New Year, New Curriculum, New Goals

Starting my 3rd year as a Assistant Principal, I want this to be my leap year. I’ve had two solid years demonstrating, instructional leadership and increasing student achievement. We set and met a goal of 80% proficiency on state assessments. I continue to build and grow relationships with teachers, students, parents and community partners. The new common core curriculum is a win-win for students and teachers. I’m feeling more confident about leading in an era of Next Generation Assessments. Careful analysis of the data continues to drive instruction and make teaching and learning more relevant.

Goal Achieved 80+ % Proficiency!

Our 4th qtr end of grading testing results indicate 80+ % of our 3rd, 4th and 5th graders are proficient. That may not be a big deal to some school leaders, but it is to us. We are a urban magnet school with 80+ percent of our student receiving free or reduced lunch. What we just accomplished kills the notion that poor students cannot learn. What it took was innovative teaching & learning combined with focused leadership, dedication and high expectations for all. Now we begin a new quest, The Common Core. I am excited as this will include more rigor and relevance. We will also implement a heavy dose of tech integration, to promote and demonstrate those higher order thinking skills. Sorry for the delay in post, but I will try to update more frequently. A lot going on, you know I’m sure. Feel free to leave a comment!

End of 3rd Quarter, where are we?

Spring break is here, and the testing season is upon us. We’ve had several things to celebrate, but now comes the final test. Doesn’t matter how many awards you’ve won, or how many visitors from other schools who’ve came to see what it is your doing. According to our quarterly assessments, we are about 68-70% proficient in our testing grades of 3rd-5th. Our goal started out as 80%, but we recently adjusted that goal higher? We are getting started early in our test prep, and have instituted a new strategy. I will tell you how successful this strategy is, when we get our final results in 7 weeks. On a brighter note we did win a National award for Urban Schools. You can read more about it here. We have a Ipad cart of 20 Ipads, which the students are really excited about. I am researching the effectiveness on student achievement, by how often they are used by teachers, students and the use of certain applications. I am also continuing to strengthen my skills as a Instructional Leader. I attended the ASCD conference in Philly last week, and returned with some new skills and strategies I plan on implementing at RN Harris. Lastly, in whatever free time I have left, I am developing some new mobile applications that hopefully increase student engagement with literacy. I will keep you posted.

Halfway Pt. Yr. 2 Sch Admin-“What I’ve Learned so Far”

Halfway point of my 2nd yr. as a school admin, what have I learned so far?

1.Say what you mean, mean what you say and follow through with what you expect.
This is for managing & coaching teachers and staff, communicate up front your expectations, get buy in and have accountability with implementation and outcomes.
2. Update staff regularly on routine polices and procedures. One slip up or mistake can be costly.
3. Students need authentic, engaging instruction. Continuous PD with teachers will help achieve this goal
4. Have a set of Non-negotiables, everyday in relation to instruction, teaching and learning. Research-based strategies that are proven to increase student learning and achievement.
5. Celebrate & acknowledge your staff’s & student’s successes daily. Let them know that you appreciate their hard work & effort.
Our goal is 80% or higher proficiency and high growth for our students. Halfway point data dig in next post!

Still Winning!

Leadership Excellence Award to R.N. Harris administrative team that achieved the highest percentage of Scorecard Growth Goals for 2010-11. The school received a check from the Business Advisory Council for $2,500 for leadership development.
Pictured:R.N Harris Elementary Integrated Arts and Core Knowledge Magnet Elementary School, with Principal Carolyn Pugh and Assistant Principal Adriese Williams.
Harris surpassed all but one of their growth goals in reading and math, made High Growth on the ABCs and met 100% of their AYP goals. RN Harris’s overall percentage of goals met was 70.8 percent. Read more here

Week 5, Molding & Shaping…

School is in full swing, and teachers and students are settling into routines. Our district is using the AFL framework (Assessment for Learning) which helps helps teachers and administrators monitor & track student achievement. PLC‘s are a big part of AFL, so I decided to share two PLC meetings conducted this week to give some insight and gather some feedback. You will hear our Instructional Facilitator, Catherine Long, our 4th, 3rd Grade Teachers ,EC Teacher and myself. Ms.Pugh is our Principal at RN Harris.

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The Quest for High Student Achievement-85%

Starting my 2nd full year as an Assistant Principal @ R.N. Harris Core Knowledge-Integrated Art Magnet School in Durham,NC We just missed our goal of 80% proficiency (77.8). This year we are keeping the same theme as last, “pushing it to the limit” with a new goal of 85% + high growth (60+ %). Our staff moral is high as we celebrated our successes and planned for the new school year. All staff has participated in Professional Development over the summer and are ready to implement new engaging strategies to help our children learn. I personally took part in several leadership PD‘s to improve student achievement. Here are two reports that link effective school leadership with high student achievement.
Leadership links to improved student learning and Strong Leaders,Strong Schools

Summer Planning

Another first, this summer I am planning with our Principal for the upcoming school year. Getting class list together, cleaning and maintenance schedules,and Interviews and hiring new staff.
A couple of staff members have asked, “Mr. Williams, when are you gonna take a break?” I smiled and told them “this isn’t work. I’m having a break right now.” Seriously there is a lot to get done in the few weeks we have until school opens in August. I am learning much about putting the right pieces together at the right time, to ensure a successful and smooth school year. So what worked last year? A collaborative vision of high expectation. This translated into the school working together as a unit to make the vision a reality. Another factor that played a role in our success was the emphasis on the school as a family. There was alot of cooperation between teachers, parents, students and administration. Teachers voiced their concerns and we listened. Same was true for parents and students. There was also a little friendly competition between another elementary school. Add this all together and we were the 3rd highest in our district in terms of proficiency. Next up, preparing for some PD with Staff before school opens.

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