News

A one-to-one program done slowly—and right

By Jennifer Welch
March 10th, 2015

Superintendent Steven Webb’s successful one-to-one rollout could serve as a roadmap for districts

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Dr. Steven Webb’s rise as a visionary leader in K-12 education is as much a credit to his listening skills as it is to his leadership skills. Before the board of Vancouver Public Schools adopted the strategic plan for the district’s digital transformation in 2008, they did extensive public outreach to ensure that every community in the district had an opportunity to be heard. “What’s happening at our district isn’t my vision,” remarks Webb. “It isn’t the board’s vision. It’s the community’s vision for their children.”

It makes sense. If your district’s digital transformation supports a scalable personalized learning initiative, how personalized can it be if it’s a top-down, one-size-fits-all plan that doesn’t take into account the specific needs of the community?

The district collected more than 2,000 separate sets of input from a variety of different engagement strategies, including focus groups with targeted audiences, such as parents and students in unique populations they might not have heard from otherwise.

The district did deliberate outreach to low-income and Russian- and Spanish-speaking communities that might not reply to an online survey pushed out to the entire district. They even reached out to local patrons and businesses, community thought leaders, and higher-ed partners. “At the end of this very extensive process, we had a clear and compelling vision for this digital transformation, and community ownership of this vision,” explains Webb.

Next page: How to scale one-to-one