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 http://www.ncrel.org/sdrs/areas/issues/educators/leadership/le100.htm
Richardson, M. (2005). Consensus leadership. Principal Leadership, 6(4), 32-35.