A collaborative team of national school leaders has released a first-of-its-kind set of standards defining what K-12 school administrators should know about, and be able to do with, technology.

The first draft of the Technology Standards for School Administrators (TSSA), issued March 2, is intended to reflect a national consensus on the role school administrators should play in ensuring the effective use of technology in their schools.

The draft provides a base set of standards, appropriate for all K-12 administrators, in six categories: leadership and vision; learning and teaching; productivity and professional practice; support, management, and operations; assessment and evaluation; and social, legal, and ethical issues.

Each category includes a list of specific performance indicators; for example, under “leadership and vision,” school administrators should be able to use data to drive their decision making.

TSSA’s creators hope to follow the success of the year-old National Educational Technology Standards (NETS) for students and teachers. These standards were developed by a group of educators, assembled by the International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE), to help integrate technology at the classroom level. The TSSA standards take the focus off the classroom and place it on the school as a whole. That’s important, the standards’ creators say, because school- and district-wide leadership are needed to ensure the success of technology programs.

The standards mark a significant step toward “breaking down the barriers that prevent school administrators from taking the most active and educated role possible in evaluating school technology policies and supporting efforts of their teachers,” said Don Knezek, project director of TSSA and codirector of ISTE’s NETS project.

Members of the TSSA Collaborative, which developed the draft, include ISTE, the National School Boards Association, National Association of Elementary School Principals, National Association of Secondary School Principals, Consortium for School Networking, North Central Regional Technology Consortium, Southern Regional Education Board, Kentucky Department of Education, Mississippi Department of Education, Principals’ Executive Program at the University of North Carolina, and Western Michigan University College of Education.

“We tried to hit the right organizations and people who’d been very active in the technology standards movement, and we’re really concentrated on getting feedback from K-12 administrators,” said Knezek.

The collaborative team met Feb. 1 through 5 at Lake Washignton School District in Washington state to hammer out the first draft of the standards. The group used wireless computing to work together and share changes on the document instantly, Knezek said.

The draft is available for public comment until June 30 (see sidebar). Using feedback from educators and policy-makers, the TSSA Collaborative will refine its standards and release them again formally after October 1.

Ultimately, the group intends to create additional sets of role-specific standards for superintendents and cabinet-level leaders, building-level leaders, and district-level leaders for curriculum and special programs.

“TSSA is really intended to inform a variety of standards. By creating these, we wanted to seed a lot of other standards efforts,” said Knezek.

For more information about TSSA, NETS, and other ISTE projects, call (541) 302-0952.


Technology Standards for School Administrators