Context

Description:Since its opening in 1963, Roswell North Elementary has served as the heart of the Roswell community. Located in the northern suburbs of Atlanta, Roswell North serves over 1100 students in grades Pre-K through 5. Having had only 5-6 principals throughout the years, the school represents not only history and stability, but growth and innovation. In recent years, the administration and parents have directed the focus of growth and innovation to the areas of science and technology. Two major fundraisers each year direct funding to the development of a state of the art science lab and increased technology presence. The use of technology is integrated into many classrooms. Each teacher has one iPad provided by the foundation for classroom use. Additional resources include classroom desktop computers, active board technology, and access to a full computer lab and rolling cart of laptops. In the past few years there have been several innovations introduced and implemented at Roswell North. Stakeholders are generally open to learning more about how new ideas can improve teaching and learning for all.
Characteristics of Adopters:
Faculty and Staff: Roswell North's staff consists of approximately 90 teachers with a number of additional staff members. Nearly every grade level has at least one male teacher and experience levels range from one to over twenty-five years. Teachers at Roswell North are each provided with an iPad and laptop computer. Teachers' prior experience using technology in the classroom includes but is not limited to word processing, online drill practice, research, lesson planning, and student information systems.

Students and Parents: Diversity is a key feature of the Roswell North population. 2011-2012 demographic data shows our student body is 60% White, 18% Hispanic, 16% Black, 4% Asian, and 3% multiracial. Other notable demographics include 11% students with disabilities, 9% English Language Learners, and 32% students who receive free and reduced lunch (FCS Data Warehouse, 2013). While some families within the Roswell North community are affluent, we also serve families that reside in government public housing and an area shelter for women and children facing crisis situations. The parents of Roswell North show overwhelming support of the school. We have an active PTA and educational foundation. Parents volunteer in the school daily through structured programs such as our Tutoring and Mystery Reader program as well as making copies for teachers and assisting with check-out and re-shelving in the media center. Last year, parents formed an organization called Koalas Care to collect supplies, food, and other necessities for families in need within our school community.


Strategies for Identifying Opinion Leaders:
When identifying opinion leaders for the diffusion process, this large school will first use self-selection approach by asking for volunteers. This strategy is cost-effective and brings credibility. If this fails to be effective in selection, the self-identification approach will be utilized and surveys for the staff members will be distributed. Leadership surveys can point out true leaders and also specify scale of interest in the innovation. If neither of these approaches is successful in the choosing of opinion leaders, the judge’s ratings approach will be employed. With this approach, the school’s central office staff and administration will jump in to choose the best role models for innovation to become the opinion leaders. With the size of this school, there should be several leaders to permeate throughout the school. So, about 10% of the faculty will be utilized for this purpose. Other strategies that can be utilized are asking staff members who would be best for this job or determining which staff members may already possess the role of opinion leader.

Strategies for Utilizing Opinion Leaders:
Opinion leaders must set the agenda for the change and implementation of the innovation. The main role of the opinion leaders for this innovation will be interpersonal communication throughout the school to bring about the innovation. However, first these leaders must research and educate themselves on the advantages of the innovation in question so that they may persuade the faculty and staff to put this innovation into operation. It would also be pertinent to collect data and educational materials to share with and to train the members of the faculty and staff for this school. To accelerate the diffusion, supplemental aids will also be developed, such as informational posters, to create a stir or bring about conversations about the innovation. The opinion leaders must become the experts of this school. These opinion leaders will also be there to advise the staff and faculty of the school when implementing this innovation. There should also be follow-up sessions with the faculty that is assigned to each opinion leader to maintain the progress of the implementation of the innovation.