Ideas and successful practices from principals in the Master Principal Program.
My building is a Title I building in an economically stressed area that includes many parents without basic resources. With a student population of 398, our fall open house experienced a low number of 120 participants, so we began to look at how our parents viewed our building, Wanting parents to see our building as a family resource, we created "Family Game Night". One night each month our cafeteria is converted into a room full of board games for all ages and a long table of Playdough. In addition, our PTO sells pizza and a drink for $1.00. On our first Game Night, 200 people were in attendance. We added pictures with Santa to our second Game Night and 350 people attended. Parents and family members have asked us to continue this each month. One parent commented, "This is the first time I have come to this building about something different other than someone telling me something about me or my kid." As I circulated around the tables, I was thrilled to see families of all economic levels laughing and enjoying simple games and building memories. During the very hard economic times, we are able to provide an evening of fun for free.
One of our biggest challenges when I first became Principal a few years ago was to get the parents to our building that we needed to see. We always see the GT parents or the PAP/AP folks (nothing wrong with having them...) but we rarely got to see the ones we needed. Those are the parents that work shifts, those intimidated by coming to the school or those of our lower socio-economic kids. I established a "one-stop shop advisor" for each student in our building (738 students). Each teacher has 17-19 students that they learn all about - academics, behavior, sports, hobbies, etc... and the advisor was responsible to contact each student's parents 3 times within the first month of school with positive feedback. Logs were sent to me with the intitial contacts (GEN H. Norma Schwarzkopf once told me "Don't expect what you don't inspect"). Then we invited each parent to school for a conference with the single advisor - not 6-7 teachers across the table telling the parent all about the "things" their child had done or not done. Can you imagine the level of apprehension from a parent barely with a high school education sitting across the table from 6-7 college educated teachers anticipating what was about to be said? We work with the parents schedule however necessary - even doing a home visit if we needed to. We increased our parent teacher conferences 3-4 four times the first time we tried this. Since then, it is customary to have 80-90% attendance rate at conferences - did I mention we were a middle school?! A few lessons I learned form this - 1. Invite the parents and be flexible, 2. Have a solid advocate in the building in the form of the advisor, 3. Do whatever it takes to make it happen for a student and parent. This is a very simple approach to what was much more complicated but it worked and continues to work for us.
Howard Elementary is a very diverse school located in a high poverty area of our community. The majority of our parents work long hours and are usually too tired to participate in evening school activities. Therefore, any activities that we plan has to be very indept and purposeful. For the past 8 years we have had a very successful Culturefest celebrating our diversity. This year we added an economic piece which promoted good student behavior, attendance and achievement. Students were given culture cash for good behavior, attendance each day and doing their best academically. They also, produced a product from different cultures that their class would be responsible for selling at the end of the year culturefest. The culturefest was well attended by students, parents and community members. Next year we are planning to add a study of healthy habits from other cultures in order to increase the use of our outdoor classroom and promote healthy living. We are planning to have parents participate in the sharing and growing of produce from their culture.
Equity and Communityhttp://annenberginstitute.org/sites/default/files/product/283/files/Results.pdf
Equity Free videos available also...http://www.schoolimprovement.com/resources/video-summaries/functions-of-a-standards-based-school/
School Communities that work for Results and Equityannenberginstitute.org
http://www.nd.gov/cte/meetings/docs/CCRtoolkit.pdfTeaching the college and career readiness standards is not a stand-alone task. Nor is it for only one subject area to be responsible. North Dakota has prepared an informative CCR toolkit with a practical way to work with a group of teachers in a PLC to embed the readiness standards into any subject. Although the templates are set up for high school programs, it is easily adaptable for all grade levels. The results piece of this would be identifying the current reality of how the standards are already embedded and strengthening that document with new information -- the result would be a new and unique document for the grade levels in your building. (Results will also be qualitative as the CCSS initiative advances.) Equity would be addressed through the differentiation of content, process, or product of the instruction of the now embedded standards -- all students will now benefit from this protocol rather than only the "college bound." And, community engagement? A college and career readiness instructional plan should include the community at large in advisory and presentation/classroom discussion roles, parent interaction within the instructional process, and the school community (teachers and students) in PLC's for personalized research and goal-setting. This site provides a starting point (an accountability measure too) for professional development that addresses all ALA rubric domains; meets the results, equity, community engagement triangular check; and provides an artifact of evidence for administrator and teacher evaluation.
RESULTShttp://www.wallacefoundation.org/knowledge-center/school-leadership/key-research/Documents/How-Leadership-Influences-Student-Learning.pdfArticle discusses how leadership affects student achievement and teacher success. Also goes into types of leadership and how it leads to student success.
This article can be found at www.essentialschools.org/resources/105. It includes ideas on how to include communities in your school and how to benefit from collaborating with parents and community.
A good resource for educational articles of all types. Eric.Ed.gov:80/. Greg Evans
Lots of information on a variety of educational topics. Particularly liked the publication on "Leveraging Teacher Leadership"www.ascd.org/publications/educational-leadership/oct13/num02/toc.aspx
School Leadership Briefing at www.schoolbriefing.com offers tons of information for professional growth in various areas.
Middle School Moment Community Screening Guide: http://www-tc.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/art/progs/3020/msm.pdf
Interventioncentral.org is Jim Wright's website. His site has ideas to help with math, literacy, and behavior interventions.
http://ualr.edu/literacy/description-3/Research in support of Comprehensive Intervention Model--intervention literacy support for struggling readers. We are using this model in RtI.
http://www.rti4success.org/video/how-does-rti-framework-intersect-common-core-state-standards-initiativeThis is an article on how Common Core and RTI are linked.Kim
Results: Adding Student Test Scores to Teacher Evaluation: http://www.epi.org/publication/bp278/
http://www.teachingtimes.com/articles/dimensionDimensions of an Effective Leader
A great resource for helping us to stay focused on being a great leader focused on results, equity, and community engagement...johnmaxwell.com
http://www.bjpconsulting.com/files/MAPPSpectrum.pdfmoving technology towards transformative uses (Blooms for tech)
Large TX District takes Theory into Practicehttp://www.schoolimprovement.com/research/case-studies/Garland_ISD_TX/
www.betterhighschools.org/pubs/documents/HSTII_LessonsLearned.pdfby UPL LEARNED - 2010 - Related articlesTIERED INTERVENTIONS IN HIGH SCHOOLS ii. ACKNOWLEDGMENTS. The High School Tiered Interventions Initiative (HSTII) team would like to thank the.
http://www.educationworld.com/a_curr/strategy/strategy063.shtmlA good source for stress reduction for students, teachers, and principals.
http://www.smarterbalanced.org is a website that has developed assessments aligned to the common core state standards for math and literacy that you can view.
How To End The Dropout Crisis. http://www.edutopia.org/student-dropout-retention-strategies
Brenda BoardmanThe staff on our campus has been discussing how many of our students are lacking in self-motivation. There is a very interesting article on the following website that discusses self-regulation. Self-regulation is required before students are able to self-motivate. Lack of self-regulation is a lack of self-control and leads to behavior and impulse problems and includes many other negative behaviors. Even though most of this information is in a journal for early childhood, it has huge implications for older students and adults. This article would be worth your while to read.website:NAEYC.org/yc/nextOnce there do a search for the article "Developing Young Children's Self-Regulation through Everyday Experiences" - July 2011
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