Examining the work: Setting the Foundation
As a school leader it is imperative that I set a foundation of being a head learner (Dana, 2009). As the foundation of my work, I will begin to study and eventually implement strategies that will encourage teaching strategies and methodologies that will help reach students that have been labeled “economically disadvantaged” and create an environment conducive to their success.
Research is only as good as the data received; because of that I will examine multiple sources to reach a solution. The main means of research I plan on utilizing will be primary sources through interviewing economically disadvantaged students and teachers that have impacted them in the past. I will also use resources and heat maps available through Eduphoria to attain data specific to the group studied at Coleman High School. I will also look at TEA statistical data to review where my sample set of students fall on the academic spectrum across the state.
Developing deeper understanding
After interviewing students for teaching strategies and possible outside distracters to education I will sit down with our counselor, Carol Bennington, to see if there is any more information available on the student (whether that student could be 504, requires a BIP, parents going through a recent divorce, etc.). My goal in developing a deeper understanding is to understand any extra emotional tags that the sample students might be attaching to their education.
Engaging in Self-Reflection
I learned through EDLD 5311 that self-reflection is an important and necessary strategy to evaluate my growth as a school leader and as a “head learner” through this course. After attaining the information desired I will reflect to see if I need to make questions more specific or general. I will also see what other information is needed and study other action research topics related to this field to see where others have had success or failure.
Exploring Programmatic Patterns
I need to make sure that my questioning does not lead into areas of the students’ lives where it can become too personal. I have to make sure I keep a professional distance in doing those interviews. I also have to make sure that when I interview the sample students’ previous teachers that it does not turn into a “venting” session for the previous teachers. The purpose of my research is to help economically disadvantage students, not to focus on problems or personality conflicts that the previous teachers might have had with the students.
In meeting with our campus principal, we have come to the conclusion that with the current student population we have this is a very relevant topic to research and study. Our student population at the high school is nearly sixty-five percent and is increasing in the younger grades. In short, we need to research this to give the student community in Coleman ISD the best chance at success we can.
Taking action for school improvement
In using the PIP plan of action in my action research project I will be able to organize and rank the importance of each step of action. Another important commodity that using the PIP will give me is a timeline to reach these goals.
Sustaining improvementIn doing this research I feel that I will gain invaluable experience as being a “head learner” so that I can lead my own school one day. I plan on using the steps in my plan to learn how to initiate strategies to make every learner and teacher I come in contact with successful.