Google+ Followers

Monday, April 1, 2013

Update on Action Research Project 4-1-13

I chose this topic because we are piloting this program on my campus this year. We are only using two teachers this year. A second and third grade teacher. The second grade teacher teaches the Language Arts, Reading and Social Studies component for the second and third graders. The third grade teacher teaches the math and science for both second and third grade students. For the most part, the survey results were mostly positive for both teachers. The teachers enjoyed the fact that these students belonged to the both of them. Whenever intervention strategies had to be completed or implemented, they felt they had a partner to collaborate with about every aspect of that student. When a serious issue or concern had to be presented or confronted to a parent, they would do it together. By doing this they felt they had an even bigger voice and parents were always acceptable of their concerns when two teachers approached them about the same issue and both provided documentations of concerns whether it was academic or behavior. Some of the concerns they voiced were in regards to grading procedures. In our district, the minimum grades allowed are six per subject. Of course, they recommend more to have a broader representation of that child, but having six grades is acceptable. The teacher that teaches math and science is required to have a minimum of 12 grades. The teacher that teaches three subjects is required to have 24 grades per students. You’d think it should 18 grades since it’s three subjects. The component of Language Arts has four subgroups, composition, grammar, spelling and handwriting. Each of these requires at least three grades. One way I thought of fixing this problem or making it a little even is to require the math and science teacher to have at least 12 grades per each subject so that this situation can seem fair and balanced. For the most part, the teachers love this teaching arrangement. Next year on my campus, all of the second and third grade teachers will be participating in this teaching arrangement. As far as benchmarks and STAAR test results, I am still gathering data on that. They won’t take STAAR until later in April so we will have to wait and see how much more successful the students were that participated in this model.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

5326-Posted After Graded

Week 2 Assignment, Part 1: Gathering Data
To complete Part 1 of this assignment, answer the questions provided.
Current Reality: Identify a current student issue or need that interferes with academic achievement at your school. Cite data that supports the need. This could be data that relates to academic achievement, student attendance, discipline, or other sources. Look at trends of data and disaggregated data, where available.
One current issue on campus is that we did not meet our Annual Yearly Progress requirement. We did not meet this goal due to our reading growth.  For awhile, we struggled in math and focused a lot our energies and resources on that and although I feel that we didn’t forget about reading, now we are struggling with reading. The data that I used was the yearly report by TEA and NCLB report for our campus. I am on the Campus Improvement Committee and we looked and analyzed the data at our meetings.

Vision: How will the family-school-community partnership that you are proposing resolve the issue by meeting the demonstrated need, and how will it support student achievement?
I am proposing to improve a partnership that we already have on our campus. On week one’s assignment, I mentioned, “Second Cup of Coffee.” These are monthly parent meetings that provide parents information on various school-related topics.  Topics recently presented include, making nutritious snacks and learning what is bullying.  We’ve had topics related to reading, but I am proposing that we have more topics that provide more insight on reading and the different aspects of reading.  We will teach parent the different terminology related to reading.  Provide informational list or brochures and include different resources on that topic as well.  This will support student achievement by equipping parents with knowledge and skills that they can reinforce with their children and thus supporting student achievement on our campus.

Week 2 Assignment, Part 2: Initial Partnership Proposal
The first step in establishing either a new family-school-community partnership, or strengthening an existing one, is to clearly articulate your idea. While your idea will probably evolve as stakeholders contribute their perspectives, you will use this assignment to solidify your initial concept.
To complete this assignment, fill out the chart.
Describe the need for the new or improved school-community partnership. Summarize the strategies/ activities you are recommending.
Our campus failed to meet the AYP requirement due to reading scores.  As a result, I am proposing to strengthen an existing program. I am recommending that we incorporate more strategies directly related to improving reading and comprehension skills. We have monthly parent meetings where parents can come learn about different school-related topics. I propose that in each meeting we teach and discuss one reading/comprehension strategy and tell parents the reason as to why there is a big focus on reading. At each monthly meeting we can discuss one skill and provide examples as to what it looks like across grade-levels.  Grade level chairs and or Reading Specialist teachers can provide materials and resources that parents can take home and begin to use and support their child/children at home.  We will also reiterate the fact that we are doing the same thing in the classroom.

Reference the research that supports the strategies/ activities you are recommending.
All of the readings that I’ve had to complete state the importance of family involvement and the direct correlation to student success. In this week’s reading, “Critical Issue: Creating the School Climate and Structures to Support Parent and Family Involvement,” it states that “Evidence shows that there is a strong connection between parent and family involvement in schools and children’s academic achievement, attendance, attitude, and continued education.” Joyce L. Epstein also states that good family and school partnerships lead to school improvement and student success.

Compose three or more measurable goals for the school-community partnership.
  1.  Parents, teachers and Reading Specialist teachers will compose a plan to help improve reading skills for all children in the building.  This will be measured by delivering a copy of the drafted plan to all teachers and parents whether or not they attended the meeting or had direct input in writing the draft.
  2. Students will show progress in mastering reading skills at the beginning, middle, and end of year.  Monthly progress monitoring will also be used. We will use results from I Station in English and Spanish to measure progress.  We will also use district curriculum assessments in reading to measure progress.
  3. We will show improvement in reading skills and make the AYP requirement when TEA sends out the next school report card.

How will the school-community partnership increase student achievement?

 Parents will be better equipped in how to increase and improve reading skills for their child.  The relationship between teachers and parents will strengthen and thus help improve student achievement.

Identify the school-community partnership’s stakeholders.

The stakeholders are the school, teachers, community, parents and students.

What are the steps to approval and implementation of the partnership? What are possible sources of funding?

  1. I will approach the principal and the Parent Involvement Committee and discuss the idea of how to incorporate reading skills in our already established monthly parent program, “Second Cup of Coffee.”
  2. I will send out flyers soliciting parents to come and be part of drafting a plan for improving reading skills alongside with teachers and Reading Specialists.
  3. At our meeting, we will educate parents about the different reading requirements in each grade level and provide them the necessary materials needed to help their child. After every meeting, we will send a copy of the minutes and materials to all students so that all parents have access even they were not able to attend the meeting.
  4. At each of the monthly meetings, we will review a reading skill/component to help ensure parent understands that specific reading skill.
  5. Funds can be provided by the Title 1 budget and/or regular school budget.

What resources are required for the partnership?
Most of the resources that are required for these proposed activities have already been established since I plan on strengthening an existing program.  The resources needed to effectively implement are input from teachers from all grade levels. Help from reading specialists in drafting good, solid, and researched based reading improvement strategies for all the grade levels and all types of readers.  Parents will also be needed to provide input for the reading plan/draft.  Also, parents will need to implement these skills at home.

How will you market your school-community partnership idea?

I will use what we have in place already.  About a month to three weeks before the actual date, a letter is sent home explaining the next topic for discussion.  The parent then reserves their spot.  This helps ensure that our campus has enough materials at the meeting and also to be sure we have enough coffee and pastries for all attending.  For the new topic of reading skills and strategies, I would send out a message to parents (we have instant messenger that sends a prerecorded message to their phone), to be on the lookout for attending this meeting so that they can provide input in devising a comprehensive reading plan to help ensure reading improvement and success for all grade levels on our campus.

How will you evaluate your partnership’s outcomes?
I will use the parents attendance at the, “Second Cup of Coffee,” that will be used to implement these strategies.
I will use monthly results from reading I Station in English and Spanish.  Results from district benchmarks and results from teacher Progress Monitoring will also be used.
After several months, we will send a survey to parents and teachers to see if they felt this program/process was successful.

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Final Reflections on Action Research Course

Final Reflections:
  I truly have enjoyed this course and have learned so much in these past five weeks.  At first I thought, that online college would be difficult, but I find that I have learned a greater deal than I did when I took a masters course in a building.  Not to say that that was not great, I just find this online class more interactive. Using the blogs and discussion boards, email and even face book, I feel that I have connected and communicated with a large amount of students and professors.
I enjoyed all the lectures, but the ones that stood out were the ones from Week two.  Principal Johnny Briseno from Angleton ISD really made an impression on me and served as a great model implementing an action research situation.  He seemed totally available and approachable for all his teachers.  Mr. Briseno mentioned to use the internet to help aid in solutions for problems that may arise on your campus.  The solution may not be an exact fit, but at least will guide you in knowing what worked and what did not work for some campuses.  Basically he was talking about the transfer-ability of previous research inquiry without actually using those words.  I took his advice and did a Google search on my action research inquiry.  I found some interesting dissertations related and unrelated to my topic that I plan to use in my inquiry research.
The web conferences were a huge help as well.  Questions were answered promptly and the sessions felt very intimate and like we all knew each other as if we were in the same physical classroom.  Being able to discuss what we were doing made the assignment more clear.
What I have learned from action research is that it is a cyclical method and that even though you may get to a stopping point, your research doesn’t end.  One may choose to research another aspect that has come up and/or begin researching another pondering. In learning about action research, I realized that my principal has done this on several occasions and is still doing this. I learned that the most important thing an administrator can do is to build an inquiry stance.  Not so much to complete one or two action research inquiries, but to make inquiry a part of administration.
The discussion boards and blogs provided great insight as to what others were doing and the unique and universal situations going on at their campuses.  It also provided opportunities to have colleagues comment and question our positions.  This helped make our stances or beliefs stronger and clearer.  It was fascinating to see how suggestions helped and refined our action research plans to be the best that they can be.
I felt that the assignments followed a sequential order and built on what was previously learned.  The textbooks for this course were very easy to follow and read.  I plan on keeping these textbooks and putting them in my professional library.  I am excited about continuing my action research plan full force and this course has provided me the tools to do just that.   

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Tool 8.1 CARE Model: Planning Tool
Identify Concerns that must change (look to the future)
(Assign points to concerns from 1 to 3 in the order of the most important issues to consider.)
1.  Teacher’s negativity toward a different model of teaching.  Teachers would be teaching two grade levels, but only two subjects, for example, Language Arts/ Social Studies or Math and Science.  
2.  Teacher’s concern over what grade level they have to teach.
3.  Concern over how many parts/sections each subject has, for example, writing has four sub groups of grades that need to be assigned.
Identify Affirmations that must be sustained (look to the present)
(Assign points to affirmations from 1 to 3 in the order of the most important issues to consider.)
1. The belief that we do what is best for the children and not necessarily the grown-ups.
2.  Positive working relationships with colleagues helps make this model more efficient. The teachers piloting this model this year have a great relationship professionally and personally.
3.  For the most part, the staff has a positive working relationship and must maintain those relationships to allow this model to be successful.
SMART Recommendations that must be implemented:
(Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, Timely)
(Assign points to recommendations from 1 to 3 in the order of the most important recommendations to implement.)
1.  In teaching multiple grades, allow teachers to have one of those grades be a grade-level that they are currently teaching.
2.  I will look at benchmark data and curriculum assessments to see how these students are performing compared to classrooms that are not using this model.
3.  During faculty meetings, allow for concerns and ideas to resolve any issues that may arise using this model.
EVALUATE – Specifically and Often
(Identify the best ways to evaluate the implemented recommendations.)
1.   One way to evaluate would be to look at benchmark testing and assessments.
2.   Provide online surveys to provide another avenue to voice concerns.
3.   Provide parent and student surveys and/or interviews to see what the public and intended audience thinks about this model.

Saturday, February 2, 2013

Action Research Plan

Action Planning Template-Maria Regalado
Goal: To find out if students perform better academically with the implementation of a multiple grade-level departmentalization model.
Action Steps(s):
Person(s) Responsible:
Timeline: Start/End
Needed Resources

Survey teachers on my campus about how they feel about this model.  Survey other teachers in another campus that implemented this model campus wide this school year.

Maria Regalado
Wendy Williams-Principal and Site Supervisor
February 2013
Online Survey such as Survey Monkey.
Compare results with the results of the two teachers that are piloting this model this school year.

Decide which teachers and grade levels to follow/research from other campus.  Will definitely research and follow the two teachers participating on my campus.
Decide on other methods of receiving and analyzing data.
Maria Regalado
Laura Ledbetter-colleague
Rebekah Jones-colleague
Principal and Site Supervisor, Wendy Williams
Assistant Principal, Jo Morast
March 2013
Permission or approval required from other campus’ principal.
Survey-for other campus teachers
I will choose grade levels that are administering STAAR tests as well as grade levels that are not. The two teachers on my campus are doing 2nd and 3rd grades. So they both are dealing with a STAAR grade level and one non-STAAR grade level.

Begin collecting data on students on my campus.  Teachers and administrators will provide results from Benchmarks, Curriculum-Based Assessments and I-Station.

Maria Regalado
Laura Ledbetter
Rebekah Jones
March 2013-April 2013
Printouts from class summary reports from various tests and diagnostic measures.
Using the various summary reports, decide any specific areas/subjects to research and follow.
Continue analyzing data from the participating classrooms. Analyze data and interview participating teachers to discuss any other issues or feelings that have come up now that STAAR test is about to be administered. 

Maria Regalado
Laura Ledbetter
Rebekah Jones
April  2013
Interviews from teachers and possible surveys if needed using Survey Monkey.
Student interviews and conversations.
How is this model affecting teacher feelings as the STAAR test is nearing administration? Have students voiced any concerns?
Compare STAAR results of students in the departmentalized model and the results of the students in the traditional classroom setting if the results are available at this time.
Maria Regalado
Laura Ledbetter
Rebekah Jones
May 2013-June 2013
STAAR Results
Analyze and document results from STAAR.  Are there measurable differences in the findings?

Provide a questionnaire for students and their parents that participated in the departmentalization model.
Maria Regalado
May 2013
Compare parents and student views/feelings on this model.
Plan strategies for long term research since this model will more than likely be implemented on a larger scale or even campus wide for the 2013-2014 academic school year.

Maria Regalado
June 2013-July 2013
Results from surveys and interviews.
Classroom summary results.
Compare pros and cons of this model.  What adjustments could be made before implementing campus wide?