A plan to improve student learning needs the support of the school community to be successful. The leadership role is a dynamic one that requires decision making capabilities, good communication, and integrity. To being the process of change requires identifying a priority academic area and a federally designated subgroup. This process can be overwhelming as there is an abundance of qualitative and quantitative data available for multiple federally designated subgroups.
I used data-informed decision making to choose my focus group. I have been in the classroom as a regular education teacher for over ten years teaching many different types of learners. Within the past 4 years I have begun to see an increase in the ELL population within my school and classroom. It had been about 5 years since our required SEI endorsement and I did not feel that I had all of the necessary tools to foster student learning with my ELL students. I thought that there were needs of the ELL students that would require more Professional Development. Wondering if my colleagues felt the same, I facilitated meeting and surveys with them . Data Informed Decision Making It was enlightening to start to dissect and understand the standardized test data.
I found available data on my state, district, and school that allowed me to see the different student groups in each academic area. I learned how the data was calculated for each category as well. This data allowed me to see that The ELL students were not showing growth in mathematics over the recent years. I gathered my data and presented it to my instructional focus coach who seemed just as shocked as myself at the decreasing ELL growth in grade 7 mathematics. Some data was not available to me directly so I seeked the help from my colleagues including the principal, vice principal, guidance counselor and office personnel. I learned the varying roles of each member of the school and how to work collaboratively with each. The process really helped me understand what, or who, keeps the school running. The school functions as a whole with the effort of everyone involved with it , from principal to teachers.
Closing Proficiency Gaps
After identifying the proficiency gap I would need to start addressing it, thinking of the complex causes of underperformance. Knowing that grade 7 ELL students had been struggling on standardized testing led me to inquire what factors attributed to it. I researched the student attendance rates, suspension rates, ACCESS scores, class schedules, and surveyed their teachers. It seemed that the same group of students did not score well on their ACCESS testing in Literacy. Literacy relates to reading and writing, which is a component of open response, short answer, and critical response questions on the mathematics standardized testing.
This data allowed me to make an informed decision aligned with the district and school goals. Academic support for the students was needed to improve reading comprehension. Initiating interviews and surveys gave me a larger perspective than just my own on the topic. I was able to create a plan that I would be able to share with my colleagues for feedback. While creating a plan I was careful to ensure that it was aligned with the curriculum and included a variety of assessments to measure students’ growth.
The leadership skill that I used to engage others was a shared vision of taking responsibility for the students’ performance. The majority of teachers felt that accountability was a part of their teaching practice already and they were on board to take on any new achievement gaps that were proven. My plan to create mathematics reading comprehension questions included assessments to measure student learning, growth, and understanding.