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] 

 From the Executive Director's Desk

There’s nothing fresher and more promising than the first day of school! As teachers return to school tanned and relaxed, the technology staff may be a little less tanned and not quite as well-rested. "Did you have a good summer break?" becomes "how much did you get done?" for those in the technology office. 

One of the best aspects of working in education is that there are two "new year" opportunities for wishing others well. That brings double the opportunity for making resolutions. In the technology office, our decisions sometimes become others' resolutions, or at least, their "to-do" list items for the new year. This may be the year that every teacher at school needs to resolve to fully implement the Learning Management System (LMS) or shift processes to a new platform for any of myriad campus procedures.  

On that note, I’d like to share a few ATLIS resources that may help you make this year’s start of school run a bit more smoothly. When technology leaders support their colleagues well, the students in our care benefit.

One of the most critical steps to starting the new year off right is onboarding new employees effectively. I recently read a Harvard Business Review article in which the author quoted a research study that found that it took, on average, eight months for a new employee to reach full productivity.  That's almost a full school year!

When new faculty and staff can hit the ground running, their impact on the student experience can be profound. For more about onboarding new faculty, see the ATLIS webinar below led by Jim Bologna (Windward School, CA), Ally Wenzel (Stevenson School, CA), and Jamie Britto (Collegiate School, VA). The resources mentioned in the webinar are available in our document library (login required). 

While onboarding may require attention, offboarding also plays a crucial role in the technology office.  Is your technology team going through a transition in personnel this year? Have you covered all your bases to ensure that you have protected any vulnerabilities created by the departure?

When someone with privileged network access leaves your school, there is more to consider than there may be with other transitions. The risks associated with a poorly managed employee departure are numerous and alarming. Confidential data may be released, destroying trust within the community. Vital information may be destroyed or altered, communications (including email or voice) may be compromised, and essential school operations could be disrupted. In addition, valuable resources could be removed from campus via physical or electronic theft. The ATLIS whitepaper on "Transitions in Technology Staff" (login required) is a valuable resource for school leaders and includes a checklist covering steps for pre- and post-departure.

With each new year comes another opportunity to participate in one of the most important resources for school data, the NAIS/DASL annual survey. A collaboration of more than 30 associations, DASL is the independent school community's repository of clean, comprehensive, usable data.

In DASL, you can run benchmarking reports to compare your school's figures to national or regional figures, or to the customized comparison group of schools that you choose. ATLIS is proud to partner with NAIS, providing our members with an exclusive sub-set of questions that can be benchmarked with any other data set. In addition to writing their own queries, our members can access over 20 pre-created queries that answer questions such as “Which learning management systems do schools like ours use?” or “How does our staffing level compare to like schools?” For more about DASL, check out our member benefits video.

I wish each of you a wonderful start to the 2018-2019 school year.  As smiling students arrive on campus, eager to share the stories of their summer vacation, enjoy the moment and remember that your colleagues and the ATLIS staff know how hard you worked while the students were away to make their next school year "the best year ever." 

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Comments on "Happy New Year!"

Comments 0-5 of 2

Jeff Dayton - Monday, September 10, 2018

Happy New Year Sarah! Always exciting to start the school year and have technology melt down (Wi-Fi crashed first day of school)! Loved the article from the Harvard Business Review. Keep up the great work and looking forward to ATLIS 2019 already!!!!!!

Jayme Johnson - Friday, September 07, 2018

A great overview of just a few benefits ATLIS provides the independent school technology community. Wishing everyone a wonderful start to the 2018-19 school year!

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