Sunday, August 19, 2012

Discussion Board Wk 5 EDLD 5397

Discussion Board Wk 5 EDLD 5397
I have been a member of the TAHPERD organization for many years which deals with Physical Fitness and Health. This organization has really grown over the last 13 years and has really helped me in my lifelong learning. I have also been a part of (TCTA) Texas Classroom Teachers Association which has really been active in the legislative decisions and lobbying for the schools and teachers. Talking with my administrators and see what all has been coming down the line from the legislature I know I need to join the TASSP, TEPSA and any other organization that will keep me up to date on the current legislative decisions and to place me in a position where I can possibly be heard.
I have found that it is very interesting in what our parents are interested in. Dealing with all the AYP issues for many of the schools in Texas I have found that our parents who do not know the programs we have been offering our students and the time our staff puts in to helping our students, yet the minute they get a letter for school of choice they want to know everything. I understand the concern our parents have but that concern didn’t seem as important before they were given a choice of changing schools within the district. The statement, “The grass is not always greener on the other side”, does not seem to pertain to this situation with our parents in these instances. It is very hard to get our parents to see the concern with the federal government’s standards and the schools that are being offered for choice are not much better off than we are, they just do not receive Title 1 Part A funding from the government. This has made for a very interesting subject to keep up with.

Discussion Board Wk 4 EDLD 5397

Discussion Board Wk 4 EDLD 5397
There are many unwanted behaviors that take place on campus and are directed at other students and faculty. This causes students to be out of the class setting and disrupting other student’s academic studies. This started raising questions as to why this was happening and how it could be changed.
My action research will be working with Safe School Ambassadors on campus and gathering data that is recorded by the (SSA) students. These students will be given specific training and the tools needed to be able to reflect on certain actions taking place on the middle school campus. I will also be looking at data related to our ambassadors to see if a positive impact is being made on our campus by the use of this program or if adjustments need to be made.
There is another program that will be introduced in the second portion of this research to see if it will have any impact on the culture and climate of the middle school students and faculty. This program will also empower the students in making decisions related to their overall experience in the middle school setting. The overall goal is to create an atmosphere that supports every student to be academically successful without the undue pressures of unwanted mistreatment taking place on the middle school campus.
In having to do this action research I have found a heightened awareness of what is taking place on my campus and a better understanding of the vision my administration has set for our campus. This action research has made it easier to have valued conversations with my administrators to the point of being asked to help with implementing another program on our campus this next year which fall right in line with my action research taking place now. This is a great learning opportunity for me along with being part of a new program which has not stepped foot in Texas yet. This action research has made it quite apparent to me that I will continue with action researches throughout my career as an administrator.

Discussion Board Wk 3 EDLD 5397

Discussion Board Wk 3 EDLD 5397
In listening to the video for the class and researching APA style of writing I found that this style is set up to make comprehension of reading easier. There are many times I read about information but I have no idea where the information came from. I spend a lot more time trying to look up the source. APA style includes full disclosure of pertinent information about the resource it came from and helps to look at articles and findings from other research that has been done previously. APA style has sections which have uniform styles to make it easier to find related information easier in the article. I found that this helps to focus on the content instead of trying to figure out the source of the content. APA style of writing also has rules set up for correct punctuation and referencing.
I really like being able to reference materials and information quickly by using the APA style but I get confused sometimes in knowing the actual format I need to reference my resources. I find myself constantly re-looking up the format so I make sure I do not record it improper. I completely understand why APA style of writing came about. It seems to make finding the source of the information a lot easier and a quick reference to finding the pertinent information quickly.
IRB is the specific guidelines that are used by an institution to make sure the ethical principles and guidelines for the protection of human subjects of research are being followed. These regulations are put in place based off the Health Human Services Regulation’s set by the government. Lamar’s IRB policy is a lot more in depth than my districts. My districts policy is requesting approval for research and it is based on surveys and interviews. Lamar goes more in depth with physical usage of human subjects. Both schools have a research request form that has to be completed and approved before a board before any project can be started involving human subjects. My district office approves the project to be presented to the Principal of a campus and they have the option of deciding to allow the project to take place on their campus.
My action research has given some insight into some changes that need to take place on our campus with student discipline. In using Safe School Ambassadors to gain data for our school issues and areas of concern, I have taken these concerns to our summer summit committee and used them to look at other means for discipline structure on our campus. We are finding that the traditional means of structured discipline does not work with our climate and so we need to look into other means of helping our staff and students become successful in the classroom. Talking with my Principal and Assistant Principal I will be helping implement a new program on our campus this next year. This program will fall right in line with my action research in trying to restore relationships between teacher/student, student/student and even family and community. I look forward to adding this into my action research and see the effects of my data.

Discussion Board Wk 2 EDLD 5397

Discussion Board Wk 2 EDLD 5397
I feel that I am progressing quite well in my internship. I have completed around 120 hours on my campus supervised activities which has given me the opportunity to work in many of the areas of state competencies. I believe I am strong in Domain 1: School Community Leadership, but would like some more on hands work with creating the school vision. I have been part of the CIC committee and have had some say in the vision for our campus but not actually looking into how to establish the vision. I also reside on the Instructional Leadership Team for my campus so I have touched quite a bit on Domain 2: Instructional Leadership. I would like to work more on teacher (staff) evaluation and development. I have taken the ILD and PDAS but I feel I need more hands on with one of the administrators and sitting in on some evaluations. Domain 3: Administrative Leadership is also an area that I have been working closely with this past year and the safety of our students on and off campus. I am also part of a team working on bringing in a new program with the help of one of our universities. This will be a pilot program and the first in the state of Texas. I have had a great opportunity on my campus and I am lucky to have a great administration willing to help me in my continued learning.
Through this internship I have had to look at things in a different light. I catch myself looking at situations through the teacher’s eyes but then realize I need to readjust and see it as an administrator. This is a whole different way of thinking. I also think how I can implement what I need to but in the same turn have the teachers understand the reasons for it. Many times listening to teachers they look at what is happening to them in their classroom where the administrator has to look at the whole picture. I find myself starting to look at things the way my administrators do and realize the difference in how I look at things on the teacher’s end of the spectrum.

Discussion Board Wk 1 EDLD 5397

EDLD 5397 WK 1 Discussion Board
2A) The first internship activity that really made an impact on me was being one of five teachers picked from different middle schools in the district to write the curriculum to be put online and used throughout the district in all the middle schools. I worked specifically in creating the sixth grade scope and sequence with one other person and helped in the 7th and 8th grade scope and sequence. In creating this process we took in all the issues that we were concerned with and along with all the different situations each school had and came up with the most flexible schedule we could within the boundaries that were set for us.  Just when we thought we were done we were told we would be giving the in-service to all the subject teachers in the district. I was the person in charge of showing everyone the navigation through the online system and fielding any and all concerns about the new scope and sequence and the process for the curriculum. I had to make sure they knew what the non-negotiable portions were even if they were not in agreement. It is very hard to please everyone. When all was said and done it seemed everyone was onboard with the new system and has found that it has made our jobs easier. It could have easily gone the other way.
The second activity was during my Action Research project. In compiling the data turned in from student’s action logs I narrowed down the area’s on campus that are of concern for our students well being and safety. From this data I found our student’s biggest concerns for safety along with the locations that most of these concerns take place. I also went a little further in finding out which of our student ambassadors who are part of the Safe School Ambassadors program are helping the program or actually part of the school’s issues. This data was brought to our campus improvement committee and used in the summer planning for next year along with trying to increase the funding for the program to continue. I have found that pushing for specific data can drive the decisions an administrator must make to ensure the safest and best education for our students.
2B) One of the biggest surprises that I have found during my internship is that students actually look at you differently when you are acting in an administrative role. Some students actually change how they respond to you when you are actually behind that administrator desk compared to just in the classroom. I also found that my students responded differently with a sub when they knew they would be sent to me as the administrator that day. I have also found that the administrators ask more of you even when you are not in the administrative role for the day. The relationship changes when they know you have sat in their chair for a day and understand what the demands are. I have found that many teachers on the campus who feel the administration does not do anything have no clue what the administrator does or even to a point wants to know. I have also found that these teachers also need some extra training in effective classroom management. It is very different when you get to see more of the picture than stuck in one class all day.

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Action Research Progress Report Cultural Change


Cultural Change: Does implementing programs that empower students to be proactive in their decision making create positive cultural change on the middle school campus?
Julie A. Buchanan
XXXX Middle School
XXXXX Independent School District

Author Note
Julie A. Buchanan, Assistant Athletic Coordinator/PE-Health Department Head
            Correspondence concerning this article should be addressed to Julie A. Buchanan, PE-Health Department Head, XXXX Middle School, XXXXXXXX, San Antonio, TX XXXXX. E-mail:

Needs Assessment
Reflecting on the hallways in the school and how many students were still in the hallways after the class bell had rung was overwhelming. This started to reflect on how many students were in the assistant principal’s office and the numbers were growing in our In-School Suspension (ISS) class each day. Looking at who the students were sitting in the assistant principal’s office was starting to become déjà vu. I started looking into the discipline problems on campus and relating it to the student’s tardiness to class.
My research started to take shape when I looked into our Safe School Ambassadors (SSA) program. I knew I could use these SSA students to help gather data and maybe pinpoint some of the issues on campus and where they are taking place. This data will help to shed some light on the issues we are facing but also give a better understanding of what it taking place on our campus with our students. There are 63 SSA students on campus and they are a combination of all three grade levels. This should produce a well rounded amount of feedback for data.
Objectives and Vision of the Action Research Project
Focusing on the needs of our students means learning what those needs are. The SSA program will help to empower our students with the tools needed to redirect unwanted behavior or to seek help without being put into an unwanted situation with their peers. These students will also be trained to reflect on the situations they partake in on and off campus. Our students will be asked to record information pertaining to any situation that requires their SSA training and to turn in the documentation to be collected by a Family Group Facilitator. This documentation will be disaggregated by location and types of mistreatment taking place.
Data will also be taken on the SSA students to show if they are part of the positive culture change or part of the issues taking place on campus. Tardiness to classes and discipline will be looked at for each of the 63 SSA students. The objective of this research is to empower the students in their decision making for the betterment of all the students on campus. The vision of this research is to see if empowering our students will help to create positive cultural change on the middle school campus for all our students and faculty.
Review of the Literature and Action Research Strategy
** I am still reviewing literature information on this research. Information attained will be added for EDLD 5398**
These are the sights I have looked at to draw information for my inquiry. Many of these sights reflect on the prevention of bullying in the school settings. Bullying has become a huge issue in schools and is being looked at very closely by the legislature. Many laws are being passed and updated and states are being scrutinized if they do not have something in place to protect our children from the unnecessary pressures put upon them by their peers. Community Matters is a group who promotes the SSA program and looks to empower students with the strategies and tools to make smarter and safer choices and to work on creating a new culture in their school that they are proud to be a part of.

Articulate the Vision
Changing the culture of our campus would end up benefiting not only the students but the faculty as well. Trying to make this happen would need the help of my administration, counselor and some of the faculty on campus. In a meeting with the counselor and the Family Group Facilitators I will discuss the objectives of my research. I also will ask for feedback and insight that could help to reach the vision to create positive cultural change on our campus.  I will also elicit their help in collecting the data from their SSA students throughout the semester to use in the research. The campus counselor and administration liked the idea of this research and vision to help promote the betterment of all our students.
My administration also looked at this research to help promote continued funding for the SSA program on our campus. My administration also encouraged me to connect another program, which is still in the works and will be implemented this next year, which demonstrates many of the same strategies but in a different context for creating a positive cultural change on our campus for the betterment of all our student body.  
Manage the Organization
The program is funded by a grant which the school counselor will have control of the funds. There will be a two day training that will take place with all of the Safe School Ambassador (SSA) students and the Family Group Facilitators. Each Family Group Facilitator will conduct a meeting every two weeks with their SSA students. During these meetings there will be discussions addressing the strategies they have been given and to keep “safety of self” as the most important. Discussions will also include mistreatments the students have seen and the locations of concern. The Family Group Facilitator will keep records of the meetings and discussions as well as collecting the student’s action logs.
The school counselor will help to maintain the data that is turned in by each Family Group Facilitator until turned in to be disaggregated. Monthly meetings will take place with the Family Group Facilitators, counselor and an administrator to update any new strategies or concerns that have arisen. All students on campus will be introduced to the new program in a grade level assembly, but on a less detailed venue than the SSA students and Family Group Facilitators. Student and faculty safety is our number one priority to promote successful academic learning.
Manage Operations
Keeping organization within the groups is left up to the Family Group Facilitators to run their bi-weekly meetings. Tools and strategies for these meetings are provided in the SSA handbook along with any documentation paperwork. Activities are to be conducted at these meetings to stress the importance of this program and what the students feel need to be done to increase all student safety and awareness on campus.
The school counselor makes sure that the monthly meeting schedule is put out and attended along with getting the passes out to the SSA students to attend their bi-weekly meetings. Any concerns that come up are brought to the school counselor or brought to the monthly meetings to be discussed. If action is serious enough to need immediate action an administrator will step in. All documentation will need to be turned in by the beginning of May before the end of the year SSA gathering.

Respond to Community Interest and Needs
            Looking into our school’s culture it is situated within an urban society encompassed in a low economic setting and many of our students are on free and reduced lunch. The school is a Title I school having the highest number of special education students in the district. The social aspect of our student body seems to take precedence during the school day. Academics do not seem to be at the top of our student’s list of concerns.
Using Title I funds and grants along with the support of our community businesses begins to give our students an equal playing field. Students on campus will be empowered to make decisions geared toward the wellbeing of themselves, their peers, and their school experience. Through the use of discussion, trainings, and group interactions, they will be able to assess their learning and make changes to improve their success. These programs will incorporate the use of our community and parent involvement. This will be a work in progress.
** This is a work in progress at this time. Information attained will be added for EDLD 5398**