Reform at Hickory Ridge High School. Becky Brown Stephanie Henderson Candice Shim Katie Jannusch Lisa Lamorese. Team Building and Technology. ABSTRACT.
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Reform at Hickory Ridge High School Becky Brown Stephanie Henderson Candice Shim Katie Jannusch Lisa Lamorese Team Building and Technology
ABSTRACT • We will address the complexity of achieving school reform and examine the types of organizational structures that will promote staff development, curriculum and instructional improvement.
Introduction • Hickory Ridge High school is a large urban school with approximately 1,800 students. • The faculty and school community have struggled to meet the needs of the students. • The District is working towards reform efforts that have allowed select teachers at Hickory Ridge High School to participate in technology based and pilot programs.
What Is The Problem? • Even though parents are supportive there is a high turnover rate in the neighborhood. Over the last four years, 27 new teachers who are were identified as having high potential, have been placed in order to help educate the current staff with new, innovative programs.The school has created a new mission statement and vision, but are still viewed as unable to meet the current reform guidelines.
The Problem and Solution • The staff lacks positive interactions and communications. • The current reform efforts are not progressing as needed, largely due to lack of trust, confidence, communication, respect, and power. • In order to improve current conditions the administration at Hickory Ridge High School needs to address team building, technology, staff development.
Focus and Purpose • Focus: Hickory Ridge High School is located in the Wingfield School District. • Purpose: Our goal is to identify ways to give the principal and teachers of the school a sense of purpose, direction, responsibility, power, respect, optimism, and mission.
Effective School Reform • Different areas of the reform need to be addressed • Team building is necessary among the staff at the school to make the reform effective and to reduce the high teacher turnover rate • This can be achieved by implementing professional learning communities
Team Building • Technology reform within the school can be achieved with effective training and support. • Communication between parents, the community, and staff is needed to make school reform effective. • Staff development is also instrumental in achieving the desired curriculum and instructional improvement at Hickory Ridge High School.
Leadership Challenge • According to Coleman and Rude: “The challenge for a leader is to find a direction that will introduce improvements to the system, communicate that direction, gain the support of those responsible for implementing the new practice, and then follow through with support for the change process. Change challenges the structure of an organization, causing it to become unstable.”
School Success and Accountability • Hickory Ridge High School is in the era where school success and accountability is based highly on test scores as measure of achievement. • Due to their current standardized test scores this high school and other school wide factors, the school needs to make changes in order to meet the district’s reform efforts. • Fear has since become a motivator for change in this school.
What Will Work? • The existing programs are not working as they were once intended to and several issues are still being addressed in this high school. • “This concept of fixing an ineffective system, in many cases, works about as well as putting a Band-Aid on a flat tire. The bandage may slow the leak from the tire, but the tire will continue to lose air until it is flat and the car immobilized.
A New System? • If instead the flat tire were replaced with a new tire, the car’s ability to move would be improved. Similarly, Marshall suggests that, rather than fix an ailing education system that is fundamentally flawed, schools must create a new system of learning that better matches learning goals for this century” ( Coleman and Rude).
Reform Obstacles • There are obstacles in this school that may make the reform and improvements difficult. • Culture was the factor found to have the greatest impact on change in a school.
Culture • The idea of culture is accompanied by five leadership aspects:” the promotion of cooperation among staff, the promotion of a sense of well-being among staff, the promotion of cohesion among staff, the development of a shared understanding of purpose, and the development of a shared vision of what the school could be like” (Coleman and Rude).
Staff Interaction • Hickory Ridge High School already has concerns when it comes to staff interactions. • It is clear that the staff is split between the older and younger generations. • Finding ways to incorporate team building would be a positive way to support cohesion, communication, and relationship building.
Teambuilding • “Teambuilding may be defined as “the process needed to create, maintain, and enrich the development of a group of people into a cohesive unit. Teambuilding exercises are very important in the development of teams that will work together for an extended period of time on a complex project or a series of activities” (Ledlow, 1999).
Staff Collaboration • There are a lot of team building activities and exercises that as principal, Jim O’ Connor could use to find his staff’s strengths and weakness as a whole, and begin working towards and developing common goals and vision for the school. • The staff at Hickory Ridge High School needs to begin by participating in activities that help the teachers uncover characteristics that team members have in common.
Collaboration • As a staff, teachers need to have respect for what their colleagues offer to the team. Individuals need to take advantage of the resources in that fellow teachers offer and together work with those resources to better the instructional curriculum of the school. • Focusing on the strengths that these teachers already have to offer is key in order for this High School meet the district’s standards.
Professional Learning Communities • Establishing, Professional Learning Communities might be a positive way to force the two teacher generations to integrate and actually be accountable for working together towards a common goal of student achievement.
Professional Learning Communities, cont. • Shirley M. Hord states, “professional learning communities give attention to five attributes of such organizational arrangements: • supportive and shared leadership • collective creativity • shared values and vision • supportive conditions • shared personal practice”
Supportive and Shared Leadership • The younger teachers see the principal as having limited power and have a lack of respect for him. • Shared leadership is a way that power could be distributed throughout the school to share leadership, power, and decision making.
PLC’s • PLC’s promote growth professionally and builds the connection that all teachers are working together for a common goal. • Hord suggests that, “No longer can leaders be thought of as top-down agents of change or seen as the visionaries of the corporation; instead leaders must be regarded as democratic teachers.”
Over the past four years, 27 new teachers have been hired at Hickory Ridge High School with the potential for some of the current young teachers to leave in the upcoming year. Schools that have high teacher turnover rates tend to have. difficulty “sustaining positive workingrelationships among teachers” (Guin, 2004 ). Teacher Turnover Rate
Teacher Turnovers According to Kacey Guin, there are three factors to be cautious of when turnover rates become high: • “1. Teacher turnover rates are one indicator of school health, which school districts should consider when focusing on school improvements. Districts need to begin by developing the means to identify individual schools that experience high levels of teacher turnover.
Turnovers, Cont. • 2. Current district policies in implementing professional development for teachers in low-performing schools are inefficient when teachers do not remain in the schools in which they are trained.
Teachers 3. In order for low-performing schools to improve, districts need to consider providing incentive programs so that high quality teachers apply for, and remain in, these schools.” • Most teachers leave their schools because they are unsatisfied with the way the school is being managed or leave to go to a higher performing school.
Hickory Ridge High School • The principal has also made it clear that these new teachers do not fully understand the background of the school or community, which he believes is the key to being a good educator. With new teachers coming to the school each year, there is always going to be a struggle to close that gap of knowledge. • The use of team building strategies and professional learning communities will help this high school in building a strong foundation with the staff to support the reform that Hickory Ridge High School needs.
Technology Reform • Educators need to recognize that this is a whole new breed of students and a whole new way of learning, and today’s best educators are using technology to advance learning by meeting students on their own digital turf, and using instructional strategies that allow students to be more self-directed in their learning and that promote more advanced critical thinking skills (Peretz, 2008).
Technology Reform • According to Archibald (2001), in order for a technological reform to be integrated into instructional practice all or nearly all of the school’s faculty and administrators need to have a certain level of computer proficiency. • Many teachers and administrators are still of the pre-computer generation and may be reluctant users of the new technology.
Technology • The new vision for the school district to be a technologically driven and innovative school district was a step in the right direction especially in this day and age. • However, the approach to integrating this technology at the school-based level at Hickory Ridge High School had some flaws and can be improved.
Technology, Cont. • The district took the correct steps in obtaining the needed equipment to make the school a technological center with all rooms at the high school wired and with at least fifteen computers. • The problem was that the actual use of the technology by both teachers and students was disappointing and did not seem to meet the expectations that the technology would bring about better teaching and learning for all students.
Technology • According to Schlechty (2001), it is obvious that the school reform was not incremental. Since the reform was not incremental it didn’t allow all of the teachers and school community to have buy in. The roles of the teachers were changing and they did not have to chance to modify the rules and the structure.
Technology Reform • Many teachers will resist the change until they see the reform’s value. • This is what happened at Hickory Ridge High School, especially with the veteran teachers. • Many of the older teachers were scared to take risks with this new technology and did not feel comfortable with it.
Technology Teamwork • According to (Archbald, 2001), it has been found that school districts generally give insufficient attention and resources to training teachers to gain the needed proficiencies with educational technology. • The faculty of Hickory Ridge High School consisted of veteran teachers, and new teachers who are young and have been well prepared for the school reform and are experts in technology.
Technology Reform • Students cannot be expected to benefit from technology if their teachers are neither familiar nor comfortable with. • Teachers need to be supported in their efforts to use technology within the classrooms. • Only a core of Hickory teachers were able to participate in activities that allowed them to take technology-based industry tours and attend forums on the implementation of pilot programs in reform schools.
Teamwork • All teachers should have been able to participate in the activities, tours, and forums. • Teachers who have participated in professional development with the technology will be more likely to implement the programs in their classrooms. • Ongoing professional development is necessary to help teachers learn not only how to use new technology but also how to provide meaningful instruction and activities using technology in the classroom (Ringstaff & Kelley, 2002).
Collaboration • Collaboration between the newer teachers who have the knowledge and skills with the technology and the older, veteran teachers will allow the younger teachers to use their technological skills and knowledge to help those veteran teachers incorporate the technology into their classrooms and curriculum and to feel more comfortable with the programs and technology being implemented within the school.
Technology Reform • Overall, when addressing the technology issue at Hickory Ridge High School the district needed to ensure that some important things were in place. • First and foremost there needed to be teacher buy in by all staff expected to use the technology within the curriculum. • Hickory Ridge High School staff and administrators could have collaborated to form a technology plan for the school so that all teachers had a part in the development and planning of the technology piece of the reform.
Collaborative Planning • Collaborative planning for the programs allows the teachers to have more of a personal investment in using the programs. • Research and support for the technology being integrated within the school should be apparent and accessible to the teachers. • The change and technological reform should have been incremental so as not to overwhelm teachers who did not have the technological experience themselves or were not familiar with the new programs.
Teacher Support • Ongoing, extensive, and research-based professional development in the area of technology is crucial to the success of the technology reform at Hickory Ridge High School. • Teachers need to have access to this support for both instructional strategies and technical difficulties that may arise from using the technology. • Teachers need to be excited and knowledgeable about technology and bringing computers and other technological tools into the classroom.
Resources • Establish certain classrooms within the school as model classrooms that are effectively implementing the technology, and then allow teachers to visit those classrooms and observe the technology use in action. • There are also resources online, on CD-ROMs and videotapes that allow teachers to view expert technology use within classrooms. • These resources should be made accessible to all staff and encouragedused during professional development meetings.
Success • Time for professional development in technology is key to the success of the reform. • Incentives could also be put in place to encourage teachers to use the technology. • Teachers need to be made aware of the advantages of using technology within the classroom. • Use community members and parents as resources for professional development in the area of technology. • Specific goals using technology to meet the standards and improve test scores should be put into place across curriculums.
Technology Usage Technology is not being used only to improve student learning but also keep track of assessment data and information that can be easily accessible by all stakeholders in education (Archbald, 2001)including administrators, teachers, and parents. We need to equip students with the learning and technology skills required for the 21st century and the new global economy (Peretz, 2008).
Building Communication: Parent/community/staff Interactions • Hickory Ridge High School must encourage both communication and interactions between the staff, parents, and the community
Staff Interaction • Staff development is one of the key ways at building positive relationships and correspondence among teachers. • This includes opportunities such as workshops, courses, in-services, training sessions, extension work, and internships designed to address the needs of teachers and implement local school, district, and state education policies (Bredeson and Scribner, 2000).
Relationships • By utilizing staff development, Hickory Ridge could educate teachers and staff on how to successfully involve both parents and the community in school activities. • Building constructive relationships between the teachers and staff goes hand in hand with acquiring community and parent involvement.
Principal’s Role • It is also important that the principal play a key role in his or her relationship with the teachers and staff. • Once staff and teachers are better communicating it will be easier to facilitate the growth of parent and community partnerships.
Teachers • Teachers are not the problem but rather the primary creators of solutions. • Staff development enhances teacher quality and, as a result, student learning. • Staff development at Hickory Ridge must first provide team building for the teachers and then should successfully target ways to build parent and community involvement .
Staff Involvement • In their analysis of Supporting Community-Oriented Educational Change, Ettinger and Mabry (1999) describe the importance of having the staff involved and meeting an understanding of the students and the community in order to facilitate successful change within a school.
Functions of Professional Development • Successful professional development activities should serve one or more of three functions: • (1) an establishment function (e.g., increasing awareness) when the purpose is to promote organizational change through the implementation of programs, technologies, or procedures in schools and school districts