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Bill Richards

EDL 646--Principal: Leader and Administrator


School Effectiveness Survey Analysis and Action Plan
September 8, 2016

Procedure: I supplied copies of the School Effectiveness Survey to 16 faculty members at South
Fork High school on Monday, September 6, and received 9 surveys back by the cut-off date of
September 8. One of the surveys was returned by a new staff member who apologized for
answering nearly every question with a question mark, so the return rate of scorable surveys
was 50%, and these eight surveys were tabulated and written comments recorded.

Results and Analysis:


The highest scores in the survey, suggesting strengths, were recorded for the following
questions:
#7--Teachers make high quality instruction a school priority.
#15--The school grounds and building are clean and well-maintained.
#19--Students are recognized for their accomplishments.
(tie) #25--Students are given many opportunities for extracurricular activities.

That the highest-scoring answer that teachers gave came on the question about high-
quality instruction suggests that faculty members from different disciplines generally believe
their colleagues are providing strong instruction. With a small faculty, and numerous shared
students, teachers generally have a daily knowledge of the quality of their colleagues classes,
and both the newer faculty and longer-term faculty respect each other. This general
atmosphere of teachers respecting teachers was also clear on the high schools WASC report
which resulted in a six-year accreditation this past spring.
The second highest score resulting in response to the statement about the cleanliness of
the school building and grounds was to be expected as the school has been refurbishing the
high schools buildings and classrooms over the last three years with monies accessed by a
successful school bond measure. The new facilities include numerous technology upgrades
that allow school personnel to improve and upgrade the services they offer to students and
parents.
The two statements that tied for third highest score, like the first place statement--deal
directly with the quality of the student experience. Clearly, the faculty takes pride in the variety
of ways that student achievements are recognized, appreciated, and rewarded. In addition,
given the small staff of the school, a large number of athletic and non-athletic extracurricular
activities are offered and promoted; these include clubs in writing, computing, generally nerdy
topics of interest to students, Earth Club, Rotaract, CFS, and more.
The constellation of these high results--an average score closer to strongly agree than
to agree in the highest case--suggest that faculty members generally appreciate and respect
each other, recognize the variety of opportunities they offer to students inside and outside the
classroom, and care for the students themselves. In all, the results suggest a healthy, vibrant
educational relationship in regard to the teachers and students of South Fork High School.
Meanwhile, the lowest scores in the survey, suggesting challenges the school should
prioritize, were recorded for the following questions:
#3--Free and open communication occurs frequently between teachers and
administrators.
There was a five-way tie for second-lowest score among the following:
#10--Curriculum is varied to meet the different needs, interests, and abilities of students.
#14--Students are disciplined in a fair and consistent manner.
#2--Free and open communication occurs frequently and effectively between parents
and administration.
#5--Students and parents know what teachers and administrators expect of them.
#11--Parents are encouraged to support the instructional activities of teachers.

The major themes that run through four of these five low-scoring statements are
relationships and communication, with the single lowest scoring response revealing the
breakdown of the relationship between administrators and teachers. This problem was
underscored in one of seven written comments from respondents on the survey, which stated
that trust among teachers and administrators is nil. The low score in regard to the fairness
and consistency of discipline--one commenter sarcastically cited the wheel of discipline,
referring to administrative inconsistency-- further builds on this breakdown between
administrators and teachers, though clearly teachers play their own role in discipline policies
and actions.
The breakdown in the efficacy of administrative function at South Fork High School has
many potential origins, including the departure of a superintendent midyear perhaps six years
ago and the departure of a principal midyear 18 months ago. These departures left the school
administratively stretched thin as the remaining administrators struggled to cover duties of those
departed. Indeed, the schools WASC report from 2013 indicated that one of the must-address
items for the school was the fact that the principals responsibilities were impossibly numerous.
Additional factors such as poor fits of administrators and departures of nearly 50% of senior
teaching staff over a two-year period undoubtedly contributed to this problem as well.
In addition to the various signs that trust and communication between administration and
teachers has broken down, three low-scoring responses point to inadequate communication
between home and school. Two responses refer directly to breakdowns between administrators
and parents, while two refer in some way to the relationship between teachers and parents. The
teachers responding to the survey felt that the administrators who were not communicating
freely and openly with teachers were also not communicating freely and openly with parents.
The parental comments Ive witnessed at recent school board meetings would support the
teachers responses. Meanwhile, the negative survey responses to the statements about
students and parents knowing what teachers and administrators expect of them, along with the
suggestion that parents are not encouraged to support teachers instructional activities,
suggests a more general school-to-home disconnect that has both administrative and teacher
components.
The causes of these specifically administrator-to-parent breakdowns no doubt comes as
a result of the over-assignment of some administrators, the poor fit of other administrators, and
the upset response by parents to specific administrative actions both at the high school and
district levels; these would include specific unpopular student discipline actions, blurring of lines
of administrative responsibility, and unhappiness in regard to personnel decisions. All of these
actions which some parents have reacted negatively to are perhaps partially victims of the
nature of operating within a small, tight-knit community in which many citizens may have an
anti-establishment ethic; however, undoubtedly ongoing and specific communication missteps
by administrators exacerbated the situation.
The causes of the school-to-parent communication insufficiencies that have a teacher
component--encouraging parents to support instruction and students and parents not knowing
school expectations--can perhaps be explained by a combination of lack of administrative
leadership in this area during a time of rapidly-changing technology as well as a rapid turnover
in teaching staff, which brought a number of new--and sometimes part-time--faculty to the high
school resulting in a lack of consistent parent contact using either new or old-school
technologies.
The final low-scoring statement in the survey indicates that the respondents do not
believe that curriculum is not often enough varied to meet the needs, interests, and abilities of
students. To analyze this specific response, it would be helpful to know further what portion of
this score is made up of those believing that the school does not offer a great enough diversity
of courses to serve students needs, or whether the respondents are sensing that the individual
courses offered do not provide enough diversity of methods and materials. While the school
has added a number of elective courses in the last three years, including reinstating wood shop
and metal shop, the school still lacks courses often offered at somewhat larger high schools;
we do not offer agriculture, auto shop or any engine-related class, computer programming,
audio or video production courses, digital art courses, journalism, creative writing, foreign
language other than Spanish, AP other than U.S. history, or lower-level (basic) math or English
courses. In addition, conflicts in the master schedule have made it difficult to enroll interested
students in performing arts classes such as music and drama. Existing courses do appear to
use a wide variety of instructional methods and materials, especially as new technologies have
reached the classroom along with work to align courses with Common Core standards.
Bill Richards
EDL 646--Principal: Leader and Administrator
School Effectiveness Survey Analysis and Action Plan
September 8, 2016

Working Together:
An Action Plan to Improve Administrative Structures and Communication With Staff
at South Fork High School

Background and Purpose:


South Fork High School earned a six-year accreditation from WASC in the Spring of
2016! This is the first time in 20 years that the school has earned six years, and this
accomplishment is a credit and validation of the teaching and support staff. Congratulations!
However, in response to the School Effectiveness Survey for Fall 2016, South Fork High
School faculty clearly indicated a clear weakness of the school: the lack of free and open
communication between teachers and administrators. The survey results also showed
additional problems in the performance of administrators, including a lack of good
communication with parents and an inconsistent application of school discipline policies.
Together, we must repair the ways that administrators and teachers work with
each other, and we must build trust. This action plan offers a starting place for an
ongoing and continuous process to build the working partnership between
administrators and teachers that will lay the foundation that will support this schools
ability to meet the learning needs of all of its students.
This action plan incorporates a few key principles: (1) teachers will be included from the
start in discussions that affect them and their students; this includes discussions about
curriculum, the discipline matrix, professional development, course offerings and schedules, and
teacher evaluations, (2) school climate improves when teachers and administrators
communicate in free, open, and respectful ways, whether one-on-one or in group settings, (3)
administrators and teachers will communicate and cooperate to implement student discipline in
fair and consistent ways, (4) teachers are more supported when school administrators
communicate better with students and parents, (5) teachers will be included from the start in
discussion of long-range goals and plans.

Implementation Steps:

1.Principals Open-Door Policy: I am new here, and I need to listen to staff, to parents,
to students. My goal is to meet with EVERY staff member during the days before school starts.
Help me reach my goal, if possible. Please let me know what is on your mind, and what I need
to know.
Dates Effective: Immediate and Ongoing.
Who is Responsible: Principal and Staff
2.School Leadership Group: This group, consisting of the principal, assistant principal,
school counselor, and a representative chosen by each department, shall meet on a biweekly
basis throughout the school year. The group shall work together to agree on time and place.
The purpose of this group is to provide an open forum between teachers and administrators on
issues of departmental or schoolwide importance.
Dates Effective: Week of September 6, 2016 and Ongoing.
Who is Responsible: Principal and Departments
3.School Site Council: This group, consisting of the principal, assistant principal, three
or more teacher, two or more classified staff, school secretary, two or more students, and three
or more parents, will meet on a monthly basis throughout the school year; visitors will be
welcome to sit in on this group. The group shall work together to review existing school policies,
requirements, and other matters, and it will act as a clearinghouse to listen to and discuss input
from all of the stakeholders in our school. It will be maintained as a place for open discussion,
and as such is designed to be a more interactive place of multiple perspectives; this will offer a
place for parents and community members to be heard prior to providing comment at district
school board meetings.
Dates Effective: September 2016 and Ongoing
Who is Responsible: Principal, Assistant Principal
4.Staff Meetings: Our staff meetings with occur once per month during the early release
day PLC time. Agendas will be shared with staff the day before (with room for adjustment),
meeting will be kept to an hour or less generally. Other early release day meetings will rotate
between department group meetings, PBIS days, and individual days (scheduled to sync up
with grade reports).
Dates Effective: September 7, 2016 an Ongoing
Who is Responsible: Principal--Run Meetings
Assistant Principal--Meeting Agendas
5.Visibility: The principal and vice principal will be highly visible this year! We will
always meet the school buses. We will be out during lunch always and out during passing
periods as much as possible. If you see us, come talk with us!
Dates Effective: First Day of School and Ongoing
Who is Responsible: Principal
Assistant Principal
6.Call-a-Parent: The principal will call parents to check in and see how we are doing.
Parents will have the opportunity to tell us what we are doing well and what they are concerned
about.
Dates Effective: September 2016 and Ongoing
Who is Responsible: Principal
7.Evaluate the Principal: Staff will be provided a survey twice per year to allow them to
evaluate the performance of the principal. Staff will be allowed to make anonymous evaluations
and provide input.
Dates Effective: December 2016 and June 2016
Who is Responsible: Principal, Staff
8.Staff Involvement: Help us get the ball rolling! We are blessed with a great staff!
Dates Effective: Right Now and Ongoing!
Who is Responsible: All of Us!

Be bold, be delicate, and pursue the prize.--Brendan Gill