my #OneWord for 2018

written by: Kevin Hustek

Before getting into 2018, I feel it’s important to preface this entry:

In late 2016 I was challenged by my leadership coach Dan Hickey to choose #OneWord that would become my focus for the year 2017.  While trying to decide, I kept gravitating back to the word encouragement.  So what is encouragement and why was I stuck on it?  According to Google, encouragement is “the action of giving someone support, confidence, or hope.”  Encouragement is something that every human needs in every aspect of their life.  Whether it’s from their spouse or significant other, from their family and friends, from their coworkers, from their bosses and superiors; we all need to feel supported in our endeavors, confident in our actions, and have hope for the future.

I think one of the reasons I kept gravitating back to encouragement is that I felt a lack of it in my own life.  Now, don’t get me wrong, I have plenty of champions in every corner of my life, but sometimes small doses of encouragement make the biggest difference in a persons life.  So by the nudge of my leadership coach, I set out on an actionable goal for 2017.  Take every available ounce of energy and turn it into encouragement for every interaction with every person.  While I sometimes failed, I never lost sight.  As I reflect back on this past year, I am filled with joy knowing that I was able to provide much needed encouragement to others, especially in times of need.  It’s crazy to think how powerful one word can be.

Fast forwarding to the present, I’ve decided that my focus word for 2018 will be inspire.  Although I will continue to foster encouragement, I’ve found myself in a unique position to inspire others around me through my words and actions.  Several years back during my graduate studies I read an eye-opening book titled “The Butterfly Effect: How Your Life Matters“.  Just before break I decided to read it again and was nudged towards choosing the word inspire as my word for 2018 (just a quick note, if you haven’t read the book, I’d strongly suggest you do).

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Inspiration comes in all shapes and sizes, and can change often.  My inspiration comes from the people I surround myself with.  Often times family is the biggest source of inspiration; my wife Nicole and son Aiden are a perfect example of this.  But this past Fall I began a journey down a new path and connected with many students and their families through various homecoming activities.  Honestly, it was probably one of the biggest highlights 2017.  The different interactions I had with each student, parent, and especially with our host family, has helped me to realize that I have much more to give.  My hope is to one day inspire each and every person who has once inspired me.

Now, I challenge each reader of this entry to choose one word to focus on for 2018; believe me, it will change your life.  I’d love to hear what word you’ve chosen!  Leave a comment down below or wherever you may have seen a link to this blog entry.

P.S. I cannot believe that February 2016 was the last entry in this blog.  One of my personal goals for 2018 is to pick up where I started and blog more often.  I might just need a little bit of encouragement or inspiration 😉

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The transformation of technology planning in public schools

For the past 15 years I’ve been working in the technology arena of public schools in some capacity.  Starting off as a co/op in the technology department of the high school I attended to working for that district after graduation and finally moving into the district that I now call home.  Over this time, I’ve participated in the technology planning process which consisted of working with various stakeholders of the districts to identify goals for technology initiatives along with ways to better incorporate technology.  While these plans have been very beneficial, they were nothing short of a silo plan that did not always have a direct correlation to the goals and activities outlined in the school and district improvement plans (SIPs and DIP).

Most public school technology plans expired this past June 2015 and there has been a push from MDE to hold off on creating new silo plans and instead increase the collaboration between technology, curriculum, general education, and special education directors through the school improvement planning process.  In concept, the purpose of doing this is to make sure that our SIPs and DIP are the primary driving force for technology initiatives that support the goals outlined by these plans.  Although there may be occasions of small pilot initiatives, technology initiatives should generally support SIP and DIP goals, not be the other way around.  After all, we need to make sure that our limited resources are used effectively so that we can create the biggest impact for our learners.

Over the past seven months I’ve been collaborating with our Director of Curriculum and Instruction to not only build a stronger partnership but look at ways that we can harness this new technology planning process.  Over the next month we will be looking at ways to establish a new technology team that will look at the SIPs and DIP to see if there are any gaps or missing links between current initiatives and those plans with respect to technology initiatives.  Although this is still in progress, at a glance we’re thinking this team would have at least one member from each school improvement team so that they can be the link between the new technology team and the individual school improvement team and other various stakeholders.  This will also be a great opportunity to identify any activities that have a technology component that may not have been thought of or identified in the SIPs or DIP and also make sure to capture other initiatives that were missed all together.

Have a great week and thanks for reading!

Where to begin?

For the past couple of years I’ve begin to notice that blogging is taking off as another great platform to share thoughts and communicate messages.  I’ve often been curious about starting a blog but never had the courage and frankly desire to jump in feet first.  Questions that I would often ask myself is how can I utilize this platform, how do I get started, do I even have time, what is the substance of what I will blog about, and will anyone even care to read it?

After reflecting on the first couple of questions, I realize that there isn’t really any right or wrong answer on how I must use the platform.  What has become clear is that everyone must forge their own path and find ways to make it meaningful to them.  After all, this is just a collection of thoughts.  Getting started was rather simple.  Honestly, if I have enough time to write a few emails, I certainly have enough time to write a blog.

A few weeks ago I was meeting with leadership coach Dan Hickey and we had a conversation about the importance of me having a place to collect and share thoughts both personally and professionally.  Dan challenged me to begin blogging as one of my goals in 2016 and that is how the “theITperspective” was born.  The substance of this blog will vary from post to post but the main purpose is to have an outlet to share and reflect.  Although I’m not ready to commit to a regular blogging schedule, I am certain one will eventually develop as my journey continues.

Click here to learn a bit more about me and click here for my contact information.

Thanks for reading…Happy Friday!