- North Allegheny School District, located outside of Pittsburgh, has been recognized as "extremely high performing" with several U.S. Presidential Scholars, a top high school forensics team, and four elementary schools ranked in the Pennsylvania's top 20 — but Coordinator of Academic Technology and Instructional Services Dr. Kathy Curran writes for EdSurge that there's still room for improvement.
- To give parents, teachers, students and the local community a better understanding of why it was still adjusting a successful model, the district's leaders conducted six months of research that included literature reviews, conferences and seminars, higher ed faculty interviews and surveys of other districts.
- In part, that research produced a new Technology Advisory Committee that aims to be diverse in both its membership and its subcommittees, set aside time for visits to other schools and districts, and be thoughtful in who delivers its final recommendations..
Education is constantly evolving as research and technology continue to identify and enable improved delivery of course material while creating a more interactive (and active) learning environment. As a result, no matter how successful a school or district may be, there's no time for anyone to rest on their laurels lest they should be left behind.
The approach taken by the North Allegheny School District is a sensible one, seeking to improve an already effective system while making sure parents and the community understand the need for those improvements. In particular, the idea to have a parent member of its Technology Advisory Committee deliver recommendations based on prior parent concerns is a wise move that highlights how the decision-making process used isn't necessarily entirely top-down. Providing that kind of influence to parent stakeholders not only helps the school or district make its case, but can also boost parent engagement and communication, in addition to student achievement.