Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Process Overview

Action Research Project
Process Overview
Campus Schedule

1. Setting the Foundation:
After meeting with my campus principal/site supervisor, we identified the current campus schedule and duty rotation for teachers and staff to be an area of concern. The schedule and duty rotation feed into campus climate. We want our schedule to primarily benefit the kids, but to also be as comfortable and workable as possible for our teacher’s and staff.

2. Analyzing Date:
Data will be gathered from teachers and staff through the use of online surveys and internet research regarding optimal learning times for elementary kids. I will also meet with a veteran counselor to discuss any information that could be useful or influence the process.

3. Developing a Deeper Understanding:
The goal is to best meet the needs of our students, but we would also like to know what parents are thinking. Through the use of an online and printed survey, I hope to gain insight from our parents regarding their child’s daily schedule.

4. Engaging in Self-Reflection:
When the new schedule is created and presented to the staff, I hope to gain feedback from the staff. Hopefully this feedback will be useful in reflecting upon the process we followed in creating this schedule. Periodic surveys or even a suggestion box would be useful in documenting positive aspects of the schedule along with suggestions to take into consideration for the following school year.

5. Exploring Programmatic Patterns:
 I will be working with my principal and vice principal in making the new schedule. But I hope to gain insight as to prevent problems along the way by meeting with a veteran counselor who has been responsible for scheduling most of her career.

6. Determining Direction:
The primary goal of this project is to determine if we can better serve our students by manipulating the current schedule. Another goal is to determine if campus climate can be improved by taking suggestions and opinions from the staff. We want a schedule that best serves our children (with a specific focus on our RtI students). Hopefully through research regarding when children learn best during the school day, we can build a campus schedule that is beneficial to our students.

7. Taking Action for School Improvement:
My principal, vice principal, counselor, and I will collaborate to build a schedule with the kids’ best interest in mind while also trying to accommodate our staff. A survey after the schedule has been in place for a few months will be given to assess the level of satisfaction with the new schedule. We can also interview the RtI teacher(s) regarding their opinion on how the new schedule is benefitting their students. (Do they have time to get to all the kids they need to see every day?)

8. Sustain Improvement:
Every year we look at our schedule and make changes that we feel are necessary to get everyone where they need to be. I feel, that through surveys and research, we can improve the current schedule to benefit everyone and hopefully improve campus climate, while also positively impacting our students. I feel that a survey should be given every year to gain insight to help make improvements. We should never be comfortable, but always strive to be better.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Action Planning Template

What are the teachers’ and staff’s levels of satisfaction with the current schedule? 

Does the current schedule best serve our students?

What changes can be made to best utilize everyone’s time to positively impact the learning of our students?

Our staff has voiced concerns and distaste for the current schedule. Because our PE teacher doubles as a coach, our ‘specials’ times are limited. Because we have one RtI person to serve Kindergarten through 3rd grade, we have a limited number of kids that she is able to serve from each grade level. Through research, I would like to discover if we can better serve our kids, while taking into consideration the staff’s needs and preferences, and utilizing our time to the best of our abilities.

Action Planning Template
Create a campus schedule that best meets the needs of our students, while taking into consideration the needs and preferences of our teachers and staff, and utilizing everyone’s time to the best of our abilities.
Action Steps(s):
Person(s) Responsible:
Timeline: Start/End
Needed Resources
Survey teachers and staff to elicit feelings regarding the current schedule. (possibly parents as well)
Keri Grimsley
January 2013-August 2013
*Online Survey
Research optimal learning times/breaks for elementary students.
Keri Grimsley
January 2013-August 2013
*Counselor input

Assist in creating the 2013-2014 campus schedule.
Keri Grimsley
Mindi Reynolds
Jason Karnes
January 2013-August 2013

*Research Info

Completed Schedule
Implement the new schedule.
Mindi Reynolds
Jason Karnes
August 2013

Survey teachers and staff to elicit feelings regarding the new schedule.
Keri Grimsley
December 2013
*Online Survey
Completed Surveys

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Week 2 Reflections

After further reading about action research, I am convinced that it is definitely something I want to put into practice now, as a classroom teacher, and if I am ever in a leadership position. I can see so many areas around my campus that I would like to investigate. One thing from the reading that grabbed my attention was the following quote: "It's the people, not the programs, that determine the quality of the school." (Whitaker, 2003) I feel that we jump on every bandwagon that comes along and are almost as quick to jump off again. I want to get my campus in the habit of researching and committing to something before we decide we want to do something else. Action research is a great tool to do just that. I feel that if people had to truly research to know the ins and outs of a program before they asked for it, we might see a decline in the bandwagon effect. I also feel that professional developments is an area that I would address first. I want my teachers training teachers. I see a lot of teachers that go to workshops and gain nothing. They aren't interested in changing what they are doing and don't care to learn anything new. They feel that the presenters are out of touch and live in a fantasy world. If we had teachers from our campus training teachers on our campus, it could take away a lot of those preconceived notions. I need to start making a list of all the areas I would like to possibly research before I'm deep in the trenches just trying to survive :)

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Educational Leaders and the Use of Blogs

Blogs are a quick and easy way to share information. As an educational leader or administrator I would use a blog as a mass communication tool. Teachers, parents, students, and community members could have access to information and the ability to post questions at their convenience. Surveys could be posted to gain parental feedback. I think blogs are a very useful tool because all of your information is in one place. It is up to date and easy to edit outside the school. The current websites my district uses have to be edited from school which is not as convenient and they are not interactive like a blog. I use a blog in my classroom for my kids to practice writing and technology skills, but would to use one as a communication tool between the school and community.

What I've Learned About Action Research...

When I saw that Research was my next course, traditional research came to mind. Then I read about Action Research. Action Research is an administrator actively studying their school and posing a question about an issue within their school. The administrator then observes, researches, collects data, and analyzes all the information. Finally, the administrator reflects on their findings to make a decision about what to do next. This interested me. I love data collection and analysis. I love problem solving and learning and trying new things. Action Research encompasses all of these things. It seems so logical. You are researching and learning something new that is going to benefit your school and your teachers. It’s just like what we want our kids to do in the classroom. If they have to do the research and find their own information without being spoon fed, they understand and retain more. They own it. I know if I am involved and I’m learning on my own, I am more capable. The same thing applies to administrators. If the administrator owns the problem and actually participates in the research, they are more prepared to make the decisions that need to be made. They are arming themselves with knowledge and information to better make the decisions/changes that need to be made, or, in some instances, back up decisions that have already been made. Action Research seems to be a very positive, systematic way to work through your problems with data to support your findings.