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Centralizing Procurement Information to Enable Decentralized Choices

“The process for purchasing should be less onerous for teachers.” (Kyleigh Nevis)

Overview

Technology procurement is an area where many districts are making some centralized choices in order to make it easier for schools and teachers to obtain high-quality tools or resources.

Kyleigh Nevis, Instructional Technology Coordinator at Oakland Unified, CA, explains that technology procurement would be a drain on teachers’ time if fully decentralized. “The process is long: fill out forms, contact vendors for quotes, negotiate contracts, etc. If I’m a site administrator, I just want to know when my students can start using it.” Nevis has a procurement team that assesses if a platform or piece of software is okay to use (e.g. does it have a data sharing agreement? Is it aligned with board of ed standards? Etc.). Schools then have the freedom to pick from the vetted list.

Similarly, Elizabeth Anthony, the associate director of blended learning for the Alliance for Catholic Education (ACE), IN, found that centralizing procurement choices helped accelerate and streamline the ramp-up of personalized learning in the early stages of implementation. Anthony helps to provide support to a network of 15 Catholic schools that partner with ACE, all of which serve students from lower-income communities. Anthony explains that limiting the tools and instructional approaches presented to teachers during an intensive ramp-up helped them implement faster and with more confidence than they otherwise could have. An intensive training session over the summer created consistency for teacher collaboration and made teachers’ lives easier while they focused on implementing new instructional strategies (such as station rotation). “We had done a ton of research on how teacher-friendly different tools were. We were wary of any tools teachers had to personalize themselves because we thought it would be too much work for them in the first year.”

We’ve linked to a number of resources that were developed to streamline technology procurement.