webb-leadership

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


When the district scales to a school, they deploy an instructional technology facilitator who works in collaboration with the school to help staff think differently about instructional quality and digital media. “Their job isn’t about fixing the technology,” explains Webb. “We’ve got the hardware team and a network team that’s responsible for that. Their job is about getting out high-quality instructional transformation and learning outcomes.” All of these elements were part of the levy request that passed in 2013 and are embedded in that strategic vision developed in 2008. “So everybody had a sense of the vision, that this is a whole system that needs to be in place in order to deliver on this notion of mass customization,” explains Webb.

What excites Webb the most about the way in which the district approached its digital transformation is that the initiative has always started and ended with student learning and setting students up for success. “It’s about the building knowledge, skills, and habits for our young people to be able to thrive in a global interdependent economy, and to be future-ready, successful graduates of our school system.”

In the years since adopting the initiative, Webb has been involved in taking his mass customization model and scaling it beyond the boundaries of his district. The district is an active member of Digital Promise’s League of Innovative Schools and is hosting the League’s spring meeting. Also, the district was chosen as one of 12 host sites for the White House and the Department of Education’s ConnectEd to the Future conference.

“This is fundamentally about leveraging learning across like-minded schools in the nation who want to transform outcomes for kids, close achievement gaps, and accelerate student achievement through the use of digital learning resources that can personalize learning in a way that enables that to happen,” explains Webb. “Being a part of a professional learning network isn’t just about receiving help and ideas and insights, it’s also about contributing.“

Webb spends a considerable amount of time his district’s schools and classrooms, and so he can see first-hand that student engagement is off the charts. As Webb explains, if students are engaged in their learning, they’re more likely to demonstrate mastery of standards. And if they’re more likely to get at the learning target in a specific lesson, they’re more likely to demonstrate competencies on standardized assessments and to develop the capacities that enable them to be future-ready. “These 21st century skills that our students are building are not just about core standards,” explains Webb. “It’s communication, collaboration, creativity, critical thinking, and citizenship.”

Jennifer Welch is a freelance writer based in Brooklyn, N.Y.

This article is part of eSchool News‘ Profiles in Vision series, exploring visionary leaders transforming their communities through technology. Previously, we profiled Superintendent Darryl Adams. Suggest future profile candidates to the editor.

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