Sunday, March 24, 2013

EDLD 5398 Intern for Principal

 This degree has opened my eyes to another world that I did not fully understand. I was familiar with Web 2.0 tools and some social media but had not really considered how I could fully use these in a school setting.   I have looked into using Twitter, blogs, Google Docs, Dropbox, and others just to name a few in the school setting.  I understand that students may be familiar with these tools, but I feel confident that I can take them to a new level with how these tools can be used in an educational setting to help them with their educational success. As an educator, we need to show students not only how to use technology, but use technology as a tool for learning. Even though I am not looking to be an administrator, I understand that change starts at the top and works its way down through to the teachers and students. If administrators are not familiar with these concepts, then teachers will not feel supported in making changes and then students will not receive the benefits of what technology can do for them in the classroom. We must remember that most change happens at the top and when teachers know that administration supports new ideas and efforts  then true growth will occur.

Monday, December 17, 2012

EDLD 5333 Leadership for Accountability : Course Reflection

After completing the initial self assessment, I was surprised at the knowledge that I needed to acquire.  The new knowledge began with the importance of making a personal leadership vision and a shared vision for the campus.  These become the guiding lights for decisions made regarding programs, curricula and other decisions that will affect the campus’ ability to reaching this vision (Peterson, 1995). I was aware that the shared campus vision was something that we needed for the campus, however, the assignment helped me discover the importance of having one and the impact it can have on the success of the student body. 
Another piece of new knowledge was the process required to create the Campus Improvement Plan (CIP).  This process starts with needs assessment, AEIS and PIEMS reports as well as other data gathered by the campus to determine what areas require attention in order for the students to be successful.  I knew that data was available through the AEIS reports, but was surprised at the depth of the data found here.  Taking the time to review the data available, I was able to learn so much about my campus.  From the needs assessment, you can begin to develop S.M.A.R.T. (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and Timely/Trackable) goals and objectives for the CIP.  The requirement of including research based strategies and professional development to address the target areas of the CIP assisted me in understanding the reason our administration demands that all requests for programs and professional development to improve student success be research based. 

The Site Based Decision Making group is responsible for making decisions that affect professional development and instructional needs for students.  I have served and been trained about SBDM, however, having the opportunity to review the purpose and responsibilities on the campus reminded me of the positive impact SBDM team can have on a campus and helping the campus achieve its’ goals and vision.  This committee truly does have an impact on the success of students rather than just meeting to review decisions that were previously made by others.  

Developing a personal vision of leadership required me to look deep within myself and for the beliefs and values I have in regards to education.  There were times I discovered I had conflicting beliefs as a teacher as to a principal.  I believe my personal vision of leadership is one that I can work towards whether I am a teacher or a principal.   Another challenge was in creating a CIP based on the data for my campus.  While doing the needs assessment for the Campus Improvement Plan, I found the “Team Dialog Guide” (Thomas, 2006) made it easier to focus the data and analyze it (p.39).  Once the guide was completed, it was clear what areas needed to be addressed in the CIP.  The final challenge was to choose the best and most appropriate research based strategy to address the objectives of the CIP as well as the professional development for the faculty and staff.  

One quote that was prominent in our reading was “Success never relies on one person” (Richardson, 2005, p. 35).  By using the combined knowledge and expertise of the faculty, staff, parents and community members which makes up the SBDM, we can create a campus environment and plan that addresses our students’ needs and promote their achievement.  As a campus principal, it is imperative for me to remember that input from all areas of the campus is important to ensure decisions are being made that will reflect and benefit the campus as a whole and not the view of one person.  As a principal, I will strongly encourage the teachers to use the “Team Dialogue Guide: Moving from Data to Classroom Instructional Improvement” (Thomas, 2006, p. 29).  This gives the teachers the ability to focus on what the various data is illustrating whether it is from STAAR, benchmarks, TPRI or other formative assessments. 

Successful communication and collaboration with fellow teachers and staff through the campus improvement process is vital.  Their input will help me consider different points of view or even an outside the box strategy to help our student be successful in their achievement.  In the last year our newest challenge is the STAAR test along with EOC’s at the high school level in core subjects.  We are all having to work together to find the instructional strategies that are required to meet the needs of our students so they can be successful.  As with any new initiative / form of testing the first few years are the most difficult.  Together working as a team with open communication we will be successful as a campus. 

Peterson, K. (1995). Critical issue: Building a collective vision. North Central Regional Educational Laboratory. Learning Point Associates. Retrieved  on May 27, 2011 from
Richardson, M. (2005). Consensus leadership. Principal Leadership, 6(4), 32-35.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

EDLD 5344 School Law - Course Reflection

The information that was presented on special education, IDEA, 504 and RTI was eye opening.  I was made mindful of the importance of being aware of all students and their needs.  This information made it clear why when a student struggles, that immediate recommendation form special education screening is not the best first step.   “The RTI philosophy centers on prevention at the first sign of academic or behavioral risk, before it is too late and too costly or difficult to remediate” (Martinez, Nellis, & Prendergast, 2006, p. 3).  First, we need to understand why the student is not being successful and find solutions that will help support their needs.  

The assignments for this class required me to become aware of the process for evaluating a student (Joseph) for special education services and the laws regarding student and teacher discipline.  The Individual Education Plan (IEP)is a guide used to help the ARD team make instructional decisions regarding students who qualify for special education services as mandated by the Individuals with Disabilities Education Improvement Act of 2004 (IDEIA).  I had to consider all information provided by the committee members making sure everyone had input into the student’s IEP during the assignments.  Once signed by team members, the IEP becomes a legally binding agreement between the school district, student and parents (Ketterlin-Geller, Alonso, Brown-Monegan, & Tindal, 2007).  When regular education teachers receive an IEP, it must be viewed as a source of information on the accommodations or modification necessary for the student to succeed.  Each week in this class new information was presented that made me realize the IEP was not being followed.   As I worked through this process, I would talk with my campus diagnostician.  I was empathetic to the parent’s point of view and frustration because I am a parent of a special education child.  Being a former special education teacher, I understand the frustration of regular education teachers not understanding the IEP fully and that it is a legal document.

The significance of the intervention plan to student success has made me aware of how the faculty and staff need to work together to determine which interventions are best for each student.  It is vital to look at the whole student and put those needs first. As a campus leader, I want my faculty to be knowledgeable about the RTI process as well as 504 and special education.  For this to be attainable, I will have to provide professional development about all of these programs.  When choosing and planning this professional development it is important to remember that is should be clear and easily understood not in jargon that can be confusing.  I think having a written outline of the processes would be very helpful to first year teachers and even veteran teachers who are new to a school district. 
Ketterlin-Geller, L.R., Alonso, J., Brown-Monegan, J., & Tindal, G. (2007). Recommendations for accommodations: Implications of (in)consistency. Remedial and Special Education, 28(4), 194-206.  

Martinez, R.S., Nellis, L.M>, & Prendergast, K.A., (2006). Closing the achievement gap series, part II: Response to intervention (RTI) – Basic elements, practical application, and policy recommendations. Education Policy Brief, 4(8), Center for Evaluation and Education Policy, Indiana University. (ERIC Document Reproduction Service No. ED 495749).

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

EDLD 5326 Action Research Update

The goal of my action research is to expand the usage of OverDrive Media and to construct the eBook collection with the types of eBooks and genres most utilized by users. I began this project in December 2011 and it included ten steps. I am currently completing step seven which entails me doing personal interview with the staff regarding their views of OverDrive Media. I am finding the data and interviews to be disappointing. Teachers especially have been so overwhelmed by district technology initiatives that OverDrive Media is simply “one more thing” and it gets put on the back burner. A vast majority of teachers are not even taking the time to suggest OverDrive to the students or to even use this personally. Fourth and fifth grade classes have Nooks in the classroom but still are not utilizing OverDrive. They are only interested in using the Nooks for classroom novels. As soon as I complete my teacher interviews, I will begin to collect data from the OverDrive Management to determine the types / genres of books that were checked out during the time period. From the data that I have collected from teachers and students who have used OverDrive the results have been disappointing. The program is not meeting the potential of reaching out to students and/or teachers. I will be able to take the data and analyze it and share with all stakeholders to determine the direction that should be taken with OverDrive Media for the entire district. Although, this action research project involves only one campus, I do believe that the results would be comparable to other campuses.

Saturday, July 7, 2012

EDLD 5363 End of Course Reflection

EDLD 5363 Multimedia & Video Technology has been useful and insightful to different multimedia technologies that can be used by students. The readings were constructive and gave me a foundation for the assignments and projects. I particularly enjoy The Digital Storytelling Cookbook by Joe Lambert. In this book it communicates that there are many stories that can be told from character stories to love stories. “And the best of these stories tell us more about ourselves than the details of our own lives.” (Lambert, 2007) This reading was beneficial in helping guide me in the story development not only for my first digital story but for our final group project of a student centered video. I also learned that good video stories are the creative artistry of several skills blended together (Lindenmeyer,1995). The final three weeks of the class was a group project developing a core curriculum student centered video. This project involved our group meeting together on a regular basis and collaborating using a Google document as well as a wiki to post our video clips and other materials. This group project was challenging and frustrating. This was my third class that had a group project yet this was the most challenging. The group was comprised of four students and being summer and working around travel and summer activities proved to be an issue. This was the only group project where I felt like two of us really carried the majority of the load of work and that was disappointing. However, this gave me insight to what students in my school must also deal with. My experience of group projects gives me the tools necessary to create lessons for students to collaborate with other students not in their classroom, but school district and globally to create a multimedia product. This opportunity opens doors for more diversified learning and understanding on an educational as well as a personal level for students. One reference that I will carry with me and share with students and teachers is from Lambert (2007) who notes that you should try to use the best effect of all: letting the images speak for themselves and using the words to say the rest (Lambert, 2007). The tools I have learned and projects that I have created and experienced will be relevant to students and teachers that I work with as a Library Media Specialist. I think the digital story about them is a perfect way to start off the school year to introduce and get to know students. My experiences will encourage me to encourage more multimedia projects being done on my campuses. According to Shank (2011), "In instructional design, the purpose of multimedia isn't just to incorporate multiple media, insert cool text, or add complexity (which can detract from learning). This reference by Shank will help me design rubrics that are clear and go beyond simple graphics. I was familiar with Creative Commons and this is something I will continue to encourage with students as they create e-portfolio of their work. I would have enjoyed using some software that I was not as familiar with but I do understand that most school districts use open source software. I understand and appreciate district budget constraints but I feel many students may go into the workforce unprepared by not being exposed to products such as Adobe. The assignments were not as clear for the group project as I would have liked. The project for this class was new and different from previous classes. I feel like this class worked through all the “kinks” which will help make directions more clear for future classes. The digital story and podcast were by far my favorite projects. I was able to develop my leadership skills in the group project. I had to encourage some group members to volunteer for what parts of the project they would work on. I learned setting early deadlines were important so if work was not up to par or difficulties arose there was time to correct or help with any glitches. Input and listening to that input is an important area of group work that must be facilitated. As I reflect, I realize those challenges that may have been the most frustrating to me were actually the ones that taught me the most in developing leadership skills. References Center for Educational and Training Technology. (2006). Success is in the planning. Retrieved from Lambert, J. (2007, February). Digital storytelling cookbook, 1-30 Story Center. Retrieved April 4, 2009, from Lindenmeyer, H. (1995). Writing voice-over narration for video. PSA Journal. Retrieved from Shank, P. (n.d.). Designing multimedia applications. Adobe Think Tank. Adobe Systems Incorporated. Retrieved from

Thursday, June 21, 2012

EDLD 5363 Web Conference June 18, 2012

This was my third full web conference.  I logged in on Sunday 6/17 while I was out of town in a hotel and after about 20 minutes I was knocked off the conference and could not get back in.  I figured that this was due to hotel bandwidth.   I had many questions over the assignments for week three so I logged back in on Monday, 6/18.  This was an extremely beneficial and I was so glad I chose to login that night!  There were many questions answered not only by Dr. Abernathy but students as well.  I felt like we all worked as a collaborative group.  Questions were answered over our group project as well as future courses and our internship.  I took the first class several years ago and then had to stop due to health issues with my mother.  After starting back last fall I realized things had changed in the first class from when I took it and I have some catching up to do.  I still have questions that I will talk to Dr. Abernathy about but felt a relief when she told us we had a class in the middle that was kind of a catch up time for internship and our Action Research project.  That information made my day!  One of my group members also attended the web conference that night and we had a side chat going on during the conference about things that pertained to our group.  This web conference was the most beneficial conference that I have attended.