Sunday, March 31, 2013

Updating the Action Research in March

            When I started this program, I knew I needed a platform to launch from.  I started by looking at the original data from the very first test in September 2012—obviously, new students transferring in did not take the test on the same date.  I then verified that the test had been retaken each six weeks.  The next thing I did was verify with all four math teachers (myself included) that the Accelerated Math program was being utilized at least once a week.  One teacher is actually having his students work on Accelerated Math two days a week.  Some of the teachers have started using a program called ALEKS.  I want to alter my original wondering to decide which program is servicing the students better.

                I spent some time looking into the ALEKS program and decided that for now, we will not be exploring its usefulness.  That data set is too small because not all the students are using it.  Also, ALEKS focuses on the students current grade level where as STAR testing and the Accelerated Math program look at each students’ gaps and teaches to the areas they may have not mastered already.

                Revisiting the STAR Math testing, I am finding that the majority of students have been improving but not all.  I want to continue the research over the course of another school year because I have such a small school that the data will be more conclusive over two years.  I will work towards gathering data from the other schools in the district that are also participating in the program.

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Technology Outreach

This is a possible presentation to improve community relations through an improved website and more popular medias.

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Action Research Week 5

When I first began this course, the concept of action research was foreign to me.  I suppose I knew that professionals are always informally assessing situations and looking for avenues to better themselves, the facility, those around him/her, etc.  In my journey to make a decision on what my research topic may be, I had several eye-opening experiences.
Upon reading further and further into the text, “Leading with Passion and Knowledge,” I found that there was a never-ending supply of inquiries just waiting to be pursued.  The process is simple, straight-forward, and familiar compared to any other attempt to improve an establishment, but there were a lot of questions I would not have thought to ask when assessing the quality of my work.
The next most important and helpful part of my learning experience was the peer-to-peer connection aspect.  Through the use of discussion boards, blogs, and Facebook, I gained a lot of insight and constructive tips from the others I am working alongside.  Facebook was remarkably beneficial because of the response rate.  People are very quick to respond on the social network.  The blog was very likely the least helpful because so few commented on what I had written.  The discussion board allowed my peers to give me helpful feedback on my ideas; through it and speaking with my site supervisor, I was ultimately able to make a decision on my research topic.
Lastly, I enjoyed the assignments the most.  They were designed in a manner that guided me through the learning process.  Now, I have a strong, needed topic about which I can inquire.  They led me through the steps of discovering the importance of action research, how to find a topic, how to narrow it down in order to not lose track of what’s important, the steps in which to execute the process, they gave me questions to ask to ensure quality, and lastly means of maintaining the improvements that I have established.
Action research will prove to be a rudimentary function for me as a leader in my school.  Now that I have begun one process, there is no way I can stop making improvements to my school!

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Action Research Week 4

My site supervisor and I have established my project mentioned last week to be my research action topic.  Her only feedback was to narrow my ideas to be able to focus on just one thing.  If you would like, please follow me here as I continue to pursue this inquiry over the next several months.

Saturday, February 2, 2013

Action Research Week 3

Action Planning Template
Goal:  To determine if STAR Math is effective and if its use should be continued, expanded, or halted
Action Steps(s):
Person(s) Responsible:
Timeline: Start/End
Needed Resources
Give Students initial STAR math test on the Renaissance Place testing site.

·         Rheanna Stanley
·         Travis Bethany
·         Reese Barrington
Ongoing.  Students are given initial test within one week of their registration—this district has a high frequency rate of new students because the school is at a residential facility.
·         20 computers with internet access
·         20 calculators
Student participation and effort will be monitored and noted.
Commit to doing the Accelerated Math program in the classroom 1-2 days a week.
·         Reese Barrington
·         Rachel Tyler
·         Austin Meyer
·         Drew Nudd
·         Math Dept. in the other 5 schools in the district
September 2012-May 2014
·         1 Computer
·         1 Printer
·         20 calculators
·         (optional) math dictionaries, reference posters, graphic organizers, etc.
Students are evaluated by the software itself.  If the student completes assignments correctly, they are given a new objective and eventually tested.  If they do not, they repeat the objectives and/or the teacher is instructed to intervene.
Retest the students on STAR Math in 6 week intervals
·         Travis Bethany
·         Various test administrators from the other 5 campuses
January 2013-May 2014
·         20 computers with internet access
·         20 calculators
Student participation and effort will be monitored and noted.
Make a decision to propose expansion, continuation, or elimination of the STAR Math program.
Reese Barrington
Present-May 2014
Computer with internet access
Review and chart the data from the retests compared to the initial test.  Look for growth or regression in many categories.  Compare to the other schools’ data in the district

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Action Research Week 2

This week was a real eye opener for me.  I did not ever consider how diverse the action research topics could possibly be.  For instance, my narrow mind had only conceived a small handful of the potential categories.  I was mainly focused on student behaviors and performance.  Since I have not officially began my research, I may change my mind yet!

Next, I had a very beneficial experience with my mentor/supervisor.  She assisted me in picking my topic by providing positive and negative feedback about each of my action research ideas.  This allowed me to weigh out my options in a totally different light.

As of right now, I plan to do an action research project to answer the question, "How can a student with Oppositional defiance disorder be motivated in the classroom?"

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Action Research Week 1

What I've Learned

Action research (administrative inquiry) is a new topic to me.  I was unfamiliar with it until this course.  In here, I have provided a few snip-its of what I have learned, how it compares to the typical research I have come to know, and how I can find it beneficial to my own career.

Action research, is a way to improve one’s self or surroundings after using a technique similar to the scientific method but not as formal.  Through the use of publications, internet, others’ input, test scores, testing one’s own findings, etc. action research can prove to be a powerful tool in improving schools.

Administrative inquiry and action research differ from the traditional research methods in two key ways.  The latter is often performed by an outsider who seeks to improve on what is already known about a subject while the former is a way of altering one's ideology.  Administrative inquiry seeks to delve deeper into the subject matter as one would with the scientific method.  Ideas are tested, data is questioned, and changes are implemented depending on the decided results.

Now that I have read testimonials about the uses of action research in schools, it is clear that this will need to be an integral part of my school's rudiments.  It's like the old saying, "if you always do what you've always done, you will always get what you've always gotten."  Changes need to take place for improvement, and action research is fundamentally the best means of discovering what that change needs to be.

Education Leaders using blogs!

Currently my superintended is taking a business trip to the house where Anne Frank hid.  During this trip, he is posting pictures and updates of his journey to a blog.  Blogs can be put to better use in schools to update parents, students, and teachers about the happenings in the school.  They are also a good tool to get people's honest opinion as the audience may post comments to said blog.  Opinions that may not have ever had the chance to be voiced if a less intimidating environment, such as a blog, were not provided.