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Back(casting) to the Future

"My task is to think of innovative technology for future robotics missions and implement them," Dr. Ayanna Howard, 2002.

Early in her career as a roboticist (and long before Matt Damon colonized Mars), Dr. Ayanna Howard, ATLIS 2019 Opening Keynote Speaker, described her work for NASA in a way that aligns with the responsibilities of independent school technology leadership. Technology is at the heart of one of the foremost challenges our schools face: preparing our students to succeed on missions we can barely currently describe. Our Annual Conference theme for 2019 is “Deep in the Heart of TECHness.”

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9 Reasons to Present at the ATLIS Annual Conference

Are you thinking about writing a proposal for the ATLIS Annual Conference in Dallas? Do you find yourself hesitating for any number of reasons? Ask yourself, instead, why you SHOULD submit a proposal. Here are 9 reasons why. -- SD

[10-minute read]

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Web Accessibility Matters to Independent Schools, Too

What are the best practices for web accessibility? This repost by Hadley Rosen, Finalsite's Director of Communications, details why it's important to consider web access from all perspectives, including those with physical disabilities.  From Finalsite, July 11, 2018.

[10-minute read]

Web accessibility aims to equalize site usability for the nearly estimated 12 to 20 percent of Americans with disabilities such as color blindness and low vision, hearing loss and deafness, dyslexia, and more. Supported by federal regulations that include the Americans with Disabilities Act, there are more than two hundred specific requirements in the recently updated Web Content Accessibility Guidelines 2.1 (WCAG 2.1), an updated repository of technical details that designers use to bring their website into conformance.  

WCAG 2.1 was released in June 2018, following the release of WCAG 2.0. As of right now, public school districts are only required to meet WCAG 2.0, while state and government agencies must begin efforts to adhere to WCAG 2.1. In both cases, the mandate is clear: all websites must adhere to the WCAG guidelines or risk Office of Civil Rights complaints and possible lawsuits.

But for independent schools, there have been more questions, including: do these rules apply even though we don’t receive federal funds? How will we do this when we have a small team? Can we afford this? Can we afford not to do this and take our chances?





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Happy New Year!

 With this post, Sarah Hanawald begins a new series, "From the Executive Director's Desk," sharing ATLIS resources that can help your new school year run more smoothly.  -- SD

[10-minute read] 

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Welcome Ashley Cross

ATLIS welcomes Dr. Ashley Cross as newly appointed Manager of Membership and Member Services. In this blog post, Ashley introduces herself to the ATLIS community and shares one of the aspects she values most about leading technology in independent schools, professional learning networks. In Ashley’s view, the ready-made PLN of ATLIS provides members with access to important, sustaining connections within our community. 

[10-minute read]

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Independent School Leaders Join ATLIS Board

Three newly appointed members to the ATLIS Board of Directors bring a broad range of experience in technology and independent school education to the ATLIS leadership. Tye Campbell of the Gilman School (MD), Dr. Dawn Klus of ISACS (IL), and Denise Musselwhite of Trinity Preparatory School (FL) joined the ATLIS Board of Directors on July 1, 2018. We are pleased to introduce you to them in this blog post. -- SD

[15-minute read]

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Behind the Scenes at ATLIS

This summer ATLIS has been privileged to hire Marketing Intern Emma Stack, who has already made an impact by assisting with our member directory and advising us on social media. Check out and like our Facebook and Instagram pages, which have been renewed with Emma's help. This is Emma's first post for our blog, as she introduces herself along with Virtual Executive Assistant Amelia Daul.  -- SD

[10-minute read] 

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Making Sense of GDPR

 

If you haven’t heard about GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation) the EU’s new standard for privacy protection on the web, you will. In this guest blog post, Brent LaRowe, Registrar at the University of Chicago Laboratory Schools (IL), provides some helpful advice on how the new rules may -- or may not -- apply to independent schools. In this adjustment period, LaRowe suggest that schools “expand on some existing good practices in order to meet a basic level of compliance.” -- SD

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Executive Function, Leaders, and Stress

For this post, we welcome Renaud Boisjoly, CEO and Co-Founder of Studyo, an ATLIS corporate member. Boisjoly shares his reflections on executive function in response to sessions and discussions at the ATLIS Annual Conference last month in Crystal City, Virginia. To learn more on this topic, you may wish to attend the Studyo-sponsored webinar, which will be held later this month. -- SD

[10-minute read]

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Launched! ATLIS Annual Conference Highlights

In this post, ATLIS Executive Director Sarah Hanawald shares her reflections on our Annual Conference, held last month in Crystal City, Virginia. The cherry blossoms were in bloom, the conversation flowed, the speakers inspired, and the keynotes pushed our thinking. Here Sarah looks back on conference highlights and looks forward with new and evolving programs that have been launched. -- SD

[10-minute read]

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The Crucial Role of Technology Leadership: An Interview with Donna Orem

The Crucial Role of Technology Leadership: An Interview with Donna Orem

Earlier this year, ATLIS Executive Director Sarah Hanawald sat down with NAIS President Donna Orem to talk about the role of technology leaders in independent schools today. What follows in this candid interview provides insight into how technologists can help move other school leaders move toward innovation in the face of disruptions and struggle to adapt to the changing world around us. -- SD

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ATLIS Cyber Threat Assessment February 2018

ATLIS views cybersecurity as a critical area of concern for technology leaders in independent schools. In this post, you will find the February 2018 update of the ALIS Cyber Threat Assessment. Are you ready for a deeper dive into professional development designed specifically for independent schools? securing your school from cyber threats? Learn more about our two-day cybersecurity workshop designed specifically for technology leaders and risk management professionals, to be held this summer, July 19-20, at Trinity Valley School in Fort Worth, Texas. -- SD

[10-min read]

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Meet Vidigami at the ATLIS Annual Conference 2018

We are thrilled to have Vidigami's support as a Platinum Sponsor of our Annual Conference in Crystal City, Virginia, April 15-18. We are reposting this March 5, 218 blog from the Vidigami website as an introduction to the workshops Vidigami will host at the conference (plus contests!) and to the photo portal they will provide to the ATLIS community for the coming year, starting at the conference. We look forward to sharing photos with you about the learning that is happening at your schools and in your own professional lives. -- SD

[10-minute read]

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Connecting, Reflecting, and Creating within the ATLIS Community

As part of a recent G-Suite User Group webinar on leveraging G-Suite tools for curriculum mapping, Richard Anderson of Washington International School (DC) and Barry Kallmeyer of Hathaway-Brown School (OH) relayed the story of their collaboration on curriculum mapping tools that developed out of a bootcamp workshop at the ATLIS 2017 Annual Conference. Their connection continued online in a Google+ community and will continue to evolve with new participants and partners at ATLIS 2018. Learn more about what came of their collaboration and open source sharing in this blog post. -- SD

Richard Anderson and Barry Kallmeyer on Curriculum Mapping with G-Suite

[10-minute read]

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Tricia Edwards on How to Spark Inquiry Learning

Recently, Sarah Hanawald, Executive Director of ATLIS, had the opportunity to interview Tricia Edwards, Head of Education for the Smithsonian’s Lemelson Center for the Study of Invention and Innovation at the National Museum of American History. Edwards, who will present the Tuesday Keynote for our annual conference, shared her back story as an educator and the evolution of the SparkLabs at the Smithsonian. View the video of their conversation for a sneak peak into our offerings for the ATLIS Annual Conference in April. -- SD

(5-minute read; video)

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Cybersecurity Update

Recently, in the ATLIS Slack Channel on #security, Shandor Simon, Director of Technology  at the Latin School of Chicago (IL), shared a collaborative document for tracking the cybersecurity information of concern to Independent Schools for January. In this post, we share his document and a link for updating -- and we encourage our community to crowdsource the information critical to keeping our information safe. We also want our community to know that ATLIS will offer its Cybersecurity Workshop for Independent Schools as an introductory bootcamp at our annual conference and as a two-day workshop this summer in Fort Worth, Texas, on July 19-20. Learn more about this essential, one-of-a-kind workshop for independent schools here.  -- SD

(10-minute read)

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Technology and Accreditation, Together at Last!

Dawn Jenkins Klus, Director of Accreditation for the Independent Schools Association of the Central States (ISACS), came to her position after a long career as technology director and senior administrator at a Midwest independent school.  Here Dawn shares her insights into the self-study guidelines she and her cohorts on the Technology and Accreditation Task Force for ATLIS produced last year. Whether you are taking part in a self-study for accreditation soon or reviewing your technology goals for next year, you should find this tool and Dawn’s insights helpful to your process. -- SD

(10-minute read)

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Designing for Change from the Ground Up

As schools design for innovation and change by offering critical professional development for teachers, hacking schedules, implementing school-wide initiatives from the top, or revamping the very nature of the classroom -- education leaders now must examine physical spaces as landscapes for reinventing learning. Yet, are technologists invited to the table as those changes are envisioned, designed, and implemented?  -- SD

(10-minute read)

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What Research Says...Or Does It?

In a post-Thanksgiving webinar, as part of our "How To" series, Sarah Hanawald interviewed Beth Holland on the topic of evaluating research. Beth is a doctoral candidate at the Johns Hopkins School of Education and a well-known member of the independent school technology community,  During the interview, Sarah and Beth discussed the critical role that educators play in actively reading, interpreting, and analyzing research. They covered a host of disparate ideas, from determining the credibility of the source to questioning whether the results of a study can be generalized to other contexts and settings. On her "EdTech Researcher" blog at Education Week, Beth has written several posts about reading and interpreting research that may be helpful. Links to these posts are shared below the video.  -- SH

(5-Minute Read)

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Personal and Professional Development through Giving Back

Since joining the ATLIS staff last April, I have been impressed by the tremendous spirit of giving back that runs through our community of technology leaders and educators. At ATLIS, we are certainly thankful for how the members of our community are eager to inform and share with colleagues, to connect around shared concerns and ideas, and to reflect on professional practice as we ponder how deeply technology is embedded in nearly every aspect of independent schools.

But what has struck me most lately is that giving back in the context of ATLIS’s programs, whether it is done to expand the knowledge base for all, or to create relationships through shared stories, or just because because it feels like the good and right thing to do, giving back also plays a huge role in personal growth and professional development. It stretches us as we create learning pathways with cherished colleagues and challenges us through friendly competition. By giving back to the larger tech community, we learn together and grow the profession. -- SD

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