AdministrA P A L M E T T O
South Carolina Association of School Administrators
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SCASA STAFF Molly Spearman Executive Director Hannah Pittman Director of Professional Development Jay Welch Director of Finance and Technology Beth Phibbs Director of Governmental Affairs Sandy Burton Administrative Assistant/ Membership Coordinator April Griffin Coordinator of Member Recognition and Student Services Jessica Morgan Assistant Coordinator of Marketing and Business Partnerships
SCASA BOARD Dr. Rose Wilder President
Dr. Christina Melton President-Elect Dr. Connie Long Past President Dr. Russell Booker Dr. Scott Turner Mr. Robbie Binnicker Dr. Lynn Cary Mr. Ozzie Ahl Ms. Carole Ingram Ms. Ingrid Dukes Mr. Michael Waiknis Mrs. Denise Barth Dr. Charlene Stokes Mr. Roger Richburg Mrs. Lisa Hannon Mrs. Nancy Verburg Dr. Marthena Grate Morant Dr. Stephanie Lackey Dr. Arlene Bakutes Dr. Mildred Huey-Rowland Dr. Julie Fowler Dr. Lemuel Watson Mrs. Molly Spearman
AdministrA P A L M E T T O
Are Dogs Still Hungry For Homework? • By Erik Lowry
Helping the Helpers: School Counselor Perceptions of Administrative Supervision Practices • By Creighton Eddings, Ph.D.
Factors Effecting Superintendent Longevity in South Carolina • By Kathie Greer, Ph.D. and Edward Cox, Ed.D.
Building Effective Relationships with Southern Impoverished Urban Youth • By Beyonka Wider, Ed.D. and Madison Hutto, M.Ed.
Understanding Public Charter Schools in South Carolina • By Wayne Brazell, Ph.D.
Can Incentive Plans Improve Safety Culture in Public Education? • By R. Brooks Jones, CSRM, CRM, AAI
Millennial Makeover: Better Benefits for Gen Y • By Chris Shealy
Take Creative Action with Data! Two Pilot Programs Lead the Way • By Kenyae Reese, Ed.S., Jane Clark Lindle, Ph.D., Hans Klar, Ph.D., and Rob Knoeppel, Ph.D.
Meeting Student and Teacher Needs? • By David McDonald and Debra E. Miller
AWARDS 45 53
“OF THE YEAR” Award Winners: How we use our GPS... • By SCASA 2013-14 Award Winners Palmetto’s Finest Schools
The Palmetto Administrator is published annually by the South Carolina Association of School Administrators, 121 Westpark Blvd., Columbia, SC 29210, (803) 798-8380 http://www.scasa.org.
Send address changes to Sandy@scasa.org. Advertising information and contributors’ information are available online.
A Message From The Executive Director The 21st Century Graduate • By Molly Spearman
A Message From the President Globalized, Personalized, Student-Centered • By Rose Wilder
SCASA BUSINESS AFFILIATES
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, firstname.lastname@example.org. 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.
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A MESSAGE FROM THE EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR
GPS…Our Roadmap to Success By Molly Spearman
’ll never forget our first trip over to Grandma’s house with the new GPS we had gotten that Christmas morning. The robotic female voice instructed, “Turn right in 100 feet”. …”. I can’t believe that she wants us to turn down that dirt road! “Recalculating, recalculating!” We soon learned that you have to instruct the GPS to take out the non-paved roads, to search for the fastest trip route, or to favor the interstate system over two-lane roads. Those basic instructions could save you lots of bumpy roads, unknown locations, and dusty cars in search of your destination. SCASA wants to be sure that your GPS system is equipped with the basic information and latest best practices to prepare your students for their destination – graduation…and beyond! Matching the requirements of
the jobs available in our global economy, implementing a personalized learning system, designing a one-to-one computing approach are just a few of the articles you will find within this edition of Palmetto Administrator. You will learn more about the Transform SC coalition we have joined with New Carolina, the State Chamber of Commerce, School Boards Association, and other supportive partners. All groups are working together to transform the delivery of public education in our state. This new effort will build a network of schools and districts implementing creative and personalized approaches to learning. A few schools and districts will be given the flexibility to try new routes to the destination of the well-prepared twenty-first century graduate and with support to “recalculate” often if necessary. The importance of well prepared school leaders – principals and superintendents who are knowledgeable and know how to support and guide their staffs – is the key to the success of public education in our state. Thank you for being a member of this association and safe travels on this exciting journey of transforming public education in South Carolina!
Congratulations Jada Kidd!
Finalist for the 2013 NASSP/Virco National Assistant Principal of the Year Award! Jada Kidd, Assistant Principal of Hillcrest High School in Greenville County School District, was named a finalist for the 2013 NASSP/Virco National Assistant Principal of the Year Award. She was one of three finalists recognized in Washington D.C. at the 2013 NASSP National Convention by NASSP and Virco. We are very proud that, once again, a SCASA member was a finalist for the NASSP/Virco National Assistant Principal of the Year Award!
FALL 2013 • PALMETTO ADMINISTRATOR
A MESSAGE FROM THE PRESIDENT
Globalized, Personalized, Student-Centered By Rose Wilder “If Americans are to continue to prosper and to exercise leadership in this new global context, it is imperative that we understand the new global forces that we have both shaped and had thrust upon us. The alternative is to be at their mercy.” —Edward Fiske
ow!! Time stands still for no one. It is difficult for me to comprehend that the 2012-2013 year is behind us and we are embarking upon a new school year, 2013-2014. Nevertheless, I am excited about what the new school year holds for SCASA. I am humble to serve as your president. I am looking forward to a dynamic year and working closely with all divisions of SCASA. I eagerly anticipate the development of our platform as we continue our quest to provide meaningful and high quality education to all children in our public schools. I look forward to us keeping our constituents abreast of key educational issues by keeping the relevant issues front and center. Also, I am honored to work with the capable and highly competent support team/staff for SCASA. Our theme, “Globalized, Personalized, StudentCentered,” is quite appropriate as we prepare to navigate through Common Core Standards. I used Edward Fiske’s quote at the beginning of this article because I am of the personal opinion that America is fully aware of what we need to do to keep our competitive edge in everything we do. As I pondered through the thought process as to what I would say for this message, I could not help but think of Thomas Friedman’s book, The World is Flat (2005). In the book, Friedman describes how deeply we are interconnected as never before. Evidence of this interconnectedness is very prevalent in our daily routines. I did not conduct any scientific research; however, I would venture to say there are few areas in this world that are not wired to enable some form of global transaction or interaction. Thus, it is imperative for students to be well prepared to function within a society that is rapidly becoming a globalized society. Or, should I say, “We are a global society.” Due to the interconnectedness, our world will grow smaller in all aspects. I recently saw an ad in an education journal that advertised one teacher teaching a class of 377,000 students. That’s the awesome power of “interconnectedness” and supports the fact that we are a global society.
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It seems like a century ago when we often made the statement, “Preparing students for the twentyfirst century.” We are now thirteen years into the twenty-first century. The moment of reckoning is upon us. Can we honestly say our educational system is “Globalized, Personalized and Student Centered?” The public school system can ill afford the luxury to not create schools which epitomize globalized, personalized and student centered learning environments. The matter then becomes, how we develop an educational system that is globalized, personalized, student centered. I feel confident that we can get to this point by embracing the Common Core Standards, equipping the graduate with the needed skills to function globally, and making learning relevant for all students. On a personal note, I am quite proud of the fact that many districts/schools in South Carolina have taken the lead in reference to the aforementioned. In my second article in this edition, I reflected upon some of what we are doing in Clarendon One to ensure globalized, personalized and student centered learning. We are taking small steps but the pendulum is moving in the right direction. I know that some Americans fear the thought of globalization, specifically, about education. However, I feel that globalized education could lead to a better understanding among all mankind. This then could possibly translate into a better and safer world. In summary, as our world grows smaller, it is important for everyone to understand and respect the fact that our students of today and the future must be in an educational environment that permeates globalized, personalized and student centered learning.
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Are Dogs Still Hungry for Homework? By Erik Lowry
y dog ate my homework! That humorous excuse, surely created by a young child who did not do his or her homework, is probably as old as the debate on whether teachers should even assign homework. I know in some cases today, teachers have stopped giving homework, thus dogs in those families are simply out of business. All dog jokes aside, homework effectiveness has been and still is an issue that some educators, parents and students struggle with. Miriam Webster defines homework as an assignment given to a student to be completed outside the regular class period. I suggest that most would agree with that. However, I would also suggest that the agreement ends there. Over the years, the homework debate has surfaced numerous times. In the 1950s, concerns with Sputnik fueled a focus that homework was important and necessary. The 1960s revealed a shift in that focus where homework was viewed by many as an unnecessary event that caused stress. Then came the 1980’s and the famous report, “A Nation at Risk”, which prompted a renewed
PALMETTO ADMINISTRATOR • FALL 2013
effort to return homework to its 1950’s glory. (Cooper, p. 85) So here we are today, 2013, still looking for an answer. I began this quest to find an answer in the Fall of 2012. During that time, I conducted a survey with middle school math teachers that asked several questions about how they handled homework. The results of the study were inconclusive with regards to homework’s relationship to student achievement, but I did discover that teachers handle homework in different ways. This led me to a review of existing research to determine what can be concluded about the effectiveness of homework. The answer? It depends!
Relevance and Purpose As education faculty, we often teach our pre-service teachers about the importance of showing students the relevance and purpose for the lesson they are teaching. They need to be able to explain to students why the lesson is important and how it is relevant to them. For me, homework has relevance and purpose because I am
a parent and I too struggle with the homework that my own children bring home. Fortunately, I am educated well enough to help with the content, but I do struggle with helping my children see the relevance of some of their assignments. There are occasions when my children come home with homework that is very easy for them to complete, while other times; I have to reteach them the entire content. I get comments like, “Why did she give this homework to us? She did not teach it today!” My own children quickly pick up that it is simply busy work. According to LaConte (1981), “homework is the out-ofclass tasks that a student is assigned as an extension of classroom work. Three types are commonly assigned in the United States: practice, preparation, and extension” (p.1). If homework is designed to be these three things, then it will most likely have the relevance and purpose that is sometimes missing.
Grades 7 to 9 should have three to five assignments a week, each lasting 45-75 minutes. Grades 10-12 should four to five assignments a week, each lasting 75-120 minutes” (p.90). Whether you agree with the recommendations above or not, educators do need to look at the time we are asking students to devote to homework to ensure that they have the time to also develop the physical, social and emotional areas of their life. Student’s today do not have the same family dynamics of students 50 years ago. When students get home from school today, many of them come home to an empty house. In an article entitled, “The Time Bind” the following was written, “In 1950, 12.6 percent of married mothers with children under the age of 17 worked for pay”(Hochschild, p.1). According to the United States Bureau of Statistics, that number of 12.6 percent in 1950 is 59 percent today.
Is Time on Our Students’ Side?
What Should Teachers do with Homework?
“American children between the ages of 6 and 17 have seen an increase in the time spent studying and time spent in school over the last 20 years. At the same time, there has been a decline in time spent in active sports and outdoor activities” (Juster, p.1). This decline in physical activity has been at the forefront of many political agendas over the past decade. Perhaps the Age of Education Accountability that we live in has shifted our focus so much toward improving test scores that we are forgetting that children need to grow and develop in ways other than just intellectually. I have personally known high school athletes who get home from practice at 8pm. They then eat dinner, take a shower, and then must do two to three hours of homework. I have also seen some of these high school athletes stop playing sports as a result of the late nights and thus early mornings. They have told me that they would rather come home from school and just work on homework so they won’t be so tired. So, should we assign homework at all? As written earlier, the research is inconclusive. One can find research that supports homework, while someone else can find research that does not. So what should teachers do? Well, there are two choices. Teachers can simply decide to assign homework or they can decide not to assign homework. That decision is simple. The complexity yields itself in the implementation of that choice. Each situation is different and there is not a one size fits all approach to this. However, if you do assign homework, Cooper (1989) recommends the following: “Grades 1 to 3 should have one to three assignments a week, each lasting no more than 15 minutes. Grades 4 to 6 should have two to four assignments a week, each lasting 15-45 minutes.
The survey I conducted showed that some teachers give homework and some do not. Some give grades for doing it and some do not. Those who do not give homework comment that it is a waste of time because students will not do it. So what should we do? Well, if you are looking for a magical solution that fits everyone, you’re looking in the wrong place. Strategies for using homework effectively will vary depending on your grade level, subject matter, poverty level, etc… While the list of variables that can affect homework’s effectiveness are vast, there are two all-embracing philosophies teachers can consider in addition to the time recommendations written earlier. 1. Homework should be relevant and have purpose. It should be an extension of the classroom. The skill set needed to complete the homework should be familiar enough so that the student can practice the skill independently. Cooper (1989) states, “Homework probably works best when the material is not too complex or completely unfamiliar” (p. 88). Therefore, do not be afraid to adjust homework plans if your lesson does not go well. Bottom line, never send a student home with homework that they will not understand how to do. 2. Homework should be efficient and objective driven. It should have a specific purpose and allow the student to arrive at that specific purpose as soon as possible. Avoid busy work! Consider these questions as you implement homework: a. Does the student have to do 25 math problems to practice the skill, or can they do 10? b. While the students are completing their
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homework, can they check their answers? This is important feedback to ensure the student is not practicing the skill the wrong way. Remember, it is not “Practice makes perfect”, it is “Perfect practice makes perfect.” What will happen with the homework when they return to school the next day? Is it an extension of the class or a meaningless task?
Remember, students should have lives outside of school, just like adults need lives independent of their work. Students need to grow intellectually and homework may certainly be a part of that, but remember that students should also have time to grow physically, emotionally and socially.
References Bureau of Labor and Statistics (n.d.). Retrieved from website: http:// www.bls.gov/news.release/famee.t04.htm Cooper, H. (1989.). Retrieved from http://rer.sagepub.com/content/76/1/1. short
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Hochschild, A. (1997) Retrieved from http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/ doi/10.1111/j.1743-4580.1997.tb00019.x/pdf Juster, F.T., Ono, H., & Stafford, F.(2004) Changing times of American youth: 1981-2003. Ann Harbor, MI: University of Michigan Institute for Social Research. LaConte, R. T. (1981) Retrieved from http://www.eric.ed.gov/PDFS/ ED217022.pdf Suskind, D. (2012). Retrieved from http://intl.kappanmagazine.org/ content/94/1/52.full
About the Author Erik Lowry, Ph.D. Associate Professor of Education Francis Marion University PO Box 100547, Florence, SC 29505 firstname.lastname@example.org 843-661-1523 (phone) 843-661-4647 (Fax) Background: Prior to FMU, I served as an Assistant Superintendent for Human Resources, a middle school principal, assistant principal and a middle level math teacher.
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Helping the Helpers:
School Counselor Perceptions of Administrative Supervision Practices By Creighton Eddings, Ph.D.
n an effort to ensure that students are achieving at proficient levels in reading and math, one area that school leaders have targeted is teacher quality. Sanders and Rivers (1996) found that a significant link exists between student achievement and teacher quality. In addition to ensuring that highly qualified teachers are in all classrooms, school leaders have used supervision to assist teachers with identifying areas for improvement and helping them to grow as professionals. However, the increased attention on quality has focused largely on teachers, ignoring the significant number of other certified personnel in the school. School counselors are a vital part of any successful K-12 school; however they often operate with little day-to-day direction from administrators. The notion of holding schools and school personnel accountable is not a new idea; however, the passage of the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001 brought increased attention to school accountability and defined expectations for
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student achievement. Additionally, it placed pressure on schools to demonstrate effectiveness in all areas of operation, which in turn encouraged school counselors to ensure that their programs were effective in improving student learning (Schmidt, 2008). The use of data to evaluate programs and make decisions became prevalent. In 2003 the American School Counselor Association (ASCA) published its National Model, which provided a framework for counselors to structure comprehensive programs around themes including leadership, collaboration, advocacy, and systemic change (Schmidt, 2008). Schmidt (2008) states “through a programmatic implementation of these four themes, school counselors move beyond delivery of specific services to a leadership, collaborative, and change agent role to help schools address the academic, social, personal, and career needs of every student” (p. 23). While supervisory practices for teachers have been examined extensively, administrative supervision of
school counselors is an area that has not been addressed thoroughly in the literature. Henderson and Gysbers (1998) believe that “the purpose of administrative supervision is to assure that counselors conduct themselves in accordance with professional, ethical, and legal standards; relate well with other school staff members and parents; and otherwise work effectively within the school system” (p. 120). While his work focuses on general supervisory practices, Pajak (1990a) identifies 12 areas important to effective supervision (Table 1). This study seeks to extend supervision practices of teachers into other areas by examining Pajak’s twelve dimensions in relation to the supervision of school counselors. Slight modifications were made to more accurately reflect the role of school counselors.
Pajak’s Study In 1989, Pajak, along with a team of professors and graduate students at the University of Georgia in Athens, conducted a study for the Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development. The purpose of the study was to identify and verify “dimensions of proficiency associated with effective supervisory practice” (Pajak, 1990b, p. v). During the first part of the study researchers reviewed supervision textbooks and literature to identify “knowledge, attitudes, and skills alleged to contribute to instructional improvement or professional growth” (Pajak, 1990a, p. 78). The team classified their findings into 12 dimensions of supervisory practice. During the second phase of the study, the researchers surveyed over 1,600 supervisors across the country to seek their perceptions on the 12 identified areas. The additional research confirmed that these dimensions were indeed important to effective supervision. Since the study was conducted in 1989, consideration has been given to the continued relevance of the 12 dimensions. Marzano, Frontier, and Livingston (2011) state that true pedagogical change occurs through focused feedback, opportunity to practice, and self-reflection yielding clear improvement goals. Sullivan and Glanz (2000) found that effective supervision programs allow staff members to engage in reflective practice including self-analysis, self-direction, and a focus on continuous improvement. While terminology may have evolved over time, research on best practices supports the continued relevance of the 12 dimensions. Pawlas and Oliva (2008) continue to reference the importance of Pajak’s study and list the 12 dimensions in their textbook when describing their model for supervision. Helping staff members to develop professionally, conducting observations and providing feedback, communicating effectively, and building strong ties are all important tasks for educational leaders.
Table 1 Twelve Dimensions of Supervisory Practice Modified for Counselors Dimension
Establishing and maintaining open and productive relations between the school and its community.
Developing and facilitating meaningful opportunities for professional growth.
Planning and Change
Initiating and implementing collaboratively developed strategies for continuous improvement.
Ensuring open and clear communication among individuals and groups throughout the organization.
Coordinating and integrating the process of curriculum development and implementation.
Supporting and coordinating efforts to improve instructional programs.
Service to Counselors
Providing materials, resources, and assistance to support teaching and learning.
Observation and Conferencing
Providing feedback to counselors based on classroom observation.
Problem Solving and Decision Making
Using a variety of strategies to clarify and analyze problems and to make decisions.
Research and Program Evaluation
Encouraging experimentation and assessing outcomes.
Motivating and Organizing
Helping people to develop a shared vision and achieve collective aims.
Recognizing and reflecting upon one’s personal and professional beliefs, abilities, and actions.
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Purpose of the Study The following questions were examined: 1) To what extent are the 12 dimensions of supervisory practice currently being used by administrators in the supervision of school counselors? 2) To what extent should administrators use the 12 dimensions of supervisory practice in the supervision of school counselors? 3) What are the differences between supervision practices currently being used and what counselors think administrators should be using?
Research Design and Sample Based on the research questions, the goal of the study was to assess school counselors’ perceptions of administrative supervision practices as they currently exist and how counselors think supervision should be conducted. In seeking to understand how supervision best practices can be used to support counselors, the study surveyed current school counselors’ opinions using the Dimensions of Supervisory Practice instrument from the 1989 study with slight modifications to accommodate the role of school counselors. The instrument asked participants to rate the extent to which they agree or disagree with a statement on a four-point Likert scale (Strongly Agree, Agree, Disagree, and Strongly Disagree). In addition to demographic questions, there were two questions for each of the 12 dimensions and participants were asked to rate the degree to which each dimension is currently practiced and the degree to which they feel the dimension should be practiced by their current supervisor. Supervisors for this study were principals and assistant principals. School counselors from elementary, middle, and high schools who are members of the South Carolina School Counselor Association (SCSCA) were surveyed. The survey was administered via the online survey website SurveyMonkey. A total of 60 school counselors participated in the survey for a response rate of 15%. However, five respondents stopped after completing Section I of the survey. Therefore the research questions were evaluated based on the responses from 55 participants.
Results The Wilcoxon Sign Rank Test was used to determine whether a statistically significant difference existed between supervision practices currently being used and what counselors think administrators should be using (Table 2). Despite the fact that over 20 years ago Pajak’s
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study established the importance of the 12 dimensions in effective supervision, it is apparent that many buildinglevel administrators have not put the research into practice. In the eyes of school counselors, administrative supervision practices identified by Pajak should be implemented, but in many cases they do not feel it has occurred.
Table 2 Wilcoxon Signed Ranks Test Results by Dimension Dimension
Planning and Change
Service to Counselors
Observation and Conferencing
Problem Solving and Decision Making
Research and Program Evaluation
Motivating and Organizing
Note: Level of significance at p<.05.
Using a 0.05 level of significance, 11 of 12 dimensions were found to be statistically significant. Differences existed between current practice and the way school counselors feel that supervision should be practiced for the following dimensions: Staff Development, Planning and Change, Communication, Curriculum, Instructional Programs, Service to Counselors, Observation and Conferencing, Problem Solving and Decision Making, Research and Program Evaluation, Motivating and Organizing, and Personal Development. In regards to Community Relations, the majority of counselors think this is an area where administrators are doing well. Over 90% felt that supervisors adequately establish and
maintain productive relationships between the school and surrounding community. Both groups tend to be visible members of a school and often interact with a wide variety of stakeholders. Based on the results, it is reasonable to conclude both administrators and counselors understand that part of running an effective school includes ensuring that it is viewed positively by the larger community.
Conclusions and Further Research The era of accountability places significant pressure on the entire educational system, including counselors and administrators. Considering this study sought to investigate the perceptions of school counselors, the results demonstrate that a problem does indeed exist. They are not satisfied with current administrative supervision practices and it may be time that we expand our focus and look towards supporting personnel who do not reside in the core-content classrooms. For school administrators, it may be helpful to put the results in context with current literature on school leadership. Marzano’s (2005) 21 Responsibilities of the School Leader, have many similarities to Pajak’s Dimensions of Supervisory Practice. For example, Marzano uses the term Optimizer to describe “the extent to which a principal inspires and leads new and challenging innovations” (2005, p. 43). This definition overlaps with functions described in both the Research and Program Evaluation and Motivating and Organizing dimensions. In addition, the Responsibility of Monitoring/ Evaluating is described as “the extent to which the principal monitors the effectiveness of school practices and their impact on student learning” (Marzano, 2005, p.43). The Monitoring/Evaluating responsibility connects to the Planning and Change dimension, as well as the Problem Solving and Decision Making dimension. It also fits in with the ASCA National Model’s expectation that counselors utilize data-driven practices to demonstrate that their actions positively impact student learning. Lashway (as cited in Marzano, 2005) posited in the era of standards, accountability should include both positive and negative consequences that are based on results. This can only be done responsibly if administrators are engaged in meaningful supervision with all staff members in the building. Otherwise they run the risk of selectively enforcing expectations or completely overlooking groups of personnel. Since counselors believe there is room for improvement in terms of supervision, administrators might heed the message as the counselors’ concerns appear to be grounded in best practices for school leaders. Considering the dimensions of supervisory practice often overlap with functions counselors perform,
administrators might consider involving counselors in designing a supervision process they feel would be beneficial to them. While significant attention has been given to the process of supervision as it relates to teachers, the same level of attention has not been paid to its appropriateness for other certified personnel. The scope of this study was limited and did not explore what specifically should be changed, however, utilizing Pajak’s well-established dimensions of effective supervision served as a good starting point in establishing that a problem does exist. Knowing school counselors feel current practices in 11 dimensions should be modified is sufficient justification for further research in the area. Areas for future research might include: • •
Why are school counselors dissatisfied with the current models of supervision? Is there a communication disconnect between school counselors and administrators regarding supervision? Gathering anecdotal evidence from both groups regarding the types of activities they feel should fall under each of the 12 dimensions may be helpful. What type of supervision process do school counselors think would be beneficial? Are the management agreements utilized by the ASCA National Model sufficient tools for addressing the administrative supervision process as it relates to school counselors? This study utilized a sample in which counselors were voluntarily members of a professional association. Considering that those who join professional associations are typically very committed professionals, would the results hold true if a similar study was conducted and included counselors who were not members of a professional organization? How do building-level administrators perceive the current supervision process as it relates to school counselors? Should administrative supervision of school counselors be centered on leadership practices? Has the use of supervision models designed for classroom teachers changed the behavior of school counselors? Do school counselors associate supervision with evaluation and therefore feel compelled to gear their work towards activities not in line with the ASCA National Model? To what extent do other specialty areas also need alternative supervision practices? What role, if any, can educational leadership training programs play in rectifying the disconnect between current supervision practice and what should be practiced?
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One might logically ask whether there is a true problem with administrative supervision or whether the problem is one of perception. Are administrators engaged in activities related to the 12 dimensions and just not publicizing it to school personnel? If so, the solution may be to simply increase visibility and communication regarding the daily functions of administrators. However a true problem may exist if administrators are not utilizing effective supervision practices. Viewing the entire school and all of its processes can be difficult from positions outside of administration, but school counselors clearly feel that supervision in its current form is not working for them. It is up to administrators to make adjustments so this key group’s maximum potential is utilized. One desired result of this study is that buildinglevel administrators will begin to reexamine both the supervision practices of school counselors, as well as the processes used to supervise certified personnel who do not teach core academic subjects. As evidenced by the results, school counselors feel that supervision should be conducted in a different manner. Knowing whether counselors are receiving adequate support from administrators and understanding what type of support they find most helpful is vital to running an effective school. While this study takes the first step by establishing that a problem exists with the current model, it does not offer solutions regarding how current practices should be modified. A secondary expectation is that this study will open the door to further research in the area of administrative supervision of school counselors. While helpful to know that counselors do not feel administrators are doing enough to support them, we in education must identify and establish an effective process for supervising this important group of school employees. Current models of supervision are geared towards supervising classroom teachers. While they acknowledge dimensions beyond the classroom are important, such as community relations and communication, they do not address the specialized needs of groups such as school counselors. The ASCA National Model encourages school counselors to be leaders within their schools. It provides a framework for counselors to develop comprehensive programs focused on student outcomes and based on data. Instead of trying to superimpose a model designed around the needs of teachers onto counselors, consideration should be given regarding the development of a new supervision
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model specifically geared towards school counselors. By viewing school counselors as leaders within the school, administrators could shift focus away from tasks such as classroom observation and instead examine how counselors enhance the overall educational and learning experiences of students.
References Henderson, P., & Gysbers, N. C. (1998). Leading and managing your school guidance program staff: A manual for school administrators and directors of guidance. Alexandria, VA: American Counseling Association. Marzano, R. J., Frontier, T., & Livingston, D. (2011). Effective supervision: Supporting the art and science of teaching. Alexandria, VA: ASCD. Marzano, R. J. (2005). School Leadership that Works. Alexandria, VA: ASCD. Pajak, E. (1990a, September). Dimensions of Supervision. Educational Leadership, 48(1), 78-80. Pajak, E. (1990b, April). Identification of dimensions of supervisory practice in education: Reviewing the literature. Paper presented at the annual meeting of the American Educational Research Association, Boston, MA. Pawlas, G. E., & Oliva, P. F. (2008). Supervision for today’s schools (8th ed.). Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley and Sons. Sanders, W. L., & Rivers, J. C. (1996). Cumulative and residual effects of teachers on future student academic achievement. Knoxville: University of Tennessee Value-Added Research and Assessment Center. Schmidt, J. J. (2008). Counseling in schools: Comprehensive programs of responsive services for all students (5th ed.). Boston, MA: Allyn & Bacon. Sullivan, S., & Glanz, J. (2000). Supervision that improves teaching: Strategies and techniques. Thousand Oaks, CA: Corwin Press.
About the Author Creighton Eddings, Ph.D. Berkeley County School District Sedgefield Intermediate School, Principal Creighton Eddings is currently a principal and formerly a school counselor. He is also licensed in South Carolina as a professional counselor. Contact him at eddingsc@ bcsdschools.net.
WHAT IF YOU COULD INSTANTLY IMPROVE STUDENT ACHIEVEMENT? z
Support your School Library Media Program. Research indicates “children who attend schools with school libraries with better collections and superior stafﬁng do better on tests of reading, even when the impact of poverty is controlled.” (Lance, K. “The Impact of School Library Media Centers on Academic Achievement.”)
AWARDS & RECOGNITIONS
What a school thinks about libraries is a measure of what it thinks about education. For more information about SCASL awards and how you can support school libraries, please see your school’s librarian or contact the South Carolina Association of School Librarians by visiting www.scasl.net.
Is your school library an integral part of your school? If so we would like to honor those who have helped to make it happen! The South Carolina Association of School Librarians (SCASL) Awards Program includes these awards and honors:
Media Specialist of the Year honors a full-time media specialist on the basis of exemplary programs and active participation and service to SCASL.
Administrator of the Year recognizes an exemplary administrator for his/her support of school library programs.
Media Paraprofessional of the Year - recognizes the exemplary performance of a paraprofessional who directly supports the media profession at either the building or district level.
Margaret Ehrhardt Student Scholarship - provides a scholarship to a graduating media center volunteer who has made an outstanding contribution to school librarianship, school library service and/or SCASL.
SCASL Honor Roll - honors administrators and paraprofessionals by showing our appreciation for their help promoting school library programs.
Deadline for all awards and scholarships is December 1st each year. The SCASL Honor Roll nominations may be submitted year round.
Factors Effecting Superintendent Longevity In South Carolina By Kathie Greer, Ph.D and Edward Cox, Ed.D.
he No Child Left Behind Act of 2001 was signed into law in January 2002. Districts are now required to demonstrate “adequate yearly progress” (AYP) toward State objectives. The adequate progress standard involves demonstrating through test scores that the district is on course to achieve 100 percent proficiency for all groups of students by the 2013-14 school year. Those schools that fall behind in progress toward this goal, may be subject to various “school improvement,” “corrective action,” or “restructuring” measures imposed by the state. Similar South Carolina accountability legislation was approved in 1998. The parties identified in the legislation as having primary responsibility for meeting improvement objectives are superintendents and school boards. Superintendent candidate pools and experience levels are shrinking nationwide. Superintendents generally acknowledge that accountability legislation has increased the complexity and level of stress in their work.
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Relationships between superintendents and boards, as well as the combined credibility of the superintendent and board with the community, are impacting superintendent longevity (Kamrath & Bruner, 2010; Kowalski, 2006). The reasons behind these trends and particularly its relationship to district accountability status examined here are less clear. The increasing complexity and pressure that awaits those serving as school district superintendents appears to have contributed to a higher turnover particularly in districts where schools struggle to meet the requirements of adequate academic progress. The lead author has worked with nine different superintendents in 12 years as a high South Carolina school principal. At the beginning of the 2010-2011 school year, of the original 16 schools designated as priority schools in South Carolina, no principal or superintendent has remained in place from when those schools were identified in 2006.
This article analyzes some of the district factors believed to influence longevity and the implications for South Carolina superintendents. We examined four factors effecting superintendent longevity in South Carolina within the context of the current climate of accountability: district accountability status, district poverty index, district enrollment, and district per pupil expenditure. For the purpose of this discussion, superintendent longevity is defined as the length of superintendent service in a given school district. Relevant literature, prior research, and personal experience guided this review and assessment of the relationship between longevity of South Carolina superintendents and the four possible contributing factors. The data covers the time period between 2001 and 2010. This roughly parallels the first ten years of school evaluation under the states’ accountability system. Superintendent longevity is determined by the average number of years of service of superintendents in a district. District accountability status is defined and designated by the state of South Carolina via the state school district rating system and includes student achievement and district academic performance. The district poverty index is reported by the South Carolina Department of Education. District enrollment is defined as student enrollment. District per pupil expenditure is provided by district annual accountability reports.
Schools (GCS) showed the average tenure for urban superintendents was only 2.75 years. The Council of Urban Board of Educators (CUBE) puts the average at 4-5 years (Byrd, Drews, & Johnson, 2006). A study by the AASA in 2010 reported that 51% of the 2,000 superintendents responding planned to leave the profession by 2015 (Kowalski, Peterson, McCord, and Ellison 2010).The National Council of the Professors of Educational Administration (2008) views superintendent longevity as fairly static and notes that many superintendents still spend half of their careers in one district. Kowalski (2003) found that rural areas in the mid-west had shorter superintendent tenures than both urban and suburban school districts. Superintendents are an aging, but not highly experienced group. A recent survey by the American Association of School Administrators Center for System Leadership (April, 2008), revealed that 78% are over fifty, and 81% had ten years or less experience as a superintendent. Only 15% believed there is an adequate supply of superintendents. The National Council of Professors of Educational Administration (2008) affirmed these concerns. Educators have been so focused on the issue of teacher shortage that many do not realize that approximately 82% of current superintendents are eligible for retirement.
Superintendent Longevity National Trends
To identify patterns in superintendent longevity and impacting factors, information was collected from the 85 public school districts in South Carolina that are subject to the regulations and mandates of this state’s accountability system. The descriptive information provided important comparative details, suggesting which factors might impact longevity. Table 1 provides a summary of the descriptive data. Columns 3-7 of the table are state averages. When organized within the context of the accountability system the relationship between superintendent longevity and select district characteristics becomes more apparent. The average superintendent longevity for all districts from 2001 to 2010 is 4.81 years. The average longevity in the 26 districts designated as Clear is 5.07 years. The 30 Corrective Action districts, the most academically challenged have by far the lowest average superintendent longevity, 3.82 years. School districts with a clear rating spend the most per pupil and tend to have smaller enrollments, but a slightly higher poverty index than districts in corrective action. Average per pupil expenditures in corrective action districts are second only to clear districts. Educators are accustomed to the
There is growing concern in the field regarding the shrinking number of superintendent candidates and the decreasing level of experience among those occupying the position. Educators concerned about these trends fear their impact on student achievement, quality of leadership and school district performance (Glass, 2010). Others are concerned about the responses to perceived longevity issues and the negative impact that may result from the methods used by states to address the issue (Kowalski, 2006; May & Supovitz, 2006). A 2006 national survey by the American Association of School Administrators summarized some key concerns. It highlights the changing role of superintendents since the enactment of the No Child Left Behind (NCLB) legislation. Sixty percent of the 1,338 superintendents surveyed reported high stress in their jobs; 15% indicated very high stress and a majority believe that NCLB has had a negative impact on the nation’s schools. Natkin, Cooper, Padilla, and Ghosh (2002) reviewed superintendent longevity finding a 6-7 year average turnover regardless of the size and location of the districts. A 2003 report from the Council of Great City
Superintendent Longevity South Carolina Trends
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assumption that high poverty Table 1 Descriptive Data by Accountability Status Categories is always associated with Superintendent Poverty District lower academic success. Accountability Status N Expenditure Longevity Index Enrollment This table indicates that the Clear 26 5.07 80.07 4,541 10,277 impact of high poverty on superintendent longevity Newly Identified 17 4.63 79.55 3,306 9,600 might be somewhat offset Continuous District in situations where per 2 6.66 57.76 12,954 8,092 Improvement Hold pupil expenditure is higher Continuous District and student populations 10 5.37 64.39 11,536 8,998 Improvement smaller. Superintendents in these situations, with Corrective Action 30 3.82 78.51 12,588 9,636 fewer accountability issues State Average 4.81 66.32 10,232 9,507 generally enjoy longer tenures. Additionally, the amount dedicated per pupil Table 2 Pearson r Correlations with Superintendent Longevity may be less significant in districts below the state Correlations District Characteristics average for superintendent .50 to 1 or -.50 to -1 longevity. Accountability Status -.58 * The Pearson r Correlation -.57 * Coefficient provided further Poverty Index information regarding District enrollment -.20 the relationships between Per Pupil Expenditure -.83 * superintendent longevity and district characteristics. District data was again * Significant correlations grouped by accountability may need to focus more on the development of their own status categories to produce the necessary means. Table 2 district level administrative personnel to increase the summarizes the correlations. The correlations suggest that pool of superintendent candidates. Districts with lower three of the four factors, including accountability status, accountability ratings may need to work harder to attract are linked to superintendent longevity. Greater longevity a quality pool of candidates and retain their services. was associated with less critical accountability status and Is it reasonable to expect that many candidates would higher per pupil expenditure. District enrollment was not move to less affluent, struggling districts in remote areas, correlated with superintendent longevity. accept lower than average compensation, when long-term employment is not assured? Conclusions The intent of the legislature in increasing standards for performance and imposing sanctions for In considering factors that impact superintendent failure to meet those standards was to facilitate rapid longevity in South Carolina, the authors found district improvements. The result was to be higher student accountability status, district poverty index, and achievement and high performing school systems. South district per pupil expenditure to be contributing factors. Carolina has implemented one of the most stringent Superintendent longevity is greater in districts with the accountability systems in the nation. Early performance highest rating category (clear) than in those districts data for schools and school districts in South Carolina do less successful in achieving state performance targets. not yet indicate that the plan has achieved those desired Longevity is also correlated with accountability status, results. expenditure, and poverty. If the superintendent pools Districts most challenged with meeting the demands continue to shrink, short tenures persist, and less of accountability have the lowest superintendent longevity experienced candidates are available to fill positions, averages (3.82), while those experiencing the most success it may be increasingly necessary to utilize more nonunder the South Carolina accountability system enjoy the traditional approaches to find quality candidates. Districts
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highest average superintendent longevity (5.07). Seventysix percent of the districts judged to be succeeding under accountability had stable leadership, compared to twentysix percent of those not succeeding. Leadership is the foundation on which districts often build sustainable academic success. Most, still view the superintendent as a critical figure in ongoing improvement efforts. If superintendents are indeed critical to the process, districts, particularly those most challenged by accountability performance requirements, need to reverse the current trend regarding superintendent longevity. Knowing the factors that effect longevity should assist in developing the necessary policies and procedures. All experienced South Carolina educators have likely witnessed the disruptions and periodic turmoil associated with superintendent turnover. Some have probably experienced it many times. Most agree it takes at least five years to fully implement systemic change that can impact student achievement. If that is true, then the most challenged districts are again operating with yet another important disadvantage.
References Byrd, J., Drews, C. & Johnson, J. (2006). Factors impacting superintendent turnover: Lessons from the field. NCPEA Education Leadership Review, 7( 2),131-145. Retrieved from http://cnx.org/content/m14507/latest. Glass, T.E. (2010). Superintendent evaluation: What AASA’s study discovered. American Association of School Administrators. Retrieved from http://www.aasa.org/content. aspx?id=6674. Kamrath B. & Brunner C. (2010). High superintendent turnover: A multicase study of small rural school districts. All Academic Research. Retrieved from http://www. allacademic.com//metap_mla_apa_research_citation/2/7/3/3/8/ pages273382/. Kowalski, et al. (2010). The American School Superintendent: 2010 Decennial Study. American Association of School Administrators. Retrieved from http://www.aasa.org/Default. aspx. Kowalski, T. J. (2003). Superintendent shortage: The wrong problem and wrong solutions. Journal of School Leadership. 13, 288-303. Retrieved from http://www.udayton.edu/ education/profiles/kowalski_theodore.php May, H. & Supovitz, J. A. (2006). Capturing the cumulative effects of school reform: An 11-year study of the impacts of America’s choice on student achievement. Educational Evaluation and Policy Analysis, 28(3), 231-257. Natkin, G., Cooper, B., Fusarelli, L., Alborano, J., Padilla, A., and Ghosh, S.(2002). Myth of the revolving-door superintendency. School Administrator, 59(5), 2831. Retrieved from www.eric.ed.gov/ERICWebPortal/ recordDetail?accno=EJ644936.
About the Authors Kathie Greer, Ph, D. Department of Student Services Adult Education Lexington Five School District Columbia, S.C. 29212 803-476-8229 Director Lexington/Richland Five School District Dr. Greer directs adult programs in School District Five. She is an adjunct professor at Southern Wesleyan University and former principal and principal specialist. Edward Cox, Ed.D Department of Education Wardlaw Hall University of South Carolina Columbia, S.C. 29208 803-777-3089 Associate Professor University of South Carolina Dr. Cox, an Associate Professor in the Department of Education at the University of South Carolina, previously served as a superintendent and high school principal.
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Building Effective Relationships with Southern Impoverished Urban Youth By Beyonka S. Wider, M.A., Ed.D. and Madison Hutto, M.Ed.
Introduction In the field of public education today student academic success has become the predominant measuring stick for overall school success. Closing the achievement gap is a major challenge for all schools in the United States. Building effective relationships with students is a critical element in closing the achievement gap among youth in the United States, especially impoverished urban youth. Teachers that are able to build successful relationships with urban youth enrich the entire classroom experience for students while also helping their students achieve. Building relationships with Southern impoverished urban students is extremely important for the purpose of giving them the one thing necessary to escape the cycle of poverty, education. The old saying is true “students do not care how much you know until they know how much
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you care.” Teachers who are able to engage students via interest inventories, introductory activities, culturallyrelevant lessons, and most of all structure will experience a great level of success. By utilizing some of the best practices provided in this article, educators of Southern impoverished urban youth will help to prepare them to compete in a global society.
Meet Your Students’ Needs Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs as Related to Students It is imperative for teachers to have an understanding of the needs of their students. All humans have five basic needs, and each human strives to gratify these wants in a precise array of importance, thus creating a hierarchy.
Maslow (1943) described the human as a “perpetually wanting animal” (p. 370). Maslow’s theory is vital to schools, in particular, because it provides a framework for understanding the personal needs of students as individuals. Maslow (1959) found that social and physical environments control an individual’s feelings of welfare. Practical to schools and classrooms, this section of the article provides grounds of supporting the foundation that the social, psycho-social, and physical environments of schools are significant in determining the physiological needs, safety needs, belonging needs, and the esteem needs of impoverished urban students. Students need to feel safe, loved, and a have sense of belonging. They also have a need for money, resources, and that familial bond. Teachers have the power to endorse teamwork within the classroom or to permit separation that may lead to prolonged isolation, which negatively impacts students sharing and academic growth. Brown (2005) explained that isolation leads to discontented love and the lack of belonging needs. Maslow’s (1943) theory explains that individuals have a continuous craving to feel desired and acknowledged by others is apparent in the school setting. Maslow’s (1943) theory suggests that individuals become progressively more vulnerable to solitude, social nervousness, and despair when in isolation. Just as humans have an innate craving to feel cherished and acknowledged by others, they also have a biological yearning to accept honor and consideration (Maslow, 1943). Within humans exists the need to be appreciated, to have self-worth, and to reverence others (Maslow, (1943). Maslow (1943) also reported that approval helps satisfy the self-esteem need which should lead to the growth of self-assurance, significance, power, and purpose for life. Left unfulfilled, individuals as well as students experience feelings of inadequacy, of weakness, and of helplessness. Teachers must work hard to meet to needs of urban youth in order to reach and teach them.
Keys to Building Effective Relationships Various key elements will allow any teacher to build the necessary relationships with their students as well as make sure all of their student’s needs are met. Educators making the deeper connections with urban youth will result in improved academic success. The following key elements that build deeper connections with urban youth resulting in reaching students for improved academic success include: (a) Know Your Students, (b) Interest and Learning Styles Inventories, (b) Introductory Activities, (c) Culturally-Relevant Lessons and (d) Provide Structure.
Know Your Students The research of (Delpit, 1995 & Noguera, 2003) affirmed that teachers need to know who their students are both inside the classroom and outside the classroom. According to Noguera, (2003) teachers must find ways to adapt their teaching in order to reach urban youth. In many instances, students do not care what their teacher knows, unless they know that their teacher cares. It is essential for teachers of urban impoverished students to show students that they care about what the students care about. Teachers can accomplish this by attending programs in which the students participate, attending sporting events for their school, whether their students are a part of the team or not, and talking with the students about subjects and topics that interest the student. Students value the fact and thought that their teacher knows something significant to their lifestyle.
Interest and Learning Styles Inventories Another way for teacher to get to know their students is to find out what topics and ideas interests the students. This can be done by providing the students with interest inventories of various formats and about various topics. Knowing all students’ learning styles will also help to drive instructional practices. Having students participate in various interests and learning style inventories will give both you and the students a sense of what interests all involved along with how the students prefer to learn. Some of the more popular inventories available for students are: ACT’s Interest Inventory, Scholastic Student Interest Inventory, and the Abiator’s Learning Style Inventory. Once students take these surveys read over them and explain the results to the students. Let the students know what the results mean about each students personality. The teacher should also share their responses to the specific inventory. Teachers sharing information about their lives will show their students that they are not simply a talking head, but a person with a life just like the students. As a teacher is it important not to simply give the survey and leave matters at that, use that data to drive instruction in the classroom.
Introductory Activities Introductory activities do not have to exist only at the beginning of the school year. These activities should be ongoing and cover various topics. For example, every day as the class begins; students could say their favorites on a particular subject like: basketball player, baseball team, food, movie, television show, or game. Not only will the teacher gauge an idea of what the students like,
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but they will also be able to relate that information to their students in their lessons and in conversation with those students. Students love the fact that their teacher remembers something important that relates to them specifically, these introductory activities could make a big difference in the students’ lives.
Culturally-Relevant Lessons In order to reach students, information must be culturally-relevant to those students. Urban youth need to understand that what they are learning relates to their lives in some manner. In teaching history, show students where their ancestors originated from during that time period. With English/Language Arts, allow the students to read books about their culture. In science, show them scientists that have impacted history from their culture. With mathematics allow them to complete problems that they would likely face in their lives. Having a culturallyrelevant classroom allows students to see themselves in their education; they will be able to see why learning is important and helpful to their future. Teaching in a culturally-relevant manner will also allow the teacher to reach students on a higher level.
Provide Structure Many impoverished urban children need consistency and structure. These students come to school mostly because they have to or they need a safe place during the day. In the classroom it is very important to provide students not only with a safe and welcoming environment, but with a stable and structured environment as well. Some urban students do not have a sturdy framework in their home lives; they are forced to take on several different jobs in the home as well as play several different roles in their families. In the classroom, students need to know what to expect on a daily basis. The students do not want to come into the classroom and guess what the teacher has planned or what they will be doing throughout the day. Some of the ways to provide structure in the classroom is to maintain the same order of events, keep the classroom organized in the same manner, and treat all students the same. Organization can be a very decisive factor in how effective a classroom teacher is to their students’ lives and education. Maintaining standard rules and consequences is highly effective in the classroom. Students should see the rules being carried out
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consistently for all students for every behavior. Urban youth should learn a standard for procedures in the classroom. Knowing how to submit assignments, when to ask questions, and how and when to receive assistance in the classroom saves the class time when those activities come about in the classroom. All of these activities, a structured environment, set rules and consequences consistently applied, and standard classroom procedures will give urban students the necessary structure needed in order to be successful academically. All in all, in order to successfully reach impoverished urban youth, it is imperative that you, the teacher, build effective relationships with your students. Teachers who are able to engage their students in interest and learning style inventories, introductory activities, culturallyrelevant lessons, and structure will experience great success in helping their students compete in a global society and close the achievement gap.
References Brown, S.W., (2005). Emily and Rebecca: A tale of two teachers, Teaching and Teacher Education, 21, 637-648. Delpit, L. (1995). Other people’s children: Cultural conflict in the classroom. New York: New Press. Maslow, A.H. (1943). A theory of human motivation. Psychological Review, 50, 370-396. www.umi.com/proquest. Noguera, P. (2003). City schools and the American dream: Reclaiming the promise of public education. New York: Teachers College Press.
About the Authors Beyonka S. Wider, M.A., Ed.D. Walden University email@example.com Madison Hutto, M.Ed. Educator Richland County School District One firstname.lastname@example.org Correspondences Contact Information: Beyonka S. Wider, M.A., Ed.D. 166 Vermillion Drive Columbia, SC 29209 (803) 348-6472 (phone) email@example.com firstname.lastname@example.org
Help Move Education Forward! There are many dedicated elected officials who stand up for public education. We need to stand behind them with our voices and financial support. Donate to the LEAP Action Committee by going to and click Donate or mail your check made payable to LEAP to 121 Westpark Boulevard, Columbia, SC 29210.
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Understanding Public Charter Schools in South Carolina
A primer on public charter schools in South Carolina, including academic, financial, and legal summaries, for administrators, teachers, school board members, and parents. By Wayne Brazell, Ph.D.
hat’s the tuition like for charter schools in South Carolina?” I glanced up from my lunch to see if the superintendent who asked me that question was kidding. I quickly realized that it was a sincere inquiry. After gently explaining that public charter schools do not charge any tuition, I added that question to my list of misconceptions that some professional educators have about public charter schools (see illustration one, “Ten Common Questions about Public Charter Schools”). As of October 2013, I have been the Superintendent of the South Carolina Public Charter School District for four years, and during that time I have heard many people say many things about public charter schools. Sometimes the accolades are valid. Sometimes the concerns are valid. Other times, both the supporters and the detractors are misinformed, or, worse, they are misinforming others. Given the increasing presence of public charter schools in South Carolina, I think that it is essential that all educators have a well-informed understanding of what these schools are and what they are not.
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As the superintendent of a school district that consists entirely of public charter schools, my job is much different than a superintendent of a traditional school district, a role that I have held before. The differences center around the fact that this district office is a charter school authorizing office and not the operator of the schools of the district. A primary mission of the Board of Trustees of the district is to grant charters and revoke charters. In support of that mission, this office is an oversight agency with limited district office services to the schools. For example, more than one parent has called me to complain about a teacher, only to be surprised when I say that the concerns should be addressed to the school leader or governing Board of the school in question, since the district office does not hire any school personnel (though we do coordinate state benefits, credentials, and some training). This state-wide charter school district office also works to nurture additional high quality public charter schools in South Carolina and acts as a center of competency for the entire state regarding such schools. There are over 890 students in this district for each of the
13 full-time district office employees, which is one of the highest ratios of any school district in the nation. The district office funding is capped at two percent of the state funding allocated to the entire district. This means that over 98% of the state funding for this district goes directly to the schools of the district for their use as directed by the governing Boards of those schools. That decision making on the ground is paired with the same degree of accountability, too. In short, the schools operate their budgets, and this office holds each school accountable to its charter and to a highly detailed contract that obligates the school to perform as agreed upon in writing. If the school does not adhere to the charter and the contract, the school community faces sanctions and closure of the school. The autonomy-accountability arrangement is appreciated by many people within the system, from parents to school leaders. The growth of the state-wide district continues to be exceptional. After a planning year in 2007, the district opened its first schools in 2008 (see illustration two, “Summary of School Portfolio”). Today, there are approximately 8,000 students learning virtually and 3,600 students learning in a brick and mortar charter school for a total of some 11,600 students (see illustration three, “South Carolina Public Charter School District Enrollment Levels”). This places the district among the top twenty largest in the state. Between increases in enrollment at existing schools and increases in enrollment due to new schools, the total number of students in the district is expected to increase by at least 3,500 for the 2013-2014 school year (see illustration four, “South Carolina Public Charter School District Schools Opening in August 2013”). This single year increase alone is larger than the student populations of several entire school districts in this state and mirrors growth in the fastest growing districts in the state. To the surprise of many, the demographics of the District are similar to many public school districts across South Carolina. The percentage of students receiving a free lunch or a reduced price lunch due to financial qualifications is 47.3%, though we suspect widespread underreporting by families of virtual school students who do not see any reason to complete a reduced price lunch form (the meals are not sent to their homes). The percentage of students who are receiving special education services is 11%, and considerable district office time and expense is aimed toward special education monitoring and to reinforcing school compliance in that area. The district is the Local Education Authority for all federal programs. Over 20% of the students in the district are African-American, nearly 4% are Hispanic/Latino, and
almost 1% are Asian-American. The interest in public charter schools in the minority communities has increased substantially in my four years in the District. When created by the South Carolina General Assembly, the district was the lowest funded school district in the entire nation. While funding has improved since the first schools opened in 2008, the district remains in the bottom one percent of all public school districts in the nation with respect to total per pupil funding. Funding for the virtual schools of the district averages $5,916 per pupil from all sources, which includes shortterm federal support. Support for the brick and mortar public charter schools averages $7,080 per pupil from all sources, including fund raising programs. (See illustration five, “South Carolina Public Charter School District Financial History.”) No additional funding is provided for facilities, so brick and mortar schools must pay for their buildings from their operational budgets. Obviously, one of the most important issues for this district is funding. With the increase in the student population has come substantial increases in the aggregate funding. However, per state law, for each student who attends a school in the state-wide district, the local funding for that student remains available for the local school district to use. Therefore, none of the funding for this state-wide district has ever come from local sources. We have launched a non-profit foundation called the South Carolina Foundation for Public Charter Schools to help the schools of the district for things like special academic projects and technology support. As a state-wide school district, this office authorizes a variety of schools with many different types of students, and the academic performance of the schools reflects that spectrum of student ability (see illustration six, “South Carolina Public Charter School District Students by County of Residence”). It should be noted that the virtual schools of the district have quickly become a major alternative placement tool for at-risk students from traditional districts across the state. This is a role that virtual schools were not designed to fill. Despite many challenges, some of the schools of the district are starting to demonstrate innovation and yield impressive results. For example, at East Point Academy in Cayce the students learn their lessons in both English and Chinese throughout the day, which is an outstanding example of a globalized education. The school was developed in partnership with the Confucius Institutes of the University of South Carolina and Presbyterian College. At Youth Leadership Academy in Pickens County, the curriculum is integrated into both classrooms and outdoors with a strong emphasis on developing
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Illustration One: Ten Common Questions about Public Charter Schools Question #1: “Who came up with public charter schools?” The idea was developed by a University of Massachusetts professor named Ray Budde. In the 1970s, he advocated for a new type of public school that would be organized more by teachers and less by district administrators. In return, the schools would be required to adhere to an accountability program for student performance as outlined in a charter contract. Question #2: “When did charter schools start in South Carolina?” Charter schools can only operate in states that have charter school laws. Currently, forty-two states and the District of Columbia have such laws. The South Carolina state legislature passed the charter school law in 1996, though for the first few years there was not much interest. Since 2006, interest has increased every year. There are now fifty-three public charter schools in South Carolina. Over 20,000 students attend a public charter school in this state. Over half of those students are attending one of the seventeen schools of the South Carolina Public Charter School District. Other schools are authorized by local school districts. Question #4: “How do the schools pick their students?” In other states, some charter school laws allow charter schools to recruit a particular kind of student, like a magnet school. That is not the case in South Carolina. All public charter schools in South Carolina are required by law to take whatever students happen to apply until the school runs out of space. If interest is greater than space, the Board of the school holds a lottery with all new students having the same chance to attend the school. The only real problem in this area is that because public charter schools in South Carolina are not provided any funding for student transportation, this tends to limit access at the brick and mortar public charter schools.
public charter school teachers who teach a core subject must be certified or actively participating in an approved alternative placement program. Currently, there are very few teachers in public charter schools in such a program, and the vast majority of teachers are teaching a core subject, so the result is that there are very few non-certified teachers in the district. Question #7: “How are the teachers hired, and do they have contracts?” The Boards of the schools hire the principals who then hire the teachers, though the district office confirms credentials through CERRA. At-will employee status is a fundamental aspect of public charter schools, but sometimes there can be written agreements for the personnel at some schools. With the exception of a few part-time virtual school teachers who teach an uncommon subject, such as Korean or Arabic, the teachers in the district are residents of South Carolina. Question #8: “Are the teachers and administrators employees of a corporation?” In other states, public charter school teachers are often employed by corporations. In South Carolina, no for-profit entity can be granted a charter to operate a school. The Boards of the public charter schools are granted charters. Those Boards may or may not decide to hire companies for various services, ranging from accounting to information technology. As a result, the majority of the employees of the state-wide charter school district are eligible for receiving health benefits through the state, though each public charter school has the option to participate in the state retirement system or not.
Question #5: “Do the students take the state tests, and how do you handle testing?” In South Carolina, all of the public charter schools are required to administer all state standardized tests to students in grades 3-12 every year with the exception that the schools without a gifted and talented program are not required to administer COGAT and ITBS. All virtual school students in grades 3-12 are required to take the state standardized tests in person at testing centers throughout the state under the same regulations as any other public school. All of the testing is done under closely monitored conditions with district personnel and independent contractors, who are usually retired teachers and administrators from traditional districts.
Question #9: “What are public charter schools exempt from?” In South Carolina there are fewer exemptions for public charter schools than in most other states with public charter schools. Public charter schools in South Carolina are not required to provide transportation, which is unfunded, or to meet a particular teacher to student ratio, though in the brick and mortar schools practicality factors usually result in normal ratios anyway. There is considerable flexibility regarding seat time for the virtual schools. The charter schools of the statewide district are not required to recognize student recruitment boundaries other than the lines of the state itself (public charter schools authorized by local districts are more restricted regarding enrollment zones). The schools are not required to participate in the School Improvement Council system. There are no exemptions from PowerSchool, state testing, student safety requirements, school facility requirements, degree requirements, attendance, etc.
Question #6: “Do public charter school teachers need to be certified?” In most other states, public charter schools have more human resource flexibility than in South Carolina. In this state, all
Question #10: “What do the parents pay for?” These are public schools. As in traditional public education, there can be things like lab fees and field trip fees that are comparable with local requirements. There is no tuition.
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leadership skills and healthy choices among students, along with lessons that are rich in science and math. This is an example of how many public charter schools lend themselves well toward a student-centered approach. Further academic excellence in the district can be seen at schools like Palmetto Scholars Academy, where the faculty members use a gifted and talented curriculum with high expectations for all attending students. The school is currently located on the former naval base in Charleston, but the Board of that school is planning for a move to the Joint Base Charleston military facility. The professional learning community at Calhoun Falls Charter School in Abbeville County tailors their programs through highly individualized academic services with lessons and tutoring sessions that are designed for each student, clearly reflecting a daily personalized approach. Of course, some of the schools of the district are struggling academically, and owing to the nature of the charter approach, these schools must improve or be closed. We are quite serious about accountability, and during the 2011-2012 school year and 2012-2013 school year, the district office spent a considerable amount in legal fees to revoke a charter and close the school in question. The Board of Trustees for the district is committed to insisting on quality public charter schools with high capacity and innovative ideas. Making it easier to close poor performing schools is an important legislative goal for the district, and we enjoy broad legislative support regarding our efforts to modify the law to assist us with making school closure less cumbersome and more cost effective when the conditions warrant closure. The public charter school community in this state has never claimed that such schools are the educational solution; instead, public charter schools should be thought of as one possible answer. As public charter schools increase in number in this state, it is my hope that we will
Illustration Two: Summary of School Portfolio Calhoun Falls Charter School (opened 2008, grades 6-12) Connections Academy South Carolina (virtual school, opened 2008, grades K-12) Palmetto State E-cademy (virtual school, opened 2008, grades 9-12) South Carolina Virtual Charter School (virtual school, aProvost Academy South Carolina (virtual school, opened 2009, grades 9-12) South Carolina Calvert Academy (virtual school, opened 2009, grades K-8) Spartanburg Charter School (opened 2009, grades K-8) Lake City College Preparatory Academy (opened 2010, grades K-11, adding a grade each year) York Preparatory Academy (opened 2010, grades K-11, adding a grade each year) Palmetto Scholars Academy (opened 2010, grades 6-11, adding a grade each year) SC Whitmore School (virtual school, opened 2011, grades 9-12) East Point Academy (opened 2011, grades K-3, adding a grade each year) Cape Romain Environmental Education Charter School (opened 2012, K-5, adding a grade each year to become K-8) Imagine Columbia Leadership Academy (opened 2012, K-5, adding a grade each year) Youth Leadership Academy (opened 2012, 6-7, adding grade 8 next year) Royal Live Oaks Academy (opened 2012, K-8, adding a grade each year) Fox Creek High School (opened 2004, transferred to the state-wide district in 2012, 9-12) In addition to these schools, two other schools have had their charters revoked and have subsequently been closed.
Illustration Three: South Carolina Public Charter School District Enrollment Levels
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A Look Back at the 2013 Innovative Id
Dent Middle School Blue Diamond Steel Drum Pans were the entertainment at Sundaes on Sunday.
Keynote speaker Beatrice McGarvey speaks about customized learning.
Keynote speaker Stephen Peters speaks about creating highly successful schools against the odds.
Johnny Murdaugh, Director of Career and Technology in Richland District One, plays the saxophone in Tuesday’s general session.
One of our many presenters, Bill Pratt of Griggs Road Elementary.
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e Ideas Institute...
Keynote speaker Tony Wagner speaks about creating innovators.
The SCASA Staff at i3. From left to right, first row: Kristen Crawford, Hannah Pittman, April Griffin; 2nd row: Molly Spearman, Jay Welch, Sandy Burton, Jessica Morgan, and Beth Phibbs.
Keynote speaker Salome Thomas-el speaks on the immortality of influence.
One of our many presenters, Vernie Williams of Childs & Halligan, P.A.
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Illustration Four: South Carolina Public Charter School District Schools Opening in August 2013
Illustration Five: South Carolina Public Charter School District Financial History
Midlands Middle College in Columbia SC Science Academy in Columbia Lowcountry Leadership Charter School in Hollywood Coastal Leadership Academy in Myrtle Beach Bridges Preparatory School in Beaufort Pee Dee Math, Science, and Technology Academy in Lee County The GREEN School in Greenville Cyber Academy of South Carolina (virtual with a state-wide presence) all see increasing cooperation and collaboration between traditional public education and public charter schools. Such an approach is in the best interests of students. While I have witnessed quite a bit of change in public education in my thirty-five years of public service, it is my belief that far more extensive and profound changes are coming. Many of the changes are being led by both leaders in traditional public schools and leaders in public charter schools, who are stepping up to meet the needs of diverse learners and parents who are looking for more public school options.
Illustration Six: South Carolina Public Charter School District Students by County of Residence
About the Author Wayne Brazell, Ph. D., Superintendent, SC Public Charter School District Wayne Brazell has a doctorate of philosophy in literacy from the University of Georgia and thirty-five years of experience in building-level and districtoffice-level roles.
The first number represents brick and mortar public charter school students of the district, and the second number represents virtual learning public charter school students in the district. These numbers are accurate as of January 2013. The student enrollment levels of the virtual learning schools, in particular, vary throughout the year.
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Can Incentive Plans Improve Safety Culture in Public Education? By R. Brooks Jones, KeenanSuggs Insurance, CSRM, CRM, AAI
here’s an on-going debate in the world of safety and risk management as to whether incentive programs offer a valid tool for controlling accidents in the workplace. This article probably won’t settle the argument. However, when used in combination with a company’s safety program, consistent training and actively engaged employees, an incentive program can be a means of improving the safety culture of any organization.
Identifying the need Bob Davis, Richland School District Two’s CFO, partnered with risk management consultants Brooks Jones and John Brigman of KeenanSuggs a few years back to develop strategies for controlling insurance costs. Prior to 2006, the district bought guaranteed cost coverage in a risk sharing pool offered by the South Carolina School Board Trust. While this was always a good option for public education insurance coverage, the district decided to seek competitive bids in the market instead of accepting the status quo. The district immediately benefited from enhanced property and liability coverage while reducing premiums for all lines, including workers’ compensation. In 2008, Bob Davis and KeenanSuggs decided to go a step further and selfinsure the workers’ compensation program. With plenty of historical data to support the move, the District felt the timing was right.
Keys to success With an existing safety program in place, there was already a solid foundation for success. However, Bob needed that additional component to elevate staff participation and a spirit of cooperation district wide. So, when presented with the idea of establishing an incentive program, Bob and his team accepted the challenge and went to work. With a newly formed risk management committee, there was no shortage of creativity. His incentive program would focus on reducing lost time for work related claims, detailed post-accident investigations and timely claim reporting. Communication was essential, as faculty and staff needed to understand their role and purpose. Getting employees back to work reduces the
overall claims cost, accident investigations reveal root causes for corrective actions and timely claims reporting ensures immediate medical attention and decreased litigation expense. Advised by their consultants, the district would concentrate on driving attention to those accidents creating the highest frequency and loss severity. Emphasis was placed on slip, trip and falls, a common problem in many organizations with no exception in District Two. Incentive awards, in the form of pre-paid gas cards, were given to schools on a monthly basis as long as they met certain criteria. 1. No slip, trip or fall accidents resulting in medical treatment. 2. No lost time accidents. 3. Timely claims reporting and 4. Completion of accident investigations. In addition, any school that met the goals for the whole year received a catered lunch for their staff.
The Results Since the inception of the incentive program three years ago and a well managed self-insurance program coming up on five years, workers’ compensation costs have steadily decreased and are down by more than 60%. Nearly $5 million in savings from direct and indirect costs have been sent back to the classrooms instead of paying insurance premiums and employees have gleaned an understanding of their role in the success of the school district’s total cost of risk. Accidents will continue to happen, with an employee count of 2,600, it’s practically inevitable. However, utilizing incentives to promote awareness makes logical sense, especially in a business where education is the key.
About the Author R. Brooks Jones KeenanSuggs Insurance CSRM, CRM, AAI
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Millenial Makeover: Better Benefits for Gen Y
Take a fresh look at your benefits strategies to attract and retain today’s younger workers By Chris Shealy, Public Sector Manager – South Carolina Colonial Life Profile of a Gen Y employee
hen you look across the room at a faculty meeting, do you see a lot of young faces? If so, you’re not alone: Generation Y — those born in 1980 and later — is literally taking over the workplace. These 20- and 30-something workers already make up 25 percent of the U.S. civilian labor force1 — and that percentage is going to grow rapidly as Baby Boomers begin to retire in large numbers over the next several years. Most importantly to you, they’ll also bring with them new expectations about their jobs, their futures and the workplace. Do you understand what makes these younger employees tick? And are your current benefits enrollment strategies on target for this age group? If you want to attract and retain the best and brightest in your school system, it’s time to take a serious look at how benefits you’re providing them are communicated and enrolled.
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Gen Y, also known as the Millennials, is the first generation to come of age at the start of the new millennium. They were raised in a technology-rich environment, with computers at home and school and the Internet an integral part of their lives. (No wonder some of our area’s newer schools opening now are issuing touchscreen tablet computers to students and going totally paperless.) Gen Y is generally considered more openminded than other demographic groups and comfortable embracing cultural differences. Diversity shapes their thinking, from their home life to their school life to pop culture. They’ve spent the majority of their education working in groups, so they’re adept at communicating and sharing ideas and information among their peers. Gen Y employees thrive on change, innovation, teamwork, immediate feedback and regular rewards and recognition. They’re expressive, creative and socially attuned. However, Gen Y tends to struggle financially more than other age groups: • They’re not always financially responsible. Just 58 percent pay their monthly bills on time.2 • They aren’t saving enough. Only 29 percent of Gen Y workers are investing in IRAs, 401(k)s and other vehicles that produce longer-term wealth.3 • They’re in debt. Generation Y has an average debt load of $28,930. That included $12,140 in car loans, $7,538 in lines of credit and $4,113 in credit cards.3 One-fifth of them carry a credit card balance of more than $10,000.2 • They aren’t counting on Uncle Sam. Sixty-seven percent of Gen Ys believe government plans, such as Social Security, will not be available to them when they retire, forcing them to rely more heavily on a combination of employer-sponsored retirement plans such as 401(k)s and personal investments to meet living expenses when that time comes.4 • They may not be homeowners. They Gen Y employees are the least likely generation to own their own homes, and a majority of Millennials recognize they are not saving as much as they should.5
Despite their financial struggles, Gen Y tends to be more positive than older employees about their own economic futures. Research shows nine out of 10 Millennials believe they currently have enough money or feel they will eventually meet their long-term financial goals.5
Gen Y values benefits Gen Y employees place a high value on their benefits, ranking them as the second most important aspect of job satisfaction, behind job security. Anita Potter, assistant vice president, LIMRA group product research, believes many employers mistakenly think otherwise. “One common employer misconception is that older employees value benefits more than younger employees,” Potter says. “In fact, when it comes to benefits, younger employees value benefits nearly as much as older employees and are just as likely to participate in benefits as any other generation. The different values employees place on their benefits appear to be more a function of life experience rather than life stage, income or education levels.”6 But the workplace isn’t rapidly responding to the individual benefits needs of this generation. Only 27 percent of human resources professionals say they offer employment options designed to attract and retain younger workers.7
Voluntary insurance can meet Gen Y’s benefits needs Voluntary insurance offers employers an option to provide individualized benefits without incurring any additional direct costs. Employers can choose to offer an array of employee-paid benefits that expand their benefits package and allow employees to select those that best meet their individual needs. Millennials view choice, cost and convenience as key advantages of voluntary benefits. A majority believe they’re more likely to find benefits to meet their needs in these plans, know that comparable products are more affordable than on the open market, and appreciate the workplace as a convenient and time-saving place to purchase them.8 In addition to gaining some financial peace of mind when the economy is tight, Gen Y employees appreciate voluntary benefits for other reasons: • Flexibility in using claims payments. There are no restrictions on how claims payments can be used: helping pay for transportation to the hospital,
lodging and child care during a family member’s treatment; or paying for deductibles, copayments, coinsurance and other non-covered costs associated with hospitalization or outpatient surgery. • Portability. Gen Y employees who purchase individual policies can keep coverage if they leave the company, as long as they continue to pay the premiums. Voluntary insurance can fill a gap in this situation. For example, the Optional Life insurance provided by the State expires at age 75. The voluntary life insurance offered by Colonial Life includes a permanent, cash value plan with no increase in premiums later. • More lenient underwriting. Underwriting criteria through voluntary programs are typically more lenient than those of an individual plan purchased on the open market. • Stable premiums. Premiums for voluntary insurance won’t go up simply because an employee no longer works at the company where the policy was first purchased. In fact, a voluntary insurance provider cannot raise premiums on individual policies unless it raises them on all similar policies in that state.
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Benefits communication and education helps engage Gen Y Where does Gen Y turn to for benefits information? The workplace tends to be the most reliable source, although these younger employees don’t rely on their employers as much as their older colleagues do. In fact, Gen Ys are considerably more likely to turn to family and friends first. Forty percent rely on a family member or a friend for benefits information, compared to 27 percent of the total workplace.4 Although Gen Y employees count on their employers as a good source of information about their benefits, they typically rate their employer’s efforts at benefits communication fairly low. To make your benefits communication efforts for this audience as effective as possible, consider adopting the following tactics. • Use technology where it makes sense. Gen Y is tech savvy and embraces digital technology and social media. Many employers have begun using web-based, self-service tools to help communicate their benefits because they speed up the enrollment process and capture real-time benefits decisions of employees. However, these tools generally do very little to help employees make informed benefits decisions. Use technology to supplement, not replace, face-to-face, ongoing communication with this group. • Use multiple touch points. Only 41 percent of Gen Y employees visit their employer’s HR websites when looking for information about their benefits, compared to 49 percent of the total workforce.9 This group is also less likely to look at HR booklets or attend benefits seminars. Employers should use a variety of different methods to reach Gen Y employees at work, at home and “on the road.” Don’t rely on any one method to do the job. • Use one-to-one benefits counseling. Insurance is complex, and it can be difficult to communicate benefits effectively without human interaction. Having a trained benefits specialist who can talk to Gen Y employees about their insurance options, answer their questions, and clarify product features gives them the personal attention they need to make informed decisions. They’ll be more likely to feel comfortable about their benefits choices and, in return, have a greater understanding of their benefits.
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Take a fresh look at your benefits strategies. Gen Y employees differ from the typical employees you’ve come to know and understand. They have different needs and expectations regarding employee benefits — and their numbers are too large to ignore. Their unique characteristics call for a different approach than what’s worked in the past. Employers need to consider a new workplace benefits strategy that includes voluntary insurance and benefits communication practices that speak to the careers and lifestyles of this important group.
Sources: 1 Bureau of Labor Statistics, “Household Data, Not Seasonally Adjusted: Employment Status of the Civilian Noninstitutional Population by Age, Sex, and Race” (2012). 2 Dugas, Christine, “Generation Y’s Steep Financial Hurdles: Huge Debt, No Savings,” USA Today, April 23, 2010. 3 “These New Debt Statistics Should Shock Generation Y,” by Tim Parker, Benzinga.com, April 26, 2013, from report by SaveUp.com. 4 Colonial Life, Harris Interactive Survey, June 23-27, 2011. 5 Pew Research Center, “Millennials: A Portrait of Generation Next,” February, 2010. 6 LIMRA, “Employees Across All Generations Value Employersponsored Benefits—But Most Don’t Understand Actual Costs,” Press Release, April 18, 2011. 7 Society for Human Resource Management, “Workplace Forecast: The Top Workplace Trends According to HR Professionals,” 2011. 8 MetLife, “9th Annual study of Employee Benefits Trends,” 2011. 9 LIMRA, “What is $1 Billion an Hour Worth?” Navigating the Employee Benefits Marketplace,” 2011.
About the Author Chris Shealy is a public sector manager for Colonial Life in South Carolina. He can be reached at (954) 290-1880 or chris. shealy@ColonialLife.com. To download a free copy of Colonial Life’s white paper on Gen Y and their benefits needs, “Pump Up Productivity from the Next Generation,” visit www.coloniallife. com and click on Latest News and then White Papers. Colonial Life & Accident Insurance Company is a market leader in providing financial protection benefits through the workplace, including disability, life, accident, cancer, critical illness and supplemental health insurance. The company’s benefit services and education, innovative enrollment technology and personal service support more than 79,000 businesses and organizations, representing more than 3 million working Americans and their families. For more information visit www. coloniallife.com or connect with the company at www.facebook. com/coloniallifebenefits, www.twitter.com/coloniallife and www. linkedin.com/company/colonial-life.
Molly found out Alisa is learning how to be a single mom. Just like her.
Learning everything we can about your employees is part of the job description. At Colonial Life, our highly trained benefits counselors meet with every employee 1-to-1 — to discuss their needs and educate them on the best protection possible. That way, your employees have a voluntary insurance benefits plan that works just as hard as they do.
© 2013 Colonial Life & Accident Insurance Company. Colonial Life products are underwritten by Colonial Life & Accident Insurance Company, for which Colonial Life is the marketing brand. Products may vary by state and may not be available in all states.
Take Creative Action with Data! Two Pilot Programs Lead the Way
By Kenyae L. Reese, Ed.S., Jane Clark Lindle, Ph.D., Hans Klar, Ph.D., and Rob Knoeppel, Ph.D. Anderson, 2010). This situation led us to ask, “How can we help principals learn how to build the capacities of their schools to use data effectively?”
Building Data Use Capacity
Figure 1. Created from the text of an article on data use in schools, “School formative feedback systems” by R. Halverson (2010), Peabody Journal of Education, 85 (2), 130-146.
Introduction Assessments! Standards! Formative Feedback! Valueadded! Such jargon creates swarms of “EduSpeak” related to school data. Common Core Standards (CCS) along with the recently adopted South Carolina Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) waivers add yet more jargon to the list. Do any of these terms lead to better teaching and learning? Are we creating schoolwide capacity to use data in ways that can positively affect teaching and learning? If not, we could be literally just moving dots along the data wall, or meaninglessly espousing terms like those found in the word cloud above (see figure 1). As this word cloud suggests, data is everywhere in schools today. Yet, without the ability to creatively move beyond mere analysis and data interpretation to collectively make improvements, then data is not beneficial. In our work with school and district leaders across South Carolina we have found that principals often have access to a large amount of data. However, in many cases, they are not sure how to share this information with their school communities or to use it to change current practices. These sentiments are echoed in the findings from the Wallace Foundation’s 10-year study of school leadership. The authors of this report noted that schools benefit greatly when data is used effectively. However, few principals systematically collect data, and barely 50% of principals involve their staffs in analyzing data (Louis, Leithwood, Wahlstrom &
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Common Core Standards require schools to work systematically with data. Particularly since the enactment of the No Child Left Behind Act, using data has been a regular feature of life in schools across the nation. According to the Wallace Foundation report, leaders in high data-use schools get much better results than low data-use schools. They have clear goals for analyzing data, and use data to solve problems, not simply to identify them (Louis, Leithwood, Wahlstrom & Anderson, 2010, p. 179). Yet, the capacity to implement creative steps to solve problems remains a challenge for most schools. Nevertheless, there are examples of highdata use schools right here in the state of South Carolina. The South Carolina Successful School Principals Project (SCSSPP), a two-year project which examined the leadership practices of six high-poverty schools across the state, found that successful leaders engage in specific, systemic practices using data to find and test solutions to their students’ learning needs. Principals in the SCSPP fostered a collaborative environment, managed the instructional program by monitoring student and teacher performance, and created high expectations by modeling values and sound practices (Klar et al., 2012). These successful leaders made a clear shift from ritually holding faculty meetings to review standardized assessment data. Instead, they led teachers and staff in proactively generating, collecting, mining, and managing their own data. The key to using data effectively is creativity! Like the successful leaders mentioned above, school leaders have to create space for discussions in their schools about data and find creative ways to engage their staff in data use (Halverson, 2010). This also requires remembering that “analyzing data and taking action based on data are two different things. Nevertheless, taking action is often more challenging and requires more creativity than analysis” (Marsh, McCombs & Martorell, 2010, p. 900).
Leadership 2.0 and 3.0: Preparing School Leaders for Data Work
pilot programs work. The four groups included the participants in the two programs, WPEC superintendents and Clemson faculty. Clemson faculty agreed to design action-oriented and product-based learning experiences,
In a creative approach to building capacity for data use in schools, Clemson University and the Western Piedmont Education Consortium (WPEC) have piloted two programs to help nine mid-career principals and eight more senior principals and district-level leaders develop creative ways to use data on teaching and learning in their schools. As can be seen in figure 2, this program emphasizes developing participants’ leadership capacity. Led by efforts from WPEC superintendents, both programs are intended to enhance capacity for improved student performance and aid the implementation of Common Core standards and changes associated with SC’s ESEA waiver. One program, Leadership 2.0 assists nine mid-career principals in learning effective data use practices and capacity sharing skills. The second program, Leadership 3.0 matches these mid-career principals with veteran Figure 2. Word cloud created from Clemson- WPEC planning principals and district-level leaders as their mentor/ documents for Leadership 2.0 and Leadership 3.0. coaches, and equips the mentor/coaches with knowledge and skills necessary to support their protégés. As the Research-Based Leadership 2.0 principals and Principles Concepts for their Leadership 3.0 mentor/ Practicing principals and their mentor/coaches are … Principles coaches are from different districts, building capacity Principle #1: … experienced professionals with experiential across districts is another Types of knowledge and tacit knowledge as background germane to feature of this project. Knowledge research-based knowledge. This initiative began with all parties making Cognitive Principle #2: … mature learners whose ability to take abstract commitments to specific Demand knowledge and apply it concretely varies individually. well-known, well-researched principles of high quality Principle #3: … busy adults with multiple responsibilities and professional learning. The Pacing obligations that may interrupt or intervene in learning sessions. two programs included the following professional Principle #4: … shaped by the nature of their professional roles learning principles: (a) types which research has demonstrated includes high-pacing, multiof knowledge, (b) cognitive Context tasking, and few opportunities for sustained attention to a single demand, (c) pacing, (d) context, issue. (e) feedback and (d) technology. Figure 3 illustrates how these Principle #5: … highly visible and subject to spontaneous components were interpreted Feedback judgments as well as formative and summative evaluations of their every action. as the basis for designing learning opportunities for all Principle #6 … immersed in an information-based job, with participants. Technology high-levels of information demand, and constantly emerging As a starting point, the information technologies, each with an individual learning curve. four groups in this partnership described what they could commit to make the two
Figure 3. Principles for two pilot programs’ partnership between Clemson and WPEC, Leadership 2.0 and Leadership 3.0.
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primarily delivered on-site and suited to participants’ work schedules. They also agreed to stretch the participants’ use of emerging learning technologies in designing and delivering the knowledge necessary for both programs. This resulted in workshops designed specifically for Leadership 2.0 and 3.0 provided for the participants at SCASA’s Innovative Ideas Institute, as well as through virtual learning communities and social networks that provided participants with 24-hour access to innovative data practices and other resources. Clemson faculty also pledged overriding attention to participants’ on-the-job demands, which included staying in touch with the ever-changing policy and political landscape of public education. Superintendents committed to share their districts’ expertise in arranging the coach-protégé pairs for the pilot programs. This commitment was particularly evident in the cross-district matches of coaches to protégés, as compared to typical induction or mentoring practices that operate solely within the district. Through this approach, the WPEC superintendents were able to match Leadership 2.0 principals with coaches/mentors who better complemented their skill sets than would have been the case if they had limited themselves to the
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smaller pool of leaders within their districts. The WPEC superintendents also committed to providing both time and space for both programs to operate. Superintendents sought creative approaches to incorporating Leadership 2.0 and Leadership 3.0 experiences into the workloads of their participating principals and district-level leaders without unduly increasing their workloads. Leadership 2.0 principals were nominated by their superintendents on the assumption that, with the guidance provided by this initiative, they could enhance learning opportunities for teachers and students in their schools. For their part, the principals agreed to participate in the program in the hope that they could develop the leadership skills necessary to take their schools to the next level of achievement. More importantly, they also committed to empowering others in their school communities to focus more effectively on student success and learning. As mentors, Leadership 3.0 participants committed to providing professional support to their Leadership 2.0 protégés. As coaches, they committed to confronting issues with creating new knowledge and developing protégés’ capacities to become stronger instructional leaders.
Professional Learning Opportunities The learning opportunities participants in this program have experienced are a mix of traditional approaches and adaptations of the principles of professional learning described in Figure 1 above. Study Groups. Leadership 2.0 principals joined one of three study groups. The three study groups were: (1) Implementing Learning Targets; (2) Implementing CCSI – Lexiles and Quantiles; and (3) Implementing Data Systems. All three groups focused on using data to enhance teaching and learning in schools. In particular, participants were challenged to generate classroom and schoolbased data instead of merely performing the waiting time and the rituals associated with external generated data from MAP or PASS. The study groups were derived based on participants’ needs identified during preliminary interviews, participant observations and school visits. Participants were asked to join the study group they thought would best assist them in developing data literacy strategies they needed to model and implement in their own schools. In time, the participants will share what they have learned with participants in the other study groups and with colleagues across South Carolina by presenting at the annual SCASA conference. Video Reflections. Leadership 2.0 principals were outfitted with handheld video cameras (also equipped with photograph-taking capabilities) and were asked to document situations related to school improvement, data usage, and shared leadership practices in their schools. Principals were then asked to choose a selection of their videos and photographs to share with their Leadership 3.0 mentors/coaches. A school showcase is being organized to promote meaning making and dialogues about next steps to sustainable improvements. School Visits. Visits were made to each Leadership 2.0 principal’s school to witness them in action in their own space. The visits also provided an opportunity to learn more about the individual schools, gauge their current approaches to data, and to gain more information about the principals’ expectations for and needs from the program.
Program Benefits to Participants In addition to these learning opportunities, the program participants were able to take advantage of several benefits as a result of creativity transforming the traditional university course delivery model. The educational leadership faculty at Clemson University, along with WPEC, built into the programs several freeof-charge advantages to participants. These perks were
created as a means to extend the long-term benefits to schools and districts and to meet the ongoing learning needs of Leadership 2.0 and 3.0 school and district leaders. Among these innovations includes a national first. Graduate-level Courses. Participants received graduate-level credit that could be used towards an Education Specialist (EdS) degree or doctoral studies in Educational Leadership at Clemson University. Leadership 2.0 participants earned 12 graduate-level credits, and Leadership 3.0 participants earned 9 graduate-level credits. In addition to the learning opportunities described above, these courses provided traditional face-toface seminars up to four times a semester. Course content focused on school improvement through collaboration, empowerment, and data use, while increasing school leaders’ capacities to be reflective. Participants were also asked to keep journals and logs documenting their journey from knowledge generation to action and implementation. Graduate-level Certificates. An additional benefit for participants was the opportunity to combine the courses they had taken as part of this initiative to earn a Clemson University Graduate School certificate. The Leadership 2.0 participants will receive a certificate in Instructional Leadership. The courses for Leadership 3.0 participants are focused on developing cognitive coaching skills and will lead to the nation’s first Coaching Instructional Leaders Certificate. In the future, the courses and certificates will become electives for educators admitted to graduate-level Educational Leadership courses at Clemson. Reading Materials. All participants were provided with nine books representing the latest research from leading authors on data use and capacity building. The books were intended to supplement courses and to give Leadership 2.0 and 3.0 participants’ materials to share with teachers and counselors in their respective schools. Cost-Free. Thanks to the support of the WPEC superintendents, and the partnership between Clemson University and WPEC, Leadership 2.0 and 3.0 participants are receiving all of these benefits free of charge. Clemson’s partnership represents a university’s investment in improving SC schools, an investment that celebrates Thomas Green Clemson’s will and trust and also represents a celebration of the 150th anniversary of the US land grant universities’ mission to serve the people of their states.
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Results Based on the preliminary data collected so far, the two pilot programs provide models for creative high datause practices, capacity building, and mentoring for midcareer leaders. Nearly all of the Leadership 2.0 principals and Leadership 3.0 mentors/coaches indicated that the programs sharpened their focus on sound data practices. In surveys, participants described “being more confident about data,” gratified by the opportunity to engage in “active, hands on varied activities,” “knowing what to do with the data,” and more cognizant of “how to pull it all together [how to] use information and keep instructional time sacred without letting managerial stuff consume me.” Further, the two pilot programs provided confirmation of the need for mentor/coaches to provide guidance and support in school improvement planning for mid-career principals. This sentiment resonated in a participant’s comment: “And as far as my mentor goes, I’d like for her to come [to] some of our team meetings and say, “Well, did you think about doing this with the teachers? … You know, those kinda things, to actually see what we’re doing and then offer me suggestions.” Along these lines, the mentor/coaches shared similar beliefs about the dual benefits of the coach-protégé pairs and reported that the pairing of cross-district teams was “insightful,” offered “real talk opportunities,” and “helped sharpen my skills about data and my/my districts approach to data use.” The activities taking place in the coach-protégé pairs also awakened participants’ reflective voices. Many Leadership 2.0 and 3.0 participants commented on their enhanced ability to think about the why’s of their own decision-making, including how they may be helping or hindering the work, as opposed to just thinking about the what’s. More importantly, participants are taking ownership of their learning by thinking of other creative ways of using data. A participant illustrated the importance of visiting high data-use schools. “… sometimes just telling me, you know, is not always the thing. I like to go see it.” The implications of this partnership can help school leaders move beyond word clouds filled with EduSpeak to practices where all members of the school community are able to generate and use data to lead effective change.
Darling-Hammond, L., Wei, R.C., Andree, A. Richardson, N. & Orphanos, S. (2009). Learning in the learning profession: A status report on teacher development in the United States and abroad. Dallas, TX: National Staff Development Council. Retrieved from: https://www.nsdc.org/news/nsdcstudy2009.pdf.
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Duncan-Howell, J. (2010). Teachers making connections: Online communities as a source of professional learning. British Journal of Educational Technology, 41(2), 324-340. doi:10.1111/j.14678535.2009.00953.x. Fink, S., & Markholt, A. (2011). Leading for instructional improvement: How successful leaders develop teaching and learning expertise. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass. Guskey, T. R. (2003). What makes professional development effective? Phi Delta Kappan, 84(10), 748- 750. Guskey, T. R., & Yoon, K.S. (2009). What works in professional development? Phi Delta Kappan, 90(7), 495-500. Halverson, R. (2010). School formative feedback systems. Peabody Journal of Education, 85 (2), 130-146. Klar, H., Brewer, C., Lindle, J.C., Werts, A.B., Whitehouse, M., Green, E.R., Knoeppel, R.C., & Della Sala, M. (2012, April). Successful leadership in high-needs schools: An examination of core leadership practices enacted in challenging contexts. A paper presented at the annual meeting of the American Educational Research Association, Vancouver, CA Louis, K. S., Leithwood, K., Wahlstrom, K. L., & Anderson, S. E. (2010). Learning from leadership: Investigating the links to improved student learning. Minneapolis, MN: Center for Applied Research and Educational Improvement, University of Minnesota. Retrieved from: http://www.wallacefoundation.org/knowledge-center/schoolleadership/key-research/Pages/Investigating-the-Links-to-ImprovedStudent-Learning.aspx. Marsh, J., McCombs, J.S., & Martorell, F. (2010). How instructional coaches support data-driven decision making. Educational Policy, 24 (6), 872-907. Marzano, R.J. (2007). The art and science of teaching: A comprehensive framework for effective instruction. Alexandria, VA: Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development (ASCD).
About the Authors Kenyae L. Reese, EdS, 308F Tillman Hall, Clemson, SC 29634, 678-478-4178 Kenyae L. Reese is a second year doctoral student in Educational Leadership and Eugene T. Moore Graduate Research Assistant at Clemson University. She was a high school counselor in Atlanta, Georgia.
Jane Clark Lindle, PhD, 326 Tillman Hall, Clemson, SC 29634, 864-656-4384 Jane Clark Lindle is Eugene T. Moore Professor of Educational Leadership at Clemson. She has been principal and teacher in Kentucky, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Wisconsin.
Hans Klar, PhD, 416 Tillman Hall, Clemson, SC 29634, 864-656-5091 Hans W. Klar, PhD is an Assistant Professor of Educational Leadership at Clemson University. His research focuses on how principals build leadership capacity in schools
Rob Knoeppel, PhD, 332 Tillman Hall, Clemson, SC 29634, 864-656-1882 Dr. Rob Knoeppel is Associate Professor and Chair of the Faculty of Leadership, Counselor Education, and Human & Organizational Development at Clemson University.
Meeting Student and Teacher Needs? By David McDonald and Debra E. Miller
he current mantra for education in the 21st century is to meet the needs of our students. While the first focus must be on student achievement, what about the needs of our teachers? Are the two synonymous? Are they causal? And should they be? At Indian Land Middle School (ILMS), these discussions often take place because we feel that there is a cycle between the two and many other “stops” in-between. As school administrators, our role is to support our teachers to ensure student success. But what does that support look like and how do we correlate it to specific student needs? At ILMS, we believe in conversations about student needs – then create goals to see how to meet them. So which comes first – the chicken or the egg? In this case, probably the teachers’ needs. But why? Teachers are our front line of offense at ILMS, and we need to “hear” them and understand their needs and goals with regard to raising student achievement. In a recent Middle School Journal volume, collaboration was linked with using “shared leadership and decision making in order to bring about school improvement (Teague & Anfara, Jr., 2012).” Empowering and using the expertise
of each of our teachers and their special talents in meeting the needs of our students is now the model.
Planning and Collaboration Teachers are vested in and collaborate in regular professional learning team discussions (both content and interdisciplinary) and examination of student work about student achievement and success. Just recently our teachers began collaborating within Google Docs, and found it to be so engaging that they are utilizing the same practices in their classrooms. Collaboration sessions are scheduled weekly and instructional leaders within the school are available to provide support as and needed based on what the teachers need. Each professional learning team creates upcoming lesson plans that answer the following guiding questions with relevant and rigorous instruction: What do we want them to learn? How will they learn it? What will we do if they don’t learn it? What will we do if they master it? How will we assess it? And how will we differentiate based on the needs of our students?
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Professional Development Professional development is a monthly endeavor at ILMS, and our Instructional Facilitator observes classrooms to assess teachers’ progress, and then adjusts professional and personal needs based on the teachers’ needs. Professional development needs are assessed annually and the school leadership team makes determinations about the activities for the year. For example, Common Core sessions have been offered for the past few years, but there have been many “repeat” sessions based on teacher feedback. Never does the school take the “sit and get” approach to professional development. Our goal is to provide only activities that will improve teacher resources and implementation. Argumentative writing and text dependent questioning are two Common Core areas that teachers have requested more assistance with. Ensuring proper planning is used has been a priority this year. Sessions on planning and differentiated learning have been at the center of all work done this year. All instructional leaders (facilitator, administrators, and teachers) conduct observations that provide feedback for reflection – again individually always noting both the positive and areas of potential growth. Technology in the classroom – not the teacher using technology but creating a learning environment that places technology in the students’ hands and integrates rigorous and relevant learning is center stage at ILMS. Because of the learning curve, those teacher leaders who have “stepped up” and quickly began implementing more technology, are now the technology leaders in our school and will pilot a STEM team on a grade level.
Goal Setting Our school’s environment is one that is based on setting goals – both teachers and students. Teachers rely on student data to ensure that goals are being met at not just the grade level, but by sub-group and student level. Our teachers participate in a goal setting and progress monitoring exercise at least twice a year with the principal. These goals usually include student achievement, professional development needs, and personal goals. It is easy to become distracted once the day to day operations of school begin, but setting goals provides a clear road map for what needs to get done and how to get it done – they provide focus. Clearly, we have worked diligently to provide an environment where goal setting is supported, professional development is provided, resources are provided, and professional development is ongoing. What do they
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have in common? They are teacher centered and differentiated based on the individual and professional needs of our teachers. Creating an environment where our teachers feel supported and encouraged can lead to a learning environment where students will feel the same way. These efforts have allowed us to impact students effectively and successfully, as well as providing future opportunities to support students as we learn along the way. Teachers feel well-equipped to provide effective and engaging support initiatives on behalf of student learning.
Developing Focus Teams for Improving School Success Extending the learning and creating an environment in which differences are celebrated, embraced, and driving instruction based on those differences (using data) has become the focus of our support initiatives. At the beginning of the year, teachers are selected to participate on a Focus Team that addresses particular student needs throughout the year as well as multi-year initiatives. In particular, three Focus Teams have supported our students using data, establishing a multi-year literacy plan, and providing character education opportunities in order to support a whole child concept.
Data at the Centerpiece of Improvement The Data Team began the school year by providing professional development for teachers so that they would understand how our students, school, and teachers are assessed by the state. Teachers were provided information regarding the criteria for passing the end of year PASS tests, as well as how each PASS core test is accounted for regarding the school report card. From these efforts, Data Score Cards were created and used across the school to identify students most likely to enjoy success. Interventions and strategies for success dictate conversations and meetings within the school. These Data Scorecards are used at both the teacher and school level to identify students who may require additional support whether remediation and/or enrichment. The data score card has facilitated discussions about subgroups and the importance of not only between teachers but also with students and parents. The community is aware of the score card and our efforts to help assist those students most likely to enjoy success thus helping maintain the school A rating from the Department of Education.
Literacy Focus The Literacy Focus Team includes teachers from multiple grade level and content areas. Their goal is
to ensure that our initiatives correlate with upcoming Common Core standards, as well as meeting the needs of our students utilizing data to drive instruction and learning. This plan includes multiple steps over a 5 year period and includes eleven focus areas: Media Center services, Best Practices for Reading and Writing, One Book, One School program, Summer Reading Program, Reading and Writing Across the Curriculum, Interdisciplinary focus, Integrating Literacy/ Technology Standards, English as a Second Language, Special Services, Faculty Book Study, and Professional Development. It is apparent the impact that these focus areas can have on student learning and success.
Advisory Time The Warrior Time Focus Team is solely focused on providing developmentally appropriate lessons for our monthly Warrior Time sessions for all students. This Focus Team meets regularly to create plans that are relevant and appropriate for students based on particular character traits throughout the year. They also incorporate goal setting as a trait and ensure that students are focused on both personal and school goals in order to be successful. Warrior Time sessions meet at least monthly and the facilitators for these groups facilitate the lessons which could include topics such as: making decisions, goal setting, embracing diversity, bullying, etc. And because it is important that our approach is to support the whole child, every staff member within the school is assigned to a particular Warrior Time group – we are all invested in our students’ emotional and social well-being.
Co-Teaching to Improve Instruction To support the overall goal of creating a more inclusive environment, in the 2011-2012 school year, ILMS launched a co-teaching initiative. Not to be confused with a one-teach, one-assist, both general and special educators assume responsibility for the learning environment and collaborate to plan differentiated lessons, activities, and support learning. Our school in partnership with Winthrop University’s Netscope program is very fortunate to have a “resident” coteaching expert in Dr. Deb Leach who provides ongoing professional development for our teachers, as well as one on one coaching for both special education and regular education teachers. Dr. Leach conducts observations and timely and effective feedback for teachers, and participates in our Special Education Committee, serving as our resident expert on research-based interventions for
struggling students. Again, this required commitment from the teachers on behalf of the students illustrates the causal effect of a positive impact on student learning. As a result of our Data Focus Team, Literacy Focus Team, and our Special Education initiatives, our teachers have also developed multiple opportunities for students to receive additional support for remediation and/or enrichment. Creating a vision that states “We believe that all students deserve the opportunity to learn and master concepts and ideas that will aid them in their future education” allowed teachers the opportunity to create an academic policy where students have the opportunity to redo assignments, retake quizzes, tests and assignments to show mastery of concepts and support learning through additional help and assistance from teachers. Our teachers are very much vested in utilizing data to drive instruction and student learning opportunities. The Special Education Committee’s focus of how to meet the needs of our students based on data analysis provided the impetus for our Success Sessions to provide support for ALL learners who are struggling – not just special education students. These teachers created a specialized learning environment in which students can thrive with support, extension, and remediation. Via flexible scheduling, students are provided support during the school day. Again using data, we implemented Saturday Academies to support and prepare students for PASS testing. Students were selected based on teacher recommendation using data and their collaborative discussions. Resources and lessons were developed to ensure differentiation based on the various readiness levels of students – not their grade level. Students attended three Saturday Academy sessions that included three and a half hours of support and of course pizza at the end. Recently an 8th grade team requested to use one day/block of Literacy Time to provide remediation, enrichment, and re-take/re-do opportunities for their students. Their request was based on their professional learning team discussions regarding data for their students. While they had a large number of students who needed remediation and re-do/re-take opportunities, they did not want to ignore those students who needed to be extended beyond their current learning capacity. They created student groups for these sessions monthly, and used data to create flexible grouping for upcoming months – students had the ability to move throughout the groups to meet their needs. Our newest endeavor has involved technology at the teacher level as we have evolved into a Google
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platform to include Gmail and the varied collaborative opportunities. It is important to note, however, that this initiative was driven by our technology committee which is led by our technology teacher. The enthusiasm and passion from this team is not only contagious, but sometimes simply geeky! Not only have some teachers embraced the Google possibilities with students – especially collaborative opportunities – but most of them have embraced Google for teacher collaboration purposes. Teachers are sharing calendars, documents, and attending “Google” meetings in order to better meet the needs of our students. They are truly empowered while also challenging themselves to utilize technology for success. During the 2012-2013 school year, we implemented a STEM course that was offered as an elective class. We were fortunate to have a teacher with a very strong math and science background, and she was able to collaborate with an already established STEM teacher at a nearby private school in order to develop an appropriate curriculum for our school. The program was a huge success in its first year on behalf of our students’ extended learning in these areas. More important, it generated excitement throughout the staff and we are planning to pilot a STEM team on one grade level for the next school year – totally interdisciplinary using STEM as the core. As school administrators, it is sometimes easy to answer many questions with the mantra of we are trying to meet the needs of our students. Easy to say, but we must always remember that when our vision is
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centered on students, we need teachers who are invested in that vision. In order for that to take place, we must consider their needs – professional, personal, social, and emotional – and strive to support them based on those needs. Motivating and Inspiring Teachers tells us that it is critical to ensure that we nurture the individual growth of our teachers because it provides them an opportunity to evaluate themselves and student learning (Whitaker, Whitaker & Lumpa, 2009). As educators, we have all studied Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs. Over the years, his theory regarding human needs, has been extended into various arenas, revised, gone through various adaptations, and interpretations. Why? Because the needs of people drive their motivation and passion. And at Indian Land Middle School, we decided that in order to fulfill our vision for our students, it should be our privilege and responsibility to ensure that our teachers are motivated and passionate. So when you try to determine what comes first, remember this – in order for your students to come first – motivate and empower your teachers. In essence, the main lesson learned is that in order to enhance student learning, be flexible, understand the needs of students and think outside of the box that we often find ourselves trapped in. Create an environment where we all learn and we all work toward creating a great environment where learning thrives, and all stakeholders see the value of education.
References Teague, G. M. & Anfara, Jr., V. A. (2012, November). Professional learning communities create sustainable change through collaboration. Middle School Journal, 44(2), 58-64. Whitaker, T., Whitaker, B., & Lumpa, D. (2009). Motivating and inspiring teachers. (2nd ed., p. 120). Larchmont, NY: Eye on Education.
About the Authors David McDonald Principal Northwest Middle School Greenville County Schools email@example.com Debra Miller Assistant Principal Indian Land Middle School Lancaster County Schools Debra.firstname.lastname@example.org
OF THE YEARWinners How we use our GPS...
Superintendent of the Year
Dr. Rose Wilder
Clarendon School District 1
problem-based learning strategies throughout the curriculum. Finally, a college awareness program has been implemented in the middle and high schools. It is highly visible and conveys the message that students should further their educations beyond high school, and that they can succeed in college.
Personalized Reflections: Clarendon School District One: Think of all the changes that we in education have faced in the past two decades, and then consider that we will see the same amount of change just in the next few years! How will schools adapt to meet the needs of our students while addressing changes in content standards, assessments, teaching methods, funding, employer needs, and virtually every other aspect of education? Like every other district, Clarendon School District One faces this rapid change, in addition to being small and located far from any large population centers. Despite these challenges, the District has been successfully implementing programs and strategies that are moving us forward.
Globalized Although Clarendon County is rural and seemingly isolated, it is increasingly influenced by the global economy. The manufacturing and agricultural businesses in the area compete with products from around the world, and sell to these markets as well. The schools must keep up by preparing students with the skills and knowledge they will need to succeed in these businesses. The Scott’s Branch Middle and High Schools have implemented the engineering program, Project Lead the Way, to encourage students to consider careers in engineering and to provide a foundation in engineering concepts and approaches. A Math- Science Partnership with the Center for Science Education at the University of South Carolina is strengthening science teaching at all levels, and, beginning in the fall of 2013, the high school will implement the New Tech program which integrates
The Response to Intervention strategy (RTI) has been implemented throughout the District. Based on individual assessments of academic progress, students are grouped to receive additional help in critical learning topics every day. This ensures that every student receives instruction that is targeted to his/her specific needs. Technology has also been employed to personalize education for both students and teachers in the District. Achieve 3000, a suite of web-based learning resources, has been part of the mix for students, providing individualized learning tools as needed, and PD360 provides personalized professional development for teachers. These learning platforms have greatly enriched the opportunities for students and teachers, especially in a small district like ours.
Student-Centered Student engagement is absolutely central to the success of our educational programs—student motivation and excitement drives improvement in achievement, and makes teaching a much more rewarding job! Two strategies that have helped the District nurture students’ interest in learning are integration of arts across the curriculum and the infusion of nature-based inquiry into science education in grades K-6. Although it has been hard work, we see the results in improved educational outcomes. Our 2007 District report card rating was “At-Risk.” With the hard work of the teachers, staff and administrators, by 2012, we had achieved a rating of “Good,” and we’re moving toward Excellent!
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OF THE YEAR
Career and Technology Director of the Year
Dr. Richard Kalk
Spartanburg District 5
District Five Schools of Spartanburg County prides itself as a student-centered school district and, as such, has adopted the district motto of “every child, every day.” As educators, we strive to live up to that motto every day; however, we cannot do it alone. Just as parental support is vital, the assistance from our business and community partners is another element essential to our students’ success. As the Director of Career Education, Business Partnerships and Assessment for Spartanburg Five Schools, a major focus of my position has been to cultivate and maintain partnerships between our schools and our local business and industry. When I began my career in Spartanburg District Five, business and industry in the community centered primarily on agriculture and textiles. Now, we are an integral piece of this World-Class manufacturing community. BMW Manufacturing, Michelin Tire, Sealed Air-Cryovac, AFL Telecommunications, and many other world class industries are entwined in the Spartanburg District Five community. One of my major responsibilities for the past thirteen years has been to foster partnerships that assist our district school in meeting the needs of our ever changing community. The district has turned to our business and community partners for a variety of reasons. The ability to garner ideas from these community leaders in order to better meet the needs of our students is a vital component of a school district that is student-centered. One important aspect of a business or community leader’s involvement is in an advisory capacity. We have involved our partners in the strategic planning process, SACS CASI Accreditation, School Improvement Councils, and Career and Technology Education program advisory committees, as well as the district’s Career and Technology Education Advisory Council. These business and community partners bring us up-to-date information concerning matters affecting their organization and, ultimately, our students and their families. Several years ago, the district established a “Business Partner Recognition” program so that we could publically recognize these partnerships. The purpose of this program
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is to recognize, at the district level, those business partners who have made a significant contribution to our schools. Those local businesses, industries, and organizations are dedicated to helping the students of District Five through their service and contributions that go beyond the normal scope of that business, industry, or organization. Examples of types of support that our business partners have provided include: • Mentoring • Assistance with work-based-learning activities • Tutoring students • Serving on a school or district council or committee • In-kind support • Program materials support • Monetary support It has been an honor to be associated with a studentcentered district for the past 34 years as both a teacher and, most recently, as the Director of Career Education, Business Partnerships and Assessment.
District Level Administrator of the Year
Dr. Julie Fowler
Greenwood District 51
Ware Shoals School District 51 is a district where the vision is modeled by teachers and staff members in our schools. WSSD 51 is a place where students are engaged in LEARNING in a safe, intellectually stimulating, challenging environment, and they are well prepared for a variety of post-graduation options. Students find happiness and personal fulfillment in SERVING their school and community, using their talents and energy to make a positive difference in their own lives and others’ lives. Students are ethical and trustworthy, and they are committed and confident in LEADING themselves and others along the path of lifelong learning and continuous improvement. As we review our district data and consistently improved student achievement, we are elated that Ware Shoals School District 51 has proven we are a community working together to learn, serve, and lead. The mission of Ware Shoals School District 51 is to be the educational leader for the total community, preparing all students to be productive, contributing,
and successful members of society. Our employees are dedicated in providing for the physical, emotional, social, and intellectual needs of all students. Under a depressed economy, our student enrollment has declined and the number of families qualifying for free and reduced meals has steadily increased. The poor socioeconomic factor is compounded by the low employability of area adults who lack an adequate education and work-ready skills. The Ware Shoals School District community serves as an extended family to those entrusted in our care. The system for communicating the purpose and direction of the district includes many tiers as we are committed to a culture that is based on shared values and beliefs about teaching and learning. The use of data in supporting the purpose and direction of the district and for decision-making foundational to continuous improvement and is of utmost importance. This is evidenced by our district’s powerful Response to Intervention program and data-driven decisionmaking, the implementation of Professional Learning Communities, the district’s comprehensive assessment system, curriculum mapping, communication and parental outreach, and professional development. As a result of our continuous improvement process and our focus on early intervening services, Ware Shoals School District 51 has experienced the most notable academic achievements and improvement in the history of the district. Ware Shoals Primary’s 2012-13 federal accountability rating was an A and the state report card rating was an Absolute rating of Excellent and a Growth rating of Excellent, which resulted in two Palmetto Gold awards. Ware Shoals Elementary was nominated this year for a prestigious National Blue Ribbon School award. Their 2012-13 federal accountability rating was an A and the state report card rating was an Absolute rating of Excellent and a Growth rating of Excellent, which resulted in two Palmetto Gold awards. In 201213, Ware Shoals High School received a B rating on federal accountability with the junior high receiving Good Absolute and Growth ratings and the high school receiving an Absolute rating of Average and a Growth rating of Below Average on the state report card, earning them a Palmetto Silver award. Our commitment to learning, serving, and leading drives what we believe, what we do, what we model, and what our students practice. The employees of Ware Shoals School District 51 are committed to lifelong learning and prioritizing values commensurate with success. Teaching character and values supports our district and schools’ mission and vision, provides the foundation necessary to sustain our proud heritage and tradition, and prepares our students to be college and career ready.
Adult Education Director of the Year
Mrs. Lisa Hannon
Cherokee County Schools
The mission of Cherokee County School District is to ensure that all students have the skills necessary to be productive citizens of Cherokee County. As the Adult Education Director of the Year, it is my responsibility to ensure our adult students understand their role in the importance of staying focused and committed to completing their education and improving education in Cherokee County. Through partnerships, educational leadership, agencies, businesses, and community involvement, Cherokee County School District is moving our educational system in the direction of becoming more globalized, personalized and student-centered. Many factors are involved in the globalization of education in Cherokee County. As a result of Cherokee County’s vision for education and economic success, many educational and community leaders have partnered to launch a pilot educational campaign, KNOW2, that is focused on increasing educational achievement and economic development. The major goal of the KNOW2 initiative is to create a cultural shift in our community toward educational excellence. As a member of the Adult Education Task Force for KNOW2, our goals are to decrease our county’s number of citizens without a high school credential, to increase the number of county residents obtaining postsecondary degrees, and to promote the development of workforce relevant skills. Through this initiative, with the assistance of the South Carolina Commission on Higher Education, and Spartanburg Community College the Cherokee County Adult Education program is the first in the state to offer dual enrollment with Spartanburg Community College. This means attending college a reality for adult students in our county. As a result of the success, other adult education programs throughout the state are piloting this type of course offering. In order to develop workforce relevant skills, Cherokee County is part of the South Carolina state-wide initiative to develop Work Ready communities. This will allow our Economic Development board the ability to measure the quality of the county’s workforce. As a member of the Cherokee County Work Ready Committee, we are striving to provide Cherokee County with a highly
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OF THE YEAR
skilled workforce that is required in today’s competitive economy. Once this initiative begins, students will have the opportunity to earn a National Career Readiness Certificate. Students currently attending our adult education program are obtaining the South Carolina Career Readiness Certificate which identifies core employability skills required across multiple industries and occupations. Presently, over 250 employers are using this credential as part of the hiring process. Through our career classes, students obtain a South Carolina Career Readiness Certificate, complete a resume, prepare for business and industry employment.. As our district faces the challenges of implementing the Common Core Standards, adult education is also faced with the new Common Core aligned 2014 GED Computer Based Test. In preparation for these changes, our teachers have facilitated and participated in state wide adult education trainings that focus on Common Core Standards and GED 2014. As part of our Professional Development, I teach a GED Academy Class through the College of Charleston and encourage my staff to take classes offered in adult education. These classes assist instructors throughout our state in the development of rigorous Common Core GED lessons, incorporation of technology into classroom instruction and dissemination of instructional resources for student-centered learning. The teachers at the Cherokee County Adult Education Center embrace educational changes by taking ownership of their students’ individual educational needs and accomplishments, striving to keep abreast of innovative ideas, and participating in staff developments that relate to current educational standards. As of January, 2014, the GED Exam is changing from a paper pencil test to a computer based test. The South Carolina Adult Education State Director, Dr. David Stout, has encouraged all adult education programs to become a licensed Computer Based Testing Site. Cherokee County Adult Education is an approved testing site that offers the current GED on computer. This has been a positive change for our students. With the implementation of computer based testing, the integration of technology has become a vital part of our curriculum. Due to the dedication of our staff and our district, the Cherokee County Adult Education Program has been a forerunner in the implementation of district and statewide initiatives, curriculum development, and community partnerships. Our success is attributed to our compassion and willingness to serve, our acceptance of accountability, and our desire to see our visions become reality. When all these factors are viewed in totality, it is
48 PALMETTO ADMINISTRATOR • FALL 2013
my privilege to represent Cherokee County and the state of South Carolina as the Adult Education Director of the Year.
High School Principal of the Year
Mr. Kelvin Lemon
Previously Clarendon School District 3
Rich in tradition and the heart of the community, East Clarendon Middle High School proudly educates 620 sixth through twelfth grade students. Our guiding principle is that all children have individualized strengths and needs; therefore, our daily efforts should be to capitalize on their strengths and build upon their weaknesses. We have a close-knit, family-like atmosphere where adjusting instructional delivery based on data and utilizing support systems are daily priorities. With all of the complexities of the daily operation of our school, student learning comes first. Over the past five years the school has undergone progressive educational reform, and student growth evidences this effort. The family of East Clarendon takes great pride in its successes as these strides have been made with reduction in budgets, teaching positions, and subsequently fewer course offerings. East Clarendon is a unique and special place that you have to see or experience to believe. As principal, my desire is to maintain a conducive learning environment where students are valued and provided opportunities to enhance their character, express their talents, and attain the knowledge to compete and succeed in a global society. As a result of my desire being met with commitment over compliance, these guiding principles have evolved into the mission of our school. As previously stated, the adjustment of instructional delivery is paramount. Our school and student data is consistently analyzed and instructional decisions made. We have implemented yearlong courses in the high school to accommodate the learning styles of students. In addition, we offer flexible scheduling with a built-in period of remediation daily. This time of day is called WEB time, which stands for Wolverine Enrichment Block. During such time, students return to core classes to receive remediation from content teachers. W.E.B
time begins at 9:15 AM and ends at 10:00 AM. Teachers are expected to reteach content covered in the preceding class sessions. Students that have mastered the content are allowed to report to a self-directed study hall with a faculty facilitator, while others return for small group remediation. This cycle rotates throughout the week with all class blocks being assigned a day, Monday – Thursday. On Fridays we host club days, and our clubs range from gospel choir to turkey hunting. We have embraced practices to provide action to the question, what do we as educators do when children don’t learn? At East Clarendon we have learned that a studentcentered environment is essential to the success of our school. Our students feel at home and are proud of being a member of Wolverine country. Barriers and challenges are overcome with ease as we engage together as family. Our students know we care, and our parents offer support and dedication to our learning environment. Truly, East Clarendon is a place you have to see to believe.
High School Assistant Principal of the Year
Ms. Jada Kidd
Greenville County Schools
My first year journey at Hillcrest High School in Simpsonville, South Carolina has been amazing. Together our focus has been creating a more studentcentered environment. One of our most exciting adventures was piloting the Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) for our district. This was a learning experience for both students and teachers. BYOD is the policy of allowing the students to bring their own electronic devices to school to use during classroom instruction. Students were allowed to bring smartphones, iPads, Kindles, and other iOS and Android devices. The BYOD adventure for HHS allowed the teachers involved in the pilot program to differentiate instruction and increase student engagement. Students were actively involved in their own learning experiences. The teachers began to focus on being more of a facilitator of learning. Student collaboration increased and students used technology that could prepare them for the working environment where research and problems solving skills are needed.
The BYOD project gives students opportunity to connect with real life situations. It gave our teachers an opportunity to make the learning experience relevant for our students. Students worked with apps and webbased programs that offered opportunities for creative thinking and promoted risk taking thought decisions. By embarking on the BYOD, we found that student engagement and motivation increased. To help our students with organization our teachers used apps like Remind 101. We have also created our personal HHS app. Students can download the app to their smart device. At Hillcrest, we have an amazing Freshman Academy where 9th grade students are grouped together to help with the transition from middle school to high school. The teachers in the academy collaborate to create interdisciplinary lesson plans for our students that give personalized learning experiences. Recently, the Freshman Academy created an initiative to focus on our End of Course exams. We hosted an EOC (End of Course) Blitz and Celebration for the month of May. We work hard to meet the needs of all of our students from the time they enter Hillcrest until they exit. The administrator in charge of our senior students meets with the seniors on numerous occasions throughout the year. She meets with the senior advisory group during the first three days of school stating to them the HHS expectations on attendance and academics. She holds intervention conferences with each student who failed a course at the end of 1st semester and a plan is written to help guide the student to academic success for the remainder of the year. All of our students have the opportunity to participate in over 25 different clubs on campus, and 15 different athletic organizations to help them feel a part of the Hillcrest family. We host our monthly Student of Month celebration where we honor 7-8 different students for their outstanding achievements in school. The students are selected by their teachers. The students are invited to a pizza party with the entire administration team, and their pictures are posted on the Hall of Fame wall and the school’s website. At Hillcrest, we are “Today’s Learners, Tomorrow’s Leaders.” We strive to work together to prepare our students to be global citizens and lifelong learners.
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OF THE YEAR
Middle School Principal of the Year
Mr. David McDonald
Previously Lancaster County Schools, currently Greenville County Schools
As a first year Principal I learned a valuable lesson that has stuck with me every year. One day as I was walking through the hallways, I stopped and talked with a student for just a few minutes. We discussed a variety of topics in that short time, yet this one encounter continues to remind me of the importance to support and personalize the learning environment regularly and conscientiously. After our brief discussion, I continued around the building doing my “principal” thing – greeting students and staff members and answering questions. It wasn’t until the next morning that I got the full picture of the impact of a simple conversation. The phone rang early the next morning and on the line was the parent of the student. Of course my first instinct was to run through the thousand possible reasons a parent would be calling the school so early. She started off by telling me how much she appreciated me talking with her child and I waited on the proverbial “but” yet it never happened. She went on to tell me how happy and excited he was when he got home that evening because I had taken time to stop and talk with him. I recognize that to most kids this is an “uncool” thing to do (talk to the principal), but for him it was what he went home talking about that evening. I use this incident to remind me how important personalizing a learning environment is to everyone. While most, if not all, principals walk around their building several times each day and take time to converse with students and staff, not everyone realizes the impact of a smile or caring conversation. To foster a more personalized environment and to again show students that I sincerely care about their academic achievements, I decided several years ago to write a personal note on the report card for every student in our school. While the note writing and signature takes an incredible amount of time, I wanted students to know that I am interested in their success. I simply wanted them to know I was aware of their successes and challenges, yet the responses from students and parents were almost shocking. I had parents calling, emailing, kids lined up at my office, and to my surprise even the ones that I didn’t write the nicest
50 PALMETTO ADMINISTRATOR • FALL 2013
of notes on showed an appreciation. As I have continued that over the years, the several hours I spend doing it never seem to matter once I get to school and see the kids acknowledging my messages and my thoughts on their performance. Students want and need to know that not only do their teachers wish for their success, so does the principal. As educators we are expected to make a positive impact on the lives of children – personalizing the learning culture is one giant step to effectively impact the school and the community. I am proud to be part of this amazing profession and never miss an opportunity to celebrate the uniqueness of each student and provide them with the help and support they deserve.
Middle School Assistant Principal of the Year
Mrs. Allana Prosser
Previously Florence School District 5, currently Florence School District 3
Finding one definition agreed upon by ALL educators to fully explain the meaning of student- centered is completely IMPOSSIBLE! As a matter of fact, when you research student- centered learning or student-centered classrooms, the term is not even always spelled the same! Really. Some spell it student-centered, and some spell it student-centred. With that in mind, how can we possibly be surprised that educators look at what is expected in a student-centered classroom in a variety of different ways? At Johnsonville Middle School (JMS), studentcentered education means education that is relevant and meaningful with students actively participating and taking responsibility for learning. Education for our students is not just about acquiring knowledge; it is about putting that knowledge to use. It is about truly understanding what is learned and its relevance to such an extent that the user of the knowledge is confident enough to use it in unexpected and unpredictable situations. At JMS, it is not uncommon to see a teacher incorporate a charitable fund raiser into lesson planning to ensure relevance in learning. For instance, you may find a 6th grade math class shopping during the school day at the neighboring grocery story for non perishables to donate to the Caring/ Sharing canned food drive. In
the process, they apply the knowledge they acquired in multiplying and dividing decimals to get the most for their money. By taking into account generic and sale items and the funds they have available, along with the discount given by the grocery store, students are using knowledge acquired in the classroom in a relevant and meaningful way. Not to mention, how better to learn the joys of giving than to actually experience loading the van with the non-perishables you contributed? You may also walk into a 6th grade math class where students are conducting math labs to practice and use what they have learned about the true meaning behind the relationship of Pi to circumference and diameter of objects. Who says only scientists can wear lab coats and goggles? In a 6th grade history class you may find students doing a “Newscast from the Past”. In this assignment students research and work together in groups like real-life reporters to reenact a live interview with a person from the Renaissance/Reformation period. The students are given the opportunity to be creative and use pictures, props, costumes, and even outsiders to bring the news report to life! What a way to help students truly understand what it was like to live in that era! In 7th grade history, students are required to find creative and motivating ways to teach other students about a particular topic in the Imperialism Unit. This year, we had anything from game shows to skits to TV broadcast interviews. Speaking of making history relevant, can you imagine hearing actual gun shots in the school yard during an ordinary school day? Sure it is disturbing in this day and time, but it was a part of normal daily life during the Civil War and at JMS, you may actually see a student firing blanks from a confederate rifle while being monitored by one of the Sons of the Confederate Veterans. The handson artifacts and story telling allow the students to feel the impact of war on everyday life during that time period. Did I mention that you may also find students picking cotton from bushes donated to the class and using cross curricular skills to determine weight and payment for labor based on that weight? And they think minimum wage today is bad? At JMS, we also believe that learning does not only take place in the core subjects. Other opportunities are offered to help our students grow in their talents. For example, we have our very own rock band! They not only learn to play the music from each other, but they rehearse, perform, evaluate and modify their music until it meets the sound they want. They organize and plan the most effective ways to perform and have actually
performed at school events! Talk about building self confidence! Although many other hands on learning opportunities are available on our school campus, the examples given truly show how Johnsonville Middle School strives to make learning meaningful and relevant. We pride ourselves on being a student-centered school!
Elementary Principal of the Year
Dr. Charles Bagwell
Spartanburg School District 6
When seeing this issue’s theme: “Globalized, Personalized, and Student Centered,” my first thought was, “This is what Arcadia Elementary School is all about.” While, I am honored to be named 2013 SC Elementary Principal of the Year, I recognize that this award is not about me. This award truly honors our hardworking faculty, staff and our precious children. Arcadia has had many challenges, but we have also found that with a dedicated, hard-working, child-centered staff, along with a wonderful community, remarkable things can happen. In the 10 years I have been principal, our student population has moved to 65% Hispanic (globalized) and 94% Free/Reduced lunch. Many would say that educational success is not supposed to happen here, but we have chosen to defy the odds and convey to each of our children (personalized) the expectations that they can and will succeed. Failure is not an option. Lack of language skills on grade level is not an excuse; it is simply where you start on your journey to educational success. We have met AYP for the past 5 years. Our last year’s AYP number grade was a 98! Our whole community was extremely proud of this accomplishment. Many have asked us how we do it. They want to know the “quick fix” we have used for success. Although, we have implemented various programs to help reach our current level, we firmly believe it is NOT about programs and ALL ABOUT the children. We have to reach and teach them one at a time (child centered). I am so proud of the dedication that I see each day from our teachers, who work tirelessly to ensure that
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OF THE YEAR
our children become successful, life-long learners. We have established several programs to enhance student achievement. Our SRA direct reading program is held for one hour each morning. The children are in leveled classes for instruction which complements other classroom reading instruction. Arcadia also holds a comprehensive afterschool and summer program funded by a 21st Century Grant and jointly implemented by our school district and the Boys and Girls Club of the Upstate (BGC). Seventy-percent of our children stay until 6:00 PM daily, at no cost to their families. We have teachers who extend the school day and also teach in the summer. We have also received a DSS grant that allows us to feed every child supper before they go home. I always say, a hungry child does not care if he can read or write. When children leave Arcadia they have had 11 hours of education, supervision, fun activities, and three nutritious meals. Our summer program runs from 7:30 - 5:00 and includes teachers, the BGC program, field trips, fun activities, two meals and a snack. Arcadia also holds a universal full-day K4 program. Once the initial class reached 3rd grade, we began to meet AYP every year. Another key to our success is our family-centered activities. Arcadia hosts a monthly Family Movie Night/ Write Night. We have also started a very successful parent group held afterschool each Wednesday. Hope “Esperanza” allows our mothers and fathers to receive English language instruction and enhance their parenting skills. This has had such a positive impact on our homeschool relations. Our staff goes the extra mile to meet the basic needs of our children. We have a clothes closet, food bank, food backpack program, and set up dental and doctor appointments. Arcadia Elementary is not only a school, it’s a family. By becoming “Globalized, Personalized, and Child Centered,” we are well on our way to helping the most beautiful, hard working, and the smartest children reach their true potential in education and life.
Elementary Assistant Principal of the Year
Dr. Lindsey Marino
Berkeley County Schools
52 PALMETTO ADMINISTRATOR • FALL 2013
A Child, a Book and a Dog
They don’t come with instructions. Our students come to us like little walking puzzles, and it is an educator’s job to determine how the pieces fall into place. If a school is truly student centered, the concept of “one size fits all” has no place there. Each little “puzzle” requires a different strategy. This is true for how we deliver instruction, but it is also true for how we assess student progress. Standardized tests aren’t going anywhere, and they have their merit. However, we can balance them with a more personalized approach to assessment and gain a broader understanding of what students can really do. We use many tools to monitor student progress at Westview Primary School, from informal weekly checkins to the traditional statewide assessments. Like most Assistant Principals, it is my responsibility to ensure these are organized, monitored, and administered correctly. I am proud of the system we have created here and am confident in our results. I am most excited, however, about a very special program we have implemented over the past 2 years. When I joined the Westview Primary family, it was my goal to participate in the Berkeley County Roscoe Reading Incentive Program. Now, with the help of our media specialist and school counselor, all of our second graders are now active participants in the program. The beauty of Roscoe Reader is that not only does it monitor student progress using points earned through the Accelerated Reader program, those points are used as incentives for students to continue to become better readers. Students celebrate their success at a quarterly ice cream party where they interact with the Roscoe dogs, receive collector cards with the dogs’ pictures and information, and choose up to 6 books depending on how many points they have earned. Since the beginning of the program, our students have earned 2,170 books. Through this program we have monitored how well our students are reading, tracked our students’ success over time, and implemented a sustainable program that students, parents, and faculty can buy into and faithfully support for years to come. The Roscoe Reading Program is student centered. It allows each child to work on his own level and at his own pace. It celebrates each child in a meaningful and personal way. I am so proud of the fact that our students have done so well, and over 2,000 quality books are now in homes across our community.
Congratulations to the 2013 Palmetto’s Finest Schools!
Hammond Hill Elementary School Aiken County Schools Janet Vaughan, Principal
Fort Dorchester Elementary School Dorchester District Two Harolyn Hess, Principal
Marrington Middle School of the Arts Berkeley County School District James Spencer, Principal
Hanahan Middle School
Berkeley County School District Robin Rogers, Principal
Ashley Ridge High School Dorchester District Two Karen Radcliffe, Principal
FALL 2013 • PALMETTO ADMINISTRATOR 53
A 6th grade math class at Johnsonville Middle School grocery shopping for non-perishables to donate to the Caring/Sharing food drive. Submitted by SCASA member and Middle School Assistant Principal of the Year Allana Prosser. Westview Primary School in Moncks Corner, SC participate in the Berkeley County Roscoe Reading Incentive Program. Submitted by SCASA member and Elementary School Assistant Principal of the Year Lindsey Marino.
SCASA member and High School Assistant Principal of the Year Jada Kidd and one of her students at Hillcrest High School observe the student’s smart phone as a result of the new program in the district BYOD (Bring Your Own Device). This allows students to bring their smart phones, tablets, etc. into class, so they may use them as effective learning tools. Submitted by Jada Kidd.
When elementary schools in the Georgetown County School District celebrate “Grandparents’ Day,” it is difficult to say who enjoys the visits more - the children or the proud grandparents. Submitted and written by SCASA member Ray White.
Students from Pre-K through fifth grade, created a “human rainbow,” inspired by the Dr. Seuss book “My Many Colored Days.” Submitted by Vickie Norton.
54 PALMETTO ADMINISTRATOR • FALL 2013
During a cross-curricular 4th grade Learning Experience, South Carolina Connections Academy teacher Laura Osowski works with a student on creating poetry. SCCA teachers hold Learning Experiences throughout the year to give their students the opportunity to meet face to face and receive hands-on instruction. Submitted by Caroline O’Neill.
A police officer reads to a class at Bethel Elementary School in Simpsonville, SC, as part of the “Community Leaders as Readers” program. Submitted by SCASA member Julie Cooke.
Ms. Abby Anthony’s Kindergarten class at Doby’s Mill Elementary sent 100 Kisses and Hugs to Kershaw Health. Submitted by Vickie Norton.
Doby’s Mill Elementary School students gave Special Olympians a world class send-off as they headed off to competition. Well over half of the school lined the front sidewalk, cheering and holding signs of encouragement and support as these special athletes left the school grounds to attend the Special Olympics. Submitted by Vickie Norton.
Members of the Doby’s Mill Elementary School “You Go Girls” 4th & 5th grade girls running club celebrated International Day of the Girl by joining a world-wide rally to advocate for every girl’s right to a quality education. Club members wrote declarations of what they stand for. Submitted by Vickie Norton.
Jack, dog of Bill Salane of Professional Printers, wears his SCASA visor proudly. Submitted by Bill Salane.
FALL 2013 • PALMETTO ADMINISTRATOR 55
SCASA Business Affiliates Primary Contact/Organization
Preferred Phone Number
Achieve 3000, Inc.
Alman Educational Associates
American Board for Certification of Teacher Excellence (ABCTE)
Zayra Alicia Fosse
American Reading Company
Megan L Maloney
Boykin and Davis, LLC
Cambium Learning Technologies
CDI Computer Dealers Inc.
(888) 226-5727 x3729
CERRA - South Carolina
Childs & Halligan P.A.
Kathryn L. Mahoney
Classworks by Curriculum Advantage
Encore Technology Group
Charles L Watson
Data View, Inc./One Green Apple
Duff, White & Turner L.L.C.
Patricia G. Baker
Durham School Services
Ms Kate Craig
Foreign Academic & Cultural Exch. Serv.
GCA Services Group, Inc
Greene, Finney & Horton, LLP
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
ID Shop, Inc.
Laura Beth Poore
Jumper Carter Sease Architects, P.A.
Keenan Suggs Insurance
Knowledge Delivery Systems, Inc.
Mary Beth Branham
56 PALMETTO ADMINISTRATOR â€˘ FALL 2013
SCASA Business Affiliates Primary Contact/Organization
Preferred Phone Number
M+T Design Group
McMillan Pazdan Smith & Partners Architects, PA
Angela M Napolitano
National Teacher Associates of SC, INC.
Nu-Idea School Supply Company, Inc.
Parker, Poe, Adams & Bernstein LLP
Pearson Digital Learning
Planned Financial Services, Inc.
Presentation Systems South
SC Alliance of Black School Educators
Nathaniel Hayes Jr.
SC Chamber of Commerce
SC School Boards Association
SC School Boards Insurance Trust
J. Franklin Vail
SC State Credit Union
School Improvement Network
Brian L. Neeley
Stevens & Wilkinson of SC, Inc.
Holly S Lathrop
Nancy B. Ford
(877) 812-4071 ext. 85
The Breakthrough Coach
The Common Core Institute
The MIND Research Institute
Lisa R. Craig
Wil Lou Gray Opportunity School
FALL 2013 â€˘ PALMETTO ADMINISTRATOR 57
NON-PROFIT US POSTAGE
COLUMBIA, SC PERMIT NO. 1183
SC Association of School Administrators 121 Westpark Boulevard Columbia, South Carolina 29210
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SCASA's Back to School Issue of the Palmetto Administrator! Features articles for our 2012-2013 of the year award winners and so much more!