California School District Technology Leader Discusses Change Management in K-12 and the Driving Force Behind this Initiative

We have to ask ourselves if our teachers and principals have the best tools available to them and if they are the most efficient for guiding instruction and interactions between teachers and students.

Chief Educational Technology and Information Services Officer, Gil Mara, successfully spearheaded a change management initiative last year for Torrance Unified School District. To better meet the needs of this 24,400-student district, Mara worked with stakeholders district-wide to launch PowerSchool’s student information system (SIS) and online registration solution, improving communication and collaboration between families, students, and school staff.

The opportunity to initiate change management can be easily overlooked as school leaders have multiple priorities including improving instructional quality, graduation rates, and teacher retention. According to Mara, change management is driven by what is happening in the classroom. “We have to ask ourselves if our teachers and principals have the best tools available to them and if they are the most efficient for guiding instruction and interactions between teachers and students,” said Mara.

In implementing PowerSchool’s SIS and online registration solution, ensuring that each student had a place to sit and accurate schedules on the first day of school was important for Torrance USD leaders. “If classroom management is easier for teachers then it allows them to efficiently deliver curriculum and assess instructional needs for students to drive their success.”

Teachers are focused daily on developing lesson plans, instructing, grading, and having parent conferences. The role of instructional leaders helps support educators through collaboration in identifying the needs of teachers and working to meet them.

“As a former teacher who was in the classroom all day, I learned that teachers don’t often know about the latest innovative tools and resources available to them,” said Mara. “It’s a busy day, every day, for teachers, and as an instructional leader, you hope that you’re efficiently leading by bringing awareness to them about technologies and ecosystems that help make their job more efficient.”

The previous system used by Torrance USD didn’t provide…

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