1. Is failure a real and regularly option and experience for kids at your school?
I believe that in our school failure is not regularly an option. I would contribute some of these findings to be true, in part because according to research, students’ academic success is directly influenced by the parents’ involvement, level of education and the students’ socio-economic status. In our school we no longer have Chapter I students and approximately 85% of our students come from families whose parents have at least some college education. In addition, our parents are very actively involved in their children’s education. However, we still contemplate the possibility of our students experiencing failure at some degree, due that our schools are still using benchmark assessments that are expected to meet the school, District, and State standards. However, I believe that there are going to be some critical changes in this matter, once we fully implement Common Core standards and an evaluation system that is aligned to it.
2. If so, what impact do you believe that is creating in a culture of your school? If not, what structures have been put into place to accomplish these alternatives, those wonderful results?
· Our school offers many opportunities for parent involvement ranging from school spirit activities, to fund raising,
· Parent volunteer academic support committees such as “Rolling Readers”.
· Student Success Team SST early intervention meetings for students that are struggling academically.
· RSP services are available for students with mild to moderate learning disabilities to help them succeed.
· Thriving for realistic academic competencies rather than standard driven goals.
· Teachers provide opportunities for cooperative learning activities.
· In some instances, teachers use portfolio type of assessments that promote student’s self evaluation such as AR reading tests.
· Before and after school tutoring provided by teachers.
3. What conditions exist that make it too late to learn and reach competency in your school? Can you give an example?
Smarter Balanced Assessment is an example of a “too late to learn” experience for students. Not only the test has no relevance for some students, but it also causes a stressful situation for students knowing that they have to pass the test. After students are finished with their test, it automatically gives a score that is nothing but discouraging for students. It does not reflect the actual academic performance of the students and it does not promote “is never too late to learn culture in schools”.
4. What would you do, if anything, to introduce/enhance “never too late to learn” structures in you school if you were the school leader?
Part of being successful is the ability to work smarter, not harder. Having tried different ways to promote a culture of “never too late to learn in my school” it makes more sense to start with the same practices that we have in our school now. In additions I would provide more opportunities for stakeholders to provide input for decision-making. Revisiting the curriculum to minimize the gap between students and their academic goals. Ensure that students with academic challenges have a differentiated learning plan in place.
5. What can you do in your present position to create “never to late to learn” structures into your current practice and those of your peers? Are those things in your sphere of influence?
· Have a clear focus on the academic goals for all subjects.
· Include different learning styles in lessons.
· Use innovative teaching practices.
· Provide opportunities for collaborative learning.
· Structure the classroom environment to maximize learning.
· Differentiate and ensure that all students have what they need to learn.
· Collaborate regularly with peers to raise students achievement.
· Sharing teaching materials and lessons.
· Finding extra time to collaborate i.e. lunch meetings.
· Sharing responsibilities.
6. Commit to 5 things you are willing to do this semester that will make your school a increase learning opportunities:
· Make sure to start (or continue) the paper trend to appropriately diagnose a student with academic needs.
· Take advantage of the different programs that are already in place to help students i.e. before and after, tutoring sessions.
· Modify and adjust teaching strategies and assessments to better fit the learning styles of students.
· Create a safe learning environment.
· Collaborate with my colleagues and share better teaching practices.