A Bright New World…

It is a an exciting time at Tomahawk Creek Middle School. We are now officially a 1:1 Chromebook school. It has been quite a journey to get where we are now. 1343 middle school students now have a laptop that they will carry with them every where they go…and oh, the places they will go! This is going to be a two-part blog. This first part will deal with how we prepared for the deployment of the machines anyhow we prepared the staff for the arrival of the Chromebooks. The second part will talk about how the faculty is integrating the technology into the instruction at TCMS.

We started this journey over a year ago. our district announced that we would begin distributing Chromebooks to all middle school students (over 14,00 of them) about 18 months ago. My initial response was AWSOME!!! Can’t wait. Bring it on. Then reality set in. How will we distribute them? How will we use them? What rules and regulations would we implement? How would this effect instruction? What happens when they BREAK!!?!? These were just a few of the questions that 12 middle school principals had. This is a good time in the blog to give some credit to Dr. Adam Seldow and his technology department. they have been forward thinking and proactive in every step of the process. It would have been impossible without their planning and dedication.

The first thing we did as an administrative team was to discuss the basic logistics of the situation. We decided as a school to divvy up the responsibilities into two main categories, Logistics and Instruction. I assigned each to a specific assistant principal. Then the work began.

For the logistics part, the key to a smooth roll out was…wait for it…planning. My assistant principal worked closely with the technology department in the planning and set up for the deployment. He then worked with the staff to create a system that worked absolutely flawlessly. Students were prepared by their English teachers with passwords and step by step instructions. Staff did an amazing job of getting everything ready and getting their kids in and out of the deployment site. Step one done.

The next step is to actually begin utilizing the tool in the proper manner. We spent a lot of time discussing how the Chromebooks should be utilized. However, as the Principal, I felt like I had to set the tone early. I decided that the biggest things for my staff was to let them know what our basic philosophy was going to be and and to let them know that it was going to be a process.

For the process, my mantra that I have repeated tony staff over and over again…it is going to be messy, and that is OK. Don’t worry about the mess. Accept it, deal with it, learn from it and move on. Don’t, under any circumstance, dwell on it. The philosophy for me was a bit easier. For me, technology is nothing more than a tool. Like any tool, you use it when  you need it. You would not use a screwdriver to tighten a bolt. These are no different. We will have to figure out when is the right time to use the tool and when is the right time to put the tool away.

This is where we are right now. Stay tuned for the second continuing part of the journey, how we use the Chromebooks. If you have any tips, please leave me a note! I need all the help I can get!

 

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About drellena

Principal of Tomahawk Creek Middle School in Chesterfield County, Virginia. President of the Virginia Association of Secondary School Principals.
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