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)

For many years now, technology has been key to student success in our independent schools, but it has lacked its rightful place in the accreditation process. Impossible to categorize simply, technology is at once everywhere and nowhere. Not knowing where to include it, we often left technology out of the process altogether. Yet, those of us involved in technology in schools understood how it contributes to school improvement and, thus, deserves thorough consideration during accreditation. Well, the wait is over –  we now have technology guidelines for the school self-study process! Through a collaboration of educators with expertise in both technology and accreditation, ATLIS has released technology self-study guidelines along with five guiding questions, all aligned with the NAIS Principles of Good Practice for Teaching and Learning in the Digital Age. These resources are available for all ATLIS member schools in the website's Document Library.

In a fall ATLIS webinar (archived on our website), technology leaders Tye Campbell of Gilman School (MD) and Larry Kahn of Trinity Valley School (TX), who have been involved in both sides of the self-study process at independent schools, gave feedback about the impact of the new guidelines on assessing technology during accreditation. They were joined by Amy Grunat of Drew School (CA), who served on the ATLIS task force on Technology and Accreditation that produced the guidelines. All were uniformly enthusiastic about the guiding questions, and could even see where the guidelines have potential to guide department improvement beyond the accreditation season.

Uses of the Self-Study Guide

If you need to make the case for including a technology department section as part of your school’s self-study, you can point to its essential role in these areas:

Teaching and learning;

Operating and institutional processes;

School sustainability and success;

Building, securing, and supporting technology-supported resources;

Strategic and long-range planning for mission-appropriate needs.

While the guidelines don’t dictate where technology should be included in a school’s self-study, these five areas are critical to a school’s academic program, administration, and leadership. With the resources now available through ATLIS, you can use the guiding questions to write a self-study report, use a checklist to assemble documentation in support of the report, and set your department’s plans and priorities for future growth.

Resources

Ready for more? Read the detailed guidelines for technology and accreditation or download the a poster of the essential questions to prompt your department’s work (both available in the Document Library for ATLIS members). View a recording of the fall webinar.



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