ATLIS Virtual Town Hall Sept. 22, 2021

ATLIS Virtual Town Hall, Sept. 22 2021


The Association of Technology Leaders in Independent Schools (ATLIS) hosted its monthly Virtual Town Hall on Wednesday, September 22, 2021 at 3:00 pm Eastern. The focus was “Back to School 2021” with conversation surrounding challenges, successes, and opportunities entering a new school year. 

As attendees considered the state of their school at the start of the 2021-2022 school year compared to last year, most agreed that they are faring better, with a stronger ability to navigate unexpected challenges that arise. Conversation included reflections on positive changes that have carried through from the first full pandemic school year into this year. A common theme that arose was greater connectedness with their school communities due to new ways to make content available to parents and the community in an asynchronous fashion. 

There is a new willingness to engage in live streamed events, performances and meetings that wasn’t always present before. From shy students who are more comfortable engaging through technology, to working parents who can’t always attend school functions, the lessons learned from last year surrounding technology and asynchronous events are presenting opportunities for more equitable access to participation among the school community. 

The increase of schools leveraging technology across more practices causes greater need for education and training around cybersecurity, providing both more opportunities and more demand on the technology team. Daisy Steele of the Catlin Gabel School in Portland, Oregon shared that she was able to work with HR to add videos on multi-factor authentication, phishing, and appropriate use of school computers to the mandatory training videos all school staff have to view. She added that the faculty has been extremely receptive to these cybersecurity measures and have come to her for assistance and guidance. 

Other technology leaders on the call have found creative ways to bring technology and cybersecurity training to teachers who are burned out from virtual professional development, including sharing cybersecurity tips at faculty meetings, and creating engaging videos to incorporate into new staff onboarding. 

Ethan Delavan from the Bush School in Seattle said on the call, “I’m feeling a lot more traction for tech, media and information literacies now, especially in curriculum mapping efforts”, and most participants agreed. Overall, school leaders seem to be forging stronger strategic collaborations with the technology teams to weave media and tech literacy into their programs. The future is bright for technology leaders in independent schools, and the ATLIS community is here to help along the way. 

Click here to read the transcript from the meeting

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