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Leadership Required for Successful Schools:
Technology Standards for School Administrators

Released January 2002

Atlanta, GA -- You use PowerPoint for school board presentations; your district has a web site, a technology plan and a superintendent email address...doesn't that make you a tech-savvy school leader?

Not according to James Bosco, Chairperson of the Technology Standards for School Administrators Collaborative (TSSA Collaborative) and Professor of Educational Studies at Western Michigan University.

"It is not simply about learning technology applications, but about leadership and policy," said Bosco. "Everyone supporting technology in schools asks, is this making a difference? How do you know? And every school district should have an answer."

National Consensus
On November 8, 2001, a national collaborative of educational leaders released the Technology Standards for School Administrators, a leadership guide for the effective use of technology in schools. The standards serve as a checklist for school leaders, policy makers, professional organizations, and members of the community. Whether used by an individual to measure professional growth or a large organization to define certification requirements, the national consensus establishes a common starting point.

"As an administrator in 2002," said Bosco, "you ought to be thinking about how you are keeping yourself in the forefront of the skills and understandings that will make you a valuable and marketable individual."

Based on the National Educational Technology Standards (NETS) Projects for teachers and students, thousands of practicing administrators and stakeholders contributed to the writing and review of the standards to achieve consensus under the leadership of Chairperson James Bosco, Director Don Knezek and Co-Director Heidi Rogers. The International Society for Technology and Education (ISTE) created the NETS Projects and provided the organizational foundation and web site for TSSA (

According to Knezek: "As we realize that using technology well throughout a school system is sophisticated, large-scale school reform, it is evident that leadership is the key factor for success. These standards, therefore, are important guidelines for any school leader who hopes to realize maximum benefit from technology."

Technology Standards for School Administrators
The final document defines six standards with corresponding performance indicators for educational leaders as well as a list of leadership tasks for superintendents, district program directors, and principals. The document concludes with scenarios: a day in the life of fictional leaders who meet the standards. Review the standards below to see where your organization is:

  1. Leadership and Vision: Educational leaders inspire a shared vision for comprehensive integration of technology and foster an environment and culture conducive to the realization of that vision.

  2. Learning and Teaching: Educational leaders ensure that curricular design, instructional strategies, and learning environments integrate appropriate technologies to maximize learning and teaching.

  3. Productivity and Professional Practice: Educational leaders apply technology to enhance their professional practice and to increase their own productivity and that of others.

  4. Support, Management, and Operations: Educational leaders ensure the integration of technology to support productive systems for learning and administration.

  5. Assessment and Evaluation: Educational leaders use technology to plan and implement comprehensive systems of effective assessment and evaluation.

  6. Social, Legal and Ethical Issues: Educational leaders understand the social, legal, and ethical issues related to technology and model responsible decision-making related to these issues.

Making the Standards Matter
The TSSA Collaborative will rely on members, participants, and other stakeholders to implement the standards in their practice and make them count. The results will be more effective use of technology in schools and better leaders.

"It's all about leadership; nothing happens in a school or district without the leaders understanding the importance of technology," said Dr. Helen SouleƩ, Mississippi Director of Educational Technology, Training and Support and TSSA Collaborative Member. "The standards help focus leaders on what to expect and how to behave. They set the bar just like we do with students."

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