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Homestead Wakefield Elementary School School Improvement Profile Submitted by: Nancy Hartman 8 September 2004.

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1 Homestead Wakefield Elementary School School Improvement Profile Submitted by: Nancy Hartman 8 September 2004

2 Main Menu Introductory Comments School Profile –Current Data CollectionCurrent Data Collection –Student Achievement (Needs Assessment)Student Achievement –Performance Gaps for Math –Performance Gaps for Reading –Best Practices –Goal Identification –Action Plan/Implementation –Community/Parental Involvement (Needs Assessment)Community/Parental Involvement –Best Practices –Goal Identification –Action Plan/Implementation –Technology (Needs Assessment)Technology –Goal Identification –Best Practices –Action Plan/Implementation –Instructional PracticesInstructional Practices –Goal Identification –Best Practices –Action Plan/Implementation –Faculty Collaboration (Needs Assessment)Faculty Collaboration –Goal Identification –Best Practices –Action Plan/Implementation –Professional Development (Needs Assessment)Professional Development –Existing Opportunities –Goal Identification –Best Practices –Action Plan/Implementation –School Leadership/ Governance (Needs Assessment)School Leadership/ Governance –Goal Identification –Best Practices –Action Plan/Implementation –Health/Safety Issues (Needs Assessment)Health/Safety Issues –Goal Identification –Best Practices –Action Plan/Implementation –Additional Issues (Needs Assessment)Additional Issues –Goal Identification –Best Practices –Action Plan/Implementation  No Child Left Behind No Child Left Behind References Glossary

3 Introductory Comments Homestead-Wakefield Elementary School –District: Harford County Schools –State: Maryland –Student Population: 1037, including Child-Find programs, Pre-K and K-5 SIP Structure In Harford County, school improvement is led by the district rather than the individual school. District school improvement liaisons work within multiple schools leading the school improvement leadership team. The county has determined the goals to be met by each individual school. These include cognitive (academic) and affective (character) goals as well as administrative goals (attendance). Goals for the district were determined through analysis of district-wide data, including (but not limited to) statewide standardized test scores, subject/grade level normed exams, school report cards, parent surveys, as well as teacher surveys. The district goals are then addressed at the individual schools. The school, after studying its individual data, determines actions to achieve the district goals. Along with determining the actions, the school improvement team establishes measurements and collects documentation and data to determine the level of student success for each action.

4 Needs Assessment Current Data Collection Triangulation of data is determined separately for the affective goal and the cognitive student achievement goal. The administrative goal of increased attendance uses single point data (ADA), with sub- assessment as to determining trends within the absentee population. For the affective goal, the school uses the end of the year report card, completed by different stakeholders. Additionally, locally created teacher and parent surveys are give quarterly. These surveys and observations assess the climate of the school environment as well as issues regarding student character growth. It has been pointed out that while it is extremely difficult to measure affective growth, the school and district feel the character element of the child’s education is equally as the cognitive goals. The data used to determine student achievement in the cognitive goal includes the Maryland State Assessment (MSA), as well as Math/Reading Unit Assessment data, teacher observation/feedback, student record keeping forms, and other observations/feedback forms. While portfolio and classroom work is utilized in ongoing assessment, successful achievement (for the district) of the cognitive goal is solely based upon student scores on the MSA.

5 Needs Assessment Student Achievement Information Cognitive Area (Mathematics): Accelerate student learning and eliminate the achievement gaps –Grade 3: The AMO for the school year for grade 3 mathematics was 47.4% and 89% of the HWES students met or exceeded the proficiency standard. The AMO for the school year is 49.8%. –Grade 5: The AMO for the school year for grade 5 mathematics was 38.3% and 83% of the HWES students met or exceeded the proficiency standard. The AMO for the school year is 52.1%. Cognitive Area (Reading): Accelerate student learning and eliminate the achievement gaps –Grade 3: The AMO for the school year for grade 3 reading was 40% and 91.4% of the HWES students met or exceeded the proficiency standard. The AMO for the school year is 50.9%. –Grade 5: The AMO for the school year for grade 5 reading was 49.9% and 88.1% of the HWES students met or exceeded the proficiency standard. The AMO for the school year is 57.

6 Needs Assessment Community/Parental Involvement Multi-tiered parent/community involvement –It has been determined through teacher surveys, parent surveys, school volunteer records/documentation that the school is extremely successful in having volunteers within the school on a daily/weekly basis. Parents regularly take the opportunity to assist teachers with specific tasks. Recognition of these parents needs to be addressed in a more formal manner if possible. –Higher level decision-making participation is increasing. PTA (Parent/Teacher Association) groups are extremely strong and active. Their fundraising has allowed for an extremely generous stipend to be given to teachers at the beginning of each school year. The PTA mainly focuses on fundraising projects and parental awareness of school-wide issues. –It has been determined that more parent/community participation needs to be implemented at the highest of decision-making levels. For example, parent surveys suggest that parents would like to have representation on safety committees, transportation committees (though this is a district issue and not under school control), discipline committees, technology committees, and certain curriculum committees.

7 Needs Assessment Technology In the past two years, the district has been working toward a district-wide goal of placing technology throughout its schools. This implementation has resulted in two full computer labs, computers within each classroom, well- placed printers within the school, poster-printers within each school as well as computer projectors and other peripherals being placed within each school media center/computer lab for easy accessibility by all teachers. Teacher surveys indicate a need for ongoing basic training in the utilization of both software applications as well as hardware. Teacher surveys additionally indicate a need for curriculum support in implementing valid learning units that utilize technology tools effectively.

8 Needs Assessment Instructional Practices Curriculum alignment and teaching modalities is an ongoing concern for all the teachers within the school. Due to manpower constraints, conflicts sometimes occur in scheduling special programs. This creates a concern within the regular classroom since consistency and effective learning are hindered with students constantly leaving and returning to the classroom. An example of this is a concern for the third-grade teachers. The special reading students were not organized efficiently into classrooms before the school-year began ( ) causing the classroom teachers to have to regroup for reading groups because there were too many students being pulled out of the classroom throughout the day. The Harford County School District has also implemented a Mentor program which places a master-teacher within each school as a full-time instructional leader, school-improvement liaison, and professional development specialist. This mentor works with teachers individually as well as in groups.

9 Needs Assessment Faculty Collaboration Through teacher survey, grade-level meeting documentation and administrator observations, it has been determined that the faculty at HWES have a high level of collaboration throughout the school year. In the past two years, the district has been working toward a district-wide goal of increased faculty collaboration at multiple levels. This implementation has resulted in district-wide early release days for planning and professional development within schools and among specialty areas. These early release days occur monthly for elementary schools and quarterly for secondary schools. At HWES, due to the implementation of the block schedule, each month one grade level will get the entire day (due to specials scheduling and substitutes) for collaborative planning and professional development. It is recommended that this continue. The Harford County School District has also implemented a Mentor program which places a master-teacher within each school as a full-time instructional leader, school-improvement liaison, and professional development specialist. This mentor works with teachers individually as well as in groups.

10 Needs Assessment Professional Development Professional Development Mission: Understanding that all employees contribute to the learning environment, we will maintain a highly qualified workforce. –Through teacher surveys, grade-level meeting documentation as well as administrator observation, it has been determined that teachers would like additional training in making technology usage within the classroom more curriculum-based rather that simply teaching the technology skills in isolation. –It is important to the teachers that they be given additional opportunities to attend professional conferences and meetings in order to stay abreast of innovations within their curricular area.

11 Needs Assessment- School Profile School Leadership/ Governance Administrative Needs Area (Attendance Rate): Accelerate student learning and eliminate the achievement gaps –The AMO for the school year was 92.4% and HWES reached 96%. The AMO for the school year is 92.6%. –It is critical, both academically as well as financially, that the school attendance rate be improved. Students lose a significant amount of learning time due to absences, both excused and unexcused. It is recommended that a parent awareness program or possibly a reward program be implemented to encourage parents to get their children to school (and on time).

12 Needs Assessment Health/Safety Issues Student Attitudes/Perceptions/Discipline –Overall school-wide behavior beyond the classroom could improve as large numbers of students continue to move throughout the building Playground Safety –Due to the implementation of the block schedule, formal physical education program time has been cut, requiring the classroom teacher to meet the state requirements for physical education through recess/free play time. This creates additional safety concerns for the playground. Both teachers and students need some form of safety instruction that can be accessed throughout the year for review and reminder. Threat from Outside –An ongoing concern expressed by both parents and teachers through surveys is the safety of the school from outside dangers (terrorism). While it is not the primary concern, it is constantly an issue that needs addressing. Evacuation plans for multiple scenarios is required as well as drills that allow all stakeholders to know what to do when these types of situations occur.

13 Needs Assessment Additional Issues Increases or Decreases in Student Demographics –There is a significant increase occurring in regard to English Language Learners (ELL), special education populations and FaRMS (low socio-economic community) populations. –Attendance and mobility issues are ongoing concerns with regards to manpower allotments and assignments. Due to the constant changes throughout a school year, correct manpower is not always possible.

14 Performance Gaps for Math Data Analysis Click to see disaggregated data tables Click to see disaggregated data tables (MS Word format) Subgroup Gap Analysis –Grade 3 While all subgroups have consistently met the AMO, it is significant to note that between 2003 and 2004, the most significant rise in percentile is the FaRMS (economically challenged) students and the students with disabilities. Grade 3 groups from year to year that have significantly improved also include the African-American population. –Grade 5 Unlike grade 3, not all subgroups within grade 5 improved scores between years. While the entire student population improved from 72 to 83%, Asian/Pacific Islanders’ scores went down. The reason for this decline was identified as a population decrease, not necessarily poorer test scores. The most significant score improvement belongs to the African-American subgroup, going from 20% to 85.7%. While a portion of the responsibility for this increase is due to a population increase, interventions in the past have been successful according to school assessment. Sub-Score Analysis –Grade 3: The area of Statistics and Probability is clearly the most in need of improvement with a 20.2% of students not meeting the cut score, with the next area at 16.6% in Processes of Mathematics. –Grade 5: Four of the five subgroups are extremely close in range of need, ranging from 19.9% (Geometry and Measurement) to 23.9% (Processes of Mathematics). This indicates that there is significant need for improvement between grade 3 and grade 5 in the area of mathematics.

15 Performance Gaps for Reading Data Analysis Click to see disaggregated data tables Click to see disaggregated data tables (MS Word format) Subgroup Gap Analysis –Grade 3 All subgroups have met the AMO for 2003 and 2004, with the most significant improvement being the 0% to 60% proficiency in the African- American population. Improvement was also significant for the FaRMS and disability groups. –Grade 5 While overall student improvement was made, the African-American population was the only subgroup that had a decrease in the number of students scoring proficient. This is a significant identifiable area which needs to be addressed by the school. All other subgroups made increases between years. While gaps still occur between ethnic groups, the most significant is the African-American gap. Sub-Score Analysis –Special Note: It is important to celebrate the fact that no more than 15% of the students in both grade levels in any single sub-score area did not meet the cut score! –Grade 3: The area of Comprehension of Literary Text had the largest percentage of students not meeting the cut score at 14.1%, with General Reading Process coming in next at 11.8%. –Grade 5: All three subgroup areas were within one/two percentage points of each other, not allowing one area to stand out as an identifiable need. Comprehension of Literary Text, as with grade 3 was the highest of the percentages of students not meeting the cut score.

16 Goal Identification Student Achievement- Math Cognitive Goal (Mathematics): Accelerate student learning and eliminate the achievement gaps –Grade 3: The AMO for the school year for grade 3 mathematics was 47.4% and 89% of the HWES students met or exceeded the proficiency standard. The AMO for the school year is 49.8%. The goal for the school year is to increase the percent to meet or exceed proficiency to 90.1%. –Grade 5: The AMO for the school year for grade 5 mathematics was 38.3% and 83% of the HWES students met or exceeded the proficiency standard. The AMO for the school year is 52.1%. The goal for the school year is to increase the percent to meet or exceed proficiency to 84.7%.

17 Goal Identification Student Achievement-Reading Cognitive Goal (Reading): Accelerate student learning and eliminate the achievement gaps –Grade 3: The AMO for the school year for grade 3 reading was 40% and 91.4% of the HWES students met or exceeded the proficiency standard. The AMO for the school year is 50.9%. The goal for the school year is to increase the percent to meet or exceed proficiency to 92.3%. –Grade 5: The AMO for the school year for grade 5 reading was 49.9% and 88.1% of the HWES students met or exceeded the proficiency standard. The AMO for the school year is 57. The goal for the school year is to increase the percent to meet or exceed proficiency to 89.3%.

18 Goal Identification Community/Parental Involvement The goal for the school year is to continue to create a comfortable environment that is inviting to parents and community members, allowing them to take an active role in a multi-tiered school-home partnership.

19 Goal Identification Technology The goal for the school year is to have 100% compliance with the technology placement goal of the state of Maryland. Additionally, the school increase teacher training opportunities and improve curricular implementation among 100% of the instructional staff.

20 Goal Identification Instructional Practices –The goal for the school year is for 100% of the instructional staff to improve instructional practices by creating opportunities including, but not limited to conducting action research, attending conferences and utilizing mentoring programs within the school.

21 Goal Identification Faculty Collaboration The goal for the school year is for a minimum of 60% of the instructional staff to participate in documented collaborative teaching methods. (We acknowledge that collaboration takes place already. By requiring documentation, the school will be able to provide more effective professional development training to meet the needs of the teachers.)

22 Goal Identification Professional Development Understanding that all employees contribute to the learning environment, we will maintain a highly qualified workforce. –The goal for the school year is to create intentionally scheduled, job-embedded, professional development opportunities for 100% of the instructional staff.

23 Goal Identification School Leadership/Governance Administrative Goal (Attendance Rate): Accelerate student learning and eliminate the achievement gaps –The AMO for the school year was 92.4% and HWES reached 96%. The AMO for the school year is 92.6%. The goal for the school year will be to maintain the high standard with at least 96% of our current school attendance as it currently exceeds the AMO.

24 Goal Identification Health/Safety Issues Affective Goal: A safe, positive learning environment for students and staff (disciplinary action) –There were 225 students referred for disciplinary action during the school year. The goal for the school year is to reduce the number of students referred by 10%. Affective Goal: A safe positive learning environment for students and staff (character education) –The goal for the school year is to increase the number of students being recognized for positive character traits through a structured recognition program

25 Goal Identification Additional Issues Administrative Goal (Curriculum Alignment): The goal for the school year is to increase manpower in order to more accurately align the curriculum.

26 Best Practices Student Achievement Engage students in their own learning. (Breaking Points, 2001) Keep in mind the different ways students learn and vary teaching methodologies so that as many of the learning modalities are covered as possible. (Jackson & Davis, 2000) Create an environment conducive to the learning process. (What Principals Should Know, 2002) Teacher quality is directly correlative to student achievement (Kaplan & Owens, 2001) and so it behooves the school to recruit and keep the best qualified teachers possible. This can be accomplished, as Homestead Wakefield has done, through a very close working relationship with the local university/teacher’s college. Sophomores come one day a week the first semester and two days a week the second semester, Juniors also work in the school multiple days, and as seniors they do an internship full-time. A very close guidance committee including the principal, university professor, mentor teacher, and master teacher (the classroom teacher) is created to offer every opportunity for success. Many of the interns become part of the teaching workforce the following year. Also, the university offers professional development to the classroom teachers and even has representation on the school improvement team. Utilize data effectively, but not in isolation as a “be all-end all”. (Pasi, 2001) While data analysis is essential in determining the direction of the school, it is dangerous to use it as the only means of measurement in the school. Affective areas of growth that are more difficult to test must also be assessed and have goals.

27 Best Practices Community/Parental Involvement The Annenberg report states that, "Public engagement works for changes that will improve the life of the local community." (pg.7) Engagement involves action and activity. No more should school administrators simply present a report to the superintendent or board regarding the activities of the school. The superintendent, board members as well as many others need to be in the school and need to see the school playing an active role in the community. The "Reasons" article points out three main purposes for engagement. The first involves "improving teaching and learning." (p. 9) This seems logical since the main purpose of education is to improve learning. The second purpose, "Bringing more people to the table," (pg. 9) however, delves more into the action aspect of inclusion. "Equipping communities to make tough decisions" (pg. 9) is the third of the main purposes for engagement. This is possibly the most critical of the three purposes, which is especially scary since this is usually the least acknowledged and acted upon. No one wants to be the tough decision- maker (i.e. "bad cop," "disciplinarian," "bean counter, " etc.). By including all the stakeholders, better decisions can be made and really tough decisions may be averted by including outside voices.

28 Best Practices Technology Jackson and Davis (2000) point out that lower order thinking activities were non-productive when it came to student achievement in mathematics. It is important to note that technology should not be used simply for drill and practice, but rather to stretch the thinking of students. When, on the other hand, technology is used for higher level thinking skills and when teachers are adequately trained in the technology, then the correlation to student success was a positive one. It is critically important that we offer support services, both technical and curricular, on a full-time basis to our schools. (Breaking Ranks, 2001; Allen & Cosby, 2000) If our teachers do not have working computers or assistance in developing technology supported instruction, they will not implement technology. Training is critical. Technology is not meant to replace or even be a curriculum element in and of itself. Its purpose is to be a tool for supporting the curriculum. It is important that the principal impresses upon the teachers that she is not simply looking to see if “kids are on the computers,” but rather what they are learning on those computers and how are they retaining what they have learned.

29 Best Practices Instructional Practices Support by the principal comes from a willingness to allow teachers to take risks (and fail). (2001, Allen & Cosby) Allen and Cosby (2000) discuss best practices by indicating that the key to getting teachers to explore new methods is to allow risk of failure. Throughout their analysis, they advocate accepting, nay embracing the individual differences within schools. A school in New York has different needs and can succeed with different changes than say a school in Oklahoma. Therefore, it is not possible to say that one methodology can and will be successful for all. That being known, it is critical that teachers be allowed to try new methodologies and fail. Yes, they need to be allowed to fail without impunity; otherwise, teachers (like anyone else with a sense of self-preservation) will never try anything new. This, of course, has everything to do with the principal's willingness to allow for risk, and her skill in determining if that risk is worth the possible end result. It is imperative to have students engaged in their own learning. (Breaking Points, 2001) Teachers can become facilitators in the students’ learning. Having the learning process become a more active situation through teaching methods such as service-learning, the student learns that process of learning must be an active one. One way in which students become engaged is through integrating assessment into the instructional process so that it does not simply measure the student, but rather assessment then becomes part of the learning process.

30 Best Practices Faculty Collaboration Teachers must be given adequate time for planning and preparation if they are to be expected to teach collaboratively. (Jackson and Davis,2000) Harford County allows the elementary and middle schools one half-day a month without students to work on collaborations and planning. This time has enabled connections not only between teachers at grade level, but also teachers between grades (5 th grade and kindergarten, for example). At the middle school level, the teaming concept allows interdisciplinary collaboration through the use of thematic units and shared planning for teams. (Jackson and Davis, 2000) Teams, especially at the middle school, have proven effective since all the teachers on the team share the same students, allowing additional collaboration to occur. Team teaching is now becoming a norm at the elementary level as well, allowing teachers to emphsize their teaching strengths.

31 Best Practices Professional Development One of the most productive, yet most difficult to implement of the professional development best practices is the peer observation and peer study groups. (Bracey, 1996) When a principal can overcome the distrust and threatened feelings of the faculty, these type of interactions have become the most powerful learning tool for the teacher. This is for several reasons. First, teachers have each other to "bounce ideas off of" on a daily basis, so it is not a one-time shot. They also motivate and yes, even compete to make their classes better. Third, by sharing the learning load, per say, the burden (and risk) of implementation does not rest on one person's shoulders. Teacher motivation and willingness to learn has a direct correlation to student achievement. (Atkinson, 2000); therefore it behooves us to motivate our teachers to not only be willing to learn professionally, simply for recertification, but rather be willing to learn for learning sake and to take that learning, no matter if it is professionally or personally based into the classroom with them. For young, idealistic teachers this is not a problem. But trying to get the veteran teacher who has been burnt out for a number of years excited once again is a challenge. Mentoring and orientation programs need to be available to teachers throughout their teaching career. (Jackson and Davis, 2000) Harford County in Maryland has implemented a teacher-mentor position with each school, either part-time for smaller schools or full-time for larger. This mentor program provides a master teacher who gives assistance in instructional practices, team teaches, models good teaching traits, and serves as a liaison regarding curriculum between teachers and the principal and the district-level administrators/liaisons.

32 Best Practices School Leadership/Governance Many successful school administrators utilize specific structures for classroom assistance. These structures offer teachers a supportive framework and recognizes that in order to have authentic ongoing improvement, there must exist multiple leaders “assisting, focusing, and improving classroom teaching.” (Glickman, 2002) These structures include: –Clinical supervision –Peer coaching –Critical friends, and –Classroom action research or study groups Snowden and Gorton (1998) offer sic other reminders to administrators: (1) Be practical, (2) Be creative, (3) Be easy, (4) Be quality (sincere), (5) Be empathetic, and (6) Be credible. Effective administrators sincerely want shared decision-making that is meaningful and sincere. (Jackson and Davis, 2000) Shared leadership is not simply for show or to check a box for higher levels of administration. The creation of a leadership team allows for a focus point for communication and decision-making. This leadership team needs to include representation from all stakeholders including parents and community members. While Jackson and Davis (2000) discuss leadership teams at the local level, Breaking Ranks (2001) states that effective school systems have a superintendent who “will work collaboratively to build a vision for improving teaching and learning and attaining educational goals. (pg. 73)

33 Best Practices Health/Safety Issues Jackson and Davis (2000) offer five elements that are found in effective strategies for improving student discipline: –Developing common expectations for all students’ behavior –Clarifying the consequences of misbehavior –Having all staff members assume responsibility for maintaining or improving student discipline –Specifying teacher and administrator roles in handling discipline problems –Increasing consistency and follow-through in implementing school wide discipline policies (pg. 171) The principal of the school is ultimately responsible for the culture of a school. (Snowden & Gorton, 1998) The administrator must demonstrate a safe and healthy point of view for students and teachers to follow. Barbara Coloroso in her book, The Bully, The Bullied and the Bystander, states that the school environment is characterized by: –Warmth, positive interest, and involvement from adults –Firm limits to unacceptable behavior –In case of violations of limits and rules, consistent application of non-hostile, non- physical sanctions (discipline as opposed to punishment) –Behavior by adults at home and at school that creates an authoritative (non authoritarian) adult-child interaction or child-rearing model (backbone as opposed to brick-wall structure)

34 Action Plan/Implementation Student Achievement- Math Click to see full implementation/assessment data Click to see full implementation/assessment data (MS Word) 1.Maximize the effectiveness of mathematical instruction through emphasis of the mathematical Look-For’s within the 65 minute block. 2.Foster teacher collaboration for the purpose of meeting the assessed needs of students 3.Establish and nurture active PLC’s 4.Conduct regional planning sessions 5.Intentionally provide students the regular practice and feedback necessary to improve performance. 6.Provide to parents resources and information regarding curriculum and assessment.

35 Action Plan/Implementation Student Achievement- Reading Click to see full implementation/assessment data Click to see full implementation/assessment data (MS Word) 1.Maximize the effectiveness of language arts instruction through emphasis of the Instructional Look-For’s within the language arts instructional block and the new time allotments. 2.Foster teacher collaboration for the purpose of meeting the assessed needs of students 3.Establish and nurture active PLC’s. 4.Conduct regional planning sessions. 5.Intentionally provide students the regular practice and feedback necessary to improve performance. 6.Provide to parents resources and information regarding curriculum assessment.

36 Action Plan/Implementation Community/Parental Involvement 1.Plan and conduct Parent Informational Nights to: –Share examples of learning strategies –Model effective instructional practices –Introduce opportunities for volunteerism at all levels of the school 2.Establish Parent Resource Areas 3.Establish Volunteer Recognition program 4.Place parent/community representatives on all administrative decision-making committees within the school (I.e. safety, school improvement, etc.)

37 Action Plan/Implementation Technology 1.Continue placement of district-purchased hardware/software in order to meet Maryland technology standards for technology in the classroom. 2.Create an ongoing faculty/staff training opportunities through peer mentoring, early release staff development days, and teaming with a technology curriculum coordinator (from the mentor program) 3.Create a student technology leadership team to become “experts” within 4 th and 5 th grades who could then assist teachers with specific learning experiences/programs (PowerPoint presentations, internet searching, etc.).

38 Action Plan/Implementation Instructional Practices 1.Provide full-time mentor (.5 for both buildings) to provide guidance regarding state standards, meeting NCLB requirements for best teaching practices, and school improvement processes. 2.Provide opportunity for 100% of the faculty to attend professional conferences in order to learn innovative teaching methodologies. Each teacher will be given the opportunity to attend a minimum of one conference, with the school providing substitute coverage. Teachers will need to apply for limited funds in order to request entry fee coverage as well. 3.All teachers will participate in early release staff days in which best practices will be shared with both grade-level peers as well as full faculty meetings

39 Action Plan/Implementation Faculty Collaboration 1.All teachers will participate in early release staff days that will allow time for planning of collaborative initiatives between both grade-level peers as well as multi-level collaboration 2.Teachers will be encouraged to share collaborative teaching with both grade- level peers as well as at full faculty meetings.

40 Action Plan/Implementation Professional Development Click to see full implementation/assessment data Click to see full implementation/assessment data (MS Word) 1.Professional Learning Communities will be established and implemented a minimum of once a month through three possible forums: –Faculty meetings –Team meetings –Subject study groups 2.Professional Development will be linked directly with school improvement goals (for specifics click on the available links on other goal items for details) 3.Teachers will be encouraged to attend appropriate professional conferences and encouraged to share with the school what they have learned.

41 Action Plan/Implementation School Leadership/Governance Click to see full implementation/assessment data Click to see full implementation/assessment data (MS Word) 1.To continue to closely monitor student attendance Examine monthly attendance cards and refer concerns to attendance secretary and, if necessary, to PST and/or PPW 2.To communicate attendance concerns with parents –Notify parents in writing of concerns and request parent conferences and/or schedule PPW visits as needed

42 Action Plan/Implementation Health/Safety Issues Click to see full implementation/assessment data Click to see full implementation/assessment data (MS Word) 1.Increase scope of Safety Committee to include behavior recommendations and school wide policies –Organize cafeteria table arrangement to support improved behavior –Review and emphasize school wide expectations for good behavior beyond the classroom –Use a set of criteria to recognize good behavior as students move beyond the classroom 2.Create a consistent recognition program that emphasizes the use of positive character traits 3.Create Bully Prevention component to increase positive social behaviors 4.Inform staff of Classroom Meeting model

43 Action Plan/Implementation Additional Issues 1.The principal will present a proposal to the Board of Education requesting that the current grant-funded positions will be continued in the following years (I.e. Kindergarten resource teacher) 2.The principal will provide for an opportunity for classroom teachers to meet with and coordinate schedules and student sorting with special resource teachers at the end of the school year, allowing a more accurate (and effective) alignment between curriculum, schedule, and special resources.

44 Professional Learning Community Existing Opportunities Harford County allows all elementary schools to have a minimum of one early-release day per month to allow for planning, collaboration, staff development and school improvement processes. Harford County allows teachers the opportunity to attend professional conferences and is hoping to offer financial assistance for entry fees, graduate credit, and/or child care services. Each grade level meets monthly to discuss needs, processes, expectations and best practices. During each monthly faculty meeting at least one agenda item will be related to professional development Harford county provides a minimum of a.5 position for each school to have an in-house mentor who assists with innovative instructional practices and collaborative teaching. As part of the negotiated agreement, each school is allowed to schedule one, 1-hour meeting each week for faculty. This is in the form of faculty meetings, PLCs (Professional Learning Communities) or team meetings.

45 My Role As Principal Student Achievement/Performance Gaps As Fullan indicates, there is no “Silver Bullet” when dealing with schools and the improvement process. (1997) A principal cannot waltz into a school and expect to fix all the problems and solve all the issues with a few simple steps. This is a critically important concept for me since I can envision what I feel needs to be done in order to solve problems and issues within the school environment. As an administrator, it is critically important that student achievement be the ultimate goal, and that student achievement is not only demonstrated through standardized test scores, but rather through instructional practices, a positive school climate, and students who are successful both in affective as well as cognitive areas. While a school cannot only focus on the low-level students in order to “close the gap,” it is critical that those students who need additional help are identified and helped. As research has shown (Ravitch and Viteritti, 1997) many low test scores are based less upon intelligence than cultural and racial knowledge. Therefore, it is additionally important for me as an administrator to ensure that those students who might be from a lower socio-economic home or is culturally unknowledgeable are given every possible opportunity to be successful on the standardized exams.

46 My Role As Principal Community/Parental Involvement It has always amazed me that in research studies, parents usually rate their school as doing a good job and that teachers are caring and supportive of their children, yet the same parents will say that on a whole, the United States educational system is failing our students. When faced with this perception, I realize how critical it is to show parents and the community the school’s successes. The administrator must have a clear vision of what the school is accomplishing and where it is going and subsequently must be able to communicate this vision effectively with the community. It is my job as administrator to make the process of shared decision-making possible and effective in my school. This cannot simply mean checking a “parental involvement” box, but rather to sincerely invite parents and community members to be involved in making decisions for the school. Getting parents and community members involved in decision-making committees benefits the school by allowing creative “outside the box” ideas to be brought forth. It is critical for me as an administrator to get the community sincerely involved with the school for another reason. The more community members, especially those without children in the public schools (senior citizens, especially), can see what is happening and experience the positive aspects of the public school system, the more likely they will be to pass bond issues and other funding-related legislation. This is one reason that I feel it is imperative to offer the community something back. It is important for our children to learn that the public school does not exist in isolation, but rather is part of the community. If we can give something positive back to the community, then the community will be more likely to give back to us.

47 My Role As Principal Technology As the instructional leader of the school, it is my job to ensure that the teachers and students within the school have all the tools they need to be successful. One of the most important tools needed is also probably the most expensive. To find creative ways to place technology into the classroom is the first role of the administrator. This is especially one area in which good community relations helps. The second role of the administrator in dealing with technology is one of model. If an administrator does not effectively utilize the technological tools available, then teachers do not feel that technology utilization is of true import within the school. The third technological role for the administrator is that of enabler. Teachers are especially vulnerable to feeling inhibited. It is important that I, as administrator, not wave away the concerns of teachers when it comes to technology. Unlike business men and women who simply have to learn to use the individual technological tools to accomplish their jobs, teachers are expected to not only learn the administrative software, the curricular software, and the enhancement software, they are also asked to TEACH and be “experts” in all these different technological aspect. This we ask of many teachers who have been teaching for more years than computers have been in existence. Patience, understanding and firm expectations are what is needed to get these teachers proficient.

48 My Role As Principal Instructional Practices Jackson and Davis (2000) stress that the standards must be supported by “equity and excellence by setting high, public expectations for all students.” (p.65) In the past decade, public schools have distanced themselves from tracking students by ability. However, in the interest of all students, “equity,” it is important that we realize that not all students are created equal and “equity” cannot always mean “the same instruction.” It must, however, always mean the same possibility. As a principal, I want to be able to assure parents that their child is receiving every possible opportunity to learn and grow, but not to the detriment of other children. Minimal ability grouping- in reading groups or math groups- when done with care, concern and flexibility, can be extremely beneficial to students.(Tomlinson, 1998) I certainly agree with Jackson and Davis (2000) in saying that formal tracking can be a dangerous thing in schools if left unchecked, however I strongly feel that in some individual instances, students’ abilities need to be taken into consideration when placing them in an academic setting. According to Jackson and Davis (2000), there are three models for organizing instruction: –Authenticity in Instruction– There must be worthwhile and meaningful “intellectual accomplishments” (Wehlage, Newmann, & Secada, 1996, pp as cited by Jackson and Davis, 2000) –Authentic Criteria – According to Newmann, et al (1996), criteria must include three elements: (1) Construction of Knowledge, (2) Disciplined inquiry, and (3) Value beyond school. –Authentic Assessment – This is called “Brief Analysis” by Jackson and Davis (2000), but assessment must effectively determine if standards have been met and to what level. This is a very nebulous element since there exist so many variables that contribute to student success. The assessment process must take into account as many of these variables as possible.

49 My Role As Principal Faculty Collaboration Encouragement, encouragement, encouragement…this is the principal’s primary function in the area of collaboration. Additionally, the principal needs to fit time into the schedule for planning and preparation. When teachers see that a principal is willing to “put her money where her mouth is” they have the tendency to work harder at being successful at the collaborative process. While this may seem to be an expensive prospect, there are many creative alternatives for accomplishing the collaborative goal. By providing time and possibility for collaboration, the principal not only increases student achievement, but wins a great deal of support from her teachers. Support for collaboration also requires staff development training. The Harford County schools allows a teacher-mentor in each school to enable the collaborative process to be successful. The teacher-mentor works with teacher to teach them to effectively work collaboratively. This is an extremely successful program that I would like to see implemented at the schools in which I’m principal.

50 My Role As Principal Professional Development As principal, I would have to assess my faculty to find the ones open-minded enough to try the peer staff development process. I would tap into them first, all the while offering the opportunity to participate in the process to the entire staff. If the faculty sees that this is a priority of mine and that as a priority, I'm willing to put my money, time, and support where my mouth is, teachers will be more willing to participate. Freiberg (1985) suggests that empowerment of the teachers enables meaningful staff development. We all know what doesn't work. The cutsie one-day workshops, the "train the trainer" where one teacher is sent to a workshop and is expected to return the "expert" to train all the other teachers. We also know that whatever formal staff development is offered must be tied to the goals of the school and to student needs.

51 My Role As Principal School Leadership/Governance “Keep the school running, run interference for the teachers, let the parents know you care, and know the names of the students.” These words, given to me by the principal of Homestead Wakefield Elementary School seem to cover all the bases. As I have observed him, though, it is all a bit more complicated than that. Being just, and as fair as possible, with clear expectations and a firm hand are just a few of the requirements of a good school leader. Be organized. Have a plan and follow it. Have agendas for meetings and follow them. Start on time and end on time. Don’t waste time. All these are mantras for me to follow when I become an administrator. We hear so much about shared decision-making, but it is worthless unless it is a sincere and productive process. I think one of the first things I will do when entering into an administrative position is to establish a “management council.” This council would have representation from each grade level/department, union representation as well as representation from a parent/community member. These people will work as the core decision- making/advisory council. The key to the success of this group is my willingness to listen, take their advice and accept constructive criticism. Ego must take a back seat to effective leadership.

52 My Role As Principal Health/Safety Issues The health and safety of our students and teachers is of primary concern (although it seems I have made this statement on every category). Keeping the school climate a productive pleasant environment allows all the other issues in the school to be addressed, but if teachers and students do not feel safe in their daily environment, all the other issues become unimportant and problems become exacerbated. I would recommend every administrator read Barbara Coloroso’s book, The Bully, The Bullied and the Bystander. (2002) This book investigates the issue of bullying and what both families and schools can do about the issue. In today’s global volatility school safety is especially important. It is critical that the safety committee have all the support of the administrator to make the school environment as secure as possible. This involves evacuation plans, lock-down plans and procedures for dealing with dangerous possibilities. Resources must be given to keeping the school safe. Another issue that I feel is critical is that the administrator model good health habits. In my last school, my principal set aside a room and our faculty held fund-raisers. With the money raised, we purchased exercise equipment, a treadmill, some weights and a weight machine. The principal was there every morning on the treadmill. She encouraged us to use part of our prep time for exercise. She provided juice in the soda machines and requested more healthy snacks in the vending machines. All this went very far in getting the rest of us to take “health time” for ourselves, which, in the end, made us more productive teachers.

53 HWES & NCLB The state of Maryland has set the acceptable standards for student achievement by setting a standard AMO (Annual Measurable Objective) that each school must attempt to achieve. These AMOs are addressed in the school’s SIP goals. Harford County has striven to provide the highest level teacher workforce possible. This is done through several initiatives within both the county and the school. –Teacher Interns – HWES has an extremely close relationship with VillaJulie College and their education program. This relationship has resulted in the placement of the highest number of teacher-interns in any Harford Co. school. The reputation of the program is exceptional, with students specifically requesting to be placed at Homestead Wakefield. –Professional Development – In addition to student interns, the VillaJulie College has provided several professional development training sessions in the SIP plan. Additional professional development is ongoing through the district’s teacher/mentor and district curriculum liaison. Teachers also can receive stipends for personal professional development. –Parental Involvement – HWES has a strong and active PTA organization. Parents are in the school on a daily basis. The Instructional Leadership Team does have a goal to place parents on the SIP team as well as other decision-making groups within the school.

54 References (2001) Breaking Ranks: Changing an American Institution. National Association of Secondary School Principals, Reston, VA. Allen, Dwight, Cosby, William H. (2000). American Schools: The 100 Billion Dollar Challenge. Time- Warner. Atkinson, E. Stephanie (2000, March). An Investigation into the Relationship Between Teacher Motivation and Pupil Motivation. Educational Psychology, 20(1), Bracey, Gerald W. (1996, December). The smarts of teachers. Phi Delta Kappan, 78(4), Coloroso, Barbara. (2002) The Bully, The bullied, and the Bystander: From Pre-School to High School- How Parents and Teachers Can Help Break the Cycle of Violence. Freiberg, H. J. (1985, December). Master Teacher Programs: Lessons from the Past." Educational Leadership, Glickman, Carl D. (2002) Leadership for Learning: How to Help Teachers Succeed. Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development, Alexandria, VA. Jackson, Anthony W. and Davis, Gayle A. (2000) Turning Points 2000: Educating Adolescents in the 21 st Century. Teachers College Press, New York. Kaplan, Leslie S. and Owings, William A. (2001, November) Teacher Quality and Student Achievement: Recommendations for Principals. National Association of Secondary School Principals. NASSP Bulletin, 85 (628), pg. 64. Pasi, Raymond J. (2001, December) A Climate for Achievement. Principal Leadership, 2(4), pg. 17. Ravitch, Diane and Viteritti, Joseph P. (1997) New Schools for a New Century: The Redesign of Urban Education. Yale University Press, New Haven. Snowden and Gorton (1998) School Leadership and Administration: Important Concepts, Case Studies & Simulations. McGraw-Hill, Boson. Tomlinson, C.A. (1995) How to Differentiate Instructions in Mixed-Ability Classrooms. Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development, Axexandria, VA

55 Glossary of Terms AMO – Annual Measurable Objective DEAR- Drop Everything and Read PST – Pupil Services Team PPW – Pupil Personnel Worker (e.g. truant officer, liaisons w/community) ELL – English Language Learners (second language) SSR – Student Selected Reading FaRMS – Free and Reduced Meals PAWS for Pride- Student recognition program for citizenship and behavior MSA – Maryland State Assessment (standardized exam) Cut Score – This is the proficiency score on the exam BCR – Brief Constructed Response ILT – Instructional Leadership Team PLC – Professional Learning Community OTIS – Office of Technology & Information Services (IT/Networking) ILA – Integrated Language Arts SRI – Scholastic Reading Inventory Teacher Mentor – Each school in the district is allotted a minimum of a.5 faculty slot for a mentor…an experienced teacher who serves as an instructional practices leader as well as reference point for teachers within the school.


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