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Lend your voice to the Administrator Standards refresh

By Carolyn Sykora
October 1, 2017
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More than 200 educators gathered at ISTE 2017 to begin the work that will lead to the new ISTE Standards for Administrators, coming in 2018. The session provided us with tremendous input, high-level thinking and a critical starting point for the makeover.

Since the conference, the ISTE Standards team has also met with principals, administrators, digital learning and superintendents groups. And schools and districts have begun to host comment forums and participate in other refresh efforts as part of the open feedback period, during which we’re collecting data to inform the first draft
to be released in November.

You, too, can lend your voice – in fact, we’re counting on it ( And to get you thinking, I’d like to share a bit about what we’ve learned so far.

Empowerment. Over the past two years as we updated the Student Standards and the Educator Standards, we found that agency and empowerment were key to deep, active learning and teaching. What we’re hearing from the field as we work to refresh the Administrator Standards is that the new standards must include competencies for operationalizing empowerment for students and educators.

Leadership and culture. With that in mind, the new Administrator Standards will likely identify how school leaders can empower staff and students, assisting them in creating a culture that builds a growth mindset for teaching and learning with technology. If we set that bar high, we need administrators to know and understand how to support staff and students in reaching those goals and provide a prototype for what that looks like in practice.

Innovation. Whether the term is innovation, vanguard or pioneering, those who have provided input so far are keen on the idea of incorporating cutting-edge thinking (and thinkers) in hiring practices, curriculum and system problem-solving.

Equity. Recognizing that leaders will play a significant role in ensuring all students have access to technology, digital content and skilled staff, equity will likely be at the forefront of the new standards. We need to stay committed and conscientious of access issues and recognize that today’s learners are more diverse than ever. So we’re asking, “How can administrators solve for equity?”

Alignment. Many voices have noted that the ISTE Standards for Administrators should align (perhaps an even better term is harmonize) with existing education leader- ship standards. The idea is to think of the ISTE Standards for Administrators as a value-add that identifies the competencies and responsibilities of digital age leaders while working in harmony with other standards.

As you digest these initial concepts, I encourage you to lend your voice to the refresh of the Administrator Standards, keeping in mind that we’re not designing these standards for today, but rather for the competencies that will be needed over the next seven to 10 years.

Ponder questions like “How will learners and learning be different in 10 years?” and “How do you see schools and systems changing in the next decade to support new learners and teaching practices?”

Then weigh in. Participate. Get involved. Help ensure that empowerment is a certainty for students, teachers – and administrators.