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COSN 2015 The Power of Distributed Leadership for Digital Conversion-Mark Edwards

Mark Edwards, Superintendent from Mooresville, North Carolina spoke about Digital Conversion and how his district has transformed learning at COSN15 . They have done this and maintained a #1 ranking in academic results in the state.
His book, Thank You For Your Leadership, details more.
Here are my notes:

Why Digital Conversion?
Moral imperative
No textbook in 6 years
Equity-All students need access


  • Precision-Detailed Intervention
Teachers and students have more information about their own learning
  • Competency is evolutional
Teachers that were star teachers 5 years ago, if they haven't grown are not as relevant.
  • Creativity and relevance drive productivity
Students are making things to demonstrate learning
Mashing up
  • Connectivity and collaboration "hum"
Teachers are "Learning Conductors!" 
  • Personalization
  • Students understand it is about them
Second Order Leadership
  • Abundant-Custodians and bus drivers can be great leaders, students, too!
  • Fractals-Leadership is popping up all over the place, students/teachers
  • Situational
  • Distributed
  • Inculcated-A clear communication that everyone has the capacity and ability to lead
Aligned Leaders
  • Cultural-buying the devices and setting up the infrastructure is easy, aligning culture is the hard part
  • Collaboration
  • Connecting the work
  • Social and emotional
  • Sharing success and failure-embrace the learning
  • Flexible and adaptable

Gracious Dispositions-students need to live in an environment like this

  • When everyone lifts, we are all lifted
  • Encouragement
  • Mentoring
  • Loving and Sharing
  • Today is the day! (Carpe Diem!)
Every Child, Every Day is their motto. (Like Edina's "All for All")
Conversations and nomenclature matter a lot!

Daily Leadership
  • Formative Data Analysis-They now call it information rather than data, teachers are really good at analyzing
  • Professional Development
  • Mentoring
  • Collaborating
  • Content Arrangement-50-60 content providers, constantly looking at alignment
  • Grade Level and Department Chairs
  • Coaches, Performing Arts Clubs
  • Spontaneous need
Spontaneous Leadership-70% of what students learn is from each other!
  • Content Knowledge
  • Digital Functionality
  • Collaborative Design
  • Realignment and Calibration
  • Trouble Shooting-Community of Problem Solvers!, students trouble shoot innately
  • Fluid Design
Grow the Garden
  • Graduate Cohorts-All principals and central office administrators will have their Doctoral Degree next year.
  • Leadership Academy
  • Summer Institute
  • Release Day PD-12 per year!
  • Summer Connection
  • Visitors-Tell the students that these people want to come and listen to you!
  • Pull Weeds
Drive Hard with a "soft touch!"

Tough Stuff-"This will require personnel action."
Sometimes things don't work or people don't work out. When we see an outlier, a colleague noted that sometimes, even after working with a teacher, they are not able to meet the challenge. Sometimes you have to pull some weeds.
Always deal with these situations with kindness, but deal with it!

Directional Nurturance-Foundationally important qualities of Leadership
  • Acknowledgement-Visited every classroom, every school for 10 years-Just to say, "Thank you!"
  • Reflective Discussion
  • Morale and Well-Being
  • Celebrating the Work
  • Follow up and through-"Loop Back" 
  • Organizational discipline-Great districts have a discipline to stay focused on the tasks and work
Good Things Newsletter that shares positive messages of what people are doing!

Fluid Instructional Design-School needs to be part of the student's life
  • Project Teams
  • Personalized Work
  • Utilizing Formative Flow
  • Research Design-Constantly looking at the work they are doing-students, too!
  • Presentation
  • Gateway Projects-3rd, 6th, 8th and 12th grade there is a semester long research, authentic project with presentations and panels
Brilliant Consistency
Every day, Every hour, Every Minute and Everyone Matters!

They are in the process of a "Big Refresh!"
  • New Leadership
  • New machines
  • New Staff
  • New Ideas
  • New ITF's 
  • New LMS
The Refresh Model
  • Refocus
  • Engage
  • Flexible
  • Reinvigorate
  • Extend
  • Student leadership
  • Helpful
Keep Learning...because it's refreshing!
If you're not learning as a leader, if you're not hip deep in the learning, you're not the type of instructional leader your students need.-Cuban


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