Sunday, November 27, 2011

Looking Back to Move Forward

This week I have been reading and studying about real life examples of action research. Taking the time to analyze other's experiences with action research has really helped me formulate "the big picture" in my head.  By engaging in action research, I have a whole tool box of ideas and solutions available to me. If I take the time to implement action research into my own schedule and campus, my school will not feel isolated and alone. I do not have to feel stressed and pressured to come up with results because I can research and learn from others. I can use the experience of other educators and administrators to see what has worked and has not worked. Then, I can use the data from my school to help take what others have done and tweak it, so that if fits the unique needs of my own campus.

The examples that I studied this week were focused into the following nine passions:  staff development, curriculum development, individual teacher(s),individual student(s), school  culture/community, leadership,  management, school performance, and social justice or equity issues. Looking at the importance of the nine passions helped me compartmentalizemy priorities. I thought about how each passion connects to the other and how it is important to dedicate time to each area in order to ensure success for a campus.

Finally this week, I thought about some inquiries that I would like to engage in and came up with these ideas:
1st Area- Coping with Students on Behavior Intervention Plans
  • Do teachers understand how to use the different interventions and modifications correctly?
  • Is there another strategy being used that other schools have found successful?
  • Can we use these strategies with all of our students?
  • How can parents be involved in order to help ensure the success of their child?
2nd Area- The Change from TAKS to STARRs
  • How can we make teachers and students feel less anxious about the changes?
  • What can we do to better prepare teachers and students for the STARR test?
3rd Area- Reading
  • What actions can faculty take to inspire more reading out of the classroom?
I have not been able to determine exactly which project I will be doing.
At this time, I have not secured a school site supervisor. I am currently unemployed, and when I did have a job, it was at a district that is located about fifteen miles from where I live. I want to use this opportunity to work in the district where I live. In order to become an intern with this district, there are several things that have to be in place, such as a letter from the university, a TB test, and background check. I am currently working to have all the necessary paperwork in place. I did inquire around the community about who are the best principals. I have scheduled meetings with two different principals this week. Hopefully, one of them will agree to let me intern, and at that time, I intend on sharing my ideas for my action research project. I am excited to meet with the principals this week and see where the next leg of this journey takes me!

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Why Blog Anyway?

Blogging is a great way to create a community of learners to share ideas with and collaborate on common issues, and it also provides you with a diary of your experiences and activities to help you go back and reflect on your thoughts.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

The Journey Begins!

As I decided to take the path to becoming an administrator, so many doubts and questions crossed my mind. Would I be able to lead an entire school the right way? How would I deal with conflicts? Would I be able to bring a team together? I prayed, took a deep breath, and promised myself that I would work hard. I am excited to say that all ready in my second class I am learning ways to handle some of the very situations that I was worried about.

This week I have been reading about action research. Action research is a great tool that administrators and teachers can engage in to facilitate change and improvement. In the past, this was left up to outsiders. These outsiders were considered experts even though they did not actually work with students. These "experts" would study about schools, and then prescribe how something should be done. While this was fine in theory, it left a lot of holes and unanswered questions.

Action research makes the people working, day to day, with students the experts. This happens because they actually take what they know and make it better by becoming more knowledgable. For example, a teacher or an administrator takes the time to reflect on practices they have been using. They focus on one specific area at a time. After the area is determined, they then read all pertinent literature on their topic. Once they have gathered information, they then share with others what they learned. When this has been accomplished, they are ready to implement changes.

Engaging in these kinds of practices offers tons of benefits. This is teambuilding in action, literally. People working together experiencing success builds bridges and opens numerous doors. In addition, a faculty that engages in reading and research are continuously learning. This ensures that teachers and administrators are experts in their context area and pursuers of improving school climate and culture. Curriculum will continuously be improving, which will make the student’s lives richer, as well as improve tests scores. Action research also provides a sounding board for dealing with conflict. If the parties involved are willing to take the time, they can work together to find the best solutions.

I am excited to try this process out! I really believe that engaging in these practices will make me a stronger leader! I'll keep you posted on how my experiences pan out.