Goal Achieved! 1st Year Principalship, SLLA exam practice Paid Off

My last post, I spoke of 2012-13 school year being my leap year. This year 2013-14 I made the transition from Assistant Principal to Principal. With alot of hard work, prayer and staying abreast of current trends in school and instructional leadership has finally paid off. Read more here. Roxboro is in Person county,a small district about 30 miles from Durham,NC. It was a 3 year quest that was full of hard challenges,happy celebrations, difficult conversations and courageous decision-making. My last year as an assistant Principal was focused on high-level teaching & learning for students and teachers. Professional development and honest feedback helped solidified my my vision of school leadership. I also had some Principal preparation training that was very beneficial. Slla practice exam also helped. If you are just starting your journey to school leadership, I got good news for you. I’m gonna tell you how I did it in the hopes that you can get some take aways and make the leap yourself>
It’s a different view from the Principal’s desk! Stay tuned.
newschool-leader

Analyzing Data and Driving Instruction & Student Engagement

Data-Analysis-Model_Complete_large2nd Qtr assessments are in and there’s some data to go through. What I’m looking for here are trends in student performance and item analysis. Conversations with teachers are centered on What instructional strategies were being used and what do we need to do differently to get better results. The district is pushing the research-based strategy of Summarizing to improve literacy. Our 4th grade teachers have been trained, and I am monitoring it’s implementation. There’s also information about focusing on the “Tested 7”. Seven Reading Comprehension Strategies?
1. Activating background knowledge to make connections between new and known information. In many classrooms, this instruction is divided into three categories of connection as defined by Colleen Buddy – text-to-self, text-to-text, and text-to-world (Buddy quoted in Keene and Zimmerman, 2007).

2. Questioning the text. Proficient readers are always asking questions while they read. Sticky notes (post-its) have become ubiquitous in classrooms in part because they are such a useful tool for teaching students to stop, mark text, and note questions as they read.

3. Drawing inferences. Proficient readers use their prior knowledge about a topic and the information they have gleaned in the text thus far to make predictions about what might happen next. When teachers demonstrate or model their reading processes for students through think-alouds, they often stop and predict what will happen next to show how inferring is essential for comprehending text.

4. Determining importance. In the sea of words that is any text, readers must continually sort through and prioritize information. Teachers often assist readers in analyzing everything from text features in nonfiction text like bullets and headings, to verbal cues in novels like strong verbs. Looking for these clues can help readers sift through the relative value of different bits of information in texts.

5. Creating mental images. Readers are constantly creating mind pictures as they read, visualizing action, characters, or themes. Teachers are using picture books with students of all ages, not necessarily because they are easy to read, but because the lush and sophisticated art in these books can be a great bridge for helping students see how words and images connect in meaning-making.

6. Repairing understanding when meaning breaks down. Proficient readers don’t just plow ahead through text when it doesn’t make sense – they stop and use “fix-up” strategies to restore their understanding. One of the most important fix-up tools is rereading, with teachers demonstrating to students a variety of ways to reread text in order to repair meaning.

7. Synthesizing information. Synthesis is the most sophisticated of the comprehension strategies, combining elements of connecting, questioning, and inferring. With this strategy, students move from making meaning of the text, to integrating their new understanding into their lives and world view.

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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Preliminary Results….

We received our preliminary results last week , and we are right at 77.8 % proficiency. Our goal was 80 % , and we are hopeful for a few more percentage points. Out of 28 elementary schools we rank 3rd highest in proficiency. We also made High Growth ( 60% of students making a year’s growth). Quite an accomplishment for two rookie admins, as this was Ms. Pugh’s first year as principal, and my first year as assistant principal. Also to mention we are 85% Free & reduced lunch, and a Title I school. Who said economically-disadvantaged students can’t perform academically. I know these standardized exams don’t mean that students have learned anything, but this is the measure we are being held to. Until they change the rules of the game, we are playing this game to win! Next up figuring out what worked well this year , and planning for next school year.

Test results are in…My first war room experience

We received our initial end of grade test results yesterday, and it sure was an eye opener! We had set an ambitious goal of 80% proficiency with 10% growth. Well let’s say we were a little below that, so students are allowed retakes if they are not at proficiency after the first test administration. We have a week to plan and implement remediation, then students who didn’t pass the first time take it again. These retakes count towards our overall proficiency and growth data. We analyzed the data from each class, looking at how close students were to passing. We looked at students who were within 10 or less percentage point from passing and grouped accordingly. The teachers chosen for remediation are our strongest educators. Numbers were crunched and we have a plan in place to achieve our goal, if we re mediate 70 students, 35 in reading 35 in math our goal is within reach. I will keep you posted and let you know our final results in two weeks.
peaceHigh Stakes Testing

3rd Qtr Benchmarking….

Last attempt to know where our students are academically, teachers have been working hard to teach & assess reading,math & science skills. We are optimistic of upward trends. Data has been analyzed and distributed to teachers,parents & students. New tools and strategies are waiting in the wings, if results are not positive. High stakes testing, High expectations or simply a numbers game?