Work Product Assignment
Use the information below to complete the task that follows:
You are in your first year as principal of a middle school that enrolls approximately 1,200 students in grades 6-8. During the interview process and in private conversations with the Superintendent you were told that the school had been experiencing significant problems including an inordinately high rate of suspensions, a high rate of referrals for special education evaluations and an increasing level of student absence. As a result, the school’s student performance outcomes on standardized examinations in English Language Arts and Math had declined in all grades. The Superintendent has indicated that she expects you to address these issues in your first year as principal and to develop a plan to bring substantial change to the school over a three year period.
In your initial investigation of this issue, you have reviewed the school’s test performance data using all of the information available on the district and state websites. You have conducted daily formal and informal observations of staff teaching all subjects and at all grade levels. You have conducted learning walks alone and in conjunction with the three assistant principals and staff developers. You have met with teachers from all grade levels, the support staff, deans, family workers, parent coordinators, attendance teachers and appropriate district staff to discuss the issues identified by the Superintendent and from your own investigation. In addition you have met with parents who are active in the PTA and you have reached out to parents and guardians of students from all grade levels to listen to their concerns.
In your conversations with teachers you find that they believe that students come to the school unprepared for the stress of the middle school, they are neither academically nor socially prepared for the middle school. Parents indicate that they have significant concerns about the teaching that their students are exposed to believing that their children are not being appropriately prepared for the rigors of high school level instruction. They also indicate that they have serious concerns for the safety of their children in the school. This is particularly prevalent in their concerns for students entering the sixth grade. Support staff members including the school social worker and guidance counselors feel that the students’ social and emotional needs are not being addressed and that this results in an inordinate amount of referrals for special education evaluation and suspensions.
You decide to form a team to develop a plan for restructuring the school to address the issues identified during your intervention. You invite a representative group of stakeholders to begin developing the plan. Your goal is to have a restructuring plan in place for implementation in the following school year. Team members include teachers, parents/guardians, the school social worker, a guidance counselor, the school psychologist, a dean, the parent coordinator, an attendance teacher, a staff developer, an assistant principal, and the district’s middle school coordinator. You will be the chairperson of the committee.
Write a memo of about 150-300 words to the team about the restructuring process and the goals of taking this action. Before you begin writing the memo, state any assumptions you are making about the characteristics of the school (e.g. rural/urban community, student demographics, socioeconomic indicators, programmatic considerations). In your memo:
• Communicate your views about why it is important for the school to implement sound middle school practices during the restructuring process;
• describe two key factor’s relating the school’s instructional program to the behavioral and attendance problems demonstrated by the students;
• for each of the two specified factors, describe one type of data or other information that the team should analyze; and
• Explain why this type of data or other information can be useful in analyzing the specified factor.