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Dysfunctional schools-Are they beaten or can they be turnaround? Pierre du Plessis University of Johannesburg.

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Presentation on theme: "Dysfunctional schools-Are they beaten or can they be turnaround? Pierre du Plessis University of Johannesburg."— Presentation transcript:

1 Dysfunctional schools-Are they beaten or can they be turnaround? Pierre du Plessis University of Johannesburg

2 Introduction Turnarounds seek to take schools from bad (beaten) to great within a short period. Thousands of schools are deemed in need of improvement, and many districts need expert assistance to fix their troubled schools. Most lack capacity A successful turnaround requires transforming culture expectations and routines Reformers should not hesitate to change principals and school leaders to jump-start the turnaround process Reformers need to view school turnarounds as an all-or-nothing proposition to avoid pitfalls caused by unclear or conflicting objectives Turnarounds are not a time to cherry-pick the more popular or painless components of reform or pursue them incrementally. Unless leaders, staff, districts and departments are deeply and irrevocably committed to making a turnaround work, school reform are likely to fail.

3 SUCCESSFUL SCHOOLS INTRODUCTION How do successful schools operate? Must have specific characteristics. Successful or beaten? Do you see the red and green light? Are the learners and staff happy? What is the schools’ image in the community? The ultimate measure of success is a learning community that helps all learners, regardless of background or ability, to achieve high standards of scholarship and citizenship

4 Successful Schools Vision A vision clearly articulated statements of goals, principles, and expectations for the entire learning community. A common unifying vision is achieved when administration, teachers, support staff, learners, families, and demographically representative community members are able to clearly communicate that vision through the daily operation of the school district. A vision become a guiding force when all educational decisions are based on its framework and goals

5 Successful Schools Vision A clear vision is like a road map. Without a good map it is difficult to determine where you are going and impossible to know when you arrive. Many schools are still lost and beaten A vision allows school leaders to create a compelling view that excites and engages other constituents to join in the educational journey

6 Successful Schools Vision-Key ideas Effective schools have a clearly defined vision for the improvement of learning for each and every learner Emphasis is on the achievement of a broadly defined set of standards that includes academic knowledge, skill, development, and standards of the heart Goals are framed in a way that can be benchmarked through the school year and measured at year end Communication about the goals as well as progress toward them is a regular part of school activities among all constituents

7 Successful Schools Vision Successful schools have a vision that is accompanied by other strategic planning that guides decision making, as well as program implementation components such as: - goal statements, means to accomplish the goals and timelines -Links education standards to teacher expectations and student performance -Fosters district wide expectations and experiences that result in all learners mastering challenging standards at proficient or above levels -Engages the entire learning community to take responsibility for all learners learning -Includes carefully defined terms that are known and supported by all constituents -Is developed with representation from a wide variety of demographic groups -Articulates the learning community’s commitment to both excellence and equity in the school

8 Successful Schools Leadership Strong leadership promotes excellence and equity in education and entails projecting, promoting and holding steadfast to the vision, allocating resources, communicating progress, and supporting the people, programs, services, and activities implemented to achieve the schools’ vision An educational leader is needed to focus efforts on excellence and equity in education

9 Successful Schools Leadership: Key ideas Leadership roles are assured by a variety of persons in addition to principals. IDSO’s, including teachers, parents, learners, and community leaders Leaders demonstrate knowledge, respect, and responsiveness to the diverse cultures, contributions, and experiences that are part of the school and society School leaders expect- and hold staff accountable for challenging all learners with a rigorous, culturally relevant curriculum and for demonstrating high expectations for each learner School leaders ensure that each school has financial, material, and programmatic resources adequate to provide each learner an equitable opportunity to learn

10 Essential practices to turn a dysfunctional school into thriving community School must use a research-based curriculum, aligned with district, state and national standards and taught with fidelity to all learners School environment and culture must be safe, secure and orderly so that learning can happen Both the amount and quality of instructional time must be increased for all learners, particularly in reading, math and writing, including substantial time for guided practice of acquired skills Student achievement must be monitored constantly and consistently, using technology to both assess and analyze data School policies and procedures must support the ongoing implementation of educational best practices-not just on professional development days, but every day of the school year

11 Successful Schools Leadership: characteristics Demonstrate flexibility in dealing with change and a willingness to experiment Makes decisions based on attaining the most possible results for learners, rather than adhering to or maintaining an established system Analyzes disaggregated data from multiple sources and uses it to inform decisions Uses technology effectively to lesson the load of routine tasks and to provide effective communications Recognizes individual differences in staff and learners and provides opportunities to meet their needs Facilitates and builds consensus that guides rather than mandates

12 Successful Schools Leadership: characteristics Uses a blend of top-down and bottom-up decision-making processes Inspires, persuades, and influences others by their own actions and attitudes Stays current on educational research Responds to the needs of culturally and linguistically diverse learners Maintains a focus on the possibilities and opportunities instead of barriers Cultivate a support for the school and its mission among all segments of the community, school governing body. District, and other concerned groups and individuals

13 Successful Schools High Academic Standards High academic standards in each and every subject are the foundation to academic success Academic standards provide a clear definition of expectations for all learners Standards serve as a common target for learners, staff and parents

14 Successful Schools High standards: Key Ideas Academic standards clearly identify what all learners should know and be able to do across the curriculum Benchmarks provide evidence of progress toward achieving the standards To provide learners the opportunity to gain knowledge, skills, and processes identified in the standards. Curriculum, instruction, and climate must be aligned with the standards

15 Successful schools High standards: characteristics Expect all students will achieve at high level Link to local, state, and national standards Establish measurable performance indicators and benchmarks for all learners Emphasize conceptual understanding and the application of knowledge, skills, and processes Communicate learning expectations to learners and parents Serve as basis for culturally inclusive curriculum Are used by teachers to guide instructional planning and implementation for diverse learners Guide assessment strategies which inform learners, parents, teachers, and community members about learner achievement

16 Successful Schools Standards of the heart In a school standards of the heart help learners to become caring, contributing, productive, and responsible members of society This includes: advocating for equity, diversity, fairness, inclusiveness and justice; making responsible decisions; caring about others; contribute to the community; developing personal and interpersonal skills; and developing and adhering to a core set of values. The world of work requires individuals who are capable of managing their own health and well-being, and who have the skills necessary for problem solving, self-direction, self- motivation, self-reflection, lifelong learning, human relations, conflict resolution, and healthy relationships

17 Successful Schools Standards of the heart: Key Ideas Families, with support of schools, help learners meet life’s challenges and become healthy, caring and productive citizens Schools are places where youth have access to many significant adults to help them feel collectively and individually valued High expectations for staff and learners include expectations for behavior and result in a positive and safe school environment Schools are places learners can learn and practice positive interpersonal, cross-cultural, and citizenship skills

18 Standards of the heart Characteristics Help learners learn and model a set of values such as respect, honesty, courage and responsibility Create a positive school climate, free of stereotyping, harassment, hate, and violence and filled with a concern for justice and fairness Honor traditions Encourage youth and adults to use their talents Promote healthy and positive relationships Provide a variety of relevant, multicultural curricular and co-curricular programs Establish high expectations for learner and staff behavior in the classroom

19 Family, school, community Characteristics Include administrative leadership and support for partnerships Provide well-designed, goal-orientated, and culturally responsive activities Are geared to the diverse needs of families Foster varied imaginative forms of two-way communication Build on strengths within the family school and community Recognize that not all parents have experienced affirming and respectful relationships with schools and educators

20 Family, school, and community partnerships Family and community participation recognizes the important role that families and schools play in helping all children succeed in school and in life. Partners brings their own strengths, skills. Perspectives and knowledge to the educational process Research clearly shows the important role families play in the success of their child’s learning. School becomes a better place

21 Family, school and community Key ideas When parents, learners, teachers and others view one another as knowledgeable partners in education, a caring community forms around learners Partnerships must be an integral part of the school’s regular work Learners learn and grow at home, at school, and in their communities The best predictor of a learners’ achievement in school is not income and status, but the extent to which the learner’s family is able to (1) create a home environment that encourages learning; (2) communicate high, yet reasonable expectations for their children’s achievement and future careers; and (3) become involved in their children’s education at home, at school and in the community

22 Successful schools Professional development Professional development is a continuous learning process across all levels of education for the entire learning community Quality professional development expands the capacity of the learning community to realize its vision and reach its goals Professional development ensures that the school staff have the content, process, knowledge, skills, dispositions, and accountability to help learners achieve high standards

23 Professional development Characteristics Focus on individual and organizational development related to improving learner achievement Develops expertise in both content and process Focuses on teaching and learning for all learners Is relevant and research-based Is sustained and supported by modeling, coaching, and specific problem solving Helps school staff meet the needs of a diverse learner population Is based on up-to-date knowledge about how learners learn Includes accountability measures for changing practices based on professional development

24 Successful schools Evidence of success Evidence of success is found in the data related to learner achievement, behaviors, programs, demographics and staff perceptions Successful schools gather and use a variety of information to improve teaching and learning Evidence both shapes a school’s goals and documents progress While maintaining high standards for all learners, monitoring gaps for historically underserved learners should be a primary goal; this gap should narrow significantly year after year.

25 Evidence of success Characteristics Is directly related to preset goals and objectives Is recent and relevant Includes academic as well as other learner behavior- related information (for example, truancy, attendance, dropout rates, and discipline referrals Brings about improved achievement results for all learners Is communicated in an easily understood way to the learning community Identifies achievement gaps related to gender, race, ethnicity, disability and income.

26 Outstanding teachers: beliefs Transformability rather than the ability of children All children can succeed Intelligence is multifaceted and each intelligence can be developed Children’s failure to learn is not a sign of a lack of ability but is a challenge to teaching Children making efforts to learn is an indication of their character not of their lack of ability Teachers have hope, optimism, enthusiasm and energy Tell good stories Are expert questioners Provide an example of learning themselves

27 Outstanding teachers Have an infectious enthusiasm for what is taught Are creative about curriculum and pedagogy Are unpredictable in teaching Teach outside the classroom Have new skills and understanding Capacity to think creatively within disciplines Ability to tackle problems and issues that do not respect disciplinary boundaries Knowledge and ability to interact civilly and productively with individuals from different cultural backgrounds Fostering of tolerance and respect

28 Conclusion The discipline of school success lies in developing strong internal processes for self-monitoring and reflection- not in meeting an artificially imposed schedule of improvement. So how long does it take? A year, two or three years? Educators know deep down that this is not the right question because it implies a finish line or a summit that we will someday reach. But success does not work like this! Some days we may feel like Sisyphus, forever pushing the boulder up the mountain, never to reach the top But other days we get to what we thought was the summit and realize that still greater things are possible, things we could not see from below. Are you ready for the challenge? Why wait –GO!


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