At last count, there are something like 26 departments in our district. There are many guiding documents used by many departments in my school district. However, there appears to be a complete lack of communication between departments and the documentation that creates the process for planning. Many good people are working very hard to make sure their department has a course of action. So many departments with so many plans have created congestion to the point of stagnation, as systems compete they are in conflict with one and other.
In the Pajaro Valley Unified School District, the Technology department has created a guiding piece of architecture called The Technology Use Plan. The architectures of information, application, and technology are mapped in an attempt to create a coordinated plan within the department. Data collection, through a BrightBytes survey, from staff members, students, and parents in regards to competencies with district technology tools. What this means is that there is good news for the PVUSD. There is some context for the architecture. However, the plan needs delivery, and that is where nothing is done.
There was a movie once, where a guy is talking to another guy. The one guy, I think he was a prisoner is having a rough time in jail. The sheriff, the guy who is doing the talking, says, “What we have here is a failure to communicate.” The problem with the PVUSD. Anyone reading this will say ‘well, that is true for many districts’ or ‘but your district is so big how can you expect such-and-such.’ To that, I say that PVUSD has run out of time to be operating on excuses. Planning and solutions can no longer just be tactical, reactive, and ad hoc. The Curriculum and Instruction department operate from its little silo imposing newer a better methods of data collection, otherwise, know as assessments. The department claims that students who take frequent tests are better at taking tests, like the SBAC. The Instruction Department functions as if a Chromebook is nothing more than an assessment tool for the Instruction department and not an opportunity for inspired teaching and learning experiences.
Where is the team effort? Where is the plan? PVUSD prides itself on having three separate school zones. This sort of separatist mentality is also evident at the District office. Silo-ism is the operation model Du Jour. (That’s right I just made the word silo into adjective and into an -ism, which is a verb) What is evident is the increased need for the head of Instruction to sit down with the head of Operations, which the Technology department falls under, and create a mutual document that would create a system plan on how to plan their system. It’s called EEA, Educational Enterprise Architecture. It’s a real thing, and districts all over the world do it all the time. My employer can’t keep doing what it did last year, which is what it was the same thing it was doing five years ago.
There is a gap between where we are and where we want to be. The district wants to be one functioning system. However, its culture and tradition built around acting as if it were three separate operating units and not one. SILOISM runs amok. Departments are entrenched, and each has their agenda. Until all stakeholders are involved in a single process to create unified method of planning for growth and expansion, the PVUSD won’t go anywhere.