Monday, September 26, 2011

Success Stories

Please tell how something you learned from the MPI has impacted your school in a positive way.

52 comments:

  1. I was really shocked with my 360 survey. I picked people that I knew would give positive feedback and thought that it would be pretty bad. They really had great things to say and gave me info that I really never thought about. The comments my Superintendent gave kind of bothered me because he's never been in my building, but I'm determined to show him how great my school is.

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  2. I always greatly enjoy the time I spend with my MPI family. I can say that I have enjoyed the learning and been truly engaged in the various activities. The time goes by so quickly because of this engagement. I have utilized these activities in my staff meetings and PLC's.

    My success story is about my latest PLC. At CES we call our PLC Tuesdays with Teachers. Yesterday I shared Above and Beyond and Edutopia. My staff looked as engaged as I felt at our meeting. Also, I have spoken to my superintendent about purchasing IPADs for my staff. I can't purchase one for everyone and so I asked my staff to write a journal post about what they would do with an IPAD to support instruction. I plan to purchase as many IPADs as my funds allow. I will pull names from a hat of those that wrote the entry and reward these staff members for their effort. I am using journals with my staff this year and I feel it is a great success. I am writing using the sentence stems from our MPI resources.

    I also want to thank several of you on sharing ideas for making the most of our journal activities. I am journaling at school instead of at home. I think this will help me improve journal writing. Before I was writing at home and don't feel I was reflecting as well as I should have. Also, thank you Kathie for the Peer Observation form you shared with me. I did give my staff that form in our PLC.

    Have a Happy Thanksgiving everyone.

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    Replies
    1. A little late in response. Ruby,one of the BEST parts of MPI is the opportunities to share ideas, stories, and be "critical friends." You have certainly helped and shared ideas. We have a good MPI group!
      On another note:
      We just had our ACSIP & federal programs monitoring and one of the team members bragged and bragged about MPI. His name was Charlie Wowak. He said he was one of the first to attend MPI. It was great to be able to talk with someone who was a part of the MPI pack, even though not in our group.

      Hey, Diana, how about a reunion of all MPI groups? MPI is making a difference for all of us.

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    2. As a matter of fact.... we just had our annual "Learning Reunion" which is open to all Phase III grads so they can continue to build their network, share, and reflect collaborativey as a community of leaders. When you gradutate, you'll be invited too!

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  3. Fouke School District is 1 of 17 districts administering on-line target testing during the 2011-2012 school year. Fouke is only 2 districts in the Southwest Cooperative and the only district in this cooperative administering on-line target testing to all campuses.

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  4. PLCs have been a major success story for us at Lakewood Middle School this year. When I put forth my plan to the Central office, I was pretty certain it would work but after spending three days with the PLC gurus (DuFour, DuFour, Eaker, Many), I was positive we were on our way to great things. Tom Many said that you have to have "time to work on the work" and that is precisely what my plan provides for. We allocate 3 hours a month for PLCs and we do it by vertical department each Thursday. Each department has a specified Thursday (1st Thursday SS/SCI, 2nd - ENG/MATH, 3rd - FA/PE) so they can plan and count on their collegial time each month. By allowing 3 continual hours, teachers appreciate the opportunity to actually get things done, i.e common formative assessments, look at data, share best practices, etc... without having to run in and run out trying to get back to class. I provide them time by planning substitutes into my budget so they can "work on the work." My teachers love it becasue it shows that I value their time and professional judgement to do what they think is necessary to improve student acheivement. I don't monitor or moderate the PLCs, I go in, spend some time, offer input/guidance, then leave. They have to provide me with their products upon completion such as the next common formative assessment, what best practices they shared and the like. Each dpeartment chair then shares out at our monthly, SHORT staff meeting. I have received great feedback on this and we plan to take it to another level next year (cross discipline by prep once a quarter in addition to departmental - maybe?). This is our 3rd year in the PLC world and I beleive we are starting to figure it out.

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  5. After attending the last session, our PLC groups looked closely at our SAI survey results. Particular attention was given to the area of evaluation.

    It was eye-opening to us all the many interpretations of the questions. After doing a gap analysis, we have some good "next steps" lined up to get us where we hope to be in evaluating our professional development.

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  6. During Grade Level PLC we studied, What is a professional learning community using the information from Revisiting Professional Learning Communities, by Rick Dufour. We defined the meaning and discussed the characteristics of a PLC. In doing this the faculty understood that Action Planning is Plan-Do-Check-Act-Reflect, we have been doing this for some time. now we can refine our thinking to reflect the characteristics of a professional learning community. With that said, one of my instructional assistants came to me with concerns and questions as to how to deal with her inattentive students before Christams. This opened the door. for determining the gap in their learning and our teaching. During our Instructional Assistant and administrator PLC we did a Gap Analysis on our Inattentive students, the IAs were very receptive to this process, we learned together and came up with several strategies to implement. I know my IAs are not the only instructors struggling with Inattentive learners, therefore I did a Gap Analysis with the whole faculty on January 4th, it was enlightening for all of us. the faculty was engaged and came up with many strategies. The conversation that was discussed during the process was also beneficial for all stakeholders. I believe we learned from each other and left with lots of new tools in our bags!

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  7. This year our school started a weekly CAPS program and guided study hall to help establish academic interventions for each student. By the end of the first nine weeks, it was obvious that the gap between where we wanted to be and where we were in reality needed to be addressed. We conducted a gap analysis and brainstormed solutions to the existing gap. The strategies that have been applied have been extremely beneficial to helping students succeed academically.

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  8. Since I have begun my work in Phase 1 learning, I have implemented with my staff Professional Learning Communities. I have discussed it with my staff for a couple of years but found excuses that I could not find the time to make it work. This year however after visiting with many of my classmates I realized it was nothing but an excuse and where there was a will there is a way. I began the conversations with my staff during a faculty meeting and shared with them the data that we had worked on during the summer professional development. They all agreed we needed to find a way to meet the needs of our struggling learners. We spoke about the PLC's and discussed ways that we could make it work. We worked out the logistics and we have now been doing PLC's for four months. I was able to visit a school in Ozark to help get me started in the right direction. In the beginning I created the agendas but many have now taken on that task. They know what they need to accomplish to help their students. I did create a handbook that help them to keep all data summative and formative. The staff response after four months is very positive. They love that they have this time that they can discuss the needs of students. We are learning more daily but I know it will only become stronger as the year continues.

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  9. During MPPI we were encouraged to review a variety of surveys to improve our school. Fairviewe surveyed teachers (SAI), parents, and students. We used this perceptual data to begin looking at our strenghts and weaknesses. One of the areas that we discovered that all groups agreed we needed to work on was "student voice". We have worked to provide our students opportunities to discuss the decisions being made by school. We have had a student leadership team for several years. This year we have allowed this group to conduct school tours, select community service projects, lead ALL school assemblies, and to discuss ideas and strategies to improve our school. We have asked all students for ideas on "Astrobuck Day", solutions for bullying, ideas for improving our early morning breakfast time, and a variety of other issues. I have been amazed at the great ideas that our students have shared. We have implemented many of their ideas and will continue to seek their input.

    Theresa Cowling

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  10. Since participating in MP1 I have implemented more effective job charts to empower teachers to be leaders. The staff meetings and professional development have been much more focused and purposeful. I have teachers that have stepped up and are leading and planning the professional development in our building. When teachers lead teachers, the results are powerful and much more meaningful and relevant. I love the positive changes and relationships that I am seeing in our building. This can only be a boost for student achievement!

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  11. It is so hard for me to decide on one particular thing from first year MPI because so many things at my school have been positively impacted by the experience. All of our PLC meetings are so much better now because of the tools that were modeled and the study of things that actually make a learning community productive and successful. I have learned how important it is to share the leadership and build leaders within both the teaching and support staff, as well as the students and community, in order to have a collaborative environment where everyone feels proud to be a part of. I guess the biggest thing that I have implemented since MPI 1 is a structured and defined RTI program. The information as well as the networking at MPI helped me to accomplish this much needed program in my school. I can't wait to continue the learning in the program!

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  12. When I applied for the Master Principal program, I knew that I was at a place in my career where I was ready to move forward in my way of thinking as well as my leadership abilities. The Master Principal program provided me the opportunity to improve upon my leadership skills and helped to increase my sense of efficacy as a building administrator. The program has allowed me the opportunity to network with other administrators and helped to alleviate the concern that I was alone in my challenges. You automatically are in a group of professionals that know about it, have tried it, can provide you feedback about it, and often times provide the reality check that is needed to get on with it. Improving my depth of understanding about the five areas has helped me make improvements with my staff and school.

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  13. Hello to all of my MPP2 friends. It seems so long ago that we were last on the hill.

    I would like to share with each of something that I struggle with as a participant. I have difficult time matching up the work that is happening at RHS with the tasks provided for me through the institute. I am the type of person that feels one should do their own homework. If I create an action research plan, then by golly, I am the one who has to do all the work, or it is not mine, therefore I cannot claim it as my own work. However, after some reflection and conversations with a few current Master Principals, I realize, that so many of the success stories that we have in our building are a result of our leadership teams work with our staff to improve. The focus that we have provided through our conversations leads to great work in the building that then has an impact on student learning and building culture. As a principal of a large high school, it is impossible to do all the work. My job is to help lead us in a direction to focus on what is important, and plan effectively to improve, and then support the improvement or change in a way that will create scale. With all that said, I would like to share with you a success story from Rogers High School.

    One of the biggest challenges we all face in our school is how do we reduce the number of failures in our building. There are many factor that help create failure: missing assignments, apathy, poor study skills, lack of attendance, students lacking academic skills, grading practices, lack of support, building culture about grades, etc……
    Last spring RHS tracked our student data related to failures and decided that too many students were failing classes and that we needed to find a way to improve. Most noticeable, were the number of 9th grade students who were failing classes. When speaking with many of 9th grade teachers, most felt that the students failing classes were capable, but were simply not successfully completing assignments that then resulted in low grades and failures. We also discovered, that many of these kids were completing most of their assignments in class, but would take them home and then fail to bring them back the next day, and then subsequently, receive a zero. With these kids, they were leaving the classroom every day with the evidence of their learning and never receiving the credit in the grade book. The conversation switched to how can we capture student learning in the classroom? How can we make our grades less about student responsibility and more about what they truly know and are capable of doing? In addition to this problem, we looked at building wide grade trends and specific course grade distribution in order to identify subject areas where student failure is the highest. This information would allow us to create collaborative discussions within those departmental areas about grading practices and how to find ways to help more of our students find success. Another problem we discovered was that most of our teachers were not communicating with students parents who were not failing. Often times, these students parents never interact with their students about their grades, or lacked the English skills and confidence to approach the teacher.

    Please Read Part II in order to finish the story.

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    1. Robert, have you read the book by Rick Wormeli, Fair Isn't Always Equal?" Controversial but enlightening.

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  14. Part II Continued from above:

    From this simple look at grades distributions and discussions, we were able to develop a plan of attack. We focused on the following tasks:

    1. Identify incoming 8th grade students who are failing the most classes during their 8th grade year and develop a support program for those students
    2. Share grade distribution data with the entire faculty to study during PLC time. This data focused on building-wide distribution data, and specific subject related distribution data. Teachers were also provided their own grade distribution data by subject taught and how their data compared to all other teachers in that subject specific areas (remember we are a large school with many teachers teaching the same specific subject). This allowed each teacher to reflect on their own grading practices and how they compared to their fellow teachers in the same subject.
    3. Create opportunities for interventions within the school day in order to help kids with homework etc.
    4. Find a way to better communicate student performance with student’s parents and make an effort to increase their involvement with the monitoring of student grades.
    5. Develop a plan of support for our teachers who struggle with failures in their classroom.
    6. Review SPED “F” conference district guidelines
    7. Increase student engagement with the learning goals in each classroom daily, access prior knowledge as a way of increasing engagement and relevancy, and increase assessment for learning within the classroom.

    This story is way too long to tell on this blog, but the bottom line is we have seen results from our plan.

    In 2010, at the end of 1st semester, our 9th grade students earned 203 F’s. Those F’s were earned by 109 of the 600 students in our 9th grade class.

    At the end of the 1st semester 2011, our 9th grade students earned 128 F’s. Those F’s were earned by 78 kids out of the 625 students in our 9th grade class.

    That is a reduction of 37% in the number of F’s for our 9th grade students with more students in the 9th grade this year than last.

    Also, building-wide, we have reduced the number of F’s from 615 at the end of 1st semester 2010 to 452 at the end of 1st semester of 2011. This is a reduction of 27% with nearly 150 more students in the building this year.

    We are happy with these results, but we are more pleased that our teachers are looking at their practices in the classroom, and their grading practices in an effort to help students demonstrate their knowledge within the class.

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  15. Our work on action research has opened up many new ideas and experiences for us at Theodore Jones. Our action research centered around our African American male population. Last year we spent time doing our research and implementing many strategies from our readings and discussion with older students.

    Entering this year we wanted to be sure we continue what we learned and build upon it. And that we just did! We have now begun implementation of Tribes Learning Community with all of our students. We found that it would not only help our African American male students but also all populations, including us as educators. Centering on four community agreements: 1. Attentive Listening, 2. Right to pass/ right to partcipate, 3. No Put Downs/ appreciations, and 4. Mutual Respect. This has been powerful learning for us all. I am seeing positive changes in all populations!

    These Tribe Learning Communities will help our kids as they begin to work in cooperative groups with Common Core. It will help them learn to appreciate others and their opinions. It is already helping to improve listening skills. What is so wonderful is how we can use it in music, kindergarten, the cafeteria and the hallway! I cannot wait until May to see the difference it has made for each person in our school.

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  16. I have seen professional development take a positive turn this year. As each department meets monthly, the teachers have learned to create the agenda for the next meeting based on needs that arise.

    We use Google Calendar to posst events (as well as agendas) for the day, week, or month. My iPad has now become my shadow. As I have conversations with teachers, parents, administrators, etc., those items may also tend to be added. (What a great way to store your memory!)

    As topics / questions arise, they are added to the description portion of the event in outline form. Once the calendar is shared, teachers can view it at any time. Simply add a "Sign In" portion to the bottom. You can then print the agenda out as it becomes your documentation.

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  17. I have seen many positives changes in my school due to my experience in MPI such as:
    *Professional development has become more meaningful to my staff this year.
    *Teachers have learned to prepare agendas, lead content meetings, and submit "next steps".
    *Found ways to provide more time for collaboration during the school day.

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  18. Success Story:

    Our school has fully adopted the Accelerated Reading program. The faculty used the GAP Analysis process to identify a daily reading requirement and a required level of accuracy for students. Our teachers worked together to design a reading goal that was age developmentally appropriate for all students.

    Teachers brainstormed to identify hindrances and they also brainstormed to identify resources that would be beneficial to them as they implemented Accelerated Reading. Teachers were able to identify new ways to involve the parents into the process. The session ended with a plan to recruit parents to assist struggling readers with Accelerated Reading quizzes.

    Teachers leaders surfaced and new initiatives appeared. Our students are recognized on the Principal’s AR Wall of Fame. Students who are achieving their goals are recognized with pizza parties. Students who are meeting their goals are recognized in morning assemblies in the form of shout outs, and pizza coupons.

    The GAP Analysis process generated a full service parent piece. Parents are helping students read books, log into the computer, and take computerized exams. Student achievement has improved in the area of literacy, and over 80 percent of the students met their reading goal by the end of the nine week grading period.

    Students are excited about reading and our school has written a grant to secure more Accelerated Reading books because our school library does not have enough books to meet the demands of the students. Currently, the students are reading 125 books a day.

    When the Renaissance Learning representatives visited our school, they saw the GAP Analysis which was posted in the teacher’s lounge. The Renaissance Learning representative took digital pictures of our work, and she shared the process with other schools.

    Master Principal concepts can be implemented in any venue to assist educators who are implementing research-based initiatives with fidelity.

    Thelma Forte

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    1. Thelma,
      This is awesome for your students and your school! As the saying goes, the more you read, the more you learn!

      Kathie Janes

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  19. I too have learned much from MPI. The success story that I want to share as a result of MPI is that at McRae we had each student in our advisory group write at least 3 SMART goals for the third nine weeks. Our students, faculty, and staff have been talking about the SMART goals we have as a school but we wanted our students to develop their own SMART goals. I know that we collected all of the goals and we will review them at the mid-nine weeks. Anyway, I was pleased with what the majority of our students SMART goals and I can email that my advisory group of 14 boys put alot of thought into their SMART goals. We shared them with each other and posted some of them on a chart. In the MMS newsletter we encouraged our parents to ask their students about their personal SMART goals. SMART goals should not be new to anyone who has a connection to MMS b/c we talk about them at parent meetings, during morning "family" time, and they are posted on our bulletin board and in our MMS newsletter. Kathie Janes, McRae Middle School, Prescott

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  20. We are contiuning our building wide enrichment program. We group our students based on their needs according to NWEA MAP scores. The program, based on results from last year has been a success. We saw growth in the students. In every class we saw more than 120% student growth. As our process continues this year we are having more conversations about student engagement. I hope the results we see this year are postive as well.

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  21. Patricia McMurray, reporting on the successful start of our PLC's at Rose City Middle. We were able to use some of the strategies learned at my MPI Sessions. Teachers are very excited about the results and continue to look forward to the opportunities to get together and collaborate.

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    1. I have really enjoyed our PLCs more since I have attended the MPI. I find the teachers need this valued colloboration time and the same is true of us. I truly value the time I spend with you all and the ideas you give me as an administrator.

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  22. Fun Friday at Union Communication Arts Magnet School
    Submitted by: Thelma Forte'

    The third and fourth grade teachers decided to work together as a team to share strategies. We noticed that our fourth grade students were struggling with open response questions. When we asked the students why they were having such a difficult time, they indicated that the fourth grade teacher was teaching the same strategies, but using different vocabulary to describe the process and this caused confusion.

    The fourth grade teacher invited the third grade teacher to her classroom to teach open response questions. I know you are thinking, “What did we do with the third grade students?”

    The mathematics facilitator teamed up with a professor at Texarkana College. He brought some of his College Algebra math students so serve as tutors. The professor and the math facilitator team taught division with remainders to the third grade students.

    We selected our flexible group of students who represented our most challenging students. Most of the students have self-esteem problems, and they also receive additional assistance because they are academically challenged. This group changes as the skills change because the learning needs of the students changes according to the skills we are teaching.

    I am not sure who had the most fun. The fourth grade students felt special because their teacher from the previous year taught them again. The third grade students felt special because they were visited by a “real professor” and he told them they were smart. The professor and his students had so much fun they are already planning their next visit.

    Before the culture and climate changed at Union there was NO Way the fourth grade teacher would have invited the third grade teacher to her classroom to share strategies. There was NO WAY the third grade teacher would have allowed the mathematics facilitator and the college professor to teach her class. There was NO WAY you would see solid instruction on a Friday. In fact, most teachers affectionately nicknamed Friday as “Fun Friday” because the students did worksheets, took tests, and completed busy work to allow the teahers to get their papers graded. Look at the difference now!

    The only thing their friendly principal had to supply was time for teacher collaboration to take place. Money to purchase hands-on materials for the CGI lesson, and people to serve as teacher, tutors, and teacher facilitators of the learning process.

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  23. My implemetation was simple. Put up beleif walls (thanks Kendal) in each building. I have two buidlings so getting the staff to feel as one has been a challenge. Each building feels seperated from the other. Drawing us closer to a more family/team community, is my goal fro the remainder of the year.

    We are also doing potlucks once a month. We have 4 group comprised of all staff members who are responsible to provide food once a month. We have set aside time that will allow all staff members to eat together and collaborate (ok relax). The main point is to show that we are ONE FAMILY.

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  24. Something positive? Well it's been a crazy year with a Standards visit, a Scholastic (whipping) Audit, implementing PLC's, ongoing school wide Open-Response requirements, the Master Principal's Institute and a superintendent change in the middle of the year. But what doesn't kill you, makes you stronger. I believe that is exactly the way my teachers are looking at all challenges we have faced this year. I have an awesome group of teachers who love our students and understand that we may be the only positive part of our children's lives. If we fail to get behind them and lift them up, there may not be someone at home to do that. My teachers have taken the scholastic audit to heart and while they may not agree with everything in it, they are willing to look at our school and make the changes that will benefit all of our kids. They know that it's a 3-5 year commitment to make a substantial change but the Next Steps suggestions are improvements we can make today. Change is hard, not always good, but if it is what is best for a child's learning then it must be done.

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  25. Can't wait to get back up the mountain. Life is especially crazy and I barely have time to breathe, much less be out of pocket. I like the fact that I am "forced" to put this into my schedule and this time is (mostly) sacred. Wow. To find just one thing I have changed would be hard. MPI has helped me develop in a more positive way, in ways I don't think I would have headed if it wasn't for MPI.

    1. Reflection with my staff. Whether through email, face-to-face, or a quick write in a professional development-- there is no looking forward without first looking back. If it isn't working, we examine why. Happy to say, so much of it IS working.

    2. Celebrating. I have been leaving notes for teachers, recognizing great things, and accentuating the positive.

    3. Use of SMART goals. I wrote mine and shared them with the elementary teachers. Each team wrote theirs. Teachers are also meeting regularly in PLC's. We also use minutes for our meetings.

    4. PLC's can be dynamic and encompass many different people. One of my favorite groups to meet with is my RtI committee. They are all great innovative teachers who care so much for their kids. No one gets left out in the cold in this group. The energy is amazing.

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  26. Our district has implemented PLCs this year. Each PLC team meets twice a month. It is interesting to sit in the various PLC meetings and hear the conversations about student learning. This focus extends not only during "meeting time" but our staff is constantly seeking ways to improve learning for our students. We have recently constructed a data wall in our conference room to serve as a visual reminder as to where our students are and where they need to be. Monthly Board Reports made by principals now include information surrounding the four critical questions of learning so that our board members can be provided with meaningful information and be better informed as to what is happening educationally in our buildings. We are making conscious efforts to have our entire district function as "One School" instead of each acting as stand-alone separate campuses.

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  27. Karen Steen

    Success story: Reflection of our profession/craft

    The Institute has re-taught me directly and by example the importance of reflection as a primary task in the professional growth process. My masters’ programs at UNLV were notorious for reflection, reflection, reflection. It almost became a joke to us. Even back to my student teaching 30 years ago, reflection was a major component. Sometimes we call it reflection, sometimes we call it debriefing. It really doesn’t matter, but we are constantly doing it at HHS. There is a reflection piece built in to each administrative meeting, PLC meeting, book study, teacher leadership team meeting, CWT, and even each professional development experience at HHS. Whether we give the schema for it (a 3-2-1 model) or we pair/share after experiencing a new instructional strategy or we simply talk about the book chapter or event and what we gleaned from it and how it relates to our everyday responsibilities, reflection is what punctuates the growth as growth. As we begin to teach and encourage our teachers to use interactive notebooks, we are sharing the importance of reflection for the student. Growth is growth and reflecting on such is a mature act. I am seeing positive changes in how our people are approaching their craft because of reflection. I am excited to witness this. Interestingly, what used to look like a “gripe session” at times takes on a new look when we talk about reflecting and ask ourselves about perceptions of others, consequential data, and next steps. We become part of the solution and the problem is no longer outside of ourselves. Ownership and a deeper understanding of why we do what we do and why we think what we think is an exciting purpose-filled journey.

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  28. Master Principal Institute has given me the tools to reflect and the courage to make changes with the collaborative support of my staff. Professional Learning Communities (PLC's) have been a successful part of our daily master schedule for the past three years. During this current school year a PLC was added in the schedule for the specialty teachers to have those important discussions. Also once a month school wide PLC's convened until 5 PM. Next year our school calendar will have 18 professional development afternoons until 4:40 PM. These 18 PLC's will be required for every certified teacher to be in attendance as our school continues to improve our understanding of the Common Core State Standards, improve our technology skills, share best practices and continue to improve student and adult learning. Fouke Elementary in January 2012 was recognized as a National Model of a Professional Learning Community at Work School. (1 of 200 schools in the USA and
    Canada listed on the AllThingsPLC website) Without the Master Principal Institute a lot of what I have mentioned would not have taken place. A big "thank you" to the Arkansas Leadership Academy for leading the charge.

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  29. Phase I Colleagues

    This year started differently for me because of the shared beliefs activities for Mission and Vision. It has provided us the ingredients for building our mission statement. It has made us think about why we exist and the impact that we have for our kids. I look forward to learning more on the hill!

    Jerry Strasner

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  30. One of the things I have implemented since entering MPI Phase I is refinement of PLC practices. At the beginning of the year, we met as a staff to revisit the purpose of our PLCs. We revisited our core beliefs, mission, and vision. We refined our analysis of data practices to include a plan of action and accountability as a collaborative team of professionals. We are using many of the Institute tools for PLCs including agendas and action plans.

    Candie Watts
    Mayflower Elementary Principal

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  31. As I continue to strive to refine my vision as a leader and for my school, the tools that are staples of the Master Principal program play a significant role. These tools give me the structure and strategies that I need to carry out any adult learning necessary to shape the culture and move the vision forward. I have found great success anytime I have taken the time to look in my toolbox for what would best help me to facilitate conversation, professional development, presentations, and create systems. Additionally, being able to network with such talented principals from all over Arkansas adds to the beauty of the Master Principal program.

    Tamekia Brown
    Central Jr. High School
    Springdale School District

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    1. You are so right about using the tools of MPI. I try to use something right away with my faculty as a whole, my teacher leadership team, and my administrative team when we come back from MPI. I also have begun to list the tools by name and brief description in one document - a table of contents of sorts and keep track of when I use them and why. This will help me continue to use them regularly. Thanks MPI.

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    2. I agree that the tools have assisted me in conducting better meetings. I have especially liked the videos that have been used in several of the sessions. I have used these to start and end meetings. Also, I have used them to facilitate discussions from goal setting to culture.

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  32. The success story I have to share is not about a specific concept or planning tool. It is even hard for me to call it “success” because such implies completion. The success I am writing about is global—a large web of specific projects and procedures, practices and protocols that are interlocking to create what we think and do daily at our school. In a recent conversation with my MPI-2 coach, we agreed that this strongly evidences the accountability performance area. It is hard to put into words. At Heritage High School, we look at our data and focus group surveys. From such evolves a theme for the year. This year, our theme is “IT matters.” (Years past themes included: Creating a Culture, Git ‘er Done, One Size Does Not Fit All, The Time is NOW!) From the opening meetings with administrators, teachers, and other stakeholders to my graduation speech at the end of the year and everything in the middle, we breathe “IT matters” into all we think and do. Another component of this is the “proceduralizing” that is going on – all that we do has a procedure; and in order to salvage valuable time, my administrators are creating a procedures document for the routine events at the school. Although nothing about this is directly related to instructing students, not spinning our wheels to reinvent the wheel/event each week/year by proceduralizing events will free us up to work more with teachers and instruction. Planning, implementing, and debriefing each activity/event/program etc. and documenting discussions makes the next planning time less cumbersome. So what about all of this comes from the MPI? Purpose. The Master Principal’s Institute has taught me to have a purpose for all that we as a school do. There must be purpose to our accountability systems, collaborative relationships, teaching and learning, mission and vision, and plans for change. I seriously cannot lead, delegate, or assess anything on our campus without my MPI lens.

    Karen Steen
    Heritage High School
    Rogers School District

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    1. With the high turnover in administrators, I like the idea of creating procedures manuals. Good job! That's going to help to sustain all of the hard work that your current admin team has put into Heritage being so awesome!

      Tamekia

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    2. Documenting procedures is a great way to free up time for "it matter" stuff. Also, it allows for others to borrow certain procedures that you have documented. For instance, your progressive discipline procedure that I borrowed has worked out great at Highland Middle School this year!

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  33. I have started a few action research projects this school year. One project was implementing a progressive discipline procedure. At the end of the first semester last year, we had a total of 432 discipline incidents. At the end of the first semester this year, we had a total of 181 discipline incidents. This is 251 less incidents or a percent decrease of 42%. This process takes away the guess work because all stakeholders realize what the next step will be if additional incidents occur. So, thanks Karen for sharing!

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  34. This school year I moved to our district's Middle School. Being in a new school, we felt we needed to revisit our school's vision, mission and shared beliefs. We did activies that I learned in MPI, such as carousel, 5 minutes of fun, et cetera, that allowed us to get at the "meat of the matter" in a fun and engaging way. We are not finished with this, as we only started in September. However, we have met as a staff and developed a list of shared beliefs, and we realized that we need to revise our vision and mission. We have been developing our ideas through our PLC meetings. We took our findings to the local Kiwanis Club to gain their input. We plan to survey our students and parents to gain their opinions. Our plan is to have our vision and mission rewritten by April.

    Shelly Poage
    Berryville Middle School

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  35. Our PLC's are moving to scale. We have approximately 95% participation and we are having critical conversations about student learning. Teachers are excited and they are sharing strategies that have an impact on student learning. We have created data walls and all of our PLC's are data driving. We are seeing significant gains in student achievement

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  36. www.palmbeachschools.org/superintendend/documents/six lessons. Great article entitled "Six Lessons For Pursuing Excellence And Equity At Scale"
    1. Implement common rigorous standards with differentiated resources and instruction.
    2. Apply "ValueChain"thinking to the K-12 continuum.
    3. Blur the lines between the traditional roles and responsibilities of the school board, leadersh team,principals,teachers, and parents.
    4. Create systems and structures that reinforce the behaviors necessary for success and changes in beliefs will follow.
    5. Confront the effects that beliefs about race and achievement have on student performance and help teachers and students apply this knowledge to their day to day work in classrooms.
    6. Lead for equity

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  37. After attending our opening session of MPI I wanted to focus our efforts on using SMART Goals when guiding teachers to write the PGPs. I shared this with my leadership team as well as my PDCouncil. As a result the goal for our first building level PD in September was to guide teachers in learning to write SMART Goals as it relates to their professional goals for the year. We continued supporting this learning and new expectation through Tuesday PLCs, led by my Academic Facilitators. Teachers had the time to collaborate with content teachers as well as Team teachers to refine and set their goals. A google doc was created where every staff member signed up for a 15 minute slot to meet with me and share their professional goal, written as a SMART goal. The time frame set aside was three and one half days to provide quality time for me to meet with every certified staff member. This was time well-spent! It enabled me to give teachers time to just listen to them, ask questions and then listen some more. At the end of each session I set the expectation for them to bring evidence at our January meeting to show how they were achieving their goals. January came and this time we set aside 20 minutes per certified staff member. This took about four and one half days to accomplish. However, once again it was time well spent. I was able to have rich conversations about teaching and learning, listen to concerns, struggles, frustrations and celebrate the work individual teachers were accomplishing in their classrooms. One on one time with every certified staff member in my building two times already this year. What a tremendous use of time to build and maintain collaborative relationships with my staff.

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  38. As a result of Phase 1 learning, EVERY meeting that I have with staff and parents is sharp and well organized...I have been able to create effective agendas using the session design, big 8, and ice breakers (I am the ice breaker queen!)

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  39. One thing I have focused on is more student voice. I started a peer group called the Dragon's Fire. It was designed as a group from diverse backgrounds, trying to include as many students from different "clicks" as I could. It is not based on academic performance. It is more based on leadership capabilities. This past week they went to the elementary school and did anti-bullying skits for them. They seemed to finally gel. Looking forward to watching them continue to develop.

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  40. This year as we developed our Professional Growth Plans, we incorporated SMART Goals. SMART Goals provided teachers with measurable and attainable goals. It was rewarding and in some cases eye opening when we sat down at our exit conference to revisit the PGPs. The implementation of SMART Goals this past year will link well with the upcoming TESS PGP.

    Kim Simco
    T. G. Smith Elementary
    Springdale School District

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  41. One of the growths our building has made since I began the Master Principal program is in the area of building capacity. Through the use of many of the tools I began observing leadership qualities of teachers that led their groups. Many of those teachers now represent their grade level on our leadership team. Professional learning communities are facilitated by these leaders. I was able to bring in John Antoinette to provide support in taking our PLC to the next level. He built on what I had learned through MP 1 and provided a path for me to step aside and let SCALE begin!

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    1. Our school has experienced similar growth experiences in the area of building capacity. One specific example involves our book study. We are working our way through CLASSROOM INSTRUCTION THAT WORKS. At the beginning of the year, I introduced the book, our assistant principal and literacy facilitator presented a chapter.
      We each used different discussion tools. After the initial sessions, we asked teachers to volunteer to lead the discussion on a chapter throughout the year. All the chapters have been claimed! I have been very excited about how the teachers respond to each other. The week after a high yield strategy is discussed, the use of the strategy increases. We have monitored CWT data, and student engagement has improved and students involved in higher level instruction (blooms).

      This is one specific example. We have a leadership team in place that is taking on more responsibility for planning events for the school. We have used tools to help our PLCs become more focused on student achievement and to help all the teachers have a voice during the meetings.

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