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Building the Capacity of Schools to Meet Student Needs Pedro A. Noguera, Ph.D. New York University.

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Presentation on theme: "Building the Capacity of Schools to Meet Student Needs Pedro A. Noguera, Ph.D. New York University."— Presentation transcript:

1 Building the Capacity of Schools to Meet Student Needs Pedro A. Noguera, Ph.D. New York University

2 Turning around under performing schools: Understanding the difference between technical and adaptive work Technical work - A focus on managing the operations of the system, insuring that procedures are working and that employees are in compliance with policy. Adaptive work - A focus on the dynamic and complex nature of the work, its substance, meaning and purpose. Work guided by a long term vision, with medium and short term goals. An awareness that we are trying to achieve our goals in a constantly changing environment –Ron Hiefitz - Leadership on the Line

3 Key Adaptive Questions: What does it take to educate the children you serve? –How do they learn at home? –How do they use literacy and math? –What are they interested in? –What challenges do they and their parents face? –What are their unmet needs that may impact learning? –What are their dreams and aspirations?

4 Building Capacity Requires: Clear understanding of student needs –Academic and non-academic needs Ability to understand what your staff needs to be effective in meeting student needs Ability to identify, access and utilize resources to meet student needs A plan for creating a culture that is aligned to your schools goals A plan for engaging your parents as partners to reinforce educational goals

5 Group Discussion How can you and your staff learn about your students needs and interests? How can you use this information to develop programs, curriculum and instructional strategies? How will you learn about the community where your school is located?

6 Building school capacity requires an understanding of how to: Build partnerships between schools, local government and CBOs in response to: –Health and social needs of children – PS 188 –Extended learning plan aligned to the academic plan - PS 28 Brooklyn, NY; Professional development for teachers based on student needs – Serving ELLs at Edison Elementary School in Portchester, NY, Multicultural HS Ability to implement and modify reforms based upon demonstrated effectiveness –Literacy across the curriculum at Brockton HS

7 PS 28 obtains highest gains in literacy and math in Brooklyn -2012

8 Brockton scholarship winners 2012

9 Capacity Building Intervene early and effectively in response to academic and social needs –Minneapolis 3 rd grade drop-out prevention plan Personalize the learning environment – PS 12, Academy of Business and Technology, Bronx –Use of data systems to monitor performance –Implement interventions to meet student needs Engage parents in effective partnerships that reinforce child development and learning –Partnerships focused on learning needs - McCormick Middle School, Boston –Addressing parent needs – Eagle Academy

10 Building School Capacity Teaching and Learning Extended Learning Safety, mentors Community partners Family engagement Health and Nutrition

11 II. Identifying and Responding to Student Needs : What does it take to educate the children you serve? Analyze student achievement data –What do the patterns reveal? Work with teachers to develop tools for diagnostic assessment Talk to parents and students about their needs and interests Work with social workers, nurses and CBOs to identify non-academic needs –What are the challenges confronting their families and neighborhoods?

12 Developing Professional Development Strategies in Response to Student Needs Achievement data will suggest areas where your staff needs to concentrate Conduct regular classroom observations to get a sense of your teachers strengths and weaknesses –Look for evidence of learning –Engage senior teachers in peer mentoring –Provide new teachers opportunity to observe effective teachers Ask teachers what kinds of training and assistance they need Bring teachers together on a regular basis to analyze student work

13 Teaching and Learning We want teachers to see teaching and learning as connected activities: teach the way students learn –Use teaching strategies that foster engagement – Socratic seminars, debate, project based learning –Focus on evidence of mastery of skills and knowledge –Focus on performance – what can our students do? –Class time must be on-task work time for students, direct instruction kept to a minimum

14 Culturally Responsive Teaching They make expectations and standards explicit by modeling and exposing students to high quality work They utilize diagnostic tools to check for understanding They learn about their students interests in order to make their lessons culturally relevant They focus on motivation and engagement by soliciting feedback and questions from students They analyze student work with a focus on evidence of competence and mastery

15 III. The role of the principal in developing school capacity? Provide the vision: keep the big picture clear: –Why are we doing this? –What will we achieve? Share the vision to achieve buy-in –Use data to help staff understand the challenges facing your school –Staff, students and parents must understand the vision and their role in achieving it –Develop a plan with clearly delineated roles and responsibilities for parents, students, teachers and staff

16 Role of Principals continued Help staff to understand why certain practices and strategies are important Create conditions that enable teachers to be successful –Stay focused on morale and quality control in all aspects of your school –Take responsibility for maintaining a safe and orderly environment –Work on team building, model respect and a willingness to cooperate –Keep systems working - maintenance, operations

17 Characteristics of Effective Principals Function more like coaches than generals Lead by example Share leadership, do not make themselves indispensable - Your work is secondary to the most important activity in the school: teaching Know their students and staff well Know parents and the community well Find balance between flexibility and decisiveness: willingness to collaborate and willingness to make tough decisions

18 Skills Needed by Principals Instructional leadership Knowledge of finance and budget management Public relations Human Resources Data management/analysis Strategic planning Knowledge of social welfare service delivery

19 Reflection: Which of the skills needed by principals do you have already? How have your past experiences and training prepared you for a leadership role? What do you regard as the necessary steps for building support for school change?

20 IV. Obstacles to School Improvement School policies and practices are at odds with academic goals –Ineffective discipline - over reliance on suspension, failure to address underlying causes of behavior problems, discipline not connected to educational goals and character development Inability to utilize your most effective teachers –Too many teachers are isolated Inability to achieve consensus and buy-in among key stakeholders on plan for change

21 III. Developing School Culture: Focus on Students Create opportunities for students to display leadership at school Solicit student ideas for school improvement –Provide opportunities for leadership Cultivate attitudes and habits that promote academic achievement Confidence and competence Self discipline, self motivation Organizational and study skills Implement extra-curricular programs that help in developing these traits: Chess, Robotics, Poetry

22 Developing a Student Centered School Culture Adopt rituals and practices that reinforce core values Develop an advisory system with clear guidance to teachers on how to use the time Devise strategies to break and counter race and gender-based stereotypes –Teach code switching –Create an environment where racial identity and achievement are not linked - Is it cool to be smart?

23 Focus on Teachers and Staff Use achievement data to make it clear why change is necessary –Set bench marks –Analyze patterns Hold a retreat with staff to set goals and devise plans on how to achieve them –Must find ways to win buy-in Provide training in how to relate to parents and build strong relationships with students

24 Key Principles: Develop partnerships with service providers to address unmet non-academic needs –Health, nutrition, counseling, etc. Maintain quality control in interventions through ongoing evaluation –Title I and Special Education Adhere to key principles: –Kids who are behind must work harder and longer under better conditions –Improving the quality of teaching is the most effective way to raise student achievement Look for evidence of learning when evaluating teaching

25 Key Questions When Developing a Schools Culture: What will it take to educate your students? –What are their academic and social needs? What challenges do they face? –What skills and resources are needed to meet their needs? How will you achieve buy-in from staff, students and parents? What practices and rituals will serve as the basis for your schools culture?

26 IV. Close the Gap Between Parents and School Engage parents in partnerships to support students based on respect and shared interests Initiate contact before problems arise Design a variety of activities to engage parents throughout school year for parents Hire personnel who have cultural competence and are effective at working with parents

27 Basic Requirements for Building Strong Relationships Between Parents and Schools Must be based on a recognition of mutual need, responsibility and respect Must be based on the recognition that all parents can help their children Must b e based upon understanding and empathy for the situation confronting parents and families Schools need personnel who can communicate effectively with parents - language and cultural skills Are We Ready for Parental Involvement? –What if parents are unhappy with quality of the school? –Tolerance for tension and some degree of conflict is necessary

28 Keys to Success Staff understands the external pressures students face and have devised ways to counter the pull of the streets –gangs, teen pregnancy, pressure to work Strategies for helping students to plan and think concretely about their future are in place Code switching is taught explicitly –Adoption of social skills that make adults in authority feel at ease –Learning to code switch Speech, dress, demeanor


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