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Going back to “normal” is not what we want. We didn’t go through this to go back to where we were. – Massachusetts Instructional Technology Specialist, 3/2021 

It is hard to imagine there will be another moment in history when the central role of education in the economic, social, and political prosperity and stability of nations is so obvious and well understood by the general population. Now is the time to chart a vision for how education can emerge stronger from this global crisis than ever before and propose a path for capitalizing on education’s newfound support in virtually every community across the globe. – Brookings Institution Report, 9/2020 

 What I keep coming back to – everyone is still healing emotionally – so that one of my fears is that because we’re so heightened emotionally when the kids come back, people will regress to back to what we used to do.  I think we’re at a pivotal point in education.  Teachers have learned on the fly and do things that we cannot undo.  We’ve gone from nothing , zero dollars for tech to $125K/yr.  Now we have 4 Technology Specialists.  How do we leverage instructional technology to do what it does best – formative assessment, to free up the teachers to focus on SEL.  Some of the principles of blended learning that we talked about years ago are still what we need to focus on. – Massachusetts K-12 District Superintendent, 3/2021 

As schools contemplate the myriad of challenges and changes inherent in starting a post-pandemic school year in September 2021, it becomes quite clear that districts in many ways stand at a crossroads with regard to reopening. Districts could attempt to simply hit the reset button and return to the normal of pre-March 2020 – but to do so would ignore many of the lessons learned over the past year.   

 On the other hand, districts could attempt to restart schools with systems, practices and mindsets that reflect what the pandemic has taught us about the central role of schools and ways to insure that our schools serve all learners and a broad spectrum of community needs.  

The past year has highlighted a number of hard-learned lessons related to equity and access to learning experienced by our most vulnerable students and community membersThere are continuing challenges related to addressing the emotional turmoil and learning loss experienced by so many students. MassCUE knows that planning is the key for districts to address these moving into the coming school year and beyond, and therefore has prepared a program to help districts prepare to create meaningful and high-impact plans that address key issues and new roles for schools 

Leveraging Education Technologies for the New School Year is a 5-session facilitated workshop series – with associated consulting time  that will bring together a team of planners from each participating district to begin to chart out some of the key issues and processes that lie on the road ahead to the Fall and beyond.  

The objective of this work will be for each district to engage in thinking about how their district will strategically respond to demands – some new and some historic and ongoing  that their district faces moving into the 2021/2022 school year.  Sessions will highlight and cover:  

  • Building a district and community environment conducive to effective strategic planning 
  • Consolidating progress on using digital technologies to support personalized and student-centered learning 
  • Creating and maintaining an appropriate focus on social and emotional learning for all students, in-person and remote 
  • Effective and meaningful data gathering from students, parents and teachers 
  • Formatively evaluating the impact of digital learning plans, innovations, and practices 

Each of these topics will be covered during the course of a short (90 – 120 minute) interactive, online session which will be followed by individual meeting/consulting time with each team by staff from the session facilitator – Sun Associates along with other content experts.  During this consulting time – flexibly scheduled with each individual team — teams will follow-up on ideas generated from the online session and will be guided with a blueprint that will help the team prioritize tasks and processes as they move into the fall and closer to developing a plan for their new post-pandemic reality. 

The big-picture issues that all teams will reflect upon throughout this work include:  

  • Reflection on the role that presents to schools as they work to re-establish and improve the educational infrastructure in their communities 
  • Learning about and sharing experiences with data collection procedures for conducting needs assessments from teachers, students, community stakeholders 
  • Identification of a range of key themes around which districts can create reopening/reforming strategic plans, and then settle upon high priority goals and create action plans for their own district 
  • Developing and extending technology infrastructure to meet strategic priorities 
  • Utilizing a data-informed, collaborative, model for strategic planning that can benefit not only reopening plans, but can be put into service for other district priorities 

During this work, district teams will be encouraged to share their experiences and work with the other Massachusetts school districts that participate in this program.  This sharing will help districts learn from others’ experiences both over the past year, and now as the work toward full reopening is occurring.  The end product of each district team’s work will be its own roadmap that can help guide strategic planning and decision-making for reopening and reformation. 

Schedule and Team Composition 

The five online meetings (sessions) for this program will occur via remote learning technology with combination of full-group and breakout/team-only meeting time.  Consulting time (12 hours per team) will be scheduled with each individual team and can occur in the days in-between online sessions or after the program (through July, 2021). 

Program sessions are set to start on 5/12/21 and will complete on 6/23/21. Topics and dates are: 

  • 5/12 — Building a district and community environment conducive to effective strategic planning (4pm – 6pm) 
  • 5/26 — Consolidating progress on using digital technologies to support personalized and student-centered learning (4pm – 5:30pm) 
  • 6/2 — Creating and maintaining an appropriate focus on social and emotional learning for all students, in-person and remote (4pm – 5:30pm) 
  • 6/16 — Effective and meaningful data gathering from students, parents and teachers (4pm – 5:30pm) 
  • 6/23 — Formatively evaluating the impact of digital learning plans, innovations, and practices (4pm – 6pm) 

 Teams should be composed a minimum of 4 team members selected from the following roles: 

  • Superintendent/Assistant Superintendent 
  • Curriculum and Instruction Director or Curriculum Leader 
  • Technology Director 
  • Student Services Director 
  • School Committee Member/Parent Liaison 
  • Classroom Teachers (representative of primary and/or secondary levels) 

Other appropriate roles to consider including are: Guidance Director, District Data Specialist, Principals, and other community liaison/social services staff. 

Teams can contain up to six individuals, should have a designated team leader/contact, and must plan to work together as a collaborative unit for the duration of the program.  It is expected that all team members will be contributors to the roadmap that the team produces as a product.  


Online sessions will start in May 2021 and will be scheduled for after the end of the school day (late afternoon).  Team consulting time will be scheduled at the convenience of each team. All sessions and team consulting time will complete by the end of July 2021. 

Cost and Registration:

$3000 for teams up to 6 individuals.  This fee covers all online sessions as well as 12 hours of individual consulting time for each team. This program is limited to 6 district teams.  (If there is sufficient interest, MassCUE will consider offering the program again or opening another section.)

Register your team now!


For Questions – Contact Shelley Chamberlain at schamberlain@masscue.org 

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