Jul 21 2022

K–12 School Districts Lead the Way in Equity and Innovation

Schools are building inclusive, technology-infused environments for all.

School may be out for summer break, but every teacher knows that learning is a year-round endeavor. Even now, schools are working to prepare students for futures where they will be leaders and innovators and play other essential roles in society.

And because schools are often a microcosm of the world, some are already showing their students that inclusiveness and innovation go hand in hand. In those schools, digital innovation starts with equitable leadership and filters down to beneficial programs for students.

Four Women Exemplify Leadership and Change in K–12 IT Roles

Even though we are 22 years into the 21st century, it’s still uncommon to see women at the helm of technology departments in K–12. In “What Does It Take for Women in K–12 IT to Make It to the Top?," four women leaders share how they led technology innovation while the pandemic disrupted traditional learning.

LEARN MORE: Former K–12 CTO pushes for equity in leadership and learning opportunities.

Shannon Heston, executive director of IT for Chicago Public Schools, says, “We stood up a new learning management system within a month, and to use it effectively, we had to develop new metrics to help us understand if chronically absent students were in trouble.”

K–12 Districts Drive Connection for All

These change-makers are not the only ones working to drive innovation in schools. In “K–12 Schools Implement Connectivity Solutions to Narrow the Homework Gap,” John Collins, IT director for Lynchburg City Schools, is working to overturn the disadvantage that comes from a lack of internet access.

“If you don’t start from the same place, it’s really difficult to climb the ladder at the same rate, or even get on the ladder in some cases,” he explains. His team is using part of the Citizens Broadband Radio Service spectrum to deliver high-speed internet to students at home.

Click the banner below to explore one K–12 school's custom-built esports room.

And, in “How Esports Is Helping Students Improve Their Grades and Build Leadership Skills,” even though students get access to high-end technology in their innovative esports arenas, inclusiveness is what impacts them the most. Jacob Dees, instructional technology and esports coach for Apollo Junior High School in Richardson, Texas, says, “Esports is bringing them all together because it doesn’t matter what culture or learning background you come from.”

While it generally takes time to see major shifts in the educational system, changes — no matter how subtle — are happening from top to bottom and side to side. And it is refreshing to see schools support innovative leaders and programs for an inclusive digital future.

Ryan Petersen

Ryan Petersen
Editor in Chief

Inside Creative House/Getty Images

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