Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Draft Action Research Report

The Effects of Implementing I.S.S. Program on Student Achievement, Student Discipline, and School Climate-In Progress
Lisa Smith Vasquez
EDLD 5397
August 7, 2012
Needs Assessment
Upon addressing areas needing improvement with the principal, the first words out of his mouth were discipline and the need to implement a strong I.S.S. program. I think an important place to begin looking for what the needs of this campus are is to look at last year’s referrals. I plan to collect and evaluate the following data: student demographics, special education status, referring staff member, reason for I.S.S. referral, number of days assigned, and location where offense occurred. I also intend to survey teachers and students to form an opinion on the state of the school climate and narrow down the exact areas needing discipline improvement. I accessed the 2011 AYP report listing and found that even though the campus is recognized, it missed the AYP requirements in both math and reading performance.
          Objectives and Vision of the action research project. (ELCC 1.1)
I envision the creation of this program to be centered on specific individualized student behavior rehabilitation. I.S.S. will not be just a place where students are sent for a time-out. It will be a program that assists and mentors students into making better choices by teaching desired behaviors and highlighting positive expectations. In order for this to take place, it will require the collaboration and efforts of all faculty members to develop and consistently apply a uniform set of rules and consequences.
I believe this can be attained by working closely with the site-based decision making committee and providing in-depth training on de-escalation and behavior management methods. So as I set out on this endeavor, my expectations are that in the course of one year, this campus will be able to put into place a uniform set of rules and consequences, and an effective I.S.S. program that promotes changed behavior. By doing so, the campus will see a 10% increase in student achievement, a 30% decrease (modest number, hoping for higher percent) in referrals, and an overall higher moral for students and faculty.
Review of the Literature and Action Research Strategy
My project begins with an immersion in literature on best practices with discipline and effective I.S.S. programs. According to Morris and Howard (2003), “An effective program generally holds students accountable for school assignments and involves some aspect of rehabilitation or functional behavior assessment/replacement” (p. 157). As my research continued, I found that there are several important aspects to consider when developing an effective I.S.S. program. Sanders (2001) provides some key elements to consider when implementing a successful in-school suspension program: selectivity, consistency, constructive supervision, student reflection on his/her behavior, behavior modification plans/implementation/follow-up, and parental involvement (p. 51-54). I am still researching discipline methods. The following list entails articles I intend to use for my research:
Haley, A.N., & Watson, D.C. (2000). In-school literacy extension: Beyond in school
suspension. Journal of Adolescent & Adult Literacy, 43, 654-661.
Morris, R.C. & Howard, A.C. (2003). Designing an effective in-school
suspension program. The Clearing House, 76, 156-159.
Sanders, D. (2001). A caring alternative to suspension. Education Digest, 66(7),
My initial meetings to get this project started will begin with the principal, assistant principal, and I.S.S. teacher. Once we are able to determine common visions and goals, we will have to broaden our group to include all faculty and parents. I would like to get the site-based decision making committee and PTA involved. Decisions will have to be made about adopting a universal expectation and consequence code, as well as, exactly what our I.S.S. program will include. I think it will be very important to consider what is currently working and what needs to be addressed to improve the climate and culture of the school.
Articulate the Vision (ELCC 1.2)
My first step will be to work with my immediate team consisting of the principal, assistant principal, and I.S.S. teacher. It is vital that we collaborate and come up with a united vision and goals before we proceed any further. Once we are all on the same page, we will be able to facilitate our desire to improve campus climate, student discipline, and student achievement to the rest of the faculty. I plan to survey both teachers and students to determine exact areas of need. I also intend to have a faculty meeting to brainstorm and gather ideas for universal rules and consequences. At this point, I would like to form a committee or work with the site-based decision making committee to narrow down and determine a discipline/I.S.S. program. Once this is done, I want to make this endeavor a focus of the PTA in order to give parent’s a voice and also to inform them of procedural changes. After all of the adults have come to a consensus, I want 1st period teachers to explain the rules, consequences, and procedures to the students and have the students and parents sign a contract. I plan to post the new policies and procedures on both the school website and newspaper.
Manage the organization (ELCC 3.1)
There are several steps I need to take to get this project started. First, I plan to put together a report on effective I.S.S. I am going to share this report with the principal along with my vision for the program. I want to get his approval and consent before moving forward. If need be, I will go back and make adjustments. At this point, I think that it is imperative to meet with the assistant principal and I.S.S. teacher. I would like to have the program in place at least by the first week of school. The I.S.S. teacher will be in charge of implementing all new procedures, and I, along with the administration, will provide support.
 At this point, I am ready to begin phase two of my project and begin collecting data. I will desegregate the information from last year’s referrals, survey teacher, students, and counselors. I would also like to survey parents at a PTA meeting. I will make a Prezi Presentation of the information obtained to share with all staff at a faculty meeting. I would like to be able to present this presentation within the first month of school starting. By the end of the meeting, I would like to set up a special committee to work on a campus wide rule and consequence program. I am going to put the principal in charge of getting training and development for all staff on behavior management.
I would like for the new rules and consequences to be in place by the beginning of the second semester. Once implemented, I will be in charge of speaking with staff members routinely on a weekly basis to see how the implementation is working. I will also be collaborating with the administration to understand if the rules and consequences are being applied consistently. I intend on meeting with the committee on a biweekly basis to address any issues. At the end of the year, I will check the number of referrals and do more surveys to assess the climate.
        Respond to Community Interest and Needs (ELCC 4.2)
My intentions in setting up an effective I.S.S. program include behavior management intervention.  I plan on using the counselors and worksheets to help the students think through the consequences of their actions. This reflection time will allow student to see that other choices were available to them rather than misbehavior. This will allow students to become better decision makers and will reduce than number of discipline referrals in time. In addition, any student receiving special services or IEP’s will receive the same services while serving their I.S.S. time.