Curriculum and instruction
I believe all students should have the opportunity to participate in a rigorous, relevant, and coherent standards-based curriculum that supports achievement and is influenced by expected school-wide learning outcomes. Every student should have equal access to the school’s entire program. Instruction needs to be engaging, blended with technology, comprehensive, collaborative, bridge across content areas, and build connections and relationships that support student learning and student pursuit of academic, personal, and school-to-career goals.
I believe this because I experienced a well-rounded education with the help of teachers who cared about me. As a child, I was not a great test taker and did not always perform well on multiple-choice based assessments. What motivated mean to learn were those personal connections and relationships. I knew that through hard work and perseverance I could obtain my goals. There is more to learning than textbooks have to offer and our experiences are enriched by the experiences of others and through multiple sources. Educational leaders need to be increasingly versatile and actively committed to adapting instructional strategies to meet student needs.
There are several relevant issues around curriculum and instruction. Recent rollout of Common Core standards, Smarter Balance Assessment Consortium (SBAC), the continued need for school improvement, the use of data to personalize learning, along with recent LCFF funding allocations and LCAP requirements, all require educators to be competent in the use of technology and provide the tools and instruction necessary for students to be able to toggle between multiple devices and platforms.
I wish to discuss the Local Control and Accountability Plan (LCAP) because it ties all of these issues together.
Explanation: Currently, the integration of technology to assist school districts and school sites in fully meeting goals for student achievement and school-wide learning outcomes is limited or non-existent within the LCAP. Given the demands for today’s students to be able to compete in the global environment, technology must be integrated into curriculum and instruction as part of a blended learning model rather than isolated from the curriculum. The SBAC requires students to use technology, Common Core skills include a technology component, the SBAC is online, and requires skill in using technology tools. Finally, collaboration is enhanced and taken to the next level through the use of technology. What is needed is a broader interpretation of the role of technology to meet LCAP requirements and transparent communication of LCAP elements with all stakeholders.
As a veteran teacher and teacher leader, I see the need for an accessible and practical approach in education that bridges the demands of the global environment and is able to effectively align curriculum and instruction with Common Core State Standards (CCSS), the SBAC, integrate National Educational Technology Standards (NETS), and LCAP requirements.
Parent and community involvement
I believe Parents and caring adults within the school community play a pivotal role in creating a healthy school and in creating a climate that welcomes learning. Parents and community stakeholders help make the school the best it can be through their continued support and commitment to school programs and activities.
I believe this because I am committed to creating a personalized atmosphere of self-esteem, respect, enthusiasm, and cooperation, and to increasing school programs and activities. This involves parents and many stakeholders within the community. In terms of the classroom, it is important to build a classroom culture of mutual respect, where all individuals take responsibility for their learning, themselves, others, and the environment. This culture becomes a commitment that parents play a role in extending at home, beyond the classroom and school environment. Socialization plays an important role in shaping student agency, identity, and resilience. Part of this socialization takes place at home and outside of the school community, but much of it takes place at school. Thus, it is important that parents understand and feel welcome in being part of the school community and know that everyone is working together toward the same goal.
There are several issues/aspects involved in increasing parent and community involvement such as transportation, work, daycare, clear communication, need for recognition, meaningful engagement, understanding their role, outreach to parent groups that are traditionally not as involved, and awareness of volunteer opportunities.
I wish to discuss the need to increase involvement of parents of English Language Learners.
Explanation: Several years ago I had an opportunity to be the English Language Coordinator at my school site. During this time, parents of our English Language Learners were actively involved in the school. They attended monthly ELAC meetings, had picnics, evening events, and volunteered to attend meetings within the community as well. This changed a few years back as our site transitioned between several EL Coordinators, students graduated, and parent involvement declined to the point of being non-existent. With the growing diversity and increase in English Language Learners, and students who are refugees from other countries, I am passionate about reviving this involvement and commitment.
Discipline and School culture and climate
I believe in providing an inviting school learning environment, one that is safe and nurturing, where everyone is treated with respect and where no one is physically or emotionally harmed. Such an environment is embowering and builds the capacity to be a responsible global citizen.
I believe this because children are our future and they will be the ones making decisions that impact not just themselves, but a much wider community. By providing a safe and caring environment, and by building relationships and respect for diversity school-wide, there is a strong possibility that this culture will extend beyond the school environment to the global world.
There are several issues focused around discipline and school/climate such as bullying or cyber-bullying, harassment, intimidation, zero tolerance policies, advisory groups, attendance, truancies, tardiness, and school discipline policies and procedures.
I wish to discuss school discipline policies and procedures in more detail.
Explanation To provide an inviting school learning environment, where everyone is treated with respect and safe, it is important to have consistency and have a student/teacher/parent handbook that is up-to-date and reflects current laws, policies and procedures, uses language that is clear to all stakeholders, and eliminates minor infractions such as chewing gum and focuses instead on larger issues and on improving behavior. For example, procedures for conflict resolution and restorative practices, or incentives to improve school attendance.
I believe integration of technology can improve teaching and learning, and knowing how to effectively use technology is a survival skill for all students in the 21st century.
I believe this because of my experience both as a classroom teacher during the transition to the digital age, and as an instructional leader at the forefront of this technological revolution.
Despite issues involving the use of digital information and the use of technology in an educational environment such as security, privacy, responsible use, not functioning efficiently, technology has more benefits for students, educators, and all stakeholders concerned than it does drawbacks.
I wish to elaborate on the use of technology to improve curriculum and instruction.
Explanation As a veteran teacher with years of classroom and leadership experience, I have observed the transition from overhead projector and dry-erase boards to document camera and electronic projectors with the full use of i21 technologies in a wireless classroom and school environment. The use of technology has enabled teachers to partially or fully flip their classrooms, or blend the learning environment within the classroom. Students who are absent, “pulled out from class”, or who need additional assistance, can now access content at home, on their phones, easily connect with instructors and peers, can collaborate on projects with students not just in their own class but cross-departmentally, and can revisit lessons or get additional instruction. The challenge of the digital age is teaching responsible use in this environment where there is an abundance of information and distraction, and in providing the necessary training and professional development for educators to be successful so that once the tools are available everyone can achieve.
Recently, my role as the Digital Teacher Leader, has afforded me with opportunities for additional training in technology, and I am currently assisting other educators at my school site to integrate technology into their curriculum and instruction. This is done through sharing lessons, modeling, or providing onsite workshops. After conducting a school-wide survey to assess the technology needs at my site, I am looking into the use of Open Badges, a new online standard to provide recognition and additional motivation resource for onsite and online professional development for educators, and for student engagement in the classroom.