the success of your project. 2. Discuss how your actions might affect power, tension, and ideas in the scenario. 3. Explain how you might overcome the communication barriers present in the scenario. 4. Discuss how you would approach conflict resolution for different types of conflict in the scenario (e.g., process, task, relationship, behavior). 5. Discuss how you would apply specific techniques to gain buy-in in the scenario.
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