Google+ Followers

Monday, April 1, 2013

EDLD 5326 Action Research Update

The first step in my action research project was to gather PEIMS data on low socio-economic/economically disadvantaged males and females. I met with the PEIMS coordinator and parent liaison and we went through the students who fit these criteria and picked out students who have failed at least one of the state tests. There were plenty of students to choose from. We picked the students who showed the most need. The current program has one hundred males about twenty females that fit into this category. We currently have about seventy-five mentors who come weekly. Some of them mentor and tutor more than one student. I am in the process of going to community meetings to advertise and recruit more mentors. When new mentors join the program, I meet with them and try and match them with a student. We also have a training session for the mentors. We use the data analysis program ANOVA to see which objectives the students did not master. We go over these with their mentors and review strategies to help these students become successful. After each mentoring session, I ask the mentors to reflect on the session in their student’s folder. We use this to track the progress. I am currently looking for grants to apply for to support the program. Our current funding is ending this year and we need a plan to sustain and grow the program to include more female students. This month, I plan on making a survey for students, teachers, mentors, and parents to get feedback on the program. I plan on using an online survey. In the early part of the month I will create the survey. After making sure it is complete, I will send it to all stakeholders. Next month, I plan to analyze the results of the survey.

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Insights


EDLD 5301 Research has given me some of the essential tools required to be an administrator.  Before I began this class, I thought I knew everything about research.  In college I majored in Psychology and had to complete various research projects.  After graduation, I began working as a research assistant in a traditional lab setting.  This was tedious work that I did not enjoy.  When I became an educator, I thought I was through with research.  In the first few weeks of the class I began to realize that this research was different than any I had done before.  During week one of the course the reading was about how action research was different than traditional research.  University researchers who are outside of the classroom usually conduct traditional research.  Practitioner inquiry focuses on the concerns of the practitioner and engages them in the design, data collection, and interpretation of data.  (Dana, 2009, page 5)
I really liked how this class had so many avenues to gather information.  One of my favorite ways to post and receive information was through my blog.  This was the first time I have ever used a blog.  I have heard people talking about them, but I had never read one and had definitely never made one.  I enjoyed making my blog.  Week one was rough because this technology was new to me.  However, now that we are completing week five, I feel that a blogs are very user-friendly.  I liked posting my assignments to my blog and getting feedback from my classmates almost immediately.  Since this class, I have been using blogs for cooking and decorating ideas!  The discussion board was very helpful too.  I liked reading everyone’s posts.  I learned so much from other people on the board.  I would find problems and suggestions on their posts that I had not even considered in my own research.  I found the discussion topics very helpful.  They were always relevant to the week’s assignment.  The thing that has been most helpful to me through this class was the Facebook page that was created for students on the same track.  I have never taken an online class until I started this program.  I was nervous about not having classmates to ask questions or to collaborate with.  I thought that I was going to be alone in this process, but I was wrong.  I can go to this page any time of the day or night with questions and get a response almost immediately from a classmate.
I enjoyed the assignments that required me to meet with my site supervisor.  I think these meetings taught me the most.  My principal recently got her administrative degree so she knows the process and what I am going through.  Her advice throughout this course helped me significantly with my project.  She gave me suggestions and feedback that I do not think I would have come up with myself without her experience.  I also was able to appreciate everything she does and know that she does certain things for a reason.  I began to appreciate her patience she has with her staff and students with everything else she has on her plate.  I am glad I will have someone to talk things through for the remainder of my action research project and the remainder of the program.
The text for this course fit the class and was aligned well with the course curriculum.  The assigned readings were always useful when completing the weekly assignments.  I know have a deeper understanding of action research and see the importance of lifelong learning.  I found the week 5 assigned reading to be very helpful for the remainder of my action research project.  Even though I am a beginner researcher, I want my research to be high quality.  I now know what to look for and what to ask myself to make sure that my research is the best it can be.  I know I will be referring back to this text not only to critique my current research project, but also to refresh my memory when trying to begin the next.
At the completion of this course, I feel very prepared to finish out my action research project.  The tools I learned in this class will make me a better teacher and a better administrator.  These are tools that I can and will use for the remainder of my career.  I will use the knowledge I gained in this class to continually improve my research skills and to make the best environment for my students.

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Revised Action Research Plan

Action Planning Template
Goal:  Improve TAKS scores for low socio-economic/economically disadvantaged male students through a mentoring program.
Action Steps(s):
Person(s) Responsible:
Timeline: Start/End
Needed Resources
Evaluation
Get PEIMS data to find low socio-economic/economically disadvantaged males





Lindsey Serrette, Jennifer Alcocer
1/7/13 - 1/11/13
List of students who fit this category.
Site supervisor approval

Review TAKS scores of this population to find students who failed at least one exit level TAKS tests.





Lindsey Serrette
January 2013
TAKS scores
Site supervisor approval
Go to community meetings to recruit mentors for the program.







Lindsey Serrette
January 2013
Mentors
Mentor commitment

Go to classrooms to promote the program to the target students







Lindsey Serrette
January 2013
Teachers, students
Student commitment
Track results as students meet with mentors

Lindsey Serrette, Vivian Hernandrez, Mentors
January 2013 – May 2013
Mentors, Students
Data from mentors and teachers
Survey students, teachers, and mentors to get feedback on the mentoring program.


Lindsey Serrette
February 2013 – May 2013
Online Survey (Survey Monkey), Teacher participation, Student participation, Mentor Participation
Let all parties know that their concerns and ideas are being taken into consideration.
Go over survey results with Vivian Hernandez and decide if changes need to be made.
Lindsey Serrette, Vivian Hernandez
February 2013 – May 2013
Survey Results
Survey Results
Analyze and compare TAKS the student’s TAKS scores before joining the mentoring program to their scores after participation in the program.
Lindsey Serrette, Vivian Hernandez
June 2013
ANOVA
Comparing actual data/data results
Use the results to obtain more funding for the program and increase student and community participation
Lindsey Serrette, Vivian Hernandez, Administration
June 2013 – August 2013
Data
Any change made that will grow the program


Format based on Tool 7.1 from Examining What We Do to Improve Our Schools
(Harris, Edmonson, and Combs, 2010)

CARE Model


Tool 8.1 CARE Model: Planning Tool
Identify Concerns that must change (look to the future)
(Assign points to concerns from 1 to 3 in the order of the most important issues to consider.)
1.  School rated as low performing by the state.
2.  African American males are the lowest performing group on campus for math and science.
3.  High drop out rate of low performing students.
Identify Affirmations that must be sustained (look to the present)
(Assign points to affirmations from 1 to 3 in the order of the most important issues to consider.)
1.  There is a mentoring program available to students who failed at least one exit level TAKS exam.
2.  Availability of grant funds to maintain the mentoring program.
3.  Support and commitment of all stakeholders.
SMART Recommendations that must be implemented:
(Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, Timely)
(Assign points to recommendations from 1 to 3 in the order of the most important recommendations to implement.)
1.  Implement a mentoring program for young men who are economically disadvantaged who have failed at least one exit level TAKS exam.
2.  Identify students who meet this criteria and get them to commit to being an active part of the program and find mentors in the community who are willing to commit to once a week mentoring sessions for one semester.
3.  Give routine assessments to students to monitor progress and growth.
EVALUATE – Specifically and Often
(Identify the best ways to evaluate the implemented recommendations.)
1.  Surveys, mentor observations.
2.  TAKS assessments, teacher observations, mentor observations, group discussions.
3.  TAKS assessments, teacher observations, mentor observations, group discussions.

Sunday, February 3, 2013

Action Research Plan

Action Planning Template
Goal:  Improve TAKS scores for low socio-economic/economically disadvantaged male students through a mentoring program.
Action Steps(s):
Person(s) Responsible:
Timeline: Start/End
Needed Resources
Evaluation
Get PEIMS data to find low socio-economic/economically disadvantaged males



Lindsey Serrette, Jennifer Alcocer
1/7/13 - 1/11/13
List of students who fit this category.
Site supervisor approval

Review TAKS scores of this population to find students who failed at least one exit level TAKS tests.


Lindsey Serrette
January 2013
TAKS scores
Site supervisor approval
Go to community meetings to recruit mentors for the program.


Lindsey Serrette
January 2013
Mentors
Mentor commitment

Go to classrooms to promote the program to the target students


Lindsey Serrette
January 2013
Teachers, students
Student committment
Track results as students meet with mentors



Lindsey Serrette, Vivian Hernandrez, Mentors
January 2013 – May 2013
Mentors, Students
Data from mentors and teachers
Analyze and compare TAKS the student’s TAKS scores before joining the mentoring program to their scores after participation in the program.
Lindsey Serrette, Vivian Hernandez
June 2013
ANOVA
Comparing actual data/data results
Use the results to obtain more funding for the program and increase student and community participation
Lindsey Serrette, Vivian Hernandez, Administration
June 2013 – August 2013
Data
Any change made that will grow the program

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Week 2 Reflection

This week I continued my study of action research.  After watching the videos of the scholars,  I learned that I should never stop learning and using data.  When selecting an area to study, I need to make sure that I am reaching a majority of students. I need to be able to produce results that will help increase student performance.  My project needs to be something that is practical to me and something that I can apply directly to student learning.  The purpose of my research must by something that I can apply and something I am interested in.  The decisions I make as a teacher or administrator must be made based on data.

Sunday, January 20, 2013

How Educational Leaders Might Use Blogs


Blogs can be an extremely beneficial tool in education.  Educational leaders can use blogs in a variety of different ways.  A simple use of a blog is journaling.  Leaders can keep an electronic copy of their thoughts and ideas.  This gives them the opportunity for meaningful reflection on their thought processes.  A blog allows others to give you feedback in a convenient setting.  It also allows a leader to model professional writing when sharing ideas with colleagues, and is a good way to collect data and connect you to a larger audience.
            Blogging would be a useful tool to update students and parents about events and important dates on campus.  Blogs are easily updated and are accessible anywhere.  This allows for easy communication between students, parents, teachers, and administrators.

Action Research - What I have learned and how I plan to use it.


Action research is a tool that can help principals and teachers begin to focus on what is really important, improving teaching and learning.  This is not a one step solution to a problem.  It is a systematic approach principals and teachers can take to look at their own practices and make a plan for change based on what was learned.  There are five steps of action research.  The first is to pose a question after reflecting on your own practice.  Then you must collect data to learn more about the problem, and then you must analyze the data and reference the literature, make changes based on new understandings, and finally, share your results with colleagues. 
Action research differs from traditional educational research in that action research deals with the concerns of the professionals and involves them in the process instead of an outsider making all of the decisions.  Action research allows practitioners to be part of the research process and part of the solution, which makes them accountable for the change.

Action research is a tool to improve teaching and student learning.  It gives practitioners the chance to take a deeper look into their practices and reflect on them.  It can increase data analysis skills through a systematic approach to problem solving and decision-making. Action research allows teachers and administrators to choose a specific area of interest, research that topic, make a plan, and then analyze the results of the change.  Action research is a way for professional development that focuses on school improvement.  When you pick a specific area to study and make a change, you can directly see the benefits of what you did.  What you learn from your data analysis is concrete evidence of the benefits of the change.  Most importantly, action research is a way for everyone on the campus to grow academically.  The faculty learns an important tool for inquiry and as a result student achievement grows.

I plan to use action research as model to solve problems on my campus.  Some of my areas of interest are the effectiveness of the mentoring program on standardized test scores and the importance of homework on student mastery of objectives.  Action research seems to be a good, systematic way for me to look deeper into these areas.