Change You Can Count On: Change Management in K-12
In 1971 (when David Bowie released “Changes”), the internet was in its infancy. Nearly fifty years later, we hold the internet—and all its power—in our hands. Of course, with information’s accessibility at an all-time high, the world has become more dynamic and turbulent than ever before.
As British journalist Oliver Burkeman pointed out: “[W]hen you’re dealing with exponential growth, the distance from A to B looks huge until you get to point C, whereupon the distance between A and B looks like almost nothing; when you get to point D, the distance between B and C looks similarly tiny. One day, presumably, everything that has happened in the last 40 years will look like early throat-clearings.”
Burkeman was referencing the internet, but the same applies to education. Challenges ranging from teacher shortages to student safety and privacy change so rapidly that even major shifts start to feel (in hindsight) like “early throat-clearings.” And of course, in 2020, the world turned upside down as we all battled COVID-19. These high-stakes challenges place more pressure and demands on educators and administrators, sometimes turning strategy and innovation from “have-to-haves” into “nice-to-haves.”
But some changes are for the better.
As referenced above, information accessibility is at an all-time high. Greater access to data creates opportunities to enhance understanding and transparency throughout your district. And with a plethora of digital solutions to automate administrative work, you can spend less time buried in paperwork, and more time thinking strategically about challenges facing your district.
Another positive change involves learning — both for students and educators — which has moved purposefully toward greater personalization and interactivity. We’ve seen a positive shift from “sit and get” lectures to collaborative learning.
Education has become more collaborative, with greater cooperation between departments and more emphasis on working together to grow and succeed. There’s a strong shift toward viewing evaluations as a source of meaningful feedback and growth, and targeting professional learning for each educator’s unique needs.
And even during a pandemic, you found a way to keep your district running.
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TIMELINE: Education, Technology and Professional Learning See how the fields of technology, education and technology have interwoven and evolved throughout history in the United States.
Is it time to “turn and face the strange?”
You might be facing pressure from your district or community to make an acute change, or perhaps you’re making changes out of necessity in order to manage COVID-19’s impact. While you know that change management can be difficult, it’s also worth it. When you create more time and space to innovate for the challenges you’re confronting today (and the ones you’ll face tomorrow), you and your district become more competitive.
But you’ll need to arm yourself with the information and support you’ll need to be successful in implementing change in your organization. Our Change Management resource hub can help. You’ll find resources like downloadable workbooks, buying guides and information about the right change management model for your district.
In fifty years, you’ll look back and surprise yourself at how far you, and your district, have come.