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SCASA STAFF Molly Spearman Executive Director Hannah Hopkins Director of Meeting Planning and Training Jay Welch Director of Finance and Technology Beth Phibbs Director of Governmental Affairs Sandy Burton Administrative Assistant/Membership Coordinator


“I Know My Principal Will Help Me” - Building the Student: Administrator Bond By: Jan Nashatker, Ph.D.


Principals’ and Teachers’ Perceptions of Bullying By: Robert Hellams, Ed.D. & Necati Engec, Ph.D.


Benefits Communications – Key to maximizing benefits • By: Mike Linebaugh


Bullying: An Issue That Needs To Be Addressed


D.A.D.S. - Devoted, Active & Dedicated in School • By Angelia Scott


The Impact of Principal Leadership Practices On School Performance in South Carolina High Schools • By: C. P. Lempesis, Ed.D.


No Aspiring Palmetto Principal Left Behind: P3 (Palmetto Principal Preparation) • By: Sandra F. McLendon, Ed.D.


What Effect does Bullying have on Students and Schools?


Promoting Literacy For All in Secondary Schools Through Tiered, ResearchBased Interventions: The Content Literacy Continuum • By: Daniel J. Boudah, Terry Orr, Jan Bratcher, Thomas Chapman, Jimmy Ouzts & Bonnie Knight


What Does Research Say Is Effective in Addressing Bullying?


South Carolina Attendance Laws: An Ethical Sargassa Sea By: Marsheila Natachee Ksor


The Impact of Site-based Professional Development Activities on School Performance in Elementary Schools in South Carolina By: Dr. LeConte’ Richardson Middleton & Dr. Necati Engec


Introducing the Olweus Bullying Prevention Program


Same Content + Different Context = New Meaning • By: Michael Whalen


Pineview Elementary School-Summer Reading Caravan Program By: Jennifer Broughton & Cynthia Stiltner


Does the School-Wide Positive Behavior Intervention Support, The Block System, Impact Discipline Referrals at South Middle School? • By: Anetra King


Teaching Viewed Through a Lens • By: Steve Driscoll


Tough Times Allow Time to Consider Changes in the Hiring and Rehiring of School Personnel: What We Can Learn from Barbie and Ken By: Sonia Cunningham Leverette, Ed. D., PHR

SCASA BOARD Mrs. Nancy Gregory President Dr. Everette M. Dean, Jr. President-Elect Dr. Joanne Avery Past President Dr. Zona Jefferson Mr. Marion D. Waters Mr. Louis E. Lavely, Jr. Mr. James A. Blake, II Mrs. Margaret H. Spivey Ms. Marissa P. Vickers Dr. Christina Melton Mrs. Camilla D. Groome Dr. Marian A. Crum-Mack Ms. Sandy Andrews Mrs. Nancy O. Verburg Mr. Mike Mahaffey Mr. Randall Vaughn Mrs. Liana Calloway Mrs. Teresa O. Hinnant Dr. Jeffrey R. Wilson Dr. David W. Blackmon Mr. Chris Christiansen Mrs. Molly M. Spearman

The Palmetto Administrator is published annually by the South Carolina Association of School Administrators, 121 Westpark Blvd., Columbia, SC 29210, (803) 798-8380 Send address changes to Advertising information and contributors’ information are available online. Publication Policy: Articles should be written in an informal, conversational style, where treatment of the topic is interesting, insightful and based on the writer’s experience. The editor encourages the use of charts, photos and other artwork. To be considered for publication, articles should be submitted electronically, preferably in MSWord, using one-inch margins. The cover page should show the author’s name, position and complete contact information. The article’s working title and a one or two sentence summary should appear on the title page. Submit article proposals or completed articles for consideration to the Managing Editor, Hannah Hopkins, Articles submitted to Palmetto Administrator may be edited for style, content, and space before publication. Articles may not be reproduced without consent of the publisher.


Ten Communication Reminders for School Leaders • By: Mary B. Martin


Summer Leadership: Thirty Great Years • By: Danny Shaw


What Steps Do Schools Take in Deciding to Use the Olweus Bullying Prevention Program?


Quick Reference Crisis Preparedness Poster • By: Dr. George L. Suggs


A Message From The Executive Director First Priority For School Leaders • By Molly Spearman


A Message From The President - Moving Forward By Nancy Gregory






First Priority For School Leaders By Molly Spearman The first priority for school leaders is to ensure a safe and caring environment for all of our students. Students should enter the school community knowing that every adult in the school, particularly the principal will respond appropriately if any incident is reported that invades one’s personal safety. That is why our association is committed the South Carolina Bullying Initiative and our partnership with the Hazelden Foundation and Clemson University – to raise awareness of bullying issues and to give school leaders the tools and skills needed to decrease bullying wherever and however it may be happening.

School principals must work with students, parents, and all adults in the school community – from teachers to bus drivers, cafeteria workers, janitors and school resource officers, everyone must agree that bullying will not be tolerated. Students must agree that bullying will be reported. Adults must agree that consequences will be rendered. SCASA is fortunate to serve as the affiliate site for the Olweus Program in South Carolina. This research based program has years of successful results to prove that it works. As we work with pilot schools, we will keep you posted on the progress of this initiative. This edition of Palmetto Administrator is filled with ideas and research that will assist you in making your school the safe haven of learning that our students deserve. Best wishes for a school year filled with high levels of excitement, learning, and a peaceful climate!


Moving Forward By: Nancy Gregory South Carolina administrators face a daunting task in their daily work with diminished funding for our schools this year. As the 2010-2011 school year began, many of you made difficult decisions in downsizing staff and trimming budgets while your role as an administrator continues to become more complex. Know that SCASA will provide support for our education leaders through creative and innovative approaches in how they do business. Our organization is financially sound with a steady membership due to the forward thinking of Molly Spearman and the SCASA staff. We are fortunate to have a strong state organization who continues to meet the needs of South Carolina administrators during these challenging economic times. SCASA is committed to providing resources and learning networks that will enable administrators to build capacity and achieve their desired results for each child. As you know from the recent election, we are at a major political crossroads in the future of public education in our state. By the time you receive this edition of Palmetto Administrator, South Carolina voters will have made important decisions at the polls that may have a significant impact on public education. No matter the outcome, we must continue to work together to promote issues that are in the best interest of our children and public education. Each of us needs to serve as a

vocal advocate for public education. This may be more important now than ever before. As Steve Hefner reminded us in 2007, “Public education in South Carolina must be preserved and improved; improvement can best be effected in an environment where public education and public school administrators are respected, valued and appreciated.” We must continue to push for improvements in the state’s accountability system and the system for funding our schools. Our voices must be heard to shape the public’s mindset about public education and public school administrators. In the words of Robert Cooper, “Know you can’t sit this one out. The time is now. The leader is you. If not now, when?” Let’s not forget that we are the leaders of the noblest profession. Each day, we are able to see how our efforts contribute to the overall wellbeing of our students and ultimately society. At the end of the day, you can honestly say that you made a difference in the lives of South Carolina’s children despite public criticism. As you continue to meet the challenges in your schools, please share the great work that you are doing on a daily basis. We must keep this in mind to be the voice of reason and to provide hope for the future. I am honored to serve as your president for 2010-2011. Our challenges are many. As we have seen in the past, those challenges will only make us stronger and wiser. That strength must continue to grow. Let’s continue to commit ourselves to doing the best we can for the children of South Carolina each day. Thank you for the opportunity to serve as your president.


“I Know My Principal Will Help Me” Building the Student: Administrator Bond By: Jan Nashatker, Ph.D.

During the years I spent as a public high-school principal, confronted by the daily administrative challenges posed by a student body comprised of over 1,500 energetic teenagers, I grew somewhat accustomed to hearing the occasional comment from parents, teachers, and community members that they “wouldn’t have my job.” Their reasons varied. Some community members believed there was simply “no discipline in the schools anymore; it’s not like when we were kids.” Teachers commented that they “didn’t know how I managed it,” that they, “couldn’t deal with that many parents,” or “couldn’t take that much stress.” Parents, 6 PALMETTO ADMINISTRATOR • WINTER 2010

on the other hand, pointed to the demands inflicted upon their families by “unreasonable teachers” who somehow failed to grant special considerations their own “wonderful and talented children” and by the difficulties associated with the academic and social behaviors of “other people’s children.” Since I loved my job and had no desire to leave, I was happy to hear that none of these people secretly coveted it. Their comments left no doubt in my mind, however, that they perceived the role of the school administrator as the principal of yesteryear:

the dreaded ‘face behind the paddle’ in the principal’s office. Not one of these folks really grasped the importance or recognized the scope of the role that today’s school administrator plays in the education of the contemporary student. Given that classroom teachers -- the one group that works most closely with school administrators -- associate the role of the school administrator largely with the “3 B’s” : books, busses and behinds (discipline), it is not too surprising to conclude that the administrative role is rather complicated. Students, parents, and teachers have quite different perceptions of just what a principal is and does. Teachers are more likely to interact with administrators as managers on a given day: Johnny will be sent to the office for a disciplinary referral; a field trip will need administrative approval; a parent has requested a conference with his child’s teachers and the principal; the principal will call a fire drill. These interactions serve to reinforce the association of school administration with the “3 B’s.” This is not to say that teachers do not see administrators in other roles. Administrators certainly serve as instructional leaders and curriculum leaders throughout the school year. They organize, plan, lead, coordinate and participate in staff development, in curriculum initiatives, and in educational programs to guide improvement in student learning. Classroom teachers are very familiar with their work in these areas; however, it is perhaps only logical that since classroom teachers must rely on administrators for backup when addressing issues that fall within the realm of the ‘3Bs,’ that these three administrative duties serve to accentuate the differences between the degree of responsibility and accountability of the classroom teacher and principal roles. Teachers typically want the principal to do the heavy lifting in the 3 B’s domain. One of the reasons that classroom teachers find the administration role unappealing is their perception of the role as more stressful, more confrontational, and more lacking in opportunities for the development of personal relationships with students than is the case for the classroom teacher (Hewitt, Pijanowski and Denny, 2009; Gordon, 2003). Classroom teachers are hardworking, patient professionals; they generally have exhausted all available behavior management resources before resorting to an administrative referral. Still, at times a disciplinary referral is warranted. Teachers are acutely aware that while their referral and the subsequent removal of the unruly student from their classroom immediately restores some semblance of order there, it automatically unleashes the transfer of the student’s hostility and later parent conference unpleasantries onto the administrator. Teachers view the distasteful business of confronting ill-behaved students and parents as a part of the administrator’s -- not their own -- job description, one for which the administrators are “paid the ‘big bucks.’” I contend that a successful school administrator can have it both ways: you can manage your bookroom inventory, supervise bus

routes, and effectively maintain discipline while creating personal relationships with students and making a difference in their lives. The key is by supplementing the 3Bs of your role with 3Cs: consistency, communication, and caring. Consider these strategies for making the 3 C’s work in your school:

Consistency Begin your administrative turn at the helm by dedicating yourself to treating students, faculty, and parents consistently. Few things are as demotivating as the actions of superiors that are perceived as special treatment or favoritism. Establish rules and consequences, and stick by them. Freiberg (1996) suggests that student and faculty involvement in the development of classroom rules and consequences greatly increases the consistency with which the rules are obeyed by students and enforced by teachers and administrators. The resulting consistency without rigidity in the classroom and throughout the school helps to raise expectations for behavior and learning. Rooney (2006) contends that this level of consistency may be reached through faculty’s identification of its deepest core beliefs about what it wants for students. Become the poster child for fair treatment of others. Fair treatment of students and faculty reaches past the simple implementation and enforcement of rules. It extends to the provision of equal opportunities for success as well. In the student arena, this may come via the consistent rotation of classroom jobs during the year: errand runner, Pledge-of-Allegiance leader, homework collector, etc. In other student-based variations, it may involve rotating seats during the year, changing group or team placements, or assuming rotating student leadership roles, such as homeroom representative, class spokesperson, or team chairperson. Fair treatment of faculty includes equal access to supplies, materials, and most importantly, to the boss’s time. No employee should feel that he or she is standing on the outside of the boss’s ‘inner circle,’ waiting for an audience. Communication Communicating is a never-ending task for an effective administrator. While newsletters, websites, and electronic signs are informative, what I am referencing here is personal communication. Word of one positive parent /administrator interaction will be telegraphed through the community to several homes. One negative interaction will reach dozens. Positive parent communications may or may not directly address the parent. All administrators reach out to the parents of spelling bee winners; shake hands at induction ceremonies, congratulate beauty queens and science fair finalists. They sign personal notes on report cards and progress reports, and they send notes home for a job well done. Equally important are the positive interactions that administrators have with the students -- the lunch money lent, the moment spent tutoring, the compliment, the public recognition in front of the student’s peers -- these too, are discussed at the dinner table and create positive parent com-


munication. Nothing tells a parent that an administrator truly cares about a student more than a testimonial from the student him/herself.

Caring Take time to listen. Listening is one of the best ways we demonstrate caring. When disciplining students, when providing feedback on a teacher observation, when attending a parent conference, take time to listen. Don’t just listen to what is being said; listen to how it is being said. Much can be learned by observing non-verbal communication. Learn to listen with your heart. Sometimes simply rephrasing something that has been said is enough to “turn on the light” for another listener; restating what

ought to be the obvious sometimes hits home for a teen student accustomed to “tuning out” his parent. For example, you might say, “So if I understand you correctly, Diane, you’re saying that you feel lonely and sad that Terri doesn’t tell you how her day at school was anymore like she used to?”

Putting the 3 C’s in Practice: A Personal Example Effective administrators leave lasting footprints. Recently I met with the special event organizer planning the reception for my daughter’s upcoming wedding at a local country club. After we conducted our business, she asked me if I could wait around while she located one of the club’s employees who wanted to speak with me. After a few minutes, I heard footsteps in the hall, and turned to see a very familiar face. It was Kristi. Kristi was a student at my former high school. I had not seen

her for several years. As her principal, I saw her quite regularly. Together with her cousin Debra, she got off to a poor start during her freshman year. Her grades were awful; she was failing most of her courses by the end of the first semester. Her behavior was worse: she had a poor attitude, was belligerent, her language was foul, and she never backed away from a challenge. She and her cousins were peas in a pod, and I suspended them frequently -- both in and out of school. If rolling one’s eyes could slay a person, the looks she shot me in my office would have qualified Kristi as a serial killer. I made my first inroad with her during her sophomore year when out of sheer frustration, I separated Debra from Kristi in my office one day following another fight. I asked Kristi for help. She was bright and capable, I told her, but she seemed to be going

nowhere -- fast. Debra was following her lead. I wasn’t a genius, I said, but I was smart enough to see that if I couldn’t figure out how to help pretty soon, it would be too late for both of them. Did she have any suggestions? For once in her life, smart-mouthed Kristi didn’t know what to say. She listened quietly. I told her that I had to follow the rules and give her the usual punishment, but that she knew where to find me, and that when she was ready to talk, I was there to listen. She thanked me and left. It was a small victory: Kristi had thanked me. A couple days later I found a crumpled note from Kristi shoved under my office door telling me that she was in over her head in her math class, and asking if I could look at placing her in a lower level. After reviewing her transcript, her guidance counselor determined that she was misplaced and we moved her. Her grades slowly improved. The year still had its share of bumps and potholes. Kristi’s math success did little to cool her hot temper, and Debra’s “he-said-


she-said” gossip tidbits continued to fuel her fiery temper. Kristi was back in my office following a vocal and profane shoving match during lunch. Following policy, I suspended her. A few days after her return, she was in the assistant principal’s office for yet another classroom disturbance. For every one step forward, the girl took at least two steps backwards. Each backwards step triggered an academic downturn; Kristi frustrated me, and I wondered if I might be wasting my time trying to help her. In late spring Kristi was involved in fight that included her cousin and which ultimately resulted in a recommendation of expulsion. She was allowed on appeal to attend summer school. I left the high school that summer to take another position, so our paths parted. That was the last I had heard of her. Now in the hallway of the country club, Kristi greeted me with a big hug and an ear-to-ear grin. Once considered severely at-risk for dropping out of high school, Kristi reported that she was in her second to last term in the business program at a local junior college. She wanted to apply to a state school to continue her education. She understood the importance now of a 4-year degree, she said, and her combination of on-the-job experience and education made her realize that she wanted to go into business for herself. “I am going to be an entrepreneur,” she said. “I am going to be somebody.” She had wanted to speak with me, she said, not only to share the good news of her success, but to ask my help. She needed letters of reference for her application to the state college and she had questions about her financial aid forms. “I told my mama I knew my principal would help me with this,” she said. We spent a while catching up. She and Debra were still best buddies; they shared an apartment on the north side of town with Debra’s 10 month-old son. Debra worked at as a cashier at a local building supply store. “I have plans for a large business,” she told me. “I don’t have anything against working hard – I work hard every day. I watch Debra do it, too, but I don’t want to work hard my whole life for someone else. I want to work hard for myself, choose my own goals, and employ lots of people to help me. I have big dreams!” We talked a little more about the opportunities for small business loans, the importance of networking with other small business owners, and of the importance of building those networks while she was still in school. I shared some names and phone numbers to get her started, gave her my card and cell phone number, and headed for the car. As I drove off, I caught a glimpse of her in the rearview mirror waving goodbye, and I honked in reply. I drove home, my thoughts drifting back to the thousands of students I had taught during my years in the classroom. I hoped that they were well, and that the time spent in my class had been of benefit to them. I certainly benefitted from all of the lessons that 10 PALMETTO ADMINISTRATOR • WINTER 2010

they taught me, including today’s lesson, delivered unexpectedly, courtesy of Kristi. Our interaction drove home the importance of the student-- administrator relationship versus the student-teacher relationship. The relationship between a classroom teacher and his or her student is special; it offers a unique window of opportunity to touch a life and mind. In terms of whether or not the teacher’s name will be recalled at the 10 yr reunion, the student-- teacher bond may or may not stand the test of time, but it was never intended to do so. Rather, that bond serves to facilitate and promote learning and growth. But the student—administrator bond is more enduring. Kristi is still several years away from her 10 year reunion. By that time she likely will remember the names of some classmates and teachers and will have forgotten those of others. It is quite possible and even more probable that she will have forgotten my name by then as well. It is here, however, that the difference between the student-- administrator bond stands apart from the student—teacher bond. Regardless of names and faces remembered or forgotten, the student:-- administrator bond leaves an indelible mark. When seamlessly interwoven with a blend of the 3 B’s and of the 3 C’s, the administrative bond is a reliable relationship based on problem solving, teamwork, discipline, structure, and a support. In words much like those she shared with me, Kristi will relay the importance of the student-- administrator bond learned first-hand through her own hard-earned experience to both her nephew and to her own children: “I know your principal will help you with this.”

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Jan Nashatker, Ph.D. Asst. Professor of Education • School of Education & Graduate Studies Converse College 580 E. Main Street • Spartanburg, SC 29302 • (864) 596-9467 Dr. Nashatker has over 20 years experience in public education as both a classroom teacher and as an administrator. She served as the principal of a large, public high school in South Carolina prior to joining the faculty at Converse, where her work focuses on the preparation of future public school administrators. She is a previous contributor to Palmetto Administrator. Works Cited Freiberg, H.J. (1996, September). From tourists to citizens in the classroom. Educational Leadership, 54 (1) . Retrieved Jan 6, 2010 from aspx Gordon, G. (2003, February 18). Daily News / Commentary. Retrieved November 18, 2009, from Hewitt, P.M., Pijanowski, G.S, and Denny, G.S. (2009, March 11). Why teacher leaders don’t want to be principals: Evidence from Arkansas. Fayetteville, Arkansas, USA. PDF version available online at Rooney, J. (2006, April ). Teaching the tweens: Picking our battles. Educational Leadership, 63 (7). Retrieved Dec. 31, 2009 from

Principals’ and Teachers’ Perceptions of Bullying By: Robert Hellams, Ed.D. & Necati Engec, Ph.D.

Bullying Defined Bullying is a subject that has received a large amount of attention in recent years due to extreme instances of school shootings and other violent acts. School shootings are sometimes the result of bullying (Seals & Young, 2003). The two Columbine High School shooters were teased relentlessly (Bulach, Fulbright, & Williams, 2003). One result of the intense media attention to these violent acts is an increased awareness of bullying (Flynt & Morton, 2004). Many students, who attend schools across our nation, awaken everyday with profound fears of attending their school and facing certain schoolmates (Dunn, 2001). Bullying is not easily detected; some bullies feel they are just “having fun” or “joking around” (Cole, Cornell, & Sheras, 2006, pp. 305-

306) and is “the most prevalent form of low-level violence in schools today” (Whitted & Duper, 2005, p. 167, Mullet, 2006). According to Dunn, “Every student falls into one of three different groups in relationship to bullying: the bully, the victim, or the bystander” (p. 38). Bullying can be found in every school in America. Perceived by many researchers and other practitioners as the foremost authority on bullying, Olweus (1993) states, “A student is being bullied when he or she is exposed, repeatedly and over time, to negative actions on the part of one or more other students” (p. 54). Espelage and Swearer (2003), Long and Pellegrini (2003) define bullying as repeated behavior occurring over time characterized by an imbalance of power between the aggressor and the victim. Wright (2003) describes bullying as a


“situation where one or more students single out a child and engage in behaviors intended to harm that child” (p. 3). Smith and Sharp (1994) (as cited in Espelage & Shearer, 2004, p. 270) define bullying as a “systematic abuse of power.” Seals and Young (2003) suggest that “name calling” is the most prevalent form of bullying (p. 745). Olweus (1993) expanded his definition to include an imbalance of power between the bully and their victim as well as bullying being either “direct or indirect” (p. 65). Direct bullying is overt attacks, which may include verbal and physical taunting; indirect bullying is covert actions such as isolation and exclusion by peer groups (p. 10). According to Selekman and Vessey (2004): Common physical acts of bullying include: actions causing physical injury (hitting, punching, kicking, tripping); taking money, lunch, or homework; taking or damaging property of others; engaging in extortion; and, embarrassing by snapping the bra, lifting the skirt, pulling down pants. Verbal manifestations include using insults, name-calling, or threats; humiliating in front of peers, spreading rumors about the person or his/her family; shunning or excluding; slamming books; gesturing; and setting one person against another. (p. 246) Physical and verbal actions are mostly associated with boys while girls are more closely associated with relational bullying (Fitzpatrick, Dulin, & Piko, 2007). A random or occasional episode between students who share almost equal power, where they quarrel and/or fight, is not bullying (Rigby, 1996).

Bullying and Schools Bullying is a widespread behavior in schools. “Bullying and victimization represent a growing problem among middle and high school youth in the United States” (Peskin, Tortolero, & Markham, 2006, p. 467). Students entering middle school establish hierarchical relationships; bullying is a successful scheme for gaining and maintaining dominance between individuals (Long & Pellegrini, 2003). The empowerment bullies achieve over others creates unhealthy relationships during adolescence (Crothers & Levinson, 2004). According to the United States Department of Justice (2006) a nationwide study revealed twenty-eight percent of students reported being bullied during the last six months. Of these students, nineteen percent were made fun of; fifteen percent experienced rumors being spread about them; nine percent were shoved, pushed, tripped, or spat upon. Seventy-nine percent of these occurrences were at school and twenty-eight percent occurred away from school (p. 36). Bosworth, Espelage, and Simon (1999) state, “A single student who bullies can have far reaching effects in the school, and create a climate of fear and intimidation…” (p. 341). Occurrences of bullying are found more often in public schools than private schools. Most bullying occurs during the middle school years (Carlyle & Steinman, 2007). Recent studies reveal that bullying cannot be definitively attached to specific gender, ethnic, or socio-economic groups 12 PALMETTO ADMINISTRATOR • WINTER 2010

(Seals & Young, 2006, Walton, 2005, Lyznicki, McCaffree, & Robinowitz, 2004). Brinson (2005) reveals that bullying affects girls just as much as boys. Further, instances of bullying behaviors are not restricted to urban, suburban, or rural school settings. Some effects of this degenerating behavior include decreased student academic achievement; students displaying diminished feelings relating to their safety and connectedness within school; and, increased disciplinary infractions interrupting the learning processes. Brinson (2005) suggests that bullying negatively affects school climate which leads to decreased student academic achievement. The impact of bullying behaviors does not end with the students; rather, it extends to the teachers, administrators, and other staff members as well. That teachers and administrators can have a formidable influence upon school climate cannot be overemphasized. “Bullies and their accomplices need to understand the harm they cause and their behavior will not be tolerated at school” (Haws & Tennille, 2005, p. 18). Teachers’ and administrators’ actions or inactions have a direct impact upon students’ well-being, and the generalized perceptions of students, parents, and other stakeholders of a particular school (Selekman & Vessey, 2004). Educators who ignore or fail to recognize bullying events make it difficult to enact and enforce consequences for this negative behavior resulting in a school culture of bullying (Harris & Hathorn, 2006). When adults witness bullying behaviors and do not begin immediate and corrective actions, several attitudes develop. First, the bully may believe their action is tolerated and they are given indirect consent to continue. Second, when adults turn away or ignore these actions they are sending a potentially harmful message that the adult has little or no control over the situation; that the bullying behavior is appropriate; that the bully’s power imbalance extends to and within the faculty. When adults witness acts of bullying, or suspect an act of bullying, they need to intervene (Olweus, 1993). Barone (1997) suggests that educators have become “desensitized to bullying and do not even see it” (p. 80). Finally, the feelings of helplessness exhibited by the victim are not very important to the adults. For these reasons it is necessary that schools implement specific polices related to eradicating bullying behaviors. The mental and physical effects experienced by victims of bullying are often ignored by schools (Rigby, 1999).

Impact of Bullying Bullying has a negative impact upon school climate, peer interaction, student socialization, student academic achievement, and perceptions of safety at school. Students who are bullied are more likely than their peers to be depressed, lonely, and have low self-esteem (Graham, Bellmore, & Mize, 2006; Mishna & Alaggia, 2005; Seals & Young, 2003; Limber, 2002; Bond, Carlin, Thomas, Rubin, & Patton, 2001). A recent study completed by Klomek, Marrocco, Kleinman, Schoenfeld, and Gould (2007) found:

Students who were involved in bullying behavior in or out of school, whether as a victim or bully, were at significantly higher risk for depression, serious suicidal ideation, and suicide attempts compared with students who were never victims or bullies. (p. 43) Students who are viewed by their peers as popular are seldom bullied. Bullies and victims are generally not as popular as their peers (Dake, Price, & Telljohann, 2003). According to McConville and Cornell (2003) students who view their peers as aggressive tend to be identified as a bully compared to those who do not view their peers in that manner: When a student engages in aggressive behavior that is successful in achieving some goal or wins approval from peers, the student’s attitude toward aggression may be strengthened. Conversely, a student who is the victim of aggressive behavior may gain more sympathy for the victims of bullying and aggression and accordingly modify his or her attitude toward peer aggression. (p. 185) Consistent with these findings is a study by Brockenbrough, Cornell, & Loper (2002) where they found victims of bullying are more likely to carry weapons to school, fight at school, join gangs, and consume drugs and alcohol (p. 282). According to Ferrell-Smith (2003): Research has shown that kids who bully others are more likely to engage in a number of negative activities, to have poorer grades and to drop out of school at a higher rate than their peers. Again, because many factors both inside and outside school may be involved, the relationship is associational rather than causal. In other words, although bullies as a group share many of the same characteristics, it is not clear that having lower grades is caused by bullying others any more than bullying others is caused by receiving lower grades. In contrast, Graham, Bellmore, and Mize (2006) suggest that poor academic performance is directly related to aggressive behavior. Consequently, the impact of bullying upon student academic achievement is unclear. Whether or not the negative effects of bullying behaviors are prevalent within a school must be examined and researched by school personnel. Ignoring the impact of bullying or pretending it does not exist can be a serious issue in some schools.

Teachers’ and Principals’ Perceptions Teachers and administrators have many varied roles within the school setting. “Principals are in the middle of the decisionmaking process, wielding significant influence in the creation of a healthy climate and participation in setting directions and goals that will result in a better future for children” (Capelluti & Nye, 2005, p. 8). Compared to administrators who view their


role in school as one of supervision within a hierarchical or vertical organization, teachers view their role as supporting one another and sharing knowledge based upon life experiences, work experiences, and the experiences of others. Teachers view their relationship to others as being organizationally flat or horizontal. In the sphere of policy implementation, teachers and administrators may both support new initiatives, but for very different reasons. Administrators consider their role in implementation as empowering teachers with new information and ideas; teachers feel their contribution to implementation is supporting and sharing information with their colleagues (Barnett & Fallon, 2007).

Students, not teachers, are most likely to report episodes of bullying. Bullies receive the wrong message, i.e. bullying is okay, when adults do not report or address bullying behavior. The recent attention that bullying has received has not necessarily prompted school districts and building level administrators to provide training about bullying behaviors and appropriate interventions. Teachers often lack the knowledge of those actions that are considered bullying because they have not been trained. Training of this nature should include all personnel who work with students on a daily basis (Espelage & Swearer, 2003). It is reasonable to try to understand potential reasons teachers may not demonstrate acute sensitivity to bullying.

One of the cornerstones of teaching is caring for children. In relation to bullying, most teachers display great disparity at the behaviors of bullies while demonstrating profound empathy and encouragement for bullied students. That teachers can empathize, possibly from similar experiences in their lives, and sympathize with victims does not necessarily mean that teachers feel prepared or are even willing to address the complex issues found within bullying episodes. It is not uncommon for teachers to witness acts of bullying which to them seem relatively minor and that teachers believe could be solved between the students without teacher intervention. Administrators must intervene in bullying situations (Dunn, 2001). Teachers must also intervene. A teacher’s empathy and compassion about a bullying incident does not always lead to intervention (Newman & Murray, 2005).

Teachers, and administrators, find themselves mired in an age of accountability. Students’ performance on standardized tests, data driven instruction, and the movement of curriculum to standards based instruction occupy much of the time and energy of educators. While teachers remain responsible for demonstrating and teaching proper behavior for the moral education of students, there has been a distinct paradigm shift from bettering society, as a whole, to the individual accountability by which teachers’ professionalism and performance are measured. Teachers feel they must teach only the content which is measured on high-stakes tests. The attitudes of students have changed from desiring to learn information through thoughtful consideration to wanting only to know the correct answers. Adding to the pressure felt by teachers is their perceived loss of classroom control. Unlike the days when teachers were primarily responsible for the students


assigned to their classroom, teachers are now accountable for the entire student population within a school. The added tension of these teacher perceptions disrupt the harmony that teachers, historically, have been accustomed (Myers, 2007). C l a s s r o o m management skills of teachers are highly varied. Teachers who do not understand the complexities of adolescent relationships may find themselves increasing the stress levels of bully and victim when they attempt to address bullying events. Increased defiance and alienation may result if teachers are not equipped to handle aggressive behavior. Unfortunately, uninformed teachers do not correctly assess the numbers of bullying events in school and sometimes mistakenly blame the victim for the disruption it creates (Rodkin & Hodges, 2003). Compounding this problem is the lack of widely accepted training programs for teachers relating to bullying intervention (Brown, Birch, & Kancherla, 2005). Viewed individually, teachers make judgments based upon their individual experience and knowledge. All people display varying degrees of tolerance, acceptance, and moral aptitude. For example, words spoken by a student may be deemed disrespectful by one person and acceptable by another; one person may possess a family background that was loving and considerate, while another person may have experienced abuse and anger. Often, female teachers have a better understanding of female students while male teachers better understand male students, etc. Similar assertions have been studied as they relate to ethnicity. These experiences can shape teachers’ perceptions of bullying behavior as well as their desire to intervene in these situations. Gender influences teachers’ judgments to a greater degree than ethnicity (Taylor, Gunter, & Slate, 2001). Encountering episodes of bullying behaviors between students, teachers may or may not take an active role in addressing the issue. Some of the factors contributing to the choices for interventions by teachers are their understanding of the bullying problem in their classroom and school environments as well as its relative importance within the school. Some teachers experienced bullying behaviors during childhood which directly influences their intervention of bullying between students. Teachers’ empathy for students who are bullied is also a defining element of teachers’ confronting observed bullying interactions among students (Mishna, Scarello, Pepler, & Wiener, 2005). Maintaining high behavioral expectations, correcting misbehaviors, and modeling appropriate behaviors provide teachers with exceptional influence upon the ways which students conduct themselves in the school setting. The imbalance of power exhibited by bullies over their victims is learned. Therefore, it is necessary that school personnel determine the causes of these undesirable behaviors and provide alternative models of behavior that will diminish or eradicate bullying in school (Barbetta, Norona, & Bicard, 2005). According to Hester (2005), “When school staff alters the school climate to accentuate positive aspects of children’s behavior, the focus shifts from dealing with inappropriate, unacceptable, or disruptive behavior to supporting

more appropriate behavior” (p. 35). Providing students with caring and nurturing environments is essential to changing inappropriate and undesirable behaviors of students. Many teachers concur that bullying is present in schools. Unfortunately their awareness is simplistic and uninformed. Bullying events cannot be settled by the children and require the participation and intervention of adults. School-wide interventions begin with teachers and administrators being provided a clear and understandable written policy that defines the problems and offers corrective solutions to the growing problem of bullying. It is prudent to share this information with parents and other stakeholders. Additionally, many schools have implemented mentoring programs, which provide the bullies and their victims someone with whom they can develop a trusting relationship and discuss issues relating to bullying. Within classrooms, teachers should vigilantly observe students to discover patterns of behavior significant to bullying. In developing relationships with students teachers can become a sounding board where students can express their concerns when bullying occurs or is suspected. Providing examples of correct behavior and encouraging dialogue among teachers and students are powerful influences upon student behavior (Bullock, 2002). The Safe Schools Climate Act (SSCA) of 2007 mandated that South Carolina school districts shall adopt a policy prohibiting harassment, intimidation, and bullying by January 1, 2007. The prohibition of these actions is one of the first steps in addressing the broader dilemma of bullying in school. A systematic student report system as described above would, at the least, enhance the efforts of district level and school level administrators in identifying students who need interventions whether their role is that of being a bully, a bullying victim, or a bystander. SSCA also mandates that school districts create a definition of harassment, intimidation, and/or bullying. Research regarding bullying has brought to the forefront that one of the most difficult problems in combating bullying is arriving at a definition, which encompasses the many facets of this intricate activity. Piotrowski and Hoot (2008) state, “Identifying bullying behaviors, however, is a complex task, since research has not yet provided a consistent profile for identifying bullies” (p. 357). The SSCA further mandates that consequences and appropriate remedial actions for persons committing acts of harassment, intimidation, and bullying are to be established. In what must be considered to be enlightened thinking, school boards historically implement policies and procedures that, on the surface, may appear vague and not extremely detailed. Educational practitioners, because of school board policy practices, enjoy some freedom and discretion when applying the consequences associated with bullying or any other adverse behavior. Some policies, such as alcohol, drugs, and weapons policies are very explicit and often demand immediate removal from school of the person responsible for those infractions. Policies regarding harassment, intimidation, and bullying are far less dictatorial in their consequences. In practice, many of the consequences for


these behaviors are previously embedded in most student discipline codes found in modern schools. This administrator discretion is important when investigating claims of harassment, intimidation, and bullying. Carlyle and Steinman (2008) cite the importance of student demographics when investigating bullying episodes suggesting that bullying behaviors vary by age, gender, and ethnicity (p. 629). Boyer (2008) adds: Principals need to find out more about the background of the [bullying] problem…Teachers need training or something to become informed and vigilant to know the signs of violence. They need to clarify their own values and beliefs about how they will respond to the violence, the victims, and the bully. (pp. 348-349) Mitchell, Longhurst, and Jacob (2008) agree by commenting that value changes begin with our abilities as adults to change our perspectives (p. 16). The effect of this mandate related to bullying has not been documented by research. One of the complaints of school age students is that they are ignored or brushed off when they attempt to report episodes of bullying. Crothers and Kolbert (2008) state, “Disciplinary problems can be stressful for classroom teachers” (p. 132). They also suggest that teachers respond to behavioral management issues either by displaying minimal concern or becoming overwhelmed. To the dismay of teachers, some school administrators comment that the best discipline plan is a good lesson plan. The theory behind the statement is that students who are actively engaged in learning do not have the time to misbehave in class. The high expectations demanded of students by the No Child Left Behind Act, with its emphasis upon saturation of content standards and standardized testing, do not support the actively engaged statement as occurrences of bullying are increasing. Mitchell, Longhurst, & Jacob (2008) conclude: The focus on test scores and teaching to the standards set by the No Child Left Behind Act certainly was aimed at increasing achievement in our students. This emphasis has decreased and at times eliminated the attention to creating a positive and caring school environment. Value lessons are being lost at school, which for so many children, is the only place they may see positive role models. While achievement scores might have gone up, our young people’s ability and desire to empathize with others, show social interest, and contribute to a safe and secure school culture declines or disappears. (p. 15) Principals and teachers are at the forefront of the march for educational excellence in our schools. Their perceptions and beliefs can be catalysts for continued growth and improvement within our school communities. Their firm deportment is the foundation from which our students will increase their opportunities for increased academic achievement, moral purpose, and accomplishments as life-long learners.


Works Cited Barbetta, P. M., Norona, K. L., & Bicard, D. F. (2005, Spring). Classroom behavior management: A dozen common mistakes and what to do instead. Preventing School Failure, 49(3), 11-19. Barone, F. J. (1997, September). Bullying in school: It doesn’t have to happen. Phi Delta Kappan, 79(1), 80-82. Barnett, J., & Fallon, G. (2007, January 10). Conflicting views of school community: The dichotomy between administrators and teachers. International Journal of Education Policy and Leadership 2(1). Retrieved March 15, 2008 from Bulach, C., Fulbright, J. P., & Williams, R. (2003, June). Bullying behavior: What is the potential for violence at your school? Journal of Instructional Psychology, 30(2), 156-164. Bond, L., Carlin, J. B., Thomas, L., Rubin, K., & Patton, G. (2001, September). Does bullying cause emotional problems? A prospective study of young teenagers. BMJ, 323, 480-484. Bosworth, K., & Espelage, D. L. (1999). Factors associated with bullying behavior in middle school students. The Journal of Early Adolescence, 19(3), 341-362. Boyer, W. (2008). Girl-to-girl violence. Childhood Education, 84(6), 344-350. Brinson, S. (2005, Fall). Boys don’t tell on sugar-and-spice-but-not-so-nice girl bullies. Reclaiming Children and Youth, 14(3), 169-174. Brockenbrough, K. K., Cornell, D. G., & Loper, A. G. (2002, August). Aggressive attitudes among victims of violence at school. Education and Treatment of Children, 25(3), 273-287. Brown, S. L., Birch, D. A., & Kancherla, V. (2005, December). Bullying perspectives: Experiences, attitudes, and recommendations of 9- to 13-year-olds attending health education centers in the United States. The Journal of School Health, 75(10), 384-392. Bullock, J. R. (2002, Spring). Bullying among children. Childhood Education, 130-133. Capelluti, J., & Nye, K. (2005, April). The principal as salesperson. Principal Leadership, 5(8), p. 8 Carlyle, K. E., & Steinmann, K.J. (2007, November). Demographic differences in the prevalence, co-occurrence, and correlates of adolescent bullying in schools. The Journal of School Health, 77(9), 623-629. Cole, J. C., Cornell, D. G., & Sheras, P. (2006, April). Identification of school bullies and survey methods. Professional School Counseling, 9(4), 305-313. Crothers, L. M., & Kolbert, J. B. (2008). Tackling a problematic behavior management issue: Teachers’ intervention in childhood bullying problems. Intervention in School and Clinic, 43(3), 132-139. Dake, J. A., Price, J. H., & Telljohann, S. K. (2003, May). The nature and extent of bullying at school. Journal of School Health, 73(5), 173-180. Dunn, M. J. (2001, June). Break the bullying cycle. American School & University, 73(10), 38-39. Espelage, D. L., & Swearer, S. M. (2004). Bullying in American schools: A social-ecological perspective on prevention and intervention. Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, Inc., Publishers. Espelage, D. L., & Swearer, S. M. (2003). Research on school bullying and victimization: What have we learned and where do we go from here? School Psychology Review, 32(3), 365-383. Ferrell-Smith, F. (2003). Tackling the schoolyard bully: Combining policy making with prevention. The National Conference of State Legislatures. Retrieved April 1, 2008 from Fitzpatrick, K. M., Dulin, A. J., Piko, B. F., (2007, January). Not just pushing and shoving: School bullying among African American adolescents. Journal of School Health, 77(1), 16-22. Flynt, S. W., & Morton, R. C. (2004, December). Bullying and children with disabilities. Journal of Instructional Psychology, 31(4), 330-333. Graham, S., Bellmore, A. D., & Mize, J. (2006, June). Peer victimization, aggression, and their co-occurrence in middle school: Pathways to adjustment problems. Journal of Abnormal Psychology, 34(3), 363-378. Haws, M. A., & Tennille, S. (2005). Addressing bullying in school: What can educators and parents do to create a safe environment? International Journal of Humanities and Peace, 21(1), 14-18. Hellams, R. N. (2008) A comparative analysis of principals’ and teachers’ perceptions of bullying in middle schools in three South Carolina school districts. Ed.D. dissertation, South Carolina State University, United States -- South Carolina. (Publication No. AAT 3361392). Hester, P. (2002, Fall). What teachers can do to prevent behavior problems in schools. Preventing School Failure, 47(1), 33-38. Klomek, A. B., Marrocco, F., Kleinman, M., Schonfield, I. S., & Gould, M. S. (2007, January). Bullying, depression, and suicidality in adolescents. Journal of the American Academy of Child Adolescent Psychiatry, 46(1), 40-49. Limber, S. P. (2003, September-October Supplement). Efforts to address bullying in U. S. schools. American Journal of Health Education, 34(5), S23-S29. Long, J. D., & Pellegrini, A. D. (2003). Studying change in dominance and

bullying with linear mixed models. School Psychology Review, 32(3), 401-417. Lyznicki, J. M., McCaffree, M. A., & Robinowitz, C. B. (2004, November). Childhood bullying: Implications for physicians. American Family Physician, 70(9), 1723-1728. McConville, D. W., & Cornell, D. W. (2003, Fall). Aggressive attitudes predict aggressive behavior in middle school students. Journal of Emotional and Behavioral Disorders, 11(3), 179-187. Mishna, F., Scarello, I., Pepler, D., & Wiener, J. (2005). Teachers’ understanding of bullying. Canadian Journal of Education, 28(4), 718-738. Mitchell, M., Longhurst, J., & Jacob, D. (2008). It starts with us. Reclaiming Children and Youth, 17(1), 14-22. Mullet, J. H. (2006, Fall). The bully within us…as teachers. Academic Exchange Quarterly, 95-99. Meyers, D. A. (2007, May/June). Teacher Power – revisited. The Clearing House, 80(5), 239-242. Newman, R. S., & Murray, B. J. (2005). How students and teachers view the seriousness of peer harassment: When is it appropriate to seek help? Journal of Educational Psychology, 97(3), 347-365. Olweus, D. (1993). Bullying at school: What we know and what we can do. Malden, MA: Blackwell Publishing. Peskin, M. F., Tortolero, S. R., & Markham, C. M. (2006, Fall). Bullying and victimization among black and Hispanic adolescents. Adolescence, 41(163), 467-484. Piotrowski, D., & Hoot, J. (2008). Bullying and violence in schools. Childhood Education, 84(6), 357-363. Rigby, K. (1996). Bullying in schools: And what to do about it. London: Jessica Kingsley Publishers. Rodkin, P. C., & Hodges, E. V. E. (2003). Bullies and victims in peer ecology: Four questions for psychologists and school professionals. School Psychology Review, 32(3), 384-400. Seals, D., & Young, J. (2003, Winter). Bullying and victimization: Prevalence and relationship to gender, grade level, ethnicity, self-esteem, and depression. Adolescence, 38(152), 735-747.

Selekman, J., & Vessey, J. A. (2004, May-June). Bullying: It isn’t what it used to be. Pediatric Nursing, 30(3), 246-249. Taylor, P. B., Gunter, P. I., & Slate, J. R. (2001, February). Teachers’ perceptions of inappropriate student behavior as a function of teachers’ and students’ gender and ethnic background. Behavioral Disorders, 26(2), 146-151. Whitted, K. S., & Dupper, D. R. (2005, July). Best practices for preventing or reducing bullying in schools. Children & Schools, 27(3), 167-175. Wright, J. (2003). Preventing classroom bullying: What teachers can do. Retrieved December 10, 2007 from

ABOUT THE AUTHORS: Robert Hellams, Ed.D. Assistant Principal, Alice Drive Middle School 40 Miller Road Sumter, SC 29150 (803) 775-0821 Necati Engec, Ph.D. Assistant Professor of Education, South Carolina State University 300 College Street, NE Orangeburg, SC 29117 (803) 536-7034


Benefits Communications – Key to maximizing benefits By: Mike Linebaugh

Do more with less! Fewer resources in every area! That is the message that follows news about South Carolina’s education budget woes. At the same time school funding is being reduced, individual employee costs are still on the rise. That means most school employees are forced to deal with issues ranging from higher deductibles and co-pays to elimination of some benefits altogether. Teachers and other school district employees are burdened with not only increased financial exposure but also greater responsibility for benefits decision-making. The result can be confusion, lower morale, poor participation and, perhaps worst of all, wasted dollars on benefits. Yet there is something you can do to maximize the value of your benefits and ensure the best use of your increasingly precious resources: take advantage of benefits communication and education. Benefits communication and education play a critical role in helping school personnel maximize their benefits package.

Even Educators Need Help with Employee Education Many employees will be the first to admit they don’t understand their benefits. A Harris Interactive survey done on behalf of Colonial Life showed more than half don’t have a clear understanding of what their health insurance covers for cancer-related treatment, for example.1 Even when employees think they do know a lot about their benefits and insurance needs, they’re often off base. The National Association of Insurance Commissioners recently gave 1,000 adults a 10-question quiz on their knowledge of insurance needs. Before taking the quiz, nearly 60 percent said they felt “very confident” when making insurance decisions. Yet most of them flunked the test, correctly answering only four of 10 questions. 2 The basic lack of benefits knowledge and understanding is compounded by the financially enforced changes to benefits programs today. Changes of any type to an employee’s benefits plan — whether it’s increased premiums, higher deductibles, a shift to employee-paid voluntary benefits, or even just more options — can cause confusion and concern for employees.

Benefits Communication That Works at Work •


Interactivity. As benefits decision-making continues to shift more toward employees, they are increasingly

eager for information and tools. Benefits communication and education involves more than developing a message and delivering it. It’s about creating participation — an integral part of any highly successful communication program. One-to-One Support. South Carolina has a great self-enrollment tool. However, for many, something as complex as insurance can’t be effectively communicated relying totally on technology and self-education. One-to-one interactions that personalize the benefits decision-making experience can be most effective. For example, conducting an individual needs analysis or talking through the features and costs of a specific policy helps ensure employees have a clear understanding. This type of one-to-one communication addresses the soft needs — helping employees understand all the terminology and choices while giving them confidence they’re making good decisions for their families. Convenience. Information must be available to employees when and where it’s convenient for them. This is another reason one-to-one meetings at the workplace are so effective. Colonial Life’s benefits counselors can meet with you during planning periods, on breaks, at lunch, before or after school, or any time that meets your needs. Multiple touch points. No one communication method by itself can be completely effective. We can help you take advantage of many methods, including one-to-one sessions, group meetings, online information and printed materials.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Mike Linebaugh Public Sector Account Executive – South Carolina Colonial Life Mike Linebaugh, CLU, is a public sector account executive for Colonial Life in South Carolina. He can be reached at (803) 422-9847 or Colonial Life & Accident Insurance Company is a market leader in providing insurance benefits for employees and their families through their workplace, along with individual benefits education, advanced yet simple-to-use enrollment technology and quality personal service. Colonial Life offers disability, life and supplemental accident and health insurance policies in 49 states and the District of Columbia. Similar policies, if approved, are underwritten in New York by a Colonial Life affiliate, The Paul Revere Life Insurance Company. Colonial Life is based in Columbia, S.C., and is a subsidiary of Unum Group.


Bullying: An Issue That Needs To Be Addressed Each morning during the school week, Adam woke up with a knot of anxiety in the pit of his stomach. He knew that he faced bullying at school by three boys in his class. Yesterday, they told him they would beat him up if he showed up for school today. Adam was so nervous he pretended to be sick so he could stay home. Adam has does this a lot over the past three months and his grades are suffering because of it. Adam is not alone. Every day there are more school absences due to bullying than any other issue or illness. Bullying affects not only students’ well-being and academic achievement, it can negatively affect a school’s climate and culture and it can put a school at risk for liability issues.

What is Bullying?

Direct bullying involves physical confrontations such as hitting, kicking, shoving, and spitting; and verbal harassment such as taunting, teasing, racial slurs; and threats and obscene gestures. Indirect bullying is more subversive and can include getting someone to bully for you, spreading rumors, deliberately excluding someone from a group or activity, and cyber bullying. No matter the type of bullying used, all forms are equally harmful and can have long-lasting consequences.

How Prevalent is Bullying? According to a nationally representative U.S. study of bullying, 17 percent of students report being bullied “sometimes” or more often in school, and 19 percent report bullying others “sometimes” or more often in school (Nansel 2001).

“Bullying is when someone repeatedly and on purpose says or does mean or hurtful things to another person who has a hard time defending himself or herself.”

Not only is bullying prevalent, but children and youth report being extremely concerned about it. In a 2003 Harris poll of more than 2,200 girls between the ages of 8 and 17 commissioned by the Girl Scouts of America, bullying topped girls’ list of concerns. When asked what they worried about the most, the most common response was being socially ostracized—being teased or made fun of.

According to Dr. Olweus, this definition includes three important components:

In fact, among tweens (ages 8-13), 41% admitted that this was a major worry. It was cited:

Dr. Dan Olweus (pronounced Ol-vay-us), pioneering researcher on bullying and the creator of the Olweus Bullying Prevention Program, defines bullying this way:

1. Bullying is aggressive behavior that involves unwanted, negative actions. 2. Bullying involves a pattern of behavior repeated over time. 3. Bullying involves an imbalance of power or strength. This imbalance of power or strength could involve a larger or older student bullying smaller or younger students. It could involve a group of students bullying one student, or a student with more “social power” bullying a less popular student.

Types of Bullying

Bullying can happen in many ways. Most types of bullying fall into two categories: direct bullying and indirect bullying.


• • •

Two times as often as fears about terrorist attacks, war, or natural disasters; 15 times as often as dying or the death of a loved one; and 30 times as often as they cited fears or worries about school or grades.

When you consider the many different forms it can take and how prevalent it has become, educators can no longer consider bullying a “rite of passage” or something that children just need to learn to deal with. Bullying is a form of peer abuse and every child has a fundamental human right to feel safe at school and be spared the humiliation that happens with bullying. For more information about bullying or the South Carolina Bullying Prevention Initiative, visit or call 803-798-8380.


D.A.D.S. - Devoted, Active & Dedicated in School By Angelia Scott

Picture if you can, an elementary school gymnasium filled with fathers, sons, grandfathers, uncles, pastors, school district personnel (male, of course), mentors, older brothers, friends, school board members and community leaders. Now imagine that these men are all gathered to fulfill one purpose-----helping African American males identify their long term goals, teach them strategies to succeed in life and keep them from becoming victims of the tragic underachievement of black males. Thanks to the vision and leadership of Jerry State the Crisis Interventionist at Main Street Elementary School, a D.A.D.S. Conference was held in April. All of the third, fourth and fifth grade boys were invited to attend. Mychal Wynn, author and educational consultant, was the Keynote Speaker for the event. He welcomed all the men, many of whom came straight from work. He began by asking the men to raise their hand if they would like to go back to elementary school and do things differently. Almost every man in attendance raised his hand. After Mr. Wynn’s speech each mentor/ father received a copy of Mr. Wynn’s book Teaching, Parenting and Mentoring Successful Black Males and then attended a session geared towards preparing their sons for college. The boys had individual conferences with district administrators and school board members to discuss their future goals as well as the impact their current academic and behavioral status could have on their future, particularly on obtaining higher education. The highlight of the session was when each boy received a bookcase to build with their father/mentor with the challenge to fill it with twice the number of books as video games. A separate session was planned for students from surrounding schools who were in attendance. This session was geared towards boys who wanted to become professional athletes. They were challenged to understand that the only way to get there is through college and that they need to have a backup plan. These 22 PALMETTO ADMINISTRATOR • WINTER 2010

boys also learned about other sports related careers available to them after successfully completing college. After dinner, the boys and their mentors/fathers attended breakout sessions led by local school board members and administrators. The boys were given a packet that included a notepad so they could take notes. The topics of these sessions included: • It Takes a Village which focused on the home, school, church, and community connection. This workshop was lead by community leaders and local pastors. • When Discipline Issues Affect Academics which focused on the strategies that fathers and mentors could use with boys to teach them self-control and self-discipline techniques to use in school. This workshop was lead by the Crisis Intervention Specialists at both Main Street Elementary and the feeder middle school, J. Paul Truluck, to insure transitions between the elementary school and middle school. • Young, Gifted and Black…Average is Overrated which was geared toward our “brightest” students who sometimes perform below their capabilities due to peer pressure to fit in. The evening ended with Mychal Wynn challenging our black males to be different. Mr. Jerry State, advisor of the school’s Gentlemen’s Club stated, “Many powerful relationships were built here tonight. This was the perfect kickoff for our mentoring program; a program that will challenge our boys to be college bound by providing them with positive role boys who also believe in them.” The success of the D.A.D.S. conference has been noted in the changed demeanor of the boys that attended. One student said that he learned, “Believe in yourself and others will believe in you too”. This is the message that we want all of our young black males to embrace.

The Impact of Principal Leadership Practices On School Performance in South Carolina High Schools By: C. P. Lempesis, Ed.D.

More than two decades ago, A Nation At Risk (National Commission on Excellence in Education, 1983) generated substantial attention about the condition of American public education. In simplest terms, many schools and school districts across the nation were found lacking and declining in their academic preparation of students. South Carolina was not an exception. Less than a decade later, The Individual With Disabilities Act (IDEA) (1990) mandated inclusion to the fullest extent possible. Schools and school districts were expected to meet the new expectations and the leaders of our schools and districts were charged with new responsibilities to implement what was necessary to achieve improvements in academic performance (Leighton, 1996). South Carolina’s public schools continued to compare unfavorably with many other states. A decade ago, the South Carolina

legislature passed the Education Accountability Act of 1998, in an effort to positively impact academic achievement within the schools of the state by placing greater responsibility for that achievement on school principals. No Child Left Behind (NCLB) (2002) emphasized not only academic achievement for the school as a whole, but for all demographic groups within the school. This achievement is measured by required evidence through the attainment of Average Yearly Progress (AYP).

Challenge Schools are evaluated based upon the academic performance of students within the school. Evaluations of the quality of the leadership are based upon annual performance in meeting the


mandates of NCLB, as well as state standards for Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP). AYP for high schools in South Carolina is measured by annual performance on the High School Assessment Program (HSAP). Effective schools are those meeting or exceeding AYP. Of 201 South Carolina high schools during the 2006-2007 school year, only 60 (37%) met AYP. Despite the continued statewide emphasis on meeting the standards, the number of high schools meeting AYP during the 2007-2008 academic year actually dropped to 50 (25%) out of 200 (SCEOC, 2008). According to an extensive review of the literature, effective school leadership is critical to meet the elevated standards for teaching and learning (Lashway, 2002; McEwan, 2003; Marzano, Waters & McNulty, 2005; Barth, 2006; Clementi-Watson, 2007). Prior to the emergence of the concept of instructional leadership in the 1980’s, administrators were evaluated based upon their abilities in managing school facilities and operations efficiently. Academics became the new focus. High-satisfactory performing schools would now be led by principals who truly led

the academic program, set goals, examined curriculum, evaluated faculty and assessed results (Fink & Resnick, 2001; McEwan, 2003; Wong & Nicotera, 2007). School leaders, because of the mandates of No Child Left Behind (NCLB) (2002), are required to be change agents and drivers of change in schools (McEwan, 2003). Moreover, the scope of school leadership has also expanded to include additional aspects of organizational influence such as teacher empowerment, shared decision-making and recognition of the teacher as leader (Penlington, Kington & Day, 2008). Barth (2006) found that improving relationships in the schoolhouse is and should be a primary goal for school leaders. He stated that schools are full of good players, but getting them to 24 PALMETTO ADMINISTRATOR • WINTER 2010

collaborate, cooperate and be “team players” is a critical challenge that must be achieved in order to elevate academic achievement. Contemporary school leaders face a similar quandary. They must be able to orchestrate the talents of the teachers and staffs that they lead in doing what is necessary to insure satisfactory academic performance for all students within the school. Effective school leadership practices are essential for school success (McEwan, 2003; Marzano, Waters & McNulty, 2005; Barth, 2006; Reeves, 2006).

Purpose of the Study The purpose of this study was to compare teachers and staff perceptions of the impact of selected leadership practices of principals in satisfactory and unsatisfactory performing public high schools and to determine the relationship between the principals’ leadership and students’ academic achievement. Conceptual Framework

Hypothesis There is a significant difference in the perception by teachers and staff of the leadership practices at satisfactory performing schools versus unsatisfactory performing schools. Methodology High schools within the state of South Carolina with the same building principal in place for a minimum of three years were selected for the study. A sample of six high schools (three satisfactory and three unsatisfactory) – based upon annual performances in both absolute and improvement ratings as indicated by the South Carolina School Report Cards issued for the 2006 – 2007

academic year – were selected. In order to ascertain perceptions about the effective leadership practices of the building principal, it was necessary to question the teachers and certified staff within the school about the current principal. The participants were 357 teachers and 52 staff members from six schools. High schools selected were also reasonably similar in identified poverty index. Schools are determined to be similar if the poverty indexes of the schools are within a 5% ± range (SCEOC, 2007). One district superintendent denied permission for administration of the survey.

Research Design This study utilized a causal-comparative design. The independent variables are leadership practices, gender, participants’ years of service at the school, degree held and position held. The dependent variables are academic performance and achievement of AYP. The instrument utilized was developed by the researcher, based upon an extensive review of the literature (Kowalski, 2007; Cangemi, Burga, & Fitzgerald, 2007; Abrahams, 2007; McEwan, 2003). The 11-item survey instrument – using a 5-point Likert Scale (1 = Highly Ineffective and 5 = Highly Effective) – was designed to measure the perceptions of teachers and staff of selected effective leadership practices of principals in their schools. Demographic information requested that participants indicate gender, years of service at current school, degree held and current position.

Research Questions The study addressed the following questions: 1. To what degree do teachers and staff in satisfactory schools perceive their principals as effective leaders? 2. To what degree do teachers and staff in unsatisfactory schools perceive their principals as ineffective leaders? 3. Is there a difference in teacher and staff perceptions of leadership characteristics between satisfactory and unsatisfactory performing schools?

Validity and Reliability A pilot study was first evaluated via administration to two graduate level classes comprised of approximately 27 students, to ensure internal consistency and external validation. The researcher addressed each class, explaining both the purpose of the pilot study and the purpose of the research. In this pilot study, feedback was solicited on the content and the design of the survey and whether each question was perceived by the pilot participants for its intended meaning. The Cronbach Alpha Test of Reliability was utilized to establish the reliability of the instrument. The instrument is divided

into 11 subscales: Visionary; Risk Taker/Courage; Trustworthy; Consensus Builder; Instructional Leader; Change Agent; Innovator/Encourages Creativity; Grows People; Models Behavior; Emotional Intelligence and Empowers Others. The Cronbach Alpha Test generated reliability coefficients for .952 for Vision, .954 for Risk Taker, .953 for Trustworthy, .952 for Consensus Builder, .956 for Instructional Leader, .951 for Change Agent, .952 for Innovator, .952 for Grows People, .952 for Models Behavior, .954 for Emotional Intelligence, .953 for Empowers Others. Total instrument reliability was strong (.957).

Data Collection & Analysis Superintendents of the districts where the selected schools are located were sent a letter requesting permission to conduct the study. Subsequently, a copy of the superintendent’s letter of approval and a letter requesting approval to conduct the study at each of the selected high schools was sent to the respective building principals. The survey instrument, to improve the percentage of return and to expedite data collection, was distributed by the researcher to each of the selected schools at a faculty meeting or in-service training period during the second and third quarters of the 2008 – 2009 academic year. (The time frame during which the study was conducted was extended because, very few schools within the state met the poverty index parameter, there were some delays in obtaining approval from the district office and/ or school principal and due to the semester break.) The returned survey instruments were collected in a box labeled “Principal’s Leadership Surveys” at each school selected. Survey data collected were analyzed using the Statistical Package for the Social Sciences (SPSS-X). Descriptive statistics (means, medians, modes, standard deviations, etc.) were used to generate the descriptive findings. The t- test for Independent Means, One Way Analysis of Variance (ANOVA) and the Tukey Multiple Range Test were employed to test the hypotheses and generate the comparative findings with an acceptable level of significance set by the researcher at p. > .05.

Descriptive Data of Participants All 409 teachers and certified staff working within the six schools were asked to participate in the survey. A total of 303 surveys were returned at the conclusion of the faculty meeting or in-service training session during which the survey was administered. Thirty additional surveys were returned via U.S. Mail within approximately 3 weeks after the administrations of the survey, due to teachers and/or other certified staff members being absent on the date the surveys were administered. Thus, there was an overall return rate of 81.4% (86.1% from Satisfactory Schools & 76.6% from Unsatisfactory Schools). Female participants (n=213, 64.5%) significantly outweighed male participants (n=117, 35.5%) in the sample. This data is typical in that secondary schools generally employ more female


teachers and certified staff than male teachers and certified staff. One category of certified staff – assistant principals – however, differs. More males than females are generally employed in these positions in high schools. In this study, the respective numbers for males (78.6%, n=11) and females (21.4%, n=3) serving in the position of assistant principal are within expected parameters. Approximately 33.9% (n=112) of participants in this study have been employed as teachers or other certified staff members at the school where they participated in the study for three years or less (1-3 years). Approximately 23% (n=76) have been classroom teachers at the respective school for more than three years but less than nine years (4-8 years). The greatest number, approximately 43% (n=142), have been in their current positions for nine years or more. A total of three participants did not indicate the number of years’ service at the school where they participated in the study (.9%). Nearly 65% of participants in this study held advanced (masters, educational specialist, doctorate) degrees (n=210). Of this number, 58.2% held a masters degree (n=188), while only 3 (.9%) reported having an earned doctorate and the remaining 19 (5.9%) reported having an earned specialist degree.

ors, media specialists, etc.) who participated in the study, must minimally possess a master’s degree to be employed in such positions in South Carolina. Of the 36 individuals reporting their current position at the school where surveyed as “assistant principal” (n=14), “guidance counselor” (n=12), or “other” (media specialist, instructional mentor, curriculum specialist) (n=22), only 1.8% (n=6) reported earning a degree above the minimum requirements for the position. Table 1 illustrates the descriptive data for the participants in this survey. Survey participants in both satisfactory schools and unsatisfactory schools generally reported perceptions of the principal as demonstrating “effective” or “highly effective” visionary leadership quality (n=282, 85%) and risk taker leadership quality (n=271, 81.3%). Only a small number of participants (n=21, 6.6%) reported that the school leader was either “highly ineffective” or “ineffective” on visionary leadership and a similarly small number of participants (n=23, 6.9%) reported that the school leader was either “highly ineffective” or “ineffective” on risk taker leadership. These two practices were the only practices yielding responses totaling less than 7% in these two categories. Table 2 summarizes the complete findings of all survey participants’ responses of the school leader’s visionary and risk taker leadership practices.

Certified staff members (assistant principals, guidance counsel-

Table 1: Descriptive Data of the Participants


Participants in both satisfactory and unsatisfactory schools generally reported perceptions of the principal as demonstrating “effective” or “highly effective” trustworthy leadership quality (n=276, 82.9%), change agent leadership quality (n=265, 79.5%), innovator leadership quality (n=255, 77.1%), grows people leadership quality (n=285, 85.8%), models behavior as a leadership quality (n=275, 82.6%) and empowers others leadership quality (n=268, 80.5%) .

proximately 10% of participants (n=36, 10.8%) reported their perceptions about the school leader as being “highly ineffective” or “ineffective” on innovator leadership quality. The percentage of perceptions on the principal’s grows people leadership quality among survey participants – as “effective” or “highly effective” – was somewhat higher than any other leadership quality. Table 2 illustrates these findings.

Table 2: Summary of Responses of Teachers and Staff by Satisfactory and Unsatisfactory Schools on the Leadership Effectiveness Survey Instrument

An examination of reported perceptions by school type indicated that a somewhat greater percentage of faculty and staff at satisfactory schools (n=12, 10.3%) than unsatisfactory schools (n=19, 9.3%) perceived the school’s principal to be either “highly ineffective” or “ineffective” on trustworthy leadership quality. While not a significant difference, it is worth noting. Ap-

Survey participants in both school types generally reported perceptions of the principal as demonstrating “effective” or “highly effective” consensus builder leadership quality (n=253, 76.5%). However, more than one tenth of participants (n=37, 11.1%) reported their perceptions about the school leader as being “highly ineffective” or “ineffective” on consensus builder leadership.


Examining reported perceptions by school type revealed that somewhat more than twice the percentage of teachers and staff at unsatisfactory schools (n=30, 13.8%) as satisfactory schools (n=7, 6.0%) perceived the school’s principal to be either “highly ineffective” or “ineffective” on consensus builder leadership quality. The mean score for this quality among participants at unsatisfactory schools was somewhat lower (3.85) than the “effective” mean score of 4.00.

closer examination of reported perceptions by school type indicated that approximately three times the percentage of faculty and staff at unsatisfactory schools (n=39, 18.1%) as satisfactory schools (n=7, 6.0%) perceived the school’s principal to be either “highly ineffective” or “ineffective” on emotional intelligence leadership quality. The mean score for this quality among participants at unsatisfactory schools was somewhat lower (3.83) than the “effective” mean score of 4.00. Table 3 illustrates the

Table 3: Summary of Responses of Mean Scores of Teachers and Staff by Satisfactory and Unsatisfactory Schools on Consensus Builder, Instructional Leadership and Emotional Intelligence Subscales of Leadership Effectiveness Survey Instrument

Survey participants in both satisfactory and unsatisfactory schools did also generally report perceptions of the principal as demonstrating “effective” or “highly effective” effective” instructional leadership quality (n=253, 76.9%). Here again, somewhat more than one tenth of participants (n=36, 10.8%) reported their perceptions about the school leader as being “highly ineffective” or “ineffective” on instructional leadership quality. An examination of reported perceptions by school type indicated that somewhat more than twice the percentage of faculty and staff at unsatisfactory schools (n=29, 13.4%) as satisfactory schools (n=7, 6.0%) perceived the school’s principal to be either “highly ineffective” or “ineffective” on instructional leadership quality. The mean score for this quality among participants at unsatisfactory schools was somewhat lower (3.93) than the “effective” mean score of 4.00. Survey participants in both satisfactory and unsatisfactory schools also generally reported perceptions of the principal as demonstrating “effective” or “highly effective” emotional intelligence leadership quality (n=249, 75.0%). However, somewhat more than one tenth of participants (n=46, 13.6%) reported their perceptions about the school leader as being “highly ineffective” or “ineffective” on emotional intelligence leadership quality. A 28 PALMETTO ADMINISTRATOR • WINTER 2010

complete findings of the perceptions of teachers and staff on the consensus builder leadership, the instructional leadership and emotional intelligence leadership practices of the principals at satisfactory and unsatisfactory schools. Participants at both school types were grouped. The teachers remained as one group and staff was divided into three subgroups: assistant principals, guidance counselors and others (media specialists, instructional mentors, curriculum coordinators). The ttest yielded a value of 1.58 (p = .05). This result revealed there is no statistical significance between the perceptions of teachers of the leadership quality of principals at satisfactory schools and unsatisfactory schools. The ANOVA yielded an F-ratio of 3.226 (p<.023). These findings revealed significant differences among subgroups’ perceptions of leadership practices of the school principals (see Table 4). The Tukey Multiple Range Test was utilized to determine between which groups significant differences occurred. When groups within the sample population were compared, one subset, assistant principals, yielded a mean perception (4.7013) significantly higher than the mean perception of faculty (4.0656). Thus, there was a significant mean difference (.63569) between

Table 4: Perceptions of Teachers and Staff by Subgroup on Principals’ Leadership Quality


assistant principals and teachers in perception of the leadership quality of principals. While a clear indication of differences in perceptions within groups, these results do not contradict the hypothesis. The hypothesis predicted no differences between perceptions of teachers and staff at satisfactory and unsatisfactory schools. When compared with the other subsets: guidance counselors and others, assistant principals’ perception scores demonstrate no significant difference. There were likewise no significant differences between other subsets among the participants. Implications The implications from all the findings indicate that based upon the within group variations noted earlier, principals are viewed somewhat differently by other members of the school’s administrative team. This perception could be because: assistant principals are also administrators; they interact with the principal more frequently or, they aspire to be principals and want to emulate what they perceive as exemplary leadership quality. In terms of the school leader’s impact on school performance, this study supports the theory of the indirect effect of the school leader espoused by the work of Hallinger & Heck (1996). Half (3) of the school leaders included in this study have been leading successful schools and half have been leading unsuccessful schools. However, the resultant data indicates that perceptions of their leadership practices are vastly similar. Henceforth, there are other factors not measured by this study that may be causing a greater impact on the schools’ ongoing performances. The major findings were summarized as follows: 1. There were no significant differences in perceptions found between teachers and certified staff in satisfactory schools and unsatisfactory schools. 2. Three identified leadership practices: consensus builder, instructional leadership and emotional intelligence, received lower mean scores (3.76) than the “effective” mean score of 4.00 from participants in unsatisfactory schools, indicating participants in unsatisfactory schools viewed the principals as less “effective” on these practices. 3. Three identified leadership practices: consensus builder, change agent and emotional intelligence received lower mean scores from participants in unsatisfactory schools than from participants in satisfactory schools based on ChiSquare analysis. 4. Two leadership practices: grows people and models behavior, received higher mean scores by both school types. 5. Overall, assistant principals reported perceptions that were significantly higher than teachers in both satisfactory and unsatisfactory schools. Based upon these findings the following recommendations are made: 1. The study should be replicated using other school levels to 30 PALMETTO ADMINISTRATOR • WINTER 2010


3. 4. 5.

ensure that there is applicability in all public school settings within South Carolina. Principals should continue to develop professionally in the leadership practices indicated by the participants’ lowest mean scores: consensus builders, instructional leaders and in emotional intelligence. Pre-service and in-service teachers and administrators education programs should emphasize leadership abilities as an integral part of the program of study. Efforts should be strengthened in schools to emphasize continued dialogue about professional development between principals, teachers and certified staff. Building stronger relationships among teachers and staff should be a priority for school leaders – because of its effect on performance, since the unsatisfactory schools’ principals were scored lower.

Works Cited Abrahams, D. S. (2007). Emotional intelligence and army leadership: Give it to me straight. Military Review, 87(2), pp. 86-94. Barth, R. S. (March 2006). Improving relationships within the schoolhouse. Educational Leadership, 63(6), pp. 8-13. Blase, J. & Blase, J. (2001). Empowering teachers: What successful principals do. Thousand Oaks, CA: Corwin Press. Boyatzis, R. E. & McKee, A. (2005). Resonant leadership: Renewing yourself and connecting with others through mindfulness, hope, and compassion. Boston: Harvard Business School Publishing. Cangemi, J. P., Burga, W. & Fitzgerald, J. (2007). Dealing with the human challenges of leadership: The real work of the leader, Brook Park, OH: Credit First National Association. Clementi-Watson, T. (2007). Elementary teacher’s perceptions of their building principal and its impact on teacher morale. Dissertation Abstracts AAT 3278547. Fink, E. & Resnick, L. B. (2001). Developing principals as instructional leaders. Phi Delta Kappan 82(8), pp. 598-606. Hallinger, P. & Heck, R. (1996). Reassessing the principal’s role in school effectiveness: A review of empirical research, 1980-1995. Educational Administrative Quarterly, 32(1), pp. 5-44. Kowalski, C. (2007, June 17). EAM 800. Administrative Role Performance. Lashway, L. (2002). Rethinking the principalship. Research Roundup, 18(3), 6pp. Marzano, R. J., Waters, T. & McNulty, B.A. (2005). School leadership that works. Alexandria, VA: Association for Supervision & Curriculum Development. McEwan, E. K. (2003). 7 Steps to effective instructional leadership (2nd ed.), Thousand Oaks, CA: Corwin Press, Inc. National Commission on Excellence in Education, (1983). A nation at risk. Washington, D.C.: U.S. Government Printing Office. SC Education Oversight Committee. (2008, June). 2007-2008 Accountability manual: The 2007-2008 district report card system for South Carolina public schools and school districts. Retrieved June 11, 2008, from F356DDF9A295/5427/Manualformattedforprinter.pdf United States Department of Education. (2002). No child left behind. Washington, DC: U.S. Government Printing Office. Wong, K. K. & Nicotera, A. (2007). Successful schools and educational accountability. Vanderbilt University Press, Pearson, Allyn & Bacon.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: C. P. Lempesis, Ed.D. 1334 Bryjo Place Charleston, South Carolina 29407 843.906.5040 Approximately 30 years as an administrator, teacher and field supervisor with an approximately equal split between PK-12 and higher education. School leadership and learning styles are primary areas of focus.


No Aspiring Palmetto Principal Left Behind: P3 (Palmetto Principal Preparation) By: Sandra F. McLendon, Ed.D.

Historical Context South Carolina’s legislators passed the Educational Accountability Act (1998) which expressed a “commitment to public education and a conviction that high expectations for all students are vital components for improving academic achievement” (p. 1). The Educational Accountability Act (EAA) establishes a system of accountability that employs standards, annual school report cards, professional development and evaluation, and analysis of data. If a school receives a rating of Below Average or At Risk (Unsatisfactory), there are specific actions that are implemented by the faculty and administration (EAA, 1998). • Review the School Improvement Plan that addresses student performance and development and revise it in collaboration with the School Improvement Council. • Revise the teachers’ and principal’s professional development plans to reflect the School Improvement Plan. • Write an annual narrative of the progress of the school for the community and parents concerning the school’s operation.

alternative routes for certifying administrators have surfaced, but no alternative administrative certification routes exist at present in South Carolina. In a policy brief from the Center for Reinventing Public Education (Roza, 2003), the real problem was identified as a poor supply of principals in various districts. In South Carolina’s poor rural school districts – with a high minority population, low pupil funding, inadequate principal salaries, and At-Risk School Report Cards – there are fewer qualified applicants for administrative positions. This scenario exacerbates the principal shortage because there is a scarcity of applicants who are actually qualified with the skills needed by the schools as well as fewer applicants. Supply and demand is a chronic issue, but the problem of administrator candidate quality is a prevailing concern. In Good Principals Are Key to the Successful Schools: Six Strategies to Prepare More Good Principals (Bottom, 2003), superintendents from 16 Southern Regional Education Board states specified that they do not have a lack of applicants, but rather a lack of applicants with the requisite skills. The report recommended six tactics to help guarantee a generous supply of highly-qualified principals in all areas:

The South Carolina accountability system calls for the principal to be actively involved in the selecting, disciplining, and terminating of personnel in the individual schools. Similarly, the principal is the key leader who must demonstrate effective and efficient leadership for faculty by demonstrating best practices, analysis based on data for needs, and professional development to facilitate improvement in student performance (EAA 1998). This is a specific and arduous commission assigned to the Palmetto principals, and failure to comply with these tasks could result–and indeed has resulted–in the dismissal or demotion of principals in South Carolina schools and even in a lack of qualified principals. To be successful as a Palmetto administrator, the academic preparation must be deliberate in providing specific experiences.

Some of these recommendations can essentially be addressed at the state level; others can be addressed by South Carolina universities. South Carolina universities can (1) Single out highperformers (2) Recalibrate preparation programs (3) Emphasize real-world training.

Scarcity of Well-Qualified Leaders

Single Out High-Performers

The South Carolina Department of Education has reported that the state has shortages of principals. In a report, The South Carolina Center for Educator Recruitment, Retention, and Advancement (CERRA, 2007), in a 2001 to 2006 survey on supply and demand, noted that administrative appointments were at 478 in 2001; 346 in 2002; 335 in 2003; 452 in 2004; 547 in 2005; 541 in 2006; and 531.5 in 2007. Unfilled vacancies reported during this same time period increased from 16 in 2001 to 47 in 2006 and 61 in 2007 (CERRA, 2007). Dialogues concerned with creating

Education divisions in South Carolina universities must form alliances with school districts in order to recruit high-performing teachers who exhibit leadership skills as well as have a desire to serve in administrative positions in the local schools. This partnership would entail the school district identifying the highperforming teachers, and the universities recruiting and training them for leadership positions. Highly-effective teachers who are high performers should be easy to identify because, “We all know good teachers when we see them.” To assist with identifying


1. Single out high-performers 2. Recalibrate preparation programs 3. Emphasize real-world training 4. Link principal licensure to performance 5. Move accomplished teachers into school leadership positions 6. Use state academies to cultivate leadership teams in middletier schools

the high performers, McEwan (2001) characterizes this person as a mission-driven individual who exhibits a passion for teaching, but who is able to communicate concern, understanding, fairness and respect towards students, parents, and colleagues. These traits often result in the high-performing teachers being perceived as teacher leaders. The high performer has a “with-it-ness” that allows him/her to deal with the demands of managing the classroom and actively engaging the students in a timely manner (McEwan, 2001, p. 46). This trait translates into an ability to motivate both students and colleagues to strive to achieve the instructional goals. In order to achieve these goals, the high-performing teacher is constantly renewing his/her expertise by reading, studying, and attending conferences and professional development activities (McEwan, 2001). Indeed, this individual is often leading the professional development locally to share the gained knowledge with colleagues. All of these traits can also transform the highly-effective teacher into a highly-effective chief instructional leader with a distinctive style, enthusiasm, energy, humor, and charisma. Thus, the partnership between colleges/universities and school districts would urge the high performers to seek the academic skills necessary for principalship.

The principal is the “cheerleader” who communicates the school’s agenda, based on needs and established goals, to the varied communities. To prepare the future leaders to interact with the community, the university must offer opportunities for the potential school leaders to learn about the school community, to create a positive school environment, and to facilitate constructive as well as positive community relationships with diverse community constituents. Data Driven Leadership The 21st century principal leaders must have the skills to collect and analyze data and to make reliable decisions based on the data. The curriculum in South Carolina education is driven by standards to which all districts subscribe. Therefore, a potential Palmetto principal, to effectively serve in a South Carolina school must, of necessity, solicit information from two major sources–the teachers and the learners–to determine the extent to which curriculum ends have been accomplished. When the

Recalibrate Preparation Programs Participatory Leadership

The old style of principal leadership depicts the principal as the top autocratic leader in a hierarchical authority structure (DiPaola & Hoy, 2008). However, the 21st century principal leader requires vastly different preparation to attain crucial leadership skills. To be a truly transformational leader, school principals have to work to create a shared purpose; create an environment that enables the staff to be effective; and invest other faculty and staff in the school with the power to affect change and achieve school goals (Leithwood & Reihl, 2003). School leadership is not conducted in isolation because the principal has to interact with various external communities to help the school to meet its agenda (i.e. the School Improvement Plan). The external communities which must interact with the school include (Glatthorn, Boschee, and Whitehead, 2006): • • • • •

Local community—individuals within the immediate community who have the expertise and the inclination to benefit the school community. Administrative community—area experts and specific resources afforded by the school district that are accessible to the school. Social community—those social groups, church groups, and fraternal organizations with a commitment to and willingness to provide their resources for the betterment of the school. Instrumental community—higher education and its faculty committed to providing expertise in a collaborative relationship with the school. Ethnic community—those ethnic groups who have a vested interest and a desire to help the school accomplish its goals.


data results have been completed and analyzed thoroughly, the planning process, which involves all the various stakeholders, is initiated by the principal to develop and implement strategies with incremental checks and resources for addressing the school’s identified needs (Schmoker, 2006). It is imperative that the school improvement changes build in the capacity to provide training and staff development (Glatthorn, Boschee, & Whitehead, 2006, p. 144). However, these collection, analysis, and planning processes are participatory in nature; therefore, the new leadership skills seek to develop people to generate, embrace, communicate, and achieve high performance goals for the students and ultimately the school. The university must be in the forefront with paradigms for the prospective school leaders to experience institutional effectiveness, curriculum models and deliver transformation, valuable professional development, and real-time leadership interaction (Schmoker, 2006).

Emphasize Real-World Training “Today, in far too many principal preparation programs, the internship ‘vessel’ is leaky, rudderless or still in dry dock” (Fry, nd, p. 3). Previous internship models invested heavily in at least two internship courses where the leadership candidates performed the required number of hours in isolation over a semester after completing their training in school operations, organizational development, school law, leadership, and various other academic courses. There seems to be a scarcity of applied experience to prepare the principal candidate for the crucial work of improving the school and improving student achievement (Fry, nd). In the “real world” scenario, doctors and nurses take their academic course work and practice under the supervision of a licensed professional in a health-care setting. Similarly, aspiring school leaders should participate in real-world academic training carefully planned by the university and coordinated with the local school system while they are completing the academic preparation (Fry, nd). To be valid, the real-world preparation should complement the academic groundwork. Principal candidates should experience affecting student learning, cultivating other potential sources of leadership, creating high expectations and monitoring the progress, developing the potential of people power, and experiencing the elation of success in a high stakes, accountability centered academic climate (Leithwood & Reihl, 2003). The Southern Regional Education Board (SREB) has issued a Call to Action for state policy-makers, university leaders, and school districts to improve the quality of internships to prepare potential school leaders (Fry, nd, pp. 8-9).

State policy-makers can: • • •

Develop guidelines that require aspiring school leaders to have a broad range of experiences in leading school improvement. Require and provide training for mentor principals. Assign to the state the responsibility for developing uniform measures of an intern’s performance, using the state’s own adopted standards.


University leaders can: • • •

Make field experiences a high priority for their leadership preparation programs and assign the necessary resources. Provide enough of the right staff with sufficient time and resources to do the job well with appropriate recognition. Support the design and implementation of a structured internship with an emphasis on essential proficiencies for leading curriculum, instruction and student achievement.

School leaders can: • • • •

Develop and implement a leadership succession plan for hiring qualified administrators. Become a key partner with universities in the preparation of school leaders. Work with universities to track the performance of their leadership program graduates. Provide district-funded opportunities for continuing leadership development.

Thus, a combination of internship experiences linked with the academic course work planned jointly by the state, the universities, and the local school districts would provide more meaningful P3 (Palmetto Principal Preparation) encompassing real life training.

Next Steps

All Palmetto schools call for unique routes to success, depending on the individual needs and characteristics of each school. The aspiring Palmetto administrator has to grab the opportunity to attain the skills, to identify the needs, to empower the people, and to plan and travel the school’s unique route. But grabbing the opportunity, as Marzano insists, will require a bold “commitment to change the status quo” (2003, p. 10). Are Palmetto universities ready to accept the challenge to change the status quo? Therein is the difficulty as well as the challenge confronting Palmetto schools of education and aspiring future administrators. The potential Palmetto school principal has to have the wisdom and insight to determine the individual needs unique to each school (Schmoker, 2006). The new Palmetto principal must exercise the transformational skills necessary to lead the individual needs of the school. The Palmetto universities must heed the critical needs of the new administrators and prepare them academically and ethically to lead our schools. The district must partnership with the universities to achieve viable and dynamic administrators.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Sandra F. McLendon, Ed.D. 907 Wesleyan Drive Southern Wesleyan University Central, SC 29630 Dr. McLendon is Acting Associate Dean in the School of Education at Southern Wesleyan University. She teaches education courses in the undergraduate and Master programs.

What Effect does Bullying have on Students and Schools? Today at school, Rosa saw a boy being bullied. Other kids were in a circle around him, calling him names. Rosa knew this was wrong, but she didn’t know what to do to help this boy. She worried that if she said anything, the other kids would start bullying her. After seeing this boy getting bullied, Rosa doesn’t feel safe at school anymore. Bullying doesn’t involve only those doing the bullying and those being bullied. Bullying involves and affects the entire school community. The three main groups that are affected by bullying are the students who are bullied, the students who bully, and the witnesses or bystanders who see it happen, like Rosa.

The Impact on Bullied Students Students who are bullied can develop physical symptoms such as headaches, stomach pains or sleeping problems. They may be afraid to go to school, go to the lavatory, or ride the school bus. They may lose interest in school, have trouble concentrating, or do poorly academically. Bullied students typically lose confidence in themselves. They may experience depression, low self-esteem, and suicidal thoughts or they may lash out in violent ways--the most serious being school shootings.

The Impact on Students Who Bully Students who bully do not fair much better. Research shows that these students are more likely to get into frequent fights, steal and vandalize property, drink alcohol and smoke, report poor grades, perceive a negative climate at school, and carry a weapon. Longterm research has also shown that these students are at increased risk to commit crimes later in life. It’s important to note, however, that not all students who bully others have obvious behavior problems or are engaged in rulebreaking activities. Some of them are highly skilled socially and good at ingratiating themselves with their teachers and other

adults. For this reason it is often difficult for adults to discover, or even imagine that these students engage in bullying behavior.

The Impact of Bullying on Bystanders Students who witness bullying may also be affected. They may feel guilty for not helping, or fearful that they will be the next target. Or they may be drawn into the bullying themselves and feel bad about it afterwards. All of this may gradually change the group or classroom attitudes and norms in a harsher, less empathetic direction.

The Impact on the School When bullying continues and a school does not take action, the entire school climate can be affected. The environment can become one of fear and disrespect, hampering the ability of students to learn. Students may feel insecure and tend not to like school very well. When students don’t see the adults at school acting to prevent or intervene in bullying situations, they may feel that teachers and other school staff have little control over the students and don’t care what happens to them. The effects of bullying are so devastating and profound that over the last few years at least 40 state laws against bullying have been adopted. There have also been civil suits brought against schools and school systems over bullying incidents, some with damages in the millions of dollars. It is important to realize that, like sexual harassment and racial discrimination, some forms of bullying are illegal actions. Bullying is a serious issue that will impact the school experience of all children involved. This is why it must be taken seriously and effective measures to prevent it must be put in place. For more information about bullying or South Carolina Bullying Prevention Initiative, visit or call 803-798-8380.


Promoting Literacy For All in Secondary Schools Through Tiered, Research-Based Interventions: The Content Literacy Continuum By: Daniel J. Boudah, Terry Orr, Jan Bratcher, Thomas Chapman, Jimmy Ouzts & Bonnie Knight

Anderson School District Two (ASD2) is situated in Anderson County approximately 25 miles south of Greenville and approximately 12 miles east of the city of Anderson, South Carolina. ASD2 is classified as a rural district of medium-size in South Carolina, serving approximately 3800 students. Roughly 16 to 18% of Anderson Two’s student population is classified as students with disabilities. The percent of students qualifying for free or reduced lunch status is approximately 45% percent. The BeltonHonea Path area was once a textile magnet, but all area textile mills have closed. With other industries leaving as well, this has created a problem of future employment for those students who do not have a high school diploma. In 2007-2008, ASD2 leadership teams from Belton Honea Path High School (BHP), Belton Middle School (BMS), and Honea Path Middle School (HPMS) began analyzing data on student performance, and a disturbing trend became evident. The schools had never met AYP in achievement for the students with disabilities and minority subgroups; 85% of the students with disabilities scored Below Basic or Basic on state mandated tests at all schools, the graduation rate for students with disabilities was a mere 40%, while only 56% passed HSAP on their initial attempt, and only 38% had a passing rate on End of Course (EOC) tests based on 2008 Report Card Data. Efforts to improve the achievement of students with disabilities had been made by decreasing the number of students with disabilities being removed from general education classrooms by using inclusion models, but curriculum strategies used by the general education teachers had largely proven ineffective for di-


verse learners as evidenced by district data for targeted subgroups of students. A closer look revealed many teachers inadequately prepared to teach at the levels demanded by state tests, as well as feeling unprepared to teach students with disabilities, and spending large amounts time planning lessons with little differentiated instruction. In essence, they were working “harder not smarter.” On the other hand, and quite positively, some teachers were willing to consider revising teaching strategies and to initiate a school wide effort to improve performance on state assessments. In sum, school leadership and classroom teachers all agreed that any school wide reform model should provide increased access to challenging and rigorous curriculum, along with ensuring ALL students are actively engaged in a continuous learning process. In response, ASD2 began to address the challenges described by implementing a reading program in the elementary and middle schools, starting Positive Behavior Interventions and Supports (PBIS), and increasing access to general education classes through inclusive scheduling. However, these efforts were mostly ineffective at enhancing the overall achievement of targeted subgroups of students. Furthermore, like many other districts, ASD2 discovered that given the literacy demands of secondary schools, the current dropout rates among adolescents, and the challenges faced by content area teachers and administrators in schools to meet the criteria set by federal and state legislation, there were few research-based options to enhance curriculum offerings at the secondary level. Therefore, by framing the problem in terms of accessible curriculum and the need to assist teachers in developing new instructional skills, Anderson two leadership began a thorough search for curricular interventions for secondary schools during the spring of 2008. The focus of the search was for an intervention model that would not include just another “pull out” reading program, but one which would be an integral part of the schoolwide curriculum, one that would integrate rather than segregate students with diverse learning needs, and one that would provide teachers with an opportunity to teach “smarter” as part of a schoolwide change effort. This extensive examination of multiple products and models

ultimately led to an examination of the Content Literacy Continuum (CLC) as a multi-tiered, schoolwide reform model.

The Content Literacy Continuum

The Content Literacy Continuum (CLC) addresses the challenges that secondary schools face today – improving the achievement of all students, providing a multi-tiered or RtI support system, meeting AYP targets, and increasing students’ content literacy. Moreover, the Content Literacy Continuum (CLC) is specifically designed to help secondary schools develop and sustain comprehensive and integrated literacy services using instruction that has proven to be effective (e.g., Schumaker & Deshler, 2010). Indeed, the Content Literacy Continuum (CLC) has evolved from over 30 years of work by researchers and associates of the University of Kansas Center for Research on Learning. Teachers are introduced to and use techniques from the Strategic Instruction Model (SIM) (e.g., Schumaker & Deshler, 1992) as well as other proven techniques. Some of these interventions focus on helping teachers think about, adopt and present critical content in a “learner friendly” fashion. Some interventions focus on helping students learn specific skills and strategies students need to learn content across disciplines. The CLC is referred to as a “continuum” because a range of instruction and intervention is provided to meet the needs of all students. There are fives levels of intervention involved in the Content Literacy Continuum: Level 1: Enhanced Content Instruction, Level 2: Embedded Strategy Instruction, Level 3: Intensive Strategy Instruction, Level 4: Intensive Basic Skill Instruction, Level 5: Therapeutic Intervention. From level 1 to level 5, the intensity of intervention increases to address greater intensity and specificity of student needs. The goal of level 1 is the mastery of critical content for all, given the complex language/literacy demands of each academic discipline, and regardless of student literacy levels. The primary instructional methods used are Content Enhancement Routines, including the Unit Organizer Routine (Boudah, Lenz, Bulgren, Schumaker, & Deshler, 2000) and the Framing Routine (Ellis, 1998). The goal of level 2 is the use of powerful learning strategies embedded across content area classes, specifically, strategies found in the Learning Strategies Curriculum such as the Paragraph Writing Strategy (Schumaker & Lyeria, 1993). Strategies are taught explicitly, but with adaptations for content area classes. The goal of CLC level 3 is the mastery of specific reading and writing strategies by students who are several years behind their peers in literacy performance and may be at risk for continued failure and dropout, including some students with disabilities. Students may be enrolled in an Xtreme Reading (Strategic Learning Center, 2010) or learning strategies class to receive more intensive and explicit instruction (learning how to learn, rather than receiving homework assistance) in a separate setting that supplements, rather than supplants, regular English/Language Arts classes. The goal of level 4 is the mastery of fundamental literacy skills for students who are multiple years behind in reading performance, or may even be considered non-readers.

Clearly, without intervention, these students are at a high risk for continued failure and dropout, including students with disabilities. The primary tools utilized include research-validated, commercially-available programs for phonemic awareness, decoding, word attack, fluency, and comprehension skills. Intensive and explicit instruction is provided in a separate setting that supplements, rather than supplants, regular English/Language Arts classes The goal of CLC level 5 is mastery of the language and literacy underpinnings of content, utilizing tools and procedures used at the other levels enriched with curriculum-relevant therapy through a variety of related service providers, such as occupational therapists or speech/language therapists, in separate settings that also supplements, rather than supplants, regular English/Language Arts classes. When compared to a more common three-tier RtI model, CLC levels 1 and 2 are similar in focus to RtI Tier 1. CLC levels 3 and 4 are comparable to RtI Tier 2, depending on the intensity and duration of intervention. CLC levels 3 and 4, when highly intensive and long-term interventions are included, as well as level 5, are most similar to Tier 3 in a three-tier RtI model (Ehren & Deshler, 2009).

Previous Results of CLC Interventions

Research has clearly validated the effectiveness of interventions from the Strategic Instruction Model (SIM) that are included in the Content Literacy Continuum. Specifically, the strategies deployed in CLC primarily originate from the work of Deshler, Schumaker, and associates on the Strategic Instruction Model (SIM). SIM learning strategies have been researched and developed in response to challenges faced by low performing students, including those with learning disabilities, in general education classes (e.g., Faggella-Luby & Deshler, 2008). For over 30 years, research has suggested that use of learning strategies can improve student performance in content area and special class settings, particularly for students at-risk for failure. For example, research on the Word Identification Strategy indicated that all students who learned the strategy made significantly fewer reading errors (Lenz & Hughes, 1990). Research on the Word Mapping Strategy indicated that high school students in the experimental group significantly outperformed comparison students on tasks related to strategy use, meaning of words taught, meanings of word parts, and morphological analysis (Harris, Schumaker & Deshler, 2008). Students who learned the Main Idea Strategy showed pre to post test score gains, improvement through on-going curriculum-based measurement, and out-performed similar students on the state reading test (Boudah, 2008a). In one larger-scale implementation of CLC (Boudah, 2008b), approximately 100 teachers in 14, highly-diverse high schools from the 84th largest district in the US were introduced to the three Content Enhancement Routines (CERs) as Level 1 CLC interventions. They participated in demonstration lessons at individual schools, as well as follow-up observations with feedback and debriefing on the routines. Data were collected regarding student performance on state End of Course (EOC) tests. Com-


paring the overall EOC test achievement ratings of students in the classes of teachers who participated in CLC activities with the overall EOC test achievement ratings of students from matched comparison teachers who did not participate in CLC activities, the difference was statistically significant (X2= 32.672, df= 3, p<.0000). The mean EOC test achievement rating for students in the classes of teachers who participated in CLC activities (CLC students) was 2.62 and the mean EOC test achievement rating of students in the classrooms of matched comparison teachers who did not participate in CLC activities (non-CLC students) was 2.47. Fifty-eight percent of CLC students achieved an EOC test score of 3 or 4, and 49% of non-CLC students achieved an EOC test score of 3 or 4. To summarize, results indicated that student EOC test performance in the classes of content area teachers that implemented CLC level 1 interventions was greater than the performance of students in comparison classes where the teachers did not implement CLC level 1 interventions. Moreover, the results appeared to be consistent across most schools, even given the wide diversity in student populations, and across more than half of the content-specific courses in which data were analyzed. The later effect substantiated the hypothesis that Level 1 interventions, in particular, have impact across disciplines. Effects appeared to be positive for students with and without disabilities as well, and these results supported the premise that CLC interventions, including those in inclusive classrooms, benefit all learners.

CLC Implementation in Anderson School District 2

In Fall 2008, as part of initial whole school reform activities, and with financial support from the district and a grant through the South Carolina Department of Education, department chairs and administration at Belton Honea Path High School (BHP) met with representatives from the University of Kansas and the Strategic Learning Center in Anderson 2. The group explored current challenges regarding adolescent literacy across the school and specific to content areas within the school and how the Content Literacy Continuum, as a tiered intervention approach might address the challenges. Over the ensuing three to four months, approximately a dozen content area teachers volunteered to learn and implement CLC level 1 classroom interventions, and two other teachers were identified to learn and implement the more intensive CLC level 3 reading interventions for smaller groups of identified at-risk students, including students with disabilities. Professional development and instructional materials were provided to teachers, including demonstration lessons within classrooms, as well as follow-up observations with feedback and debriefing. During the 2009-2010 school year, ASD2 applied for and was awarded an IDEA competitive grant through the S.C. Department of Education to support the effort. Additional high school teachers and newly involved middle school teachers volunteered to receive support from the CLC Professional Development 38 PALMETTO ADMINISTRATOR â&#x20AC;˘ WINTER 2010

Team, including additional professional development, classroom coaching, curriculum alignment activities, and materials. Included in the professional development activities was structured time to align CLC reading and literacy interventions to state and local curriculum through summer 2010 instructional activities. As a component of the state grants, CLC level 1 intervention activities were offered to teachers at Honea Path Middle School and Belton Middle School, as well as expanding the number of teachers participating at BHP. Therefore, during 2009-10, the majority of students from the middle grades through high school received instruction in the core curriculum using CLC level 1 intervention methods, regardless of literacy levels. Content area teachers also began learn and implement CLC level 2 strategies as embedded into specific courses to learn vocabulary and improve written language performance. Priority was placed on teaching teachers to teach specific literacy-related strategies (for reading and writing) since high or even acceptable student performance on state tests depends on studentsâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; success on such tasks, thus affecting the districtâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s ability to achieve Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP). Additional Xtreme Reading classes, as level 3 interventions, were scheduled at the middle schools for identified students reading at or near the fourth grade level. During the current 2010-11 school year, ASD2 leadership again successfully acquired competitive state grants to continue the reform effort. Instructional coaching has continued for teachers to ensure implementation fidelity for an increasing number of participating teachers at the high school and middle schools. Additional software has been provided to teachers to enhance efficient planning, sharing, and presentation of content with CLC interventions on technology boards. Anderson 2 also has been recognized by the state as a model demonstration site for secondary school practices using the Content Literacy Continuum and representatives from various school districts around the state have visited to observe and learn about CLC implementation.

CLC Outcomes in Anderson 2/Belton Honea Path High School

After the first half-year of CLC level 1 implementation in the spring of 2009, EOC data were analyzed for 13 teachers at Belton Honea Path High School, including 7 teachers who participated in CLC activities (CLC teachers) and 6 who did not (nonCLC teachers). This group of teachers included math, English, history, and science teachers. The average teaching experience among CLC teachers was 14 years and the average for non-CLC teachers was 10 years. CLC teachers had been introduced to two Content Enhancement Routines (CERs) in spring 2009 (Unit Organizer Routine and the Framing Routine). CLC teachers also participated in demonstration lessons, as well as follow-up observations with feedback. Comparing the EOC test scaled scores of all students in the classes of teachers who participated in CLC activities with the EOC test scaled scores of all students from comparison teach-

ers who did not participate in CLC activities, the difference was statistically significant (F= 12.9831, df= 1, 881, p<.0003). The mean EOC test scaled score for students in the classes of teachers who participated in CLC activities (CLC students) was 75.38, and the mean EOC test scaled score of students in the classrooms of comparison teachers who did not participate in CLC activities (non-CLC students) was 72.74. Given the brief period of time in which teachers were using the CLC Level 1 interventions prior to the EOC tests, these results are certainly encouraging. It may be anticipated that with greater opportunity to use the routines, performance of students within CLC classes will continue to be enhanced, particularly for subgroups, including students with disabilities and students receiving free or reduced cost lunches. Analysis of 2010 EOC and benchmark data was not completed at the time this manuscript was submitted to Palmetto Administrator, however, ASD2 was recognized as just one of three districts in the state to meet AYP goals for 2010. The later results attributable, perhaps at least in part, to implementation of CLC interventions on a larger scale across multiple schools and classrooms. Another outcome at the high school has been the development of a Professional Learning Community (DuFour & Eaker, 2000) among the CLC teachers and a renewed enthusiasm for continued professional growth.


As students shift from the skills emphasis of elementary grades to the content emphasis of secondary grades, they face greater demands to read and comprehend information from textbooks, take notes from lectures, work independently, and express understanding in written compositions and on state achievement tests. For students who haven’t acquired the requisite academic skills, the challenge of mastering content often results in failure, particularly in demanding general education classes. In response to this challenge, the Content Literacy Continuum offers a coordinated, research-based approach to addressing literacy across the school for all learners. As such, CLC addresses national, state, and district priorities regarding literacy, and can be a critical part of a school improvement plan. With a commitment for improvement and change at the school and district level, South Carolina educational leaders can access CLC implementation teams with extensive experience in secondary literacy who can help contribute to the school improvement process. Administrators, teachers and staff work to develop and implement a standards-based plan to improve literacy and content area learning tied to student performance on state assessments and meet local goals. Additionally the CLC framework allows for flexibility of implementation in that starting places may differ depending on the needs and contexts of schools.

For more information on CLC, please see: or contact

Dr. Dan Boudah at Mr. Terry Orr at Ms. Jan Bratcher at Works Sited: Boudah, D. J. (2008a). The inferential main idea strategy: A strategy to improve reading comprehension performance (Instructors Manual) (2nd ed.). Lulu Publishing: Lulu. com. Boudah, D. J. (2008b). Content literacy continuum Project: Annual performance report. Annual report completed for Cumberland County Schools, Office of the Executive Director for Secondary Services. Boudah, D. J., Lenz, B. K., Bulgren, J. A., Schumaker, J. B., & Deshler, D. D. (2000). Don’t water down! Enhance content learning through the unit organizer routine. Teaching Exceptional Children, 32(3), 48-56. DuFour, R., & Eaker, R. (1998). Professional learning communities at work. Bloomington: National Educational Service. Ehren, B. J. & Deshler, D. D. (2009). Using the content literacy continuum as a framework for implementing RTI in secondary schools. (Research Report.) University of Kansas Center for Research on Learning. Ellis, E. S. (1998). The framing routine. Lawrence, KS: Edge Enterprises. Faggella-Luby, M., & Deshler, D. (2008). Reading comprehension in adolescents with LD: What we know; What we need to learn. Learning Disabilities Research & Practice, 23(2), 70-78. Harris, M., Schumaker, J. B., & Deshler, D. D. (2008). The effects of strategic morphological analysis instruction on vocabulary performance of secondary students with and without disabilities. (Research Report.) University of Kansas Center for Research on Learning. Lenz, B. K., & Hughes, C. A. (1990). A word identification strategy for adolescents with learning disabilities. Journal of Learning Disabilities, 23(3), 149-158, 163. Schumaker, J.B., & Deshler, D.D. (2010). Using a tiered intervention model in secondary schools to improve academic outcomes in subject-area courses. In Interventions for achievement and behavior problems in a three-tier model including RTI (pp. 609-632). Bethesda, MD: National Association of School Psychologists. Schumaker, J. B., & Deshler, D. D. (1992). Validation of learning strategy interventions for students with LD: Results of a programmatic research effort. In B. Y. L. Wong (Ed.). Intervention research with students with learning disabilities. New York: Springer-Verlag. Schumaker, J. B., & Lyeria, K. D. (1993). Paragraph Writing Strategy: Instructor’s Manual. Lawrence, KS: University of Kansas Center for Research on Learning. Strategic Learning Center (2010). The Xtreme reading program. Retrieved from

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Daniel J. Boudah Associate Professor East Carolina University 119 Speight Hall Greenville, NC 27858 252.328.1782

Thomas Chapman Superintendent Anderson School District Two 10990 Belton-Honea Path Hwy. Honea Path, SC 29654 864.369.7364

Terry Orr Assistant Superintendent for Special Services Anderson School District 2 10990 Belton-Honea Path Hwy. Honea Path, SC 29654 864.369.7364

Jimmy Outz Principal Belton-Honea Path High School 11000 Belton-Honea Path Hwy. Honea Path, SC 29654

Jan Bratcher Title 1 Services Director Anderson School District 2 10990 Belton-Honea Path Hwy. Honea Path, SC 29654 864.369.7364

Bonnie Knight Director of Secondary Education Anderson School District 2 10990 Belton-Honea Path Hwy. Honea Path, SC 29654 864.369.7364


What Does Research Say Is Effective in Addressing Bullying? It is not uncommon for schools to use a variety of approaches to address bullying, such as schoolwide assemblies or zero tolerance policies. But are these approaches effective in creating long-term, lasting change in the bullying rates at school? Research shows that both of these approaches are not effective. So what is?

bullying and its effects, how to respond if they observe bullying, and how to work with others at the school to help prevent bullying from occurring. 6.

Establish and enforce school rules and policies related to bullying. Although many school policies and procedures prohibit bullying, they don’t clarify expectations for bullying behavior. Developing simple, clear rules about bullying can help to ensure that students are aware of adults’ expectations and they will know that adults will help if they are bullied.


Increase adult supervision in hot spots where bullying occurs. Bullying tends to thrive in locations where adults are not present or are not attentive. Once school personnel have identified hot spots for bullying from the student surveys, look for creative ways to increase adults’ presence in these locations.


Intervene consistently and appropriately in bullying situations. All staff should be able to intervene effectively on the spot to stop bullying. Designated staff should also hold separate follow-up meetings for the child who is bullied and the child who bullies.


Focus class time on bullying prevention. It is important that bullying prevention programs include a classroom component. Teachers should set aside 20-30 minutes each week to discuss bullying and peer relations with students. Bullying prevention is most effective with students when it is integrated into their classroom time.

Although research into bullying prevention is still relatively new, a review of existing bullying prevention programs and feedback from educators in the field have identified ten strategies that represent “best practices” in bullying prevention and intervention. 1.

Focus on the school environment. To reduce bullying, it is important to change the climate of the school and the social norms with regard to bullying. It must become “uncool” to bully, “cool” to help out students who are bullied, and normal for staff and students to notice when a child is bullied or left out. This work should be done schoolwide, not just in one or two classes.


Assess bullying at your school. Often, adults are not very accurate when estimating the nature and extent of bullying at their school. For this reason, it is most helpful to administer an anonymous survey to your students. This will show you how prevalent bullying and its forms are at your school.


Garner staff and parent support for bullying prevention. Bullying prevention is most effective when the entire school community, from the bus drivers to the teachers to the parents, is on board.


Form a group to coordinate your school’s bullying prevention activities. Bullying prevention efforts seem to work best, if they are coordinated by a representative group within the school. This coordinating team (which might include an administrator, a teacher from each grade, a member of the non-teaching staff, a school counselor or other school-based mental health professional, a school nurse, and a parent) should meet regularly to establish bullying prevention plans for the school.


Train your staff in bullying prevention. All administrators, faculty, and staff at your school should be trained in bullying prevention and intervention. In-service training can help staff to better understand the nature of


10. Continue these efforts over time. There should be no end date for bullying prevention efforts. Bullying prevention should be woven into the entire school environment. By following these ten strategies identified as “best practices” in bullying prevention, you will be well on your way to reducing bullying at your school and providing a safe, supportive learning environment for your students. For more information about bullying or the South Carolina Bullying Prevention Initiative, visit or call 803-798-8380.


South Carolina Attendance Laws: An Ethical Sargassa Sea By: Marsheila Natachee Ksor

One of the most confounding ethical issues in the field of education today, particularly in the state of South Carolina, is with regards to current legislation, regulations and policies that govern school attendance. It seems, moreover, that ethical encounters arise, at least in part, due to the ambiguous language and seeming contradictions that plague the subject, forcing the rest of the education profession to make interpretations of the law at their respective discretion. Should students suffer both criminal and academic penalties for the same infraction—that is, excessive absences? Considering the consequences of course failure at the high school level, should truant students who demonstrate course mastery be subject to the ten-day penalty—that is, auto44 PALMETTO ADMINISTRATOR • WINTER 2010

matic course failure for missing more than ten school days? Are guidance counselors acting ethically when they fail to enforce the ten-day penalty? Under what circumstances should school administration grant attendance appeals? How can schools ensure that attendance polices are fair for all students? Should truant students be incarcerated? These are just a few of the questions soliciting serious ethical inquiry from all levels in the field of education, from those in leadership and guidance positions down to the individual teachers. Truancy is, without a doubt, one of the most serious educational problems in the United States today. Truancy not only causes

multiple short-term consequences (poor grades, isolation from mainstream society, diminished self-esteem, etc.), but is also one of the most reliable predictors of future delinquent behavior (Tait, 2004). Students who incur excessive absences are more likely to drop out of school, become dependant on the public welfare system, have unstable marriages, and eventually become incarcerated (Zhang, D., Katsivannis, A., Barrett, D., & Willson, V., 2007). Truancy has even been found to significantly increase the incidence of drug abuse (Henry, 2007). The long term cost of truancy is dramatic, both economically and on a societal level. Clearly, excessive absenteeism is a serious issue, and while acceptance of truancy (as a problem) is rarely controversial, the subject of how to address this problem certainly is. Whether handled by the courts or managed by classroom teachers, strategies and methods for dealing with truancy are often fraught with ethical uncertainties. In the state of South Carolina, there are essentially two agencies that control school attendance: the State Legislature and the State Board of Education. The State Legislature mandates school attendance and assigns civil and criminal penalties for noncompliance. The Board of Education regulates attendance requirements for course completion, effectively assigning academic penalties for noncompliance. Together, these two organizations attempt to encourage regular school attendance through negative reinforcement and punitive measures. Positive reinforcements and various incentives are left to individual school districts and local education agencies (LEAs). These organizations, moreover, have a colossal vested interest in truancy since school districts who lack satisfactory attendance rates suffer consequences in the same way that individually truant students do. For one, since school funding is generally determined by daily attendance averages, poor student attendance rates place a serious financial hardship on already overburdened school systems. Furthermore, under No Child Left Behind (NCLB) legislation, school attendance is calculated into school report card grades. Therefore, poor school attendance rates also result in the same consequences associated with poor school report card grades. Nevertheless and in spite of these factors, school districts often do no more to combat school truancy than what is mandated by the State Legislature and State Board of Education. The South Carolina State Legislature has instituted serious criminal and/or civil penalties for school truancy, including both harsh fines and even jail time. Actually, South Carolina is one of only two states in the entire nation that incarcerates its youth for truancy. In fact, truancy is an infraction that is ranked among the top five reasons that juveniles are referred to the Department of Juvenile Justice in South Carolina (DJJ, 2007). In 2000, for instance, DJJ received 2,995 truancy cases, which accounted for 17% of all juveniles committed to institutions in that same year (Richland, 2008). Indeed, the courts are being used more and more often to combat truancy (McCluskey, Bynum, & Patchin, 2004). In addition, truant children are not the only ones risking jail time for failure to regularly attend school. Parents and/

or legal guardians of truants are also subject to incarceration if their child or ward is found guilty of nonattendance. According to Chapter 65, Article 1 of the Compulsory Attendance Laws, Section 59-65-20, any parent or guardian “who neglects to enroll his or her child or ward or refuses to make such child or ward attend school shall, upon conviction, be fined not more than fifty dollars or be imprisoned not more than thirty days,” and that each day’s absence, moreover, “shall constitute a separate offense” (SC59-65-20, 2006). Through this legislation, the State department hopes to make it perfectly clear that parents are responsible for making sure their children or wards attend school every day. Those who fail in this duty may be heavily fined or even incarcerated. And although parents are rarely jailed for their child’s nonattendance, the threat alone is often enough to persuade irresponsible parents into compliance with the law – that is, ensuring that their children attend school regularly. There are, of course, certain exceptions. Parents of older students who are, for one reason or another, incapable of disciplining their children or forcing them to attend school may exempt themselves from this law by requesting that the courts declare their child legally incorrigible. In these cases, the children are generally removed from the parent’s custody and placed in either a group home, or under certain circumstances, they can be considered delinquents and then admitted to the Department of Juvenile Justice. Undoubtedly, the State of South Carolina recognizes the serious consequences of habitual truancy and, therefore, has provided for extremely harsh penalties as a deterrent. Nevertheless, some opponents of incarceration penalties for truancy offences doubt the effectiveness of such measures, primarily basing their objections on the lack of any substantial research indicating a correlation between punitive measures and improved school attendance (Zhang, 2007). Still, there is no argument that truancy must be addressed in some fashion. South Carolina, whose Department of Juvenile Justice detention facilities operates their own regionally accredited middle and high school programs, claims that incarceration is the only one hundred percent reliable way to ensure school attendance (DJJ, 2007). Their school, which is accredited by the South Carolina Department of Education and has even been honored with the Palmetto Gold award for the past three years, graduates around 150 students annually (DJJ, 2007) and boast a higher than average course completion rate. Many of these students are prior truancy offenders who would not have otherwise graduated from high school or, in other cases, passed their grade and been promoted to the next grade level. Advocates of incarceration for truancy offenders point to examples such as these in order to justify the practice. The South Carolina Board of Education also assigns a severe penalty for school nonattendance. In this state, course credit is denied to any student who is absent in excess of ten school days. This regulation is commonly known as the ten-day rule. South Carolina Regulation No: R43-234 of the “Defined Program” code states that,


“a school may award one unit of credit for an academic standards-based course that requires a minimum of 120 hours of instruction. A school may award one-half unit of credit for an academic standards-based course requiring a minimum of 60 hours of instruction and one-fourth unit of credit for an academic standards-based course requiring a minimum of 30 hours of instruction” (SCR43-234, 2006). Although this regulation does not explicitly mandate that students who miss more than ten school days of school automatically fail a course, it sets up a de facto rule for overly cautious districts interpreting these legislations and regulations to implement. As explained by the information department for the South Carolina Department of Education, “students are required to be enrolled 180 days in school and are required to be in class so many minutes per day, per class in order to receive credit for taking a course. This is especially true in grades 9-12. A student can be an A/B student, but miss too many days of school (or not have enough “seat time”) in the classroom, and fail for the year. This is clearly defined in a current State Board of Education regulation entitled “defined minimum program”, which establishes the criteria for specific grade levels and the required amount of instruction time which is required at each grade level” (information desk, personal correspondence, March 12th, 2008). And while advocates of this legislation argue that without such measures there would be no incentive for students to regularly attend school, opponents argue that it possesses far too many problems and deficiencies to be a viable solution to school nonattendance. According to these critics, the ten-day regulation possesses far too many issues, particularly with ambiguous wording and instances where it ideologically conflicts with other legislation. Critic also make note of the fact that the numerous exceptions provided for in this regulation is likely to result in inconsistent (and therefore inequitable) application. Moreover, regulation opponents also claim that the ten-day rule unfairly targets certain student populations, and, in some cases, may even violate ADA and/or IDEA. The SC codes of legislation and regulations simply state that academic credit cannot be given unless a student receives a certain number of instructional hours in a course. It does not, however, offer any guidance as to what should happen when a student does not receive the required number of hours. Should the student be forced to repeat the entire course? Should they be allowed to simply make up the hours at a Saturday session or something comparable? Under what circumstances should a student be allowed to pass the course without the required seat time? For, it is certain that not every student in South Carolina who misses more than ten days of school fails their courses. Who makes these decisions, and what ethical reflection goes into these choices? Opponents of the ten-day rule believe that ambiguous language 46 PALMETTO ADMINISTRATOR • WINTER 2010

should never be part of formal regulations since it has the tendency to spawn unethical implementation. Critics also call attention to the fact that the ten-day rule, as an attendance policy, seems to conflict with other South Carolina regulations. For instance, in the South Carolina Code of Laws, Section 59-17-135, amended during Session 16, named S 0024 in 2005-2006, the South Carolina School Board has declared that academic penalties cannot be assigned for behavioral issues. The bill that prompted this decision reads, “conduct grades are intended to provide parents or guardians with an assessment of student behavior and must not be included as part of a student’s transcript or in the compilation of a student’s GPA” (SC 59-17135, 2006). If absenteeism is an issue of conduct, then the academic penalty of failure is contraindicated by both the SC bill and the State Board of Education’s regulation forbidding such practice. Opponents also believe that the multiple exceptions to the tenday penalty tend to create an environment ripe for ethical conflict. Just a few of the exceptions are with regards to proficiency based courses, college credit courses, adult education transfers and homebound students. South Carolina education regulations state that a “school may award credit for a course that has been approved by the State Department of Education in a proficiencybased system” (SCR43-234:IIC, 2006). In other words, the 120 hour requirement can be waived for proficiently-based courses (Shelly Kelly: Deputy General Counsel and Assistant Director for the South Carolina Department of Education, personal correspondence, March 13th, 2008). However, since all courses are technically assumed to be proficiency based—that is mastery of course content is the inevitable goal, this “proficiency-based” exception generates substantial confusion. This SC regulation also states that “a three-semester-hour college course transfers as one unit of credit” (SCR43-234:IIIB, 2006). If the average college semester is 16 weeks, then a 3 credit college course equates to 48 hours of classroom instruction, less than half of the state mandated hours. Another exception states that “a school may award credit toward a high school diploma for a course that the student takes in an approved adult education program” (SCR43-234:IIG, 2006). Since adult education programs have a minimum seat time requirement of 60 hours, opponents of the ten-day rule see it as problematic to accept these credits when legislation requires 120 hours in a course. Also, students who are on medical homebound or home-based placement receive five hours of instruction weekly, yet they receive full credit for four to seven courses (depending on whether the school operates on a block or traditional schedule). This ends up being 90 hours per semester or 22-24 hours per course, which is also significantly less than the 120 hour minimum required by law. Opponents of the ten-day rule question what makes students benefiting from these exceptions different from other children. How can a system with so many exceptions remain fair and neutral to all students?

According to critics, these excessive and highly subjective exceptions generate confusion and inconsistent application within the law resulting in universal inequity. Another ethical problem that opponents of the ten-day rule cite is that it tends to target a particularly vulnerable population of students. For, a disproportionate number of children who are affected by absenteeism are minorities and children are from low socioeconomic status (SES) families (Donnelly, 1987). Moreover, procedures for attendance appeals are usually only taken advantage of by higher SES students, who possess both the knowledge and the resources to pursue this remedy. Therefore, opponents claim that assigning an academic penalty for truancy harms an already underprivileged group. Students from lower SES are also less likely to go to the doctor when they are sick and are, in consequence, less likely to have their absences medically excused. Again, critics of this regulation claim that the underprivileged are further disenfranchised by a system that seems designed for

middle class families. Low SES students are also more likely to incur absences as a result of personal circumstances such as having to care for a family member, missing the school bus, home crisis, financial hardships, embarrassment from lack of appropriate clothing or other resources. In fact, it is estimated that as many as 6% of student absences are attributed to being fearful of the journey to and from school (CDC, 2006) and among minorities, this percentage is even higher (CDC, 2006). Critics claim that for these students, adding an academic penalty for absenteeism is like throwing salt on a wound. It is also possible that, in some instances, the current SC attendance policies violate the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). For example, two common causes of excessive school absenteeism are depression and chemical dependency. Clinical depression is, moreover, classified as a mental impairment under the ADA (Schimelpfening, 2007). Therefore, penalizing a student for


manifestations of this disability should be, technically, prohibited. Furthermore, alcoholism and drug addiction (also known as chemical dependencies) are likewise mental impairments. Opponents of the ten-day rule accuse lawmakers of setting up a system that is inherently unfair, suggesting that, under this regulation, unless a student has a lawyer or healthcare provider willing to advocate on their behalf, their rights of accommodation under ADA or IDEA would essentially be forfeit, an outcome that is clearly unfair and unethical. Nevertheless, proponents of the ten-day rule claim that this regulation is necessary, not only to motivate students to attend school daily, but in order to prevent the chaos that would surely erupt without a clearly defined seat time requirement. If every child could receive credit whenever they or their teachers or parents or guidance counselors felt that they had mastered course material, then the question would arise of how this child would spend their time for the remainder of the school year? How would this impact scheduling? How would this affect school administration and accounting? What would stop unethical teachers from just passing students in order to reduce their own course load? Those who agree with the ten-day rule argue that eliminating this regulation would open up a Pandora’s Box that the school system is just not prepared to handle. In the field of education, there are no completely obvious and infallible decisions, and the discussion surrounding school attendance, furthermore, is no exception. Individuals must engage in serious ethical reflection in order to manage the debate surrounding school attendance. For, as one author noted, “educators know well that custom, profession, school procedure, district board, state legislature and federal government make competing claims on one’s virtue” (Rozycki, 2008, p. 63). At the Spartanburg County Alternative School (SCAS), for instance, handling attendance is a veritable juggling act between considerations of student welfare, state regulations, district obligations and a host of other factors. At this school, students are enrolled only after they have served their ten day suspension sentence prior to expulsion, which means that these students have already technically failed for the year as a result of the ten-day rule. If SCAS were to strictly enforce state attendance rules, practically every student enrolled would be doomed to failure, which is clearly an unacceptable outcome. Therefore, SCAS only begins counting attendance from the day that students are enrolled without transferring previous absences from their home schools. Although this is not a common district practice or standard policy, by any means, and many State organizations are likely to feel that SCAS’s actions are unfair to students who manage to maintain regular school attendance in spite of personal obstacles, SCAS is compelled to consider this practice to be the only ethically viable option for their students. This is especially true considering the consequences of course failure, particularly with regards to at-risk students who comprise practically the entirety 48 PALMETTO ADMINISTRATOR • WINTER 2010

of the SCAS student population. SCAS’s organizational policies regarding attendance were not, therefore, developed without serious ethical reflection. It seems as if all decisions made in education should share this same grounding principle – that is, the best interest of children. Attendance policies should be developed only after serious ethical reflection where the best interest of children remains at the heart of all inquiry. Granted, truancy is a serious problem necessitating strong preventative measures, but academic penalties should never be part of these actions. In some cases, incarceration is an excellent option for habitual truants. Juvenile justice systems that operate fully accredited schools can ensure that children receive an education in a way that no other organization can. South Carolina’s Department for Juvenile Justice School (SCDJJS), which graduates over 150 students each year, is an example of this kind of success. This is not to imply, however, that incarceration is the only (or even preferred) method of dealing with excessive absenteeism, by no means. There are times when incarceration only exacerbates a student’s proclivity towards delinquency. Decisions made while managing student welfare should be individually considered. Unilateral policies are inherently unfair, benefiting some while penalizing others. With that said, it is probably best to point out that it is always a better idea to combat all forms of delinquency (including truancy) with positive reinforcement measures and support services implemented at the local level instead of with negative reinforcements such as punitive punishments. Nevertheless, the policies implemented by The South Carolina State Legislature are generally fair and good. Policies designed by the South Carolina Department of Education, however, are not. Truancy should be dealt with from a discipline standpoint – fines and punitive punishment are acceptable measures – automatic course failure is not. Students who demonstrate course mastery should never be failed, particularly at-risk students for whom the stakes of course failure are much higher.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Marsheila Natachee Ksor Spartanburg County Alternative School 150 Lincoln School Road Spartanburg South Carolina, 29301 864-595-4302 eLearning Site Director Ksor is a Nationally Board Certified English teacher who has presented multiple times at various conferences across the southeast on the subject of eLearning and at-risk students. She graduated with honors from Wofford College, the University of Miami and is currently attending Nova Southeastern, where she majors in Curriculum Development and Instructional Technology.

The Impact of Site-based Professional Development Activities on School Performance in Elementary Schools in South Carolina By: Dr. LeConte’ Richardson Middleton & Dr. Necati Engec

Our nation’s schools are faced with numerous challenges. Establishing and maintaining effective leadership (Schmoker, 2006; Kowalski, 2008); recruiting and retaining high quality teachers (Murphy & Meyers, 2008); increasing parental and community involvement (Carter, 2000); improving student achievement (Marzano, 2003; Kowalski, 2008; NCLB, 2001) and marshalling resources (Blackledge, 2009) are among them. These challenges are complex and unprecedented. Consequently, they have presented enormous tasks to the leadership in our schools. Although all of these factors contribute heavily to the functions and needs of schools, student achievement is one that remains a dominant interest of the American public. The focus on raising student achievement has convinced districts and states to attempt many school improvement strategies to prepare students for annual high stakes testing- one of the factors used to measure student achievement and ultimately to determine school success. As the stakes continue to climb, some schools flounder to meet the requirements of the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001 (NCLB) which requires all students to perform at the level of proficiency on standardized assessments by 2014 (United States Department of Education, 2009). According to the National Education Association (2008), in spite of school efforts to comply with the demands of this legislation, there is a notable increase in the number of schools nationwide that fail to make “adequate yearly progress” (AYP). The purpose of NCLB is to improve the quality of education for all students including, but not limited to- low-achieving, high-poverty, minority and special needs students (USDOE, 2001). Although these students have received increased attention in recent years, researchers noted that children in poverty have traditionally experienced difficulty in the public education system. According to Snell (2003), educators have concentrated primarily upon improving student achievement or school performance by instituting new programs or specific strategies such as seminars targeted toward increasing parental involvement, reduction in class-size, or site-based management. However, these measures have done little to remedy the problem. Test scores may show slight increases for a short period, but these results do not last. In order to facilitate a lasting impact upon student achievement, research indicated that schools must implement strategies targeted toward enhancing student learning. Additionally, these strategies must benefit all students regardless of ability, race or

socioeconomic status. In simple terms, spending more money on canned programs will not eliminate the problems encountered in classrooms. If the ultimate goal is improved student achievement, school leaders must focus on improving teacher quality (Sparks & Hirsh, 2000; Schmoker, 2006). Teacher effectiveness has a direct impact upon student learning.

Purpose of the Study “Just as student learning depends on the expertise of teachers, the expertise of teachers depends on the quality of their professional development (Rooney, 2007, p. 87).” Legislators recognize the importance of having effective teachers in classrooms. For that reason, another component of the No Child Left Behind legislation mandates that every child must be taught by a highly qualified teacher (NCLB, 2001). Therefore, it is essential that school administrators exercise their greatest efforts in recruiting and retaining not only the best qualified teachers, but the most effective ones. While organizations nationwide struggle with retaining effective teachers, this issue is more evident in high-poverty, highminority schools (Education Trust, 2006; Chait, 2009). Although some parties blame socioeconomic status, gender, and other factors (Carter, 2000) for the challenges that prevent students from faring well on standardized tests, studies showed that effective teaching has a proven impact upon student learning in high-poverty schools as well (Reeves, 2000). A recent study conducted in Los Angeles demonstrated that students advanced an average of five percentile points when they were taught by teachers who were identified as performing in the top quartile in terms of teaching effectiveness. In contrast, their peers who were taught by bottom quartile teachers lost an average of five percentile points (Gordon, Kane & Staiger, 2006). Therefore, efforts to attain teacher effectiveness through high quality training or opportunities for educators to develop their craft are optimal. Educational leaders impact the degree to which teacher effectiveness is achieved. Barth (2006) contended one of the most important aspects of the work of educational leaders is to grow people. It is the expectation that both teachers and administrators continue to grow in both content specialization and teaching pedagogy in order to provide the best opportunities for students to learn. Therefore, it is not surprising that schools and districts


spend between 1% and 6% of their total budgets on staff development annually (Hill, 2009). Some institutions spend as much as 10% of their budgets on teacher training. Staff development was identified as the largest monetary reform investment made by schools (Desimone, Porter, Garet, Yoon & Birman, 2002). Since developing teachers and staff requires such a large percentage of the total budget, it is logical that the most promising practices be utilized and that they exhibit the characteristics of effective professional development as described in the literature. What are effective professional development activities? According to Killion (2002), many districts still rely on conferences, presentations and isolated workshops as a primary means of educating its teachers. These activities cost less in the short term; however, researchers noted that these approaches have minimal impact upon teacher practice (Guskey, 1999; Joyce & Showers, 2002; DuFour, 2004; Klinger, 2004). Often, the focus of these one-time events has little or nothing to do with the content or context of the teachersâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; work (Killion, 1999). In order to facilitate change in classrooms, organizations must implement professional development opportunities that complement the varied needs, responsibilities and areas of expertise teachers have as well as provide adequate support following the training. Guskey (1999) indicated that site-based professional development showed greater relevance, better correlation to teaching content, and was focused on areas in which schools needed immediate improvement. Moreover, these non-threatening, non-evaluative approaches would allow opportunities for teachers to collaborate with their colleagues about professional practices, instructional strategies, assessment data and curriculum to foster increased student performance.

Review of the Literature Some of the nationâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s schools and districts have embraced the notion of providing more opportunities for teacher professional growth within the school building rather than investing in onetime workshops or teacher conferences. Although these one-shot meetings are still prevalent and provide a feasible way for teachers to extend their professional knowledge and learn new skills, they have limited transfer. Researchers found that a 15% implementation rate was as much as could be expected from workshops (Knight, 2009). Another argument is simply that there is no evidence that traditional staff development results in improved student achievement (Knight, 2006). In order for there to be any effect upon student learning, teachers must continually try new strategies and adjust their instructional practices until they find what works. Without implementation, this change cannot occur and student achievement will not be affected. Current studies revealed many benefits to offering on-site learning opportunities to teachers. Researchers argued that site-based professional development is more cost effective over time (Boyle et al., 2005), can be differentiated to suit the professional needs of the teachers (Gregory, 2003; Zepeda, 2007), builds capacity (Picucci et al, 2004), has greater contextual relevance for staff 50 PALMETTO ADMINISTRATOR â&#x20AC;˘ WINTER 2010

(Guskey, 1999), is more focused on the learners and learning (Guskey, 1999; DuFour et al., 2006) and allows opportunity for teachers to receive the support needed as they try new strategies in the classroom (Fogarty & Pete, 2006). Since site-based professional development offers contextual relevance, there is opportunity to customize learning experiences so they address the specific needs of the school represented (Guskey, 1999). Dessimone, Porter, Garet, Yoon, and Birman (2002) suggested that opportunities that embed teacher learning into the work day provide the most efficient options for developing teachers. Roy (2007) argued that any formal and informal teacher interactions that involve lesson development, strategy discussion, analysis of student work, data analysis or observation and feedback might be considered job-embedded work. The Hamilton County School District launched the Brentwood Initiative to improve its 20 lowest-performing elementary schools in Chattanooga, Tennessee. One of the major strategies included was the implementation of job-embedded professional development focused upon improving teacher instructional practices. By 2007, the Brentwood schools improved their third grade reading scores from 53% to 80% of the students scoring proficient and advanced on the state standardized test (Haycock & Crawford, 2008). The district trained principals and consulting teachers to use data to coach teachers. The result was improved instructional practice and increased achievement. Boyle, Lamprianou, and Boyle (2005) reported on a longitudinal investigation of the impact varied forms of professional development had on teaching strategies. Among their guiding questions, they sought to determine whether or not the duration of professional development had an impact upon teaching practice and whether certain professional development characteristics related to gains in student performance. In Year 2 of the study the researchers reported that teachers who participated in long-term professional development activities such as coaching or research inquiry were more inclined to participate in peer observation, share professional practice, and modify some facets of their teaching practices. Garet, Porter, Desimone, Birman, and Yoon (2001) determined that effective professional development must be active, on-going, related to teacher instructional practice, and provide opportunity for collective reflection. Some of the activities mentioned in the literature were action research, coaching, and professional learning communities. Professional development can only begin to impact student achievement when educators commit to deliberate learning experiences where they collaborate with their colleagues in an ongoing manner to transform both teaching and learning (DuFour, DuFour & Eaker, 2009). Most site-based practices found in the literature promote teacher collaboration. Some of the most frequently mentioned job-embedded professional development activities included teacher observation with feedback, school-based coaching, peer coaching, mentoring, action research, study group and professional learning communities.

Methodology This study was designed to involve approximately 300 participants in ten elementary schools in South Carolina; however, three of the targeted schools chose not to participate. Selected from the 2009 South Carolina High Poverty Index, all schools were chosen because they had poverty rates of at least 90%, minority populations of at least 90%, and leadership had been in place for at least three years. Four of the remaining schools were high-achieving indicating that they had met AYP for at least two consecutive years. Three schools were inconsistent in terms of school performance. These schools were listed as Continuing School Improvement (CSI) or Corrective Action (CA) indicating they had missed AYP for three or four consecutive years respectively. The researcher developed a 20-item survey that was distributed to each participant. The survey instrument was constructed to include precise statements related to the varied professional development activities revealed through an extensive literature review. Section One used a frequency scale to determine the degree to which teachers participated in site-based professional development activities and the degree to which they used the strategies they learned in their classroom practice. Their responses were recorded as (1) Never; (2) Seldom; (3) Sometimes; (4) Frequently; or (5) Very Frequently. Section Two was used to gather personal and professional data about the respondents. These included teaching position or grade level, number of years experience, years of service at the school, and the manner in which they obtained teacher certification. Approximately 130 of 212 classroom teachers responded to the survey. The research did not definitively conclude that teacher professional development increases student achievement. However, the literature heavily supported the notion that teacher collaboration and reflection can activate change in teacher practice which influences student learning (Guskey, 1999; Sparks, 2002). Therefore, non-experimental quantitative methods were used to gather data about the present professional development practices used within the four high-achieving and three low-achieving high poverty schools included in this investigation. Findings The first 16 items of the survey focused on the professional development activities existent within the schools. The teachers were asked four questions at the end of the survey to enlightenment the researcher about the respondentsâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; backgrounds. Item 17 requested information about years of experience. Of the 130 respondents, 15% had been teaching 2 years or less, 14% marked 15 to 20 years, and 31% indicated they had more than 20 years experience. The mean for years of service in the current teaching site was 2.84 indicating that the average teacher included in this study was early career (6 to 10 years). Thirty percent of the teachers had been in the profession between 6 and 14 years. High poverty schools commonly experience difficulty recruit-

ing and retaining teachers (Education Trust, 2004). This trend was evident in some of the schools chosen for this study. Thirty percent of the respondents had worked in the selected schools for 3 years or less. A frequency table indicated that 23% of the teachers had worked in their respective schools for 6 to 10 years. Fifteen percent of the teachers had worked in these schools for 4 to 5 years. Those teachers working in the schools for greater than 10 years were 11% for 11 to14 years, 9% for 15 to 20 years and 11% for more than 20 years. A crosstabulation of years of service with AYP status indicated that all 14 respondents who had greater than 20 years of teaching experience worked in schools that had consistently met AYP. The results showed that the majority of the teachers in low-achieving schools had been employed in these schools 10 years or less. Ninety-four percent of the respondents were certified through a traditional teaching program. This indicated that teacher certification had no connection to teacher professional development interests or school performance. There was varied distribution of participants from elementary school grades child development through grade 5, special education, related arts and Other. Sixty-seven percent of the participants were teachers representing child development through grade 5. Special education teachers made up 9% of the respondents. Related arts teachers (8%) included physical education, art, music, library/media arts, Spanish and English speakers of other languages (ESOL). Approximately 14% of the respondents selected Other. Some of these respondents included ESOL teachers working with primary or elementary grades, a literacy coach, a math coach, a science lab instructor, curriculum resource teachers, reading interventionists, speech and language pathologists and counselors.

Research Question 1 The first question in this study examined which types of professional development activities teachers most participated in and found useful to their work. In order to address this question, two types of items were used on the professional development survey. The survey items were divided into sub-sections related to eight different types of professional development. The first sub-section was the traditional workshop or conference. The other seven types were specific site-based professional development practices that were mentioned in the literature. These professional development types included observations, coaching, peer-coaching, mentoring, study group, professional learning communities (PLC), and action research. In each sub-section the first question asked the teachers to rate the degree to which they participated in the specific type of professional development. Table 1 presents the means and standard deviations from the odd numbered items which asked about teacher participation in professional development that might have been offered at their respective schools. The data, shown in means and standard devia-


The second research question examined whether or not there was a significant difference in the degree to which teachers engaged in site-based professional development activities in high-poverty, high-achieving elementary schools and high-poverty, lowachieving elementary schools. In order to address this question the researcher created variables that were comprised of the composite mean of teachersâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; beliefs about the targeted learning activities. These variables were drawn from the questions asked in the survey. Teacher responses were catalogued on a 5-point Likert scale. Then they were analyzed through an independent t-test to compare the means. The p-value was set at 0.05 for each of the independent t-tests run in this study. Professional development opportunities. The first composite scale score was generated by adding the responses to all survey items. The sum was then divided by the total number of items. There were 16 items in all. This computation was done for each participant. An independent t-test was used to compare the overall means of schools Met and schools Not Met. The results, pre-

tions, ranged from 2.75 mean to 4.24 mean. Teachers generally indicated that peer coaching (2.75 mean) was the least beneficial of all types of professional development presented in the study. Study group received a mean score of 2.85 which classified it in the sometimes category. Most scale scores fell between 3.32 and 3.91. The respondents selected professional learning communities as a frequent practice among their schools. PLCs received a mean score of 4.25 indicating that teachers agreed that their schools met as a community of learners two or more times each month, and they were active participants. Table 2 presents data regarding the means and standard deviations for the degree to which teachers implemented the strategies or activities they learned about through their professional experiences. The mean scale scores ranged from 2.98 to 4.26. Study group displayed the lowest scale score (2.98) indicating that teachers sometimes implemented strategies learned through these types of professional development activities. Teachersâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; responses revealed that they frequently to very frequently (4.26 mean) implemented what they gleaned from observation feedback. Respondents also frequently implemented strategies gained through PLC. The mean scores for the other types of professional development fell between 3.25 and 3.98. Teachers indicated that they sometimes to frequently used strategies from these forms of professional development.

Research Question 2 52 PALMETTO ADMINISTRATOR â&#x20AC;˘ WINTER 2010

sented in Tables 3 and 4, were used to determine if there was a significant difference in the degree to which teachers in highpoverty, high-achieving schools and high-poverty, low-achieving schools participated and used professional development. Teachers in schools that had consistently met AYP indicated that they participated in staff development activities sometimes or a few times a year (M=3.50, SD=.672). The respondents who represented low-achieving schools answered sometimes to frequently (M=3.70, SD=.827) or as much as 6 times each year. This study revealed that there was not a significant difference between the

teachers are given time to collaborate with one another to discuss effective classroom practices and student work, change in student achievement is eminent (Hord, 2007).

overall staff development of schools that had met AYP and those that had not t(94) =-1.25, p=.213. Site-based professional development participation. The learning opportunities made available to teachers were examined by computing the means for odd-numbered items 3 through 15, because all of these items inquired about the site-based professional development activities teachers were involved in. Seven survey items were included in this mean which was calculated from the sum of the participants’ individual responses. The responses were used to determine if there was a significant difference between the degree of participation in site-based professional development activities for teachers in schools that had successfully met AYP for several years versus those who had not. The results are presented in Tables 5 and 6. This study determined that teachers in low-performing, high-poverty schools participated in site-based staff development opportunities sometimes to frequently or 5 to 6 times a year (M=3.60, SD =.853). Teachers in higher performing, high-poverty schools participated sometimes or 4 to 5 times annually (M=3.33, SD=.73). Therefore, it was evi dent that there is no significant difference between the means t(102)= -1.72, p= .088. Use of practices. For the section in which teachers were asked to what extent they used the practices, innovations, strategies or ideas learned through professional learning opportunities respondents used the same Likert scale to record their responses. An independent t-test was run to determine if there was a significant difference between the degree of implementation for teachers in high-poverty, high-achieving schools and teachers in high-poverty, low-achieving schools. The test revealed that there was no significant difference between the means t(95)= -1.34, p=.184. Teachers in both low-achieving schools (M=3.74, SD=.847) and teachers in high-achieving schools (M=3.52, SD=.738) reported that they implemented strategies they learned in site-based professional learning activities sometimes to frequently or 4 to 6 times yearly. The results are reported in Tables 7 and 8.

Conclusions The data presented in this study led to the conclusion that teachers and school leaders in South Carolina’s high-poverty schools regard PLCs as a necessary component of the school’s structure. Not only do teachers have ongoing access to a community of learners, they appreciate the work that results from these experiences as they frequently apply new strategies in their classrooms and modify their practices to improve student learning. When

According to the study, observations occur once or twice a month in these schools. The literature reported that effective walk-throughs that impact student achievement are held weekly, and they provide a platform for discussion in other forms of sitebased professional development such as PLC, study group or action research (Zepeda, 2007). From this study, it could not be determined whether or not classroom observations were related to other types of job-embedded experiences; however, the results confirmed that teachers are receptive to using this focused feedback to enhance their classroom instruction. In spite of what has been revealed about effective staff development for educators (DuFour, 2004; Boyle, et al., 2005; Guskey, 2000; Killion, 2004; Knight, 2007), the data confirmed that there is still a great dependence upon workshop presenters to provide teachers in high-poverty schools with the skills they need to modify their instructional practices. In general, teachers in high-poverty schools experimented with varied types of professional development over the course of the school year. There was minimal indication that site-based professional development had a strong presence in high-poverty schools. Finally, the data revealed that the professional development opportunities most frequently experienced by teachers in highachieving schools were the same as those frequented by teachers in low-achieving schools. Although professional development is very important to shaping a culture of collegiality and competence, some factors other than teacher professional development contributed to the overall performance of high-poverty schools.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Dr. LeConte’ Richardson Middleton Satchel Ford Elementary School • 5901 Satchel Ford Road Columbia, SC 29206 • (803) 738-7209 LeConte’ Richardson Middleton is the assistant principal at Satchel Ford Elementary in Richland School District One. She earned the Ed.D in Educational Leadership from South Carolina State University and continues to study effective practices in professional development and adult learning. Dr. Necati Engec South Carolina State University • 300 College Street NE Orangeburg, SC 29117 • (803) 516-4876 • Necati Engec is an assistant professor in South Carolina State University Department of Educational Leadership. He has a Ph.D. in Educational Research Methodology from the Department of Educational Leadership, Research, and Counseling (with a minor in Applied Statistics from the Department of Experimental Statistics) at Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge. His publications include “Person-Fit and the Rasch Model: How Seriously Model Fit Is Affected by Appropriateness Measurements in the Rasch Model,” “Reliability and Validity of Tests for Turkish Teacher Candidates,” and “Logistic Regression and Item Response Theory: Estimating of Item and Ability Parameters for Polytomous Nominal Data Using Logistic Regression in IRT.”


Introducing the Olweus Bullying Prevention Program “The power of the Olweus Bullying Prevention Program lies in staff and students using common language to address bullying situations. A message is carried out to students saying bullying will not be tolerated here.” — A school counselor

What is the Olweus Bullying Prevention Program? One of the best ways to address bullying prevention in schools is to implement an evidence-based bullying prevention program. Evidence-based means the program has gone through rigorous evaluations effectively demonstrating that the program results in positive outcomes. The Olweus Bullying Prevention Program (OBPP) is the most researched and best-known bullying prevention program available today. With over thirty-five years of research and successful implementation all over the world, OBPP is a whole-school program that has been proven to prevent or reduce bullying throughout a school setting. OBPP is used at the school, classroom, and individual levels and includes methods to reach out to parents and the community for involvement and support. School administrators, teachers, and other staff are primarily responsible for introducing and implementing the program. These efforts are designed to improve peer relations and make the school a safer and more positive place for students to learn and develop.

What are the Goals of OBPP? OBPP has three main goals. They are to reduce existing bullying problems among students, prevent the development of new bullying problems, and to achieve better peer relations at school. To achieve these goals, OBPP includes four anti-bullying rules for the entire school community to follow: 1. 2. 3. 4.

We will not bully others. We will try to help students who are bullied. We will try to include students who are left out. If we know that someone is being bullied, we will tell an adult at school and an adult at home.


When posted around the schools and memorized by the students, these rules, along with the rest of the program, are effective in reducing and preventing bullying.

What are the Effects of OBPP? Research has shown how successful implementation of the Olweus Bullying Prevention Program can reduce school bullying. Results have included: • Fifty percent or more reductions in student reports of being bullied and bullying others. Peer and teacher ratings of bullying problems have shown similar results. • Significant reductions in student reports of general antisocial behavior such as school bullying, vandalism, school violence, fighting, theft, and truancy. • Significant improvements in the classroom social climate as reflected in students’ reports of improved order and discipline, more positive social relationships, and more positive attitudes toward schoolwork and school. • Greater support for students who are bullied, and stronger, more effective interventions for students who bully. When implementing OBPP with fidelity, this award-winning program will effectively reduce and prevent bullying in your school. For more information about bullying or OAESA’s Bullying Prevention Initiative, visit or call 803-798-8380. “As staff we can do a lot of things that will make a difference, but we are kidding ourselves if we think we’re going to build positive student belonging without addressing our school’s peer culture and how kids treat one another. The Olweus Bullying Prevention Program has helped to make positive student belonging a real possibility.” – A school principal For more information about the Olweus Bullying Prevention Program or the South Carolina Bullying Prevention Initiative, visit or call 803-798-8380.

Same Content + Different Context = New Meaning By: Michael Whalen

On their own, outside of school, students love to learn and research via Internet networks. In an effort to engage these students, schools may consider the idea of networks as way of framing learning within school. In practical terms, this would mean an emphasis on helping students create conceptual connections and links, as well as personal relevancy. It’s no wonder that the Internet has become the main way students today like to learn. After all, learning itself is largely a matter of creating connections between concepts, letting thought lead to thought until the particulars cohere into a new big picture. Of course, this connection-building path to understanding was popular long before the Internet. Back then, hotlinks were keywords smudged with a yellow highlighter, rollover text consisted of scribbled notes in the margins, and shortcuts to your favorite content involved dog-eared pages rather than the click of a mouse. In short, we were creating sloppy, book-ruining networks of ideas. This method worked beautifully! When I highlighted phrases in the work of Maxine Greene, and made margin notes to myself to compare those passages to Lev Vygotsky’s similar ideas, that connection helped move those concepts from working memory into permanent memory. Today, the metaphor of the network is omnipresent. When we find relationships between concepts, we connect those data dots, we carve neural pathways, we draw lines on a map, we delineate a path between those relationships. The more often we tread that path, the more we shape the concepts into permanent memory through personal relevancy. Perhaps that personal relevancy is driven by self-interest, intrinsic motivation, or teacher leadership. Perhaps those connections are between similar terms, like the Confederate Army during the Civil War and the Articles of Confederation during the Revolutionary War. Perhaps those connections are between theory and application, for example the way convection—one of the ways thermal energy can be transferred—is applied to water currents and plate tectonics. Even better, the connections can happen across subject areas, such as applying a mathematical understanding of probability to a life science lesson on Punnett squares.


But when that connection is made, learners see the importance of the content before them. Connections broaden isolation into montage; they move trivia into landscape. As Jay Cross states in “Internet Culture” in the April 2009 issue of Chief Learning Officer, “Connections are everything. If your learning plans don’t embrace the power of networks, go back to the drawing board. Learning occurs through conversations, collaboration, knowledge transfer and other network phenomena. Learning leaders will seek out ways to increase the throughput of personal network connections”. By navigating those connections, learners can shift sensory information from working memory to permanent memory. For example, at a recent professional development in AllendaleFairfax Middle School in Fairfax, South Carolina, a science teacher talked through a lesson on the layers of Earth that would begin with a broader understanding of indirect evidence (which is how we know about the layers of Earth) and then a look at historically significant scientist Inge Lehmann (who studied wave patterns created by earthquakes to discover the boundary between Earth’s solid inner core and its liquid outer core). This teacher’s lesson would conclude with examining models of Earth’s layers. She started with an understanding of how science is conducted and ended with the result of those processes, which was the core content of her lesson. By starting her lesson with an understanding of the process of science, she is laying a broad foundation for future lessons, where she is able to repeatedly lead with “Remember what I was saying before about indirect evidence? Well, it’s back! This time, we’ll see how it applies to a different area of science.” She’s creating schema in the knowledge structures of her learners that can branch in different directions from the same touch point. As Daniel T. Willingham writes in “Inflexible Knowledge: The First Step to Expertise”: “As you continue to work with the knowledge, you gain expertise; the knowledge is no longer organized around surface forms, but rather is organized around deep structure.” In this teacher’s lesson, indirect evidence is not trivia; it is a familiar origin leading to different destinations. Another example of creating content relevancy came from a group of science teachers in Fabens High School in Fabens, Texas where a lesson on cell biology moved from energy organelles responsible for photosynthesis in life science to an understanding of chemical reactions in physical science. By having themes move across scientific fields, their students can see how their lessons are all connected. When ideas keep popping up in seemingly different areas, students quit seeing them as burdensome data to remember for a test, and start to see them as the valuable thinking tools they really are. Again, as Daniel T. Willingham writes (this time in his article “Why Don’t Students Like School?: Because the Mind Is Not 56 PALMETTO ADMINISTRATOR • WINTER 2010

Designed for Thinking”, American Educator, Spring 2009): “Thinking occurs when you combine information (from the environment and from long-term memory) in new ways.” These science teachers were successfully showing their students how connective themes emerge. By repeatedly engaging an idea in different contexts, greater meaning is given to that idea. Another way to show relevancy and connections with students is with professional interactions between students and adults who use the content the students are studying in their careers. In these cases, students are able to see the direct application of their efforts. They are creating both conceptual networks and professional networks. In the July 20, 2009 issue of Education Week, in their “Multiple Pathways: Bringing School to Life” commentary, Jennie Oakes & Marisa Saunders write “In multiple-pathways schools, students’ and adults’ enthusiasm for meaningful work, study, and projects (sometimes more structured, sometimes less) keeps them engaged many hours beyond the ‘school day.’” These teachers are seeking to show real-world application for their students, who have a responsibility to themselves, their classmates, their teachers, and their adult professional connections. Their learning does not stop at the end of the period, because there is an interlinked network of connections. By looking for these various connections, teachers are not getting lost on a tangent. By going down these rabbit holes, teachers are connecting threads, showing relevancy, and proving relationships. To return to the Internet metaphor, we have all had the experience of looking something up online and clicking for more information; clicking a link that takes you to a different, yet related article; following a chain of research far from where you began. We choose to do this, because it is interesting and easy. In their classrooms, teachers can harness that same power of curiosity and ease of connection that students are used to doing at their home computers by building knowledge structures for their students. By designing overarching thematic connections, crossfield linear paths, or student-professional links, teachers prove to their students that curricular content is important regardless of paper tests and, indeed, the true test is the relevant application of the content.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Michael Whalen 4030 West Braker Lane, Suite 175 Austin, TX, 78759 (512) 697-7012 Principal Instructional Designer at Ignite! Learning Michael Whalen is the Principal Instructional Designer at an Austin-based educational company. He has a social studies certification and a MA in Curriculum & Instruction.

Pineview Elementary School-Summer Reading Caravan Program By: Jennifer Broughton & Cynthia Stiltner

Pineview Elementary School is extremely proud of its Summer Reading Caravan Program. This unique program provides books to our students, their siblings, and preschool children in our attendance area. The goal of this program is to promote reading beyond the school year with the entire school community. By involving our students and community in a reading program, we are showing that we care about the future of our school and community. Building positive relationships throughout the summer months helps promote a successful school opening through our Reading Caravan Program. The preparation to promote this program is to have reader friendly books available for the Caravan. A variety of genres and grade level books are offered to encourage students to explore new interests and provide them with the opportunity to choose “just right books.” Books are separated by age and grade levels, although students are encouraged to select more challenging books. Funds to purchase these books are provided through our after school program. Our administration provides a Summer Caravan Schedule to the faculty and students to share throughout the community. The schedule is also printed in our last school newsletter, and placed on the marquee. School families are informed by a telephone message through Connect Ed, an automated informative calling system. Schedules are posted at designated areas to remind families and inform community members of dates and times. In 2006, 450 books were distributed. A total of 500 books were given out in 2007, and this past summer Pineview shared 550 books with the community. Approximately twenty Pineview faculty and staff members volunteer each year to meet at the designated areas throughout the summer. The Summer Reading Caravan Program promotes a great relationship between the school and community. Students look forward to seeing their teachers from the past and enjoy meeting their new teachers for the coming school year, as books are shared throughout the Pineview community. This Program provides parents another opportunity to meet teachers outside of school. Promoting reading in the summer creates a positive attitude towards school while emphasizing the caring relationship between school and community. Reading over the summer prepares and motivates students for the reading initiative programs Pineview offers in the fall and spring of the school year. With the criteria to read at least twenty minutes each evening, students read above and beyond the requirement. We believe this enthusiasm for reading at Pineview begins with the

summer Reading Caravan and continues throughout the school year. Pineview students have currently read over 803,500 minutes in conjunction with reading objectives alone. Evidence supporting improved positive reading achievement is documented by the number of books given out each year, the enthusiasm of the teachers, the encouragement of the community, and improved reading test scores since 2007. Pineview has celebrated growth of national percentile levels in all grades tested for Measures of Academic Progress (MAP) Reading. The excitement for reading initiated during the summer spills over into the measured minutes of reading throughout the school year. The number of books distributed speaks for itself. Pineview has increased its distribution of books throughout the three years of this program. The hugs from students, the excitement in the pre-school age children’s eyes, and the “thank you” the Caravan workers hear from the parents make the program worthwhile. The Summer Reading Caravan Program improves student reading, and makes reading fun by effectively promoting positive character development and enhancing community relations.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Jennifer Broughton Program Manager, SC Budget and Control Board Lexington, SC 29073 803-794-6612 From Lexington. Held leadership roles in PTA and SIC. Written school grants and award winning papers. Lead SIC to win Promising Practices award and helped raise $5,000 for after school tutor program. Cindy K. Stiltner Principal, Pineview Elementary School 266 Governors Grant Blvd. Lexington, SC 29072 803-951-3991 - Home Spent 28 years in education teaching both elementary and special education. Was a Special Education Supervisor, an Elementary Administrator, a Vice Principal and now Principal.


Does the School-Wide Positive Behavior Intervention Support, The Block System, Impact Discipline Referrals at South Middle School? By: Anetra King

over 7500 schools nationwide as positive discipline alternatives to promote safe, learning environment (Bradshaw, et. al., 2008). The goal of school-wide positive behavior intervention supports (SWPBIS) is to increase academic performance outcomes at the Level 1 of a three-tiered system. As Ausdemore, Martella, & Marchand-Martella (2005) state: “A possible reason for behavior problems undermining instruction is reduced learning opportunities via disciplinary removal from learning environments .” PBIS and SWPBIS are designed to enhance the learning environment for all students within the contexts of the school setting. The Block System, is the SWPBIS implemented at South Middle School (SMS). It has been in place for two years at SMS. According to Ausdemore, Martella, and Marchand-Martella: “Disruptive behaviors have become a primary concern for most educators. Inappropriate behaviors exhibited by only a few students can disrupt and jeopardize effective instruction for all students.” As emphasized in the Individual with Disabilities Intervention Education Act of 2004 (IDIEA), PBIS may be individualized for students who need more than general student populace to curb displays of inappropriate behaviors at secondary and tertiary levels. I used PBIS when completing Functional Behavior Assessments (FBAs) and Behavior Intervention Plans (BIP) for students with disabilities who had behavioral difficulties. Individualized plans were put in place to address the students’ specific needs. The desired outcome of FBA’s and BIP plans was to decrease the students inappropriate behaviors displayed, and, replace them with ageappropriate ones. My purpose in this study was to research the effectiveness or ineffectiveness of the SWPBIS system’s impact on discipline referrals SMS at the Tier 1 level. I utilized a Causal Comparative design (Mertler, 2005, p. 74) to investigate the impact of The Block System on inappropriate student behaviors in relation to discipline referrals written for punitive offenses at SMS over a two-year period. The data collected from SASI on discipline referrals was the quantifier explored and compared from: August to December of 2007; and, August to December of 2008. Since this 58 PALMETTO ADMINISTRATOR • WINTER 2010

is a pre-existing program (condition) at SMS, the effectiveness of this system seemed to have a positive outcome on students’ behavior through the usage of proactive strategies that were built into the SWPBIS program. Therefore, instructional time on task appeared to be increased.

CONSTRUCTS OF THE BLOCK SYSTEM The Block System systematically articulates positive behavioral expectations for students at SMS. Students who meet the SWPBIS standards receive incentives; and, it establishes a “consistent strategy for managing behavior problems (Bradshaw, et. al., 2008, p. 462).” Students receive 15 blocks per week. Blocks can be taken away from students for inappropriate behaviors such as: not following directions; class disruption; off task behaviors; tardiness; and disrespect towards teacher. Students may only have 3 blocks taken away per class; therefore, alternative forms of classroom management were implemented.

Students who had 8 blocks left at the end of each week were awarded with Team Time; and those with less than 5 blocks taken have their names placed in a drawing for prizes. Team Time sheets were sent home each Monday with students who lost Team Time. The students must have the sheets signed and returned. Students lost a block if they did not return this sheet. Detailed monitoring of students blocks were completed during Team Planning Periods daily. Each infraction and block taken was recorded in teachers’ data books. SWPBIS facilitated a school environment that proactively improved student behavior in classes (McKenzie, 2008). Positive incentives given to students enabled 80% of the student population to experience learning in an atmosphere conducive and safe (McKenzie; George & Kincaid, 2008). Student rewards re-

inforced desired student behaviors, whereas, inappropriate behaviors were constructively evaluated through a universal system of consequences for all students (Bohanon, et. al., 2007). Therefore, positive student behaviors became the focus instead of reactive, punitive actions (Siegel, 2008; Bradshaw, et. al.).

February 2008; and, August 2008 to February 2009. The two categories were chosen: Violent Acts on Persons and Non-Violent Acts on Persons. The subcategories for Violent Acts were: Aggressive Act; Simple Assault; Staff Assault; Fighting/Threatening; Intimidation; Gang Activity; and, Weapons Violation. The subcategories for Non-Violent Acts were: Disrespect; Profanity/Obscene Gestures; Disturbing School; Misconduct; Truancy; Theft; and, Off Limit Areas. DISCIPLINE REFERRAL DATA

METHODS Causal Comparative Design The Block System was a pre-existing SWPBIS at SMS. So, I chose the causal comparative research design to explore the difference between two groups of students at SMS who participated. The samples were two groups of students enrolled at SMS over two consecutive years. Group One was enrolled at SMS from August to December of 2007. Group Two was enrolled from August to December of 2008. Group One participated in the SWPBIS in the first school year of its inception. Group Two participated in the SWPBIS in its second year.

*Rounded to the nearest thousandth

Data The Group One Sample Size was 640 students. The Group Two Student Sample Size was 636. The independent variable was The Block System program. The dependent variable was the discipline referrals written. The impact of the SWPBIS plan on student referrals was the research question investigated. The time frames for data studied were from: August 2007 to

Findings From the 2007-2008 school year to the 2008-2009 school year, a difference in discipline referrals written decreased as the SWPBIS was used in all subcategories. In the table below, overall percentage differences in some subcategories were exhibited for discussion. The variance in enrollment numbers from the two groups was adjusted to demonstrate a correlation in terms.


a ‘waste of time’. Negativity towards PBIS constructs may occur. Thereby, teachers’ enthusiasm to promote student learning may decline due to prolonged paperwork issues and time. WORKS CITED

of PBIS’s strategies, how do others who implemented the desired or mandated constructs believed in its viability? As a special educator I utilize applied behavioral contexts, social learning theory, and cognitive behavior applications to instruct my students in social skills and conflict resolution. The ongoing data collection and individualized training of prescribed goals are taxing and time consuming. General education teachers may consider the details and time involved in such a SWPBIS system

Ausdemore, K. B., Martella, R. C., & Marchand-Martella, N. E. (2005, September). School-wide positive behavioral support: A continuum of proactive strategies for all students. New Horizons for Learning. Retrieved April 24, 2009 from: Bohanon, H., Fenning, P., Eber, L., & Flannery, B. (2007, January). Utilizing positive supports in high school settings to improve school completion rates for students with high incidence conditions. International Journal of Special Education, 22 (1), 39 – 52. Bradshaw, C. P., Koth, C. W., Bejans, K. B., Ialongo, N., & Leaf, P. J. (2008, December). The impact of school-wide positive behavior interventions and supports on the organizational health of elementary schools. School Psychology Quarterly, 23 (4), 462 – 473. George, H. P., & Kincaid, D. K. (2008, January). Building district-level capacity for 32. McKenzie, N. (2008). Supporting positive behavior in Alberta schools: A school-wide approach. Alberta, Canada: Alberta Education. Mertler, C. A. (2005). Action research: Teachers as researchers in the classroom. Thousand Oaks, CA: SAGE Publications. Siegel, C. (2008, August). School-wide positive behavior support program in elementary schools [online]. Retrieved February 28, 2009, from:

Teaching Viewed Through a Lens By: Steve Driscoll

Excellent photography has a great deal in common with excellent teaching. Excellence in photography requires the photographer, the artist, to constantly readjust or alter his shutter speed depending on the movement or placement of the subject. A masterful photographer is comfortable with the depiction of any subject matter for the artistry is in the ultimate composition, not what is framed within the lens. The photographer who is an artist is constantly experimenting with backdrops, lighting, new techniques, changes in technology, materials and equipment; all with the notion that perfection in the craft can never be achieved, but pursuing perfection enhances every portrait, every sitting, every shot. Superior work in photography is separated from the adequate or acceptable work in the field by dint of the effort exerted by the individual behind the camera. Quality is the direct result of diligence to the craft and the knowledge that the final product is the culmination of planning, arranging, researching, experimenting, learning from past mistakes and hours and hours of follow-up work in a dark room with only the photographer’s imagination and creativity as guides for future projects. To be sure, a superb photo is often the result of a stock formula that works every time in photography. It is no accident. As in every art form, there are certain prescriptive devices that, when 60 PALMETTO ADMINISTRATOR • WINTER 2010

followed, yield a consistent product that is recognized as significant and worthwhile within the field. There is a consistency of excellence that the public comes to associate with a studio that marks the photographer with a reputation other photographers can only envy. The true masterpieces of photography, however, are not every day occurrences. They tend to happen when unusual circumstances present themselves and the photographer is ready to capitalize on his ingenuity and is willing to take a chance on what he believes will be something unique. Ultimately, it is this quest for uniqueness, for the quintessential image on film, which drives the photographer to experiment and challenge the conventional boundaries of his profession, his craft. How remarkably similar excellence in teaching is to excellence in photography! The masterful teacher knows when to advance the pace of instruction or slow it down to accommodate the “shutter speed” of the subject. All who pose are comfortable with the teacher of excellence for they know that all students offer the teacher the “blank film” on which to imprint a lasting and positive image. Superior work in teaching, as in photography, is predicated on the artist constantly considering new methods, modalities and techniques in which to frame the knowledge base, skills and concepts that are vital to the learning picture.

Excellent work in teaching is separated from the passable because of the teacher’s ability to go beyond what is acceptable; to provoke and stimulate learners into picturing new vistas and paradigms to pursue. As in photography, this relentless pursuit of perfection in teaching causes the artist to search and work towards the unique means that will enable him to capture the perfect portfolio. This search may find the artist teacher expanding his own knowledge base or spending many solitary hours with only his imagination and creativity for company. It may require a complete rethinking of the process to be used to capture the essence of the objective. It certainly may mean that the excellent teacher may have to stand alone as others within the profession choose to stand still and be satisfied with the routine, the “stock footage” that provides secure comfort levels, but never advances beyond the bounds of the ordinary. The excellent teacher will be constantly readjusting the lens in which he sees his profession, his craft, for he knows not even the landscape remains static in his field. Experimentation, risk taking and regard for the total composition of the pictorial, as in photography, will be the characteristics of quality teaching orchestrated by the teacher as an artist, a craftsman. Portraits endure and have a value that transcends time because they happen to have a quality about them that goes beyond the subject within the frame. Often, who the person is in a memorable photograph is less important than the emotion, spirit or essence that was captured on film. The photograph assumes a life and reputation of its own and all who view it recognize it for its technical quality and creative excellence. It establishes itself as

a benchmark for others. It is a hallmark. Exceptional teaching certainly has these same attributes. To the student, excellent teachers are memorable for they allow the learner, all learners, to experience a full range of the senses and make the learning process only coincidental to the teacher. Excellent teaching imbues learning with a life of its own that also transcends time and allows all who take part in the process to appreciate its technical attributes and revel in its creative stimulation. It is fulfilling and the learner emerges with a sense of being, a self realization that is forever. Excellent teaching becomes the litmus test for how all other instruction is judged and in this instance become the actual paragon for all teaching. It changes the learner for all time. Excellent teaching, like a legendary photograph, endures and stands up to the test of time. It serves as a reminder to all who experience it and imparts a lasting image in the mind of the viewer that is forever enriched for having been part of the teaching/learning portrait. Teaching, like photography, must be viewed as an art form. It flourishes with practice, captures the hearts and minds of the creative, has broad popular appeal and is edified by those who truly care. And like other art forms, it is often taken for granted and underappreciated by the very public it serves during its own time. Such is the fate of much art. Its true worth and value only emerges on reflection and its appreciation is only realized long after the “artist” teacher has completed his work and is no more. Such is life, such is art.


Tough Times Allow Time to Consider Changes in the Hiring and Rehiring of School Personnel: What We Can Learn from Barbie and Ken By: Sonia Cunningham Leverette, Ed. D., PHR

Baby-boomers are going home. This group comprises more than half the nation’s teachers—1.7 million, and they could all be gone in less than a decade, according to “Persuading Teachers to Go Rural,” found in the June 2010 District Administrator. Preparing for the overwhelming shortage of educators we’ll face once the economy improves will require some changes in the way we hire and rehire personnel. 62 PALMETTO ADMINISTRATOR • WINTER 2010

Currently, it appears that out-of-state retired educators are favored over our own retired South Carolinians. For example, a retiree entering from another state can be hired at the annual contract level, whereas a SC retiree must be hired on letter of agreement as an at-will employee. In several districts this past year, this same in-state retired educator is hired at a reduced salary (up to 25% less), while the out-of-state educator received a full

salary. For a SC retiree, this does not inspire confidence in the state’s hiring practices. This type of decision may cause problems in the local schools, because some employees may construe the policy to under value the importance of their contributions to the system while over valuing the importance of the out-of-state employee She’s given many years of service to the children of SC, yet upon reaching retirement she is hailed as a second-class citizen in her own home state. If we are going to hire our own retirees as at-will employees, then we should hire out-of-state retirees as at-will employees. Or, our retirees should receive contracts and full salaries. In most organizations, we tend to reward longevity and loyalty to the system; therefore, it behooves policy makers in this state to revisit this decision and redress egress errors in this policy. A second concern is that retirees from other professions are favored over our own retired educators. Let’s look at Ken, for example, who retired from Mattel as a model at the age of 56. He begins a second career as a kindergarten assistant. If he’s willing to accept the entry level salary, he can work in this position for as long as he performs well and is capable. On the other hand, Ethel, who retired as a kindergarten assistant at the age of 56 from a SC classroom and completed the TERI program, must find another career, as she is not likely to be rehired by a school district. Again, this is an example of how retiring from the field of education can sail you into an abyss of no-return, even though you have more experience and knowledge in the field of education than an educator beginning her career or a retiree from another career. If these retirees are still competent and high performers, not just tarrying, then they should have the same employment rights as any other employee, regardless of their backgrounds. Another area of concern is professionals switching careers. Having worked with the alternative certification program in my district for nearly six years, I have spoken with individuals from diverse backgrounds. This group is comprised of those who are employed and those who are unemployed. Some have such a strong desire to teach that they are willing to accept any salary. Others examine their current incomes and though they want to teach, they admit they wouldn’t be able to pay their bills. Then, there are those who consider the amount of responsibility, and though they could make the sacrifice financially, they are unwilling to commit to such a time-consuming, high-profile profession that rewards its laborers with limited tangible fruits. If a teacher instructs students in his field of expertise, he should be compensated in some way for the years of service he has dedicated to that field. An example is Barbie, who like Ken, retired from Mattel as a model. As a new teacher of fashion design, Barbie has many years of experience in fashion from around the world. Her portfolio is filled with pictures of herself participating in shows from Paris to Mexico. Her wardrobe of realia includes the most popular garb from the past four decades crafted by internationally renowned designers. Imagine the chronicles she can impart to

those she will inspire, backed by her photos from the front covers of every well-known fashion magazine. No first-year teacher fresh out of college can begin to compete with Barbie. Solutions to these dilemmas are not quick fixes; however, now is a good time to reconsider the way we do business. It is predicted that the teacher shortage will be greater after the recovery of the economic downturn than it was before. When all of the currently certified teachers have jobs and those who flocked to the field of education during the poor economy return to their first loves, districts will already be in trouble. On top of that, we will have turned away retirees who have begun to enjoy their retirements, and their retirement checks will expand in a better economy. My first suggestion is to discontinue the treating of out-of-state retirees more favorably than our own, as well as retirees from other professions. And secondly, let’s consider redesigning our teacher salary schedule for teachers entering from another profession with a wealth of information they can share with students. Making it to the castle in a day is impossible. Assigning a dollar value to a person’s personal or past work experience can never be an exact science, but we must begin somewhere. After all, one day in the not too distant future when I become a professional boxing official, I plan to get some credit for the altercations I helped to assuage in my days as a personnel director. :) WORKS CITED Desoff, A. (June 2010) Persuading Teachers to Go Rural: District Administrators craft incentives to attract and retain teachers. District Administrator

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Sonia Cunningham Leverette, Ed. D., PHR 104 Bonaire Point, Anderson, SC 29621 Director of Personnel Services, Anderson School District Five Dr. Leverette holds a Bachelors and a Masters in Education from CU, and a Doctorate in Leadership from SCSU. She is a former English teacher and assistant principal.


Ten Communication Reminders for School Leaders By: Mary B. Martin

rooms. Make it safe for people to speak up and tell you what’s on their mind. When you are having a conversation, establish a comfortable amount of eye contact so you put the other person at ease, and let them know you care about what they are saying. Turn away from the computer, put your pencil down, and look at the person to whom you are speaking. Stop shuffling papers and give the person your attention. Perhaps you might place the following quotation where you can always see it:

Time spent reflecting on interpersonal skills can be beneficial for school leaders. They may find comparing and contrasting what they actually do with what they know they are supposed to do especially helpful. As principals build professional learning communities where collaboration is critical, continuously refining and polishing these skills is critical. So here are ten reminders to refresh your memory about your role in ensuring strong communication within your school. 1.

Be approachable. Designate time every day to stroll through the school to speak to people and enjoy the learning activities. Sometimes principals are seen running down the hall as if they are exercising on a treadmill. When teachers see you in a hurry, they get the message that you do not have time for them. So, be visible and available. Show up early for faculty meetings, wander through the cafeteria, and linger in class-


“Always remember to slow down in life; live, breathe, and learn; take a look around you whenever you have time and never forget everything and every person that has the least place within your heart.” -Anonymous 2.

Remember, it’s not about you. All principals need a healthy ego. This sense of pride pushes leaders to do

their best work and not be satisfied with mediocrity. However, your sense of self-importance must be closely monitored so that it does not become super-sized. You must, in a sense, park your ego at the door, because principals are servant leaders, taking care of the students and teachers. When your ego gets out of control, teachers and parents question your decisions and your intentions. People even attempt to “butter you up” to get what they want. This can happen if you get caught up in the compliments and awards that come, not to you, but to the entire school. Make a constant effort to subordinate your needs to the needs of your school, your teachers, and your students. So, when speaking to others, use few words; do not ramble on about you. Say what you mean. Mean what you say. And then, do what you say you will do. Others will be watching to see if you “walk the talk.” Out of ego, sometimes leaders dominate the dialogue, talk too much, and then much of what they say is misinterpreted. Wise people have suggested the same:

“The most important thing in communication is to hear what isn’t being said.” -Peter Ducker 4.

“Many attempts to communicate are nullified by saying too much.” -Robert Greenleaf “Be sincere, be brief, and be seated.” Roosevelt 3.

“[We] often refuse to accept an idea merely because the tone of voice in which it has been expressed is unsympathetic to us.” - Friedrich Nietzsche

- Franklin D.

Listen, listen, and then listen some more. How often have you heard teachers tell children to “put their listening ears on”? Principals need to do the same thing. Teachers want to tell you about their classroom. Parents need to share something that happened with their child. Children want to tell you about something they have accomplished. Everyone wants their opinions and ideas to count. Listening to others is a key means of showing respect. At the same time, leaders learn much about the school from these conversations. Principals can be easily distracted and their mind wanders off to all the other things that must be done. Often, communication is blocked because leaders simply don’t take time to listen. Rather than hearing what is really being said, principals often interrupt or focus on an appropriate response. Rather than valuing a different opinion or perspective, other viewpoints may be quickly dismissed. When principals don’t listen, much of what they hear is forgotten, ignored, or confused. Because leaders need to recognize the feelings that are connected to the words, communication improves if principals say less and genuinely listen more. More food for thought along these lines: “The greatest compliment that was ever passed to me was when someone asked me what I thought and attended to my answers.” -Henry David Thoreau

Watch your tone of voice. For whatever reason, sometimes your tone of voice tells others that you have no time or interest for what they have to share. If you do not monitor your voice, you may come off too loud, or too soft. Sometimes you speak too fast, other times you speak too slowly. Sometimes when you intend to be clear and direct, the message comes across as brusque and harsh. You must remember that the power derived from your role as authority figure can magnify your impact. The tone you use sends a loud message to others. People sense your dedication, your concern, your confidence, your openness from your tone of voice. They also pick up on your boredom, your doubts, and your superiority. If your emotions kick into high gear during a conversation, your tone immediately reflects your attitude. So often principals need to “get out in front” to really hear how they sound to others. Often it is not what you say, but how you say it that matters. Another quote as a reminder:


Choose your communication strategy carefully. A daily challenge is deciding the best communication tool to use when messages need to be conveyed. Some messages must be delivered face to face. Other times a handwritten, personal note works best. The bulletin board puts information out for everyone to see, while notices in teacher mailboxes may be more private. E-mail is efficient and reliable, but it can be impersonal and overused. The telephone and the automatic message systems work in many situations. Principals must decide what information should be presented in a total faculty meeting and what should be said to a smaller group of staff members. What information goes out through the grade department chairs? What goes out on the marquee, the weekly bulletin or on the calendar? Some messages need to be shared on closed-circuit television for students and staff to view together. Some correspondence may go out through the school newsletter or on a flyer; other information may need to go be presented in a memo or formal letter. Then too, the local media can help with widespread communication. Remember the wide range of communication strategies available. Decisions must be made with regard to who is to receive the information and for what purpose it is being shared. With any strategy, the language used needs to be clear and concise, free of the educational jargonese. Remember your ultimate purpose:


“Transport of the mails, transport of the human voice, transport of flickering pictures – in this century as in others, our highest accomplishments still has the single aim of bringing [people] together.” - Antoine de SaintExupery 6.

Communicate in the right time and place. Think how often teachers have said, “We needed to know this sooner.” By planning in advance, principals can reduce some frustrations for teachers and parents. Messages that are difficult or sensitive must also be handled in a timely manner. If you avoid returning a phone call to an irate parent, the person may become angrier if they have to call a second time. Don’t put off the difficult conversations. Your aim is to solve problems quickly and keep them from festering. If teachers are expected to return phone calls in 24 hours, then administrators must do the same. If confidential information is being shared over the phone, the call should be conducted behind closed doors. Sometimes parents or teachers catch you in the hall and want to discuss personal business or confidential issues, and it is up to you to move the conversation to a more private location. Some conferences are best held in your office, while others are more easily conducted in a conference room or classroom. Some conferences can be scheduled into a short period of time, like a teacher’s planning period. Others meetings need to be after school when time will not be a hindrance. If the time and place are not conducive to open, honest dialogue, then communication may suffer. Remember: “A little help at the right time is better than a lot of help at the wrong time.” -Anonymous


You don’t get points for answering every question. Principals do not have to have a “come back” or a resolution for every concern. Admitting you don’t have an immediate answer for a concern can be more appropriate. When responses are made “on the run,” mistakes are frequent. Ask for other suggestions and ideas, and then take time to think things through. You must also remember that many times people don’t even want a specific answer. They only want to be heard, to make you aware of something on their mind. They need to vent. When you attempt to be “in charge,” you may also insist on having the last word. This, too, is a mistake. Sometimes silence, or thoughtful questions, mean much more than careless response: “Asking the right questions takes as much skill as giving the right answers.” -Robert Half “Silence is a source of great strength.”

Lao Tzu



Think through who will need to know what. Be sure you pass on information to everyone who needs it. Sometimes forgetting to tell the custodian the building will need to be open late, or forgetting to inform central office of a concern coming to them happens. When a problem surfaces, a solution can be determined if the right people come together to work it through. But time is saved and fewer feathers are ruffled when everyone receives information at the same time. At the same time, principals need to be careful of information overload. Teachers can be bombarded with too much information, so the principal must serve as a filter. Principals can supply the condensed, abbreviated version of certain information. The key point is to be sure critical information gets passed on to the right people. People who hold back this information pay for it later. “When dealing with people, remember you are not dealing with creatures of logic, but creatures of emotion”. –Dale Carnegie “Information overload can reduce a person’s ability to focus as much as losing a night’s sleep.” -Glenn Wilson


Highlight the vision often. Our job is to articulate the future for our school and to set high expectations for everyone. But principals get caught up in the everyday work and forget they are the “keeper of the vision.” You must communicate hope and promise. Passion matters in your work. Teachers, parents and students will work toward a vision if you make sure it is inspiring, motivating and shared often. If the principal loses sight of the possibilities for the school, everyone else will too. Principals are wise to showcase stories and celebrations that encourage others to succeed and to keep the vision high on their list of priorities: “A leader has the vision and conviction that a dream can be achieved. He inspires the power and energy to get it done.” -Ralph Nader “Leaders establish the vision for the future and set the strategy for getting there; they cause change. They motivate and inspire others to go in the right direction and they, along with everyone else, sacrifice to get there.” -John Kotter

10. Finally, and most critically, mind your manners. People forget to say ‘thank you’. Every day leaders should express heartfelt words of appreciation, congratulations, and best wishes. Recognition of people who go the extra mile for the school is often overlooked. School leaders must delegate many tasks to others, so the word ‘please’ should be sprinkled through the day. When

appropriate, remember to say you are sorry, and be sure the apology is sincere. When principals make mistakes, people need to see that they take responsibility for their actions. You are the CEO of the school: the chief example for others. So be sure to model what is expected of others: “The first responsibility of a leader is to define reality. The last is to say thank you. In between, the leader is a servant.” -Max DePree It’s nice to be important, but it is more important to be nice.” John Cassis As school leaders, you spend much time and effort communicating with others: staff, students, parents, colleagues, community members. If principals have strong communication skills, problems and conflicts will be minimized. Ronald Rebore (2004) noted that for every communication a principal delivers, there is a consequence. The consequences need to be positive.

WORKS CITED Rebore, Ronald W. (2003). A Human Relationship Approach to the Practice of Educational Leadership. Boston: Allyn & Bacon “The Quotations Page.” 22 July 2008. “Leading Thoughts: Building a Community of Leaders.” 22 July 2008. “Brainy Quote.” 22 July 2008. “Communication Motivation Quotes.” 1 August 2008. inspirationquotes/a/Communication1.htm

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Mary B. Martin Winthrop University 301E Withers Building Rock Hill, SC 29733 803-323-4742

Summer Leadership: Thirty Great Years By: Danny Shaw

Jimmy Carter was president • You could buy a new car for $9,100 • A first class postage stamp only cost 15 cents • Caddyshack was playing at the movies • The average teacher’s salary in South Carolina was $19,654 • It was a very different world thirty years ago. The South Carolina Association of Elementary Principals, under the umbrella of the South Carolina Association of School Administrators (SCASA), hosted the first Summer Leadership Institute at Capstone House on the campus of the University of South Carolina in Columbia. I was the youngest administrator in Anderson School District Five having just left the classroom to work as a District Elementary Childhood Consultant at the District Office. Two veteran elementary principals in the district invited me to join them at this professional development meeting in Columbia. It was the first SCASA Summer Leadership Institute. Some thirty-five elementary principals from around the state ventured to Columbia for what in time would become the best source of professional renewal in our state. The institute was organized by the Elementary Principals’ Division of SCASA. There were very few middle schools in the state, and middle schools did not join the Elementary Division until later. The other divisions of SCASA started attending Summer Leadership much later.

The first institute consisted of a general meeting and sessions hosted by other elementary principals that showcased promising practices in their schools. The big highlight of the day was when the principals all boarded a University of South Carolina bus and journeyed out to Sesquicentennial State Park in Columbia for a picnic lunch. The Summer Leadership Institute remained in Columbia for another three years and continued to grow as it provided outstanding professional development experiences, and the opportunity to meet and network with other elementary principals from across the state. The sharing of ideals and promising practices has always been the commonality that reflects the success of the event. In the mid 1980s the activity had become so successful that the Executive Committee of the Elementary Principals’ Division took two bold steps: Inviting and promoting participation by other divisions of SCASA and moving the location of the summer meeting to a much larger and inviting location, the Landmark Hotel on South Ocean Boulevard in Myrtle Beach. The Landmark Hotel remained the site of meetings for a number of years. The institute became a four day event that attracted keynote and general session speakers that were leaders in the field of education from around the nation. Summer Leadership became a vibrant and growing professional meeting that hosted the voices


of school leadership and reform. As authors and national speakers became an integral part of the program every summer, the institute continued to provide small group and breakout sessions that overviewed the successful activities and initiatives in South Carolina schools. Without question South Carolina administrators presenting for other colleagues in the state has always been both the strength and secret of the phenomenal success and growth of the Summer Leadership Institute. With the move to Myrtle Beach, the institute attracted families. The entire family could attend and quality activities were added for spouses and children. After a period of time at the Landmark Hotel, the institute simply outgrew the location. The institute moved to North Myrtle Beach to the Ocean Dunes and Sand Dunes Resort. The institute remained at this location until once again in light of the outstanding quality and popularity of the institute another move was necessary. The institute relocated to the present location at Kingston Plantation. The Summer Leadership Institute has grown and evolved because of the time, hard work, and effort of countless people. Sandra and Chuck Welch of the Greenville County School District provided direction and leadership for many years in chairing the Planning Committee. Over the years the committee never lost the focus of a South Carolina conference for South Carolina administrators. The key ingredient of the mix between national leaders in education as speakers and South Carolina’s brightest and best as presenters and workshop leaders. In recent years, the University of South Carolina and South Carolina State University have designed programs to incorporate participation at the institute as a way to obtain both recertification and graduate credit. Additionally, the South Carolina State Department of Education has provided support and resources as department staff joined as program participants with updates and informative sessions. The State Superintendent of Education gives the State of Education Address at the institute each summer. Speaking with authority, since attending the first one I have missed only four or five of the institutes for the years. Either health issues or being out of the country prevented my participation. I have met countless people and made hundreds of friends from the networking opportunities. I have presented numerous times, recognized individuals from the podium when presiding as President of the organization, and been recognized from the podium. I have picked up national speakers at the airport and been principal proud when performing groups from my school have entertained those in attendance.


Upon my retirement after 25 years as an elementary principal, I have taken a new role as a business member and vendor representing my firm. If anyone doubts the impact of the business side of the institute, please know that the firm I represent as a consultant sold $104,000 in services at the 2010 meeting. Yes, I know Summer Leadership quite well! Regretfully, in recent years those that would destroy the public school system in our state have attacked the Summer Leadership Institute as a “tax paid vacation for educational bureaucrats at the beach.” This is a tragically misguided view. At the 2010 Summer Institute almost 1000 administrators attended with virtually all paying their own way. School districts, for the most part, eliminated funding for travel. Administrators pay to attend because it is a worthwhile and meaningful experience. From Harry Wong and Madeline Hunter, to Happy Calhoun and Radio of T.L. Hanna, keynote speakers have come to motivate, inspire and share. School districts, school administrators, and the South Carolina State Department of Education have showcased best practices and what works in South Carolina classrooms. It has been a truly remarkable thirty years. As I view life from the landscape of my forty year association with the public schools in South Carolina, I reflect often on the great opportunities, the people I have met, and the wonderful experiences I have had by the sea. If you have never attended, plan now for June 2011, at Kingston Plantation in Myrtle Beach. We will be waiting for you. The adventure belongs to the participant and you will become a part of all that you meet at the Summer Leadership Institute.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Danny Shaw 1400 Waverly Place Lane Charleston, SC 29418 (843) 207-9323 Consultant Retired, SCASA President, SCPTA Outstanding Principal, National Distinguished Principal, ASCD Lifetime Achievement Award. Author Successful Principal, articles in Educational Leadership, and National School Board Journal.


What Steps Do Schools Take in Deciding to Use the Olweus Bullying Prevention Program? “At our school, we have seen amazing results after the first year—increased attendance, increased student achievement, and decreased incidents that lead to suspensions.” — Elementary Math and Science Coordinator If you are concerned about the issue of bullying in your school and want to take strong steps to address it, implementing the Olweus Bullying Prevention Program (OBPP) would be a good solution. Here are five key steps to take in making this decision.

Step # 1: Learn as much as you can about the issue of bullying at your school. Analyze the amount and frequency of bullying at your school. Look at your incident reports and reports from parents. Meet with concerned parents. Talk with your local PTA/PTO. Talk with students and staff. Understand that on average, school staff are aware of only 10-20% of school bullying that is going on. For a much clearer picture of the amounts and types of bullying in your school, consider administering the Olweus Bullying Questionnaire. For about $1.00/student, this 42-question survey will give you helpful information about the types of bullying, where it is happening, and how students and staff are responding. To order the survey, contact SCASA at 803-798-8380.

Step # 2: Learn as much as you can about the Olweus Bullying Prevention Program. There are a number of helpful documents about the program on the SCASA Website. Feel free to download these documents, make copies, and share them with your school staff and others. SCASA can also connect you with schools in the state that are using the program with positive results. The SCASA Website also has a free parent toolkit that members can access and use. These resources are helpful for parents whose children are involved in bullying, as well as, those parents that want to help in advocating for a bullying prevention program in your school. These free resources could be added to your school’s Website, if desired.


Step # 3: Establish a schoolwide Bullying Prevention Coordinating committee. This committee will be responsible for overseeing the implementation of your OBPP efforts. This committee should be made up of 8-12 members, including: • A school administrator (principal or assistant principal). • A teacher from each grade level. • A school counselor, school psychologist, or other schoolbased mental health professional. • A representative from the non-teaching staff (such as a playground monitor, bus driver, cafeteria worker, custodian). • One or two parents. • A representative from the community (if possible), such as an after-school or youth program staff member or representative from the business or faith community who might have a stake in the results of the program. • Other school personnel (such as a nurse, school resource officer, Title IX representative) who may bring particular expertise to the committee. • Possibly one or two students (if they are in late elementary or middle school).

Step # 4: Purchase the Olweus Bullying Prevention Program materials Other than the re-administration of the survey, the purchase of OBPP materials is a one-time, upfront cost. The following materials are required to implement the program. • OBPP Schoolwide Guide: It is recommended that you purchase one copy for every member of your Bullying Prevention Coordinating Committee. This guide will give step-bystep instructions on how to implement OBPP schoolwide, including a CD-ROM of resources and a program overview video that can be used in staff trainings.

• OBPP Teacher Guide: It is recommended that you purchase one copy for every member of your Bullying Prevention Coordinating Committee and, ideally, one copy for every teacher (or a minimum of one copy for every three teachers). This guide provides step-by-step instructions on how to implement OBPP in the classroom, including a CDROM of resources and a DVD that contains video scenarios that can be used as discussion starters. • Olweus Bullying Questionnaire: It is recommended that you administer the survey once before the program is launched with students, and at the same time each year after that. Ideally each student should be surveyed, but for larger schools, you could look at doing random sampling. All of these resources can be ordered through SCASA at www. or call 803-798-8380..

Step # 5: Contract with a certified Olweus trainer to guide your implementation. It is highly recommended that schools contract with a certified Olweus trainer to help guide their implementation of OBPP. Because it is a schoolwide effort, it is helpful to have this outside support. A certified Olweus trainer will conduct a two-day program training for your school’s Bullying Prevention Coordinating Committee and then consult with your committee one hour per month during the first 12 months of implementation. Schools that use a certified Olweus trainer find greater results with the program. To save money, trainers can train up to two school committees at a time. SCASA can help identify a trainer who would be available to work with you. For more information, contact SCASA at 803-798-8380.

Quick Reference Crisis Preparedness Poster By: Dr. George L. Suggs

School crisis incidents are a great concern to all of us. Unfortunately these tragedies can happen at any school. It is important that your school administrators, your local law enforcement officials and emergency responders coordinate their efforts in a plan to assist your schools before a disaster occurs.


resentatives from Law Enforcement Agencies of Newberry County. The main goal of the committee was to develop a user-friendly “Quick Reference” poster. (Figure A) Our current design needed to be replaced. We were using flip chart that had been used for many years, and it had become very difficult to use in crisis situations A user-friendly poster would make managing a crisis situation simple for all teachers, administrators, students, substitute teachers and all staff members.

The likelihood of a violent school incident taking place is extremely low, therefore in the event it does happen; it is imperative that school personnel have a clear and precise method of preparing their students on how to respond quickly. Readiness means planning and preparing before an actual incident occurs. There are three (3) key components: (1) Method, (2) Manpower, and (3) Material. The Newberry Crisis Preparedness Committee focused on Methods. The committee was responsible for updating the Crisis Plan each year. The committee was comprised of representatives from all the District’s schools and particularly the rep-

• • •

In addition, the Crisis Preparedness Committee’s responsibilities included the following: Preparing a “Critical Incident Kit” for all law enforcement agencies in Newberry County. The kit included information on every school in the district. Active student rosters Pictures of each school including both interior and exterior corridors and rooms Floor Plans and Evacuation Routes



School staff members should establish and implement a lockdown procedure if an intruder (or an irate parent) is on school grounds, either inside the building or outside the building. The following are some of the key steps in carrying out the lockdown procedure: • Educate school faculty and staff members about the lockdown procedure. • Establish a verbal code for the procedure. (This should be the same at all schools in your district.) • Make sure all classrooms can be locked. • Place a Lockdown Poster in all classrooms. (Figure A)


Assemble a Crisis Planning Committee. Assemble a First Responder Team.

• •

School Leadership Tree – This plan is the key to the school’s chain of command communication structure. The Leadership Tree is designed to keep communication and give directions to everyone in the school in the event that during the critical incident, the school leader is not on site or has been injured. Flash Drive – All materials in the Critical Incident Kit should be stored on a flash drive. (Student Roster, Floor Plans, and Evacuation Routes, etc.) The Quick Reference Crisis Preparedness Poster should be displayed alongside your building floor plan or your evacuation routes. (Figure B)

The School Incident Command System should be completed at each school. You should assign an additional staff member in each area in the event a person is absent or injured in a critical incident situation. (CHART C)



• •

Appoint a staff member at your school to be responsible for gathering the essential material for the kits. (You should have two kits. One for the school and one to be housed at the local law enforcement agencies.) Establish a leadership tree (backup personnel at every level of your Crisis Response System). First Responder List


CHECKLIST The key to having a Critical Incident Response Kit is a checklist of vitally important items. Remember to include all items about your school such as: contact lists, blue prints, evacuation plans and routes on a Flash Drive in addition to your hard copies of these items to be placed with your local law enforcement agencies. (Chart D)


HOW TO DEVELOP YOUR DISTRICT’S QUICK REFERENCE CRISIS PREPAREDNESS POSTER 1. Evaluate what you are currently using in your District for Crisis Preparedness. Determine the following: • Is the plan accessible to all? • Is it easy to read? • Is it easy to see? 2. Divide your Critical Incidents into four key areas: 1. Intruders 2. Fire/Severe Weather 3. Accident/Serious Injury 4. Environmental/Hazardous Spills 3. Determine how do you communicate at your school in case of emergency: • Cell Phone • Telephone • Intercom, etc. 4. Determine your Lockdown Code 5. Update as needed your District’s Crisis Preparedness Plan 6. Select your new Design (the most visible design for all to see) WORKS CITED National Law Enforcement and Corrections Technology Center – Southeast (2002) Critical Incident Response Schools and Law Enforcement Emergency Responders Putting the Tasks Together Needed to Respond to a Crisis SCASA South Carolina Association of School Administrators Summer Leadership Institute (2008) School Safety Crisis Preparedness National Association of Secondary Principals

TITLE MANAGEMENT MANAGEMENT/Principal or Administrator. This person is responsible for the school’s plan and management of the emergency situation. He or she activates the Incident Command System and remains in charge until the arrival of law enforcement officials MANAGEMENT/Public Information Officer. This person establishes the media staging area near the command post and coordinates information released to the media. MANAGEMENT/Safety Officer. This person monitors safety conditions of an emergency situation and serves as a point of contact for assisting law enforcement and fire and rescue agencies. PLANNING PLANNING/Instructional Staff. This person gathers and assesses information. Someone who can use computer equipment and gather information, such as a librarian or computer center manager, is recommended. OPERATIONS OPERATONS/First Aid Coordinator. This person knows the location of medical supplies and oversees care given to the injured until paramedics arrive. OPERATIONS/Facility and Grounds Coordinator. This person knows the school campus and location of shut-off valves for utilities, fire alarm, sprinkler system and cable television. OPERATIONS/Food and Water Coordinator. This person oversees the distribution of food and water. OPERATIONS/Student Accounting & Release Coordinator. This person accounts for everyone on site and should have access to attendance records and visitor sign-in sheets. OPERATIONS/Traffic Safety Coordinator. This person oversees the transportation system. LOGISTICS LOGISTICS/Resources Coordinator. This person obtains resources to support the operations function (e.g., getting fresh batteries) and monitors inventory of supplies and equipment. FINANCE & ADMINISTRATION FINANCE & ADMINISTRATION/Documentation Coordinator. This person oversees documentation and record-keeping activities and develops a system to track expenses. Generally, administrative staff, which handles finances for the school, should be assigned this position.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Dr. George L. Suggs 1116 Timberwood Trail Newberry, SC 29108 803-405-9522 Executive Director of Student Services for the School District of Newberry County. B.S. in Education Ed.S in Secondary Administration Ed.D. in Educational Leadership 74 PALMETTO ADMINISTRATOR • WINTER 2010




2010 Photo Contest

Zero The Hero Visits our school Spartanburg 2 Chesnee Elementary

Spartanburg Charter School

Zero the Hero teaching place value Spartanburg 2 Chesnee Elementary

Spartanburg 2 Chesnee Elementary

Spartanburg 2 Chesnee Elementary


2010 Photo Contest Enjoying Math and Science Fun Night Spartanburg 2 Chesnee Elementary

Spartanburg 2 Chesnee Elementary

Spartanburg 2 Chesnee Elementary

Spartanburg 2 Chesnee Elementary

Visiting Nivens Apple Farm Spartanburg 2 Chesnee Elementary


2010 Photo Contest Children in Killian Elementary School Leadership Academy participated in the dedication of the Little Red School House Living Museum held on Apr. 22. After a brief ceremony outside, guests were invited into the two-room schoolhouse to observe the students engaged in a living history lesson. Richland School District Two Photographer: Arlene Ford, Community Relations Department

A Blythewood High School JROTC cadet stands at attention during the presentation of colors at the dedication of the Little Red School House Living Museum held on Apr. 22. The pomp and circumstance was fitting for the unveiling of 10 years of renovations to the two-room schoolhouse located on the campus of Killian Elementary School. Richland School District Two Photographer: Arlene Ford, Community Relations Department One of the teacher teams at Forest Lake Elementary Technology Magnet School pose with NBC News anchor Lester Holt when he came to showcase the school for the launch of the network’s new show “Education Nation.” Richland School District Two Photographer: Janine Sears, Information Technology Department Forest Lake Elementary Technology Magnet School Principal Kappy Cannon introduces NBC News anchor Lester Holt to one of her classes. The school was showcased for the launch of the network’s new show “Education Nation.” Richland School District Two Photographer: Janine Sears, Information Technology Department


2010 Photo Contest

Georgetown School District

Georgetown School District

Georgetown School District

Georgetown School District

Georgetown School District

Georgetown School District


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2010 palmetto administrator magazine  

2010 palmetto administrator magazine  

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