Collaboration. I feel I have made tremendous growth in this area since entering the program nearly two years ago. My position as Vice Principal has broadened my group of collaborators.
In X399B, I chose to focus the majority of my field study project on the development of the to review my school’s student/parent handbook. My site supervisor, Janice Callender is responsible for all aspects of the handbook and its approval by our school board and the district. So, when she started the planning process for the community forum meeting to be held in spring of 2018, I offered to help as a part of my action plan. We began the planning by asking the oversight committee for suggestions of how to organize the open forum meetings. The suggestions were:
• Make the metrics clear
• Make the metrics bigger
• Have participants up and moving around
• Give participants a venue to give feedback and ask questions
So, based on these ideas, Mrs. Callender and I blocked out about six hours of planning time. Based on that plan, we were able to decide what support we would need from other members of the committee. We decided a gallery walk for participants based on the goals of the handbook with the supporting metrics would be a great way to get people up and moving. I made four panels with the goal in the middle, and the supporting metrics surrounding it. They were also color-coded. We also made sure to put the recommendations of the oversight committee on each panel. Also, we decided to have one committee member facilitate each goal so they could clarify any questions for participants. Additionally, we put one computer at each rotation so facilitators could track any suggestions, questions, or clarifications on a shared Google document in real-time. The Google document was projected during the meeting so participants could see the thoughts of the other participants.
At the conclusion of the meeting, we also answered any questions we could. Those we could not be posted on the school website via the same Google document. We also posted the presentation on the website.
This experience enabled me to incorporate information about family and community expectations into school decision-making and activities and recognize and respect the goals and aspirations of diverse family and community groups. Upon further reflection, it has helped me to analyze the host of ways community members should collaborate with educational institutions on a site and system-wide level.
CPSEL 5 Reflection:
Capacity. My capacity to be a leader has been supported and grown substantially through the work in this program. When I think back to the start of this program almost two years ago, my capacity to digest information on educational issues and analyze how that information best aligns with my district’s vision has been the most powerful part of this program for me personally.
Implementing the ZAP (zeros aren’t permitted) program at our school site was very meaningful and applied current educational issues to my district’s current context. It was really a combination of all of the aspects of the X399B program combined into one over-arching project.
This project in particular really demonstrated all of the aspects of Standard 5. The ability to analyze data to find an achievement gap, and then find best practices in the current educational community to address the gap, is a very real-world application. Additionally, the implementation plan created based on that information and are all things I see our district administrators doing at the site and district level.
On a personal level, the creation of the final presentation of the ZAP Program through the lens of a school board presentation was very eye-opening to me. I wanted to make sure the board members knew this plan was to benefit the children, so that is why I included so many pictures of students. Through the many presentations we have given and facilitated in class, I have learned coming back to the people we are helping is what will influence those whose help you need to implement whatever program or change you are trying to make.
Building capacity of the people around me is also an area I feel I have made a lot of growth. I am able to speak more confidently about best practices and have “brave” conversations with people. I really feel the work in these courses has helped me to make that growth just by learning and listening to my fellow participants of this class. We all have different strengths to draw upon, and important insights and suggestions to share.
CPSEL 6 Reflection:
Synthesize. Standard 6 is the combining of all of the responsibilities a site administrator has to lead a school. This is the part of my job that I feel I have made the most growth since entering the program two years ago.
Actively participating in the school budgeting process was instrumental in my growth in this area. I appreciated the ability to find and research the trends paper to align with my work. I chose to look at how Title IIA was being funded since that directly aligns with my current role as an administrator. From there, I chose one of the articles from the trends paper to be my small group presentation. This, in turn, tied into my budget presentation. In the budget presentation, I was able to work with a group of colleagues and community members to create a meaningful and targeted presentation to the school board, at a parent-teacher association meeting, and a community meeting, which are all responsibilities of a site administrator.
The ability to integrate all of these components into my job has given me the tools to know how to lead a successful school. I know I still have so much more to learn, but the program has definitely given me a strong foundation to build upon.