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Reflections - EDLD 5333 Leadership for Accountability

Posted by Hope Scott on Sunday, May 29, 2011 Under: Internship
Reflections - EDLD 5333
Leadership for Accountability

     I developed an action plan for the purpose of improving student achievement and developed a statement of my personal vision of leadership. To accomplish this, I visited the Texas Education Agency (TEA) Web site and located and analyzed Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) data for our campus. This involved looking at various sections of the AYP report including scores, attendance, and graduation rate. Our school is rated "acceptable" at this time but we were rated "unacceptable." There are bright areas in our AYP, including the scores of the 11th grade students who always manage to exceed all expectations. The disappointment has and still is 9th grade scores. During the first week we looked at campus climate and vision. The vision for our school is to be exemplary. This has not come to pass, but it was a vision for success. My Personal Vision of Leadership (one sentence): "I will prepare my students for life after high school by preparing them to reach their goals and dreams that they have for their future be it college or the work force." I feel that this goal is the minimum that I can do as a teacher. I want to empower our students. Many come from economically disadvantaged backgrounds. This should not hinder any goals or aspirations. Here are a few of my favorite quotes from Week 1:
"To choose a direction, a leader must first have developed a mental image of a possible and desirable future state of the organization. This image, which we call a vision, may be as vague as a dream or as precise as a goal or mission statement. The critical point is that a vision articulates a view of a realistic, credible, attractive future for the organization, a condition that is better in some important ways than what now exists. The vision and mission of the school must be clear, engaging, and attainable. To be motivating, it must touch deeper values and hopes (North Central Regional Educational Laboratory, 2004)."
"A vision is what you expect to occur once you have articulated your goals to your team. Components of a shared vision are: clear, motivating, attainable, and positive results. A team leader has to have the support of the team for the vision to come into fruition. Even if there are some who cannot see or believe the vision, a good team leader can have them support the vision by having a positive outlook. The team leader cannot allow others to doubt the vision, nor can the leader give up on the vision. There are times when the visionary may want to throw in the towel; in that situation, look at small victories (North Central Regional Educational Laboratory, 2004)."
"Visions can blind as well as enlighten (Fullan, 1992). Action guidelines in What's Worth Fighting For: Working Together for Your School contain practical advice for the principal committed to building learning schools. In developing a mission leaders need to:
1. Understand the Culture of the School.
2. Value your Teachers: Promote their Professional Growth.
3. Extend What You Value.
4. Express What You Value.
5. Promote Collaboration: Not Cooptation.
6. Make Menus, Not Mandates.
7. Use Bureaucratic Means to Facilitate, Not to Constrain.
8. Connect with the Wider Environment. (Fullan & Hargreaves, 1991, pp. 84 - 97)"

      I explored the Academic Excellence Indicator System (AEIS) data, locating reports that were critical to my campus improvement team, and used the data to compare campus’ performance to AEIS standards. My goal in completing this data analysis was to determine areas of strength and weakness and identify patterns and trends on our campus. My findings were as follows:
Memorial has Gold Performance Acknowledgment for Recommended High School Program (Class of 2008). This means that 85% or more of the graduates the Class of 2008 met or exceeded the requirements for the Recommended High School Graduation Program as set by the Texas Education Code. All grades "Met 2009 Standards" on all test. Our Reading/ELA and Social Studies scores are always close to "Recognized" in all sub-groups. The Campus Report for Memorial High School, namely the disaggregated data, is depressing. It shows that Memorial is below the "State" in every criterion. The only bright spot is our Asian/Pacific Island sub-group. This sub-group, though small, is consistently at or above average in every category.
Our strengths was our diversity. Our weaknesses are our Math and Science scores. The areas of weakness have improved this year with most grades scoring at least "Acceptable" on Math and Science TAKS. Our strength will continue to be our diversity. We are also very strong in English and Social Studies with each grade scoring "Exemplary" every year on these two tests.
After looking at our weaknesses, I had to narrow my focus to one targeted weakness and write a measurable S.M.A.R.T. goal and an objective for the target weakness. You will also research appropriate strategies/activities, including specific professional development, to address the target area.
Our weakness with our low Math and Science TAKS scores continue to be our African American population. I have not looked at the disaggregated scores for this year, but our weakness continues to be Math and Science and I am almost certain that the weakest link in our TAKS chain is our African American population.
I found the following Web site to address target weakness:
1. Best Practice in Instruction, TEA Best Practices Clearinghouse. (2007–08) Mathematics for Struggling Students. Retrieved from Best Practices Clearinghouse website: http://ritter.tea.state.tx.us/bestprac/summaries/Boerne_MS_SouthBestPractice_8-5-09.pdf
2. Best Practice in Instruction, TEA Best Practices Clearinghouse. (2007–08) High School Science. Retrieved from Best Practices Clearinghouse website: http://ritter.tea.state.tx.us/bestprac/summaries/WylieHS_BestPractice_8-5-09.pdf
3. Best Practice in Instruction, TEA Best Practices Clearinghouse. (2007–08) Data Driven Intervention Strategies. Retrieved from Best Practices Clearinghouse website: http://ritter.tea.state.tx.us/bestprac/summaries/New%20DealHS_BestPractice_8-5-09.pdf
S.M.A.R.T. Goal and Objective:
S.M.A.R.T. Goal: Memorial High School will become a Recognized campus in 2011. This goal, so far, has not been met. We are still making required yearly gains in all areas. We will not know if our rating until June 2011.
Objective: By 2011, 50% of African American students at Memorial High School will meet or exceed standards in Mathematics and Science. I do not know if this objective has been met; we are still looking at preliminary scores. The campus does utilize tutors to help give students one-on-one help. But, even with this help, there were many 12th grade students who are still not successfully passing TAKS. We will continue to work with all students, giving special attention to those who need it.
     I completed a campus action plan and an agenda for a one-day professional development that addresses the target weakness.
My Goal: Memorial High School's 9th Grades class will have 50% pass rate starting with 2010 and beyond. The 9th grade fell short, but I do not recall the pass rate.
My Objective: To work continuously with incoming Freshmen classes so that pass rate for each sub-group is at least 50% pass rate for Reading and Mathematics TAKS. This is an ongoing concern. The campus has a 9th Grade Initiative. The teachers have worked very hard to ensure that they do well on the Reading and Math TAKS tests. The 9th grade class will again be removed from the high school during the upcoming school year. My hope is that they will continue to have the one-on-one help they need. So far, preliminary results show that the incoming freshman class was successful on their TAKS. I hope this translates to success as they matriculate through high school.
My professional development idea was for teachers to share TAKS tips. We did have a staff development that addressed this. I did not facilitate it; but, I was required to attend. I had Senior students who passed the TAKS, so the professional development was not relevant to me. As a matter of fact, I do not remember much of what was presented. As a campus leader, I will need to work on my attention span!
     Finally I addressed the following scenario: “Move forward in time to the end of the school year. Imagine that you and your staff implemented the action plan, which resulted in increased student performance on the latest Academic Excellence Indicator System (AEIS) reports. Your campus has moved a step closer to becoming Exemplary, and you want to maintain the momentum. What will you do now?”
I saw a bright future for our campus. As a matter of fact, in my response I projected that the 9th grade TAKS scores were phenomenal! It would be really cool if this came to pass. I know that the 9th grade class did a lot better that previously. When I responded to the scenario, only 6% of the 9th grade class passed the Math TAKS and 30% passed the Reading test. This could not continue to happen. I also projected that the CATE department and non-math teachers to ensure that students see math in every classroom. This past year the CATE department did indeed work with 9th grade students to help with Math scores. Our instructional leader created lessons for the 45 minute TAKS block. I also projected that the Site-Based Committee will ensure that funds are available for batteries for calculators, bulbs for In-Focus machines, and other incidentals required daily in math classes. We did have more up-time on the In-Focus. There were batteries for the mock test given just prior to TAKS. The only problem we continue to have during TAKS is relative to teachers getting breaks. That is an area that needs to be addressed and handled prior to the next school year with its new testing standards.
     I have learned that as we continue to focus on school improvement, we need to focus on consensus. "Consensus is defined as agreement that is mutually acceptable and integrates the interest of all parties (Richardson, M)." This is very important in the school improvement process. All parties involved in and with our schools must seek to agree on what is beneficial for all students. This, to me, includes all secretaries and clerks, custodians and cooks, administrators and teachers. Everyone has a stake in making our school the best in the district. This makes collaboration key. If everyone is saying the same thing our students will understand that we have them and their success in mind.
Questions for future and further research: How can we continue to help our freshman class be more success on TAKS? How can we help African American students show more gains in all areas, attendance, testing, and graduation rates?

North Central Regional Educational Laboratory. 2004. Develop a Clear, Educationally Focused Vision. Retrieved May 29, 2011 from http://www.ncrel.org/sdrs/areas/issues/educatrs/leadrshp/le1clear.htm
Fullan, M and Hargreaves, A. 1991. What's Worth Fighting For: Working Together for Your School. Retrieved May 29, 2011 from http://www.eric.ed.gov:80/PDFS/ED342128.pdf
Richardson, M. (2005). Consensus leadership, Principal Leadership, 6(4), 32-35.

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About Me

Hope Scott I am a Web Technologies teacher. I created this blog as part of my Master of Education in Educational Technology Leadership for Lamar University, Beaumont, Texas.

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