Sometimes the best way to move ahead is to take a step back.
For Linda Nitsche, the letting go wasn’t difficult since she sees how her Pennsylvania district is embracing the vision she and her TriState PLP team put forward last year.
“I think we were trying to bring a vision of what 21st century looks like (to the district),” she said. “We believed you don’t have to own it all, but you have to understand it.”
Linda, a gifted support teacher for Owen J Roberts district, was a participant in the edtech world, but last year was the first she took a team through the PLP program. With lots of upheaval and change in the district, she knew it would be challenging.Tenacity is the word she used to describe what the team learned in the process.
“The team learned it’s been a process of idea building, team building, and most importantly, to keep in mind the idea that people were all growing at different rates and coming from different places,” she said, explaining how they had to keep at it, until the pieces began to fall into place. That happened as they began to work on their action project, a piece that allows PLP teams to create a tangible representation of their learning and research.
By the end of the year, the team felt they had come up with a real plan of where they wanted to go, developing an ambitious five-year outline and winning a grant to support their work. This summer, a new superintendent was ready to take their plan and put it into place as the district’s, adding Linda as a coach for the program.
In stepping back and allowing the district to take their plan, they enabled the district to connect their own initiative with what the PLP team was growing.
” The superintendent saw the strength of our community,” said Linda. “And that was positive. We really focused on trying to align what our vision was with where the district was coming from. We wanted to try to accomplish something that wouldn’t be thrown away; we wanted it to have meaning and value.”
There were changes of leadership and vision, Linda said, but they had a good team who understand those ideas.
“In taking this to the superintendent, we’ve raised his own awareness. We’ve helped put those underlying ideas that will continue to grow,” she said.
“Others can own it,” she said. “That’s ok with me as long as it gets done.”

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Sheryl is the co-founder and Chief Executive Officer of Powerful Learning Practice. She works with schools and districts from around the world helping them to infuse technology into their curriculums and by leading other digital conversion efforts. Sheryl also consults with governments, educational organizations and non-profits in development of their various professional learning initiatives. Sheryl is a sought-after presenter at national and international events, speaking on topics related to digital and online learning, teacher and educational leadership, online community building, and other educational issues impacting children of poverty. Sheryl served on the International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE) Board of Directors for six years. She co-authored The Connected Educator: Learning and Leading in a Digital Age with Lani Ritter Hall. Sheryl has four children and four grandsons, Luke, Logan, Levi and Tanner and a trio of dachshunds. You can find out more on her blog and on Twitter @snbeach.
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