Presenting Organizational Data For Winters Independent School District Education Essay

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The Analysis Project Plan will present the organizational plan for Winters Independent School District (Winters ISD) located in Winters, Texas (USA).

Demographics

Winters ISD is a small, rural, public school district located in Runnels County in West Texas with the district extending into a small portion of Taylor County. The school mascot is (appropriately for the district's name) the Blizzard.

The major economic activity in the region is farming. Winters ISD is the largest employer within the town which has a population of approximately 2,500 residents. The school district serves approximately 648 students PK-12 on three campuses: Elementary PK-6; Junior High 7-8; and High School 9-12 (TEA, 2009). In 2009, the school district was rated "Academically Acceptable" by the Texas Education Agency and has earned a status of "Recognized" under the Texas Educational Agency's accountability system for the school year 2010-2011. Winters ISD is a Title 1 district-wide public school.

Winters ISD serves a student population that is 49.8% Hispanic; African American 2.5% and 48.3% Anglo. The district is 63.6 % Economically Disadvantaged. Winters ISD District spends $9,288 per pupil in current expenditures.  The district spends 62% on instruction, 33% on support services, and 5% on other elementary and secondary expenditures. The Winters ISD District has 12 students for every full-time equivalent teacher, with the Texas state average being 15 students per full-time equivalent teacher. In the Winters ISD District, 10% of students have an IEP (Individualized Education Program).  An IEP is a written plan for students eligible for special needs services.  The Winters ISD District serves 3% English Language Learners (ELL).  

Figure 1 displays various statistics for Winters ISD and Figure 2 displays the hierarchal roles within the organization.

Figure WISD Demographics

AEIS Statistics

Percentage and Total Numbers

Enrollment

648

Economically Disadvantaged

63.6%

Hispanic

49.1%

White

48.3%

African American

2.5%

Special Education

9.1%

English as Second Language

3.4%

At Risk

36.6%

Attendance Rate

95.7%

Annual Dropout Rate

0.9 %

Professional Staff

66.0

Auxiliary Staff

29.5

Total Administration

3.4

Total district employees

108.5

Total Revenues

$8,076,421.00

Instructional Expenditures per student

$9,288.00 per student

School Leadership

$443.00 per student

Central Administration

$425.00 per student

(TEA,2009)

Figure 2 Winters ISD Organizational Chart

*Permission granted for this study of unit by David Hutton, Winters ISD Superintendent, 603 N. Heights, Winters, TX 79567

Analysis Part 2:

Analysis of Behavior in Terms of the Whole System

How the system functions

According to Senge, "Within every school district, community, or classroom, there might be dozens of different systems worth of notice: the governance process of the district, the impact of particular policies, the labor-management relationship, curriculum development, the approaches to disciplining students, and the prevailing modes of staff behavior. Every educational practice is a system" (as cited by Owens, 2007). Within Senge's definition of a system, Winters ISD functions as a traditional public school system within a state and national system as an open system which interacts with the environment efficiently and effectively.

Individual behavior within each campus works within the school district system according to rules and procedures which are based upon the community expectations in the form of school board policy, administrative procedures and state and national mandates.

Responding to environmental contingencies

"Environment refers to the suprasytem in which the school district or school exists: the social, political, and economic systems of our culture" (Owens, 2007). The primary external environment that affects WISD currently has been the national economic crisis. WISD is a small rural farming community that had two manufacturing employers other than the school district itself. In the spring of 2010 both businesses closed their doors and relocated to Mexico which has resulted in a large unemployment rate within the community. The school district as a result has had a decrease in enrollment and foresees an even greater number of students leaving the district within the near future. The national economic crisis has affected the daily operations of the district and the learning environment. Lower enrollment means lower state funding which is reflected in fewer human and material resources in the classrooms.

Another current environmental factor affecting WISD is the current political and community relations. The present superintendent has just completed a $6,000,000 construction project that includes a new up-to-date gymnasium, an extended cafeteria, a new band hall and 3 conference rooms. This special events center was built without the school having to request a bond issue. Many parents and community members have questioned the funding of this construction considering the current economic situation of the district. Board members have been questioned as well as the superintendent of schools. As a result of external pressures, the school board has chosen to ask for the resignation of the current superintendent after five years of employment. The organizational climate is one of disarray, uncertainty, and chaos anticipating the change in leadership.

Factors influence how stimuli are received in the organization

Changes in the environment will stimulate a reaction by the organization, either static or dynamic (Owens, 2007). Although there is a traditional view for maintaining the status quo at WISD, there is a continual change in the goals of the district due to the changing circumstances in the federal and state mandates. After ten years of state assessments, the state has begun a new era of testing for the next school year which will dictate necessary changes throughout the organization, and the need for dynamic equilibrium which helps keep the system in a steady state by being adaptable to the many federal and state mandates.

Other factors that influence the environment include national economy, state funding, taxes, enrollment, curriculum changes, political elections, and public opinion. In order to maintain homeostasis as a school system, WISD needs to rely on a well-developed communication system and effective decision-making processes, which is a need for the district.

The nature of the relationships between groups

As a public school system that is considered to be an open system, WISD functions within a larger system of state and federal levels. The local school board adopts policies and procedures according to the educational laws of state and federal legislation. Groups within this setting are formalized and guided by legal restrictions and expectations.

Within the local district of WISD, the groups function under the leadership of the superintendent. The leadership style of the individual in this position affects how the informal groups organize and address tasks and roles. WISD has a downward-oriented line of command and is based on a one-to-one leadership style which emphasizes authority-obedience relationships (Owens, 2007).

Inter-group relationships

According to Owens, it is useful to analyze the interpersonal behavior of work groups within the organization (Owens, 2007). Within a small school district such as WISD, groups are formed informally but have little functional roles. The power of the groups is limited due to the leadership style of the current superintendent who discourages decision-making and interaction. There is a need for a formal group to be formed within the district to address curriculum issues and vertical alignment from grades K-12. Communication from one campus to another is very limited and is primarily transmitted through the rumor or gossip grapevine. Cohesiveness and goal setting for the district in curriculum and funding has been non-existent which has resulted in teacher dissatisfaction and low morale.

Analysis Plan Part 3:

Analysis of Effectiveness of Behavior Patterns

Schema and scripts of individuals

Schemas (schemata) are abstract knowledge structures that organize large amounts of information (Hoy, 2008). Schemas affect what we notice, how we interpret things and how we make decisions and act. An important point in understanding organizational behavior is realizing that organizational life lies largely in the eye of the beholder (Owens, 2007). People participate in organizations in order to satisfy certain needs.

In Winters ISD, personnel reflect professional and ethical behavior according to educational standards. Individual roles and positions of the educational organization function adhere to the organizational expectations for dress code, proper behavior in and out of educational setting, attendance, etc. The professional schema is reflected generally by all the professional personnel. Recent events have influenced the way personnel perceive events and make sense of those events.

Perceptual distortions

Organizational climate is the study of perceptions that individuals have of various aspects of the environment in the organization (Owens, 2007). Currently, within Winters ISD there exists a lack of trust in the leadership by a large number of employees. Recent managerial decisions on reassignment and dismissal have created a climate of fear and uncertainty within the school. The perceptions of employees that the leadership is deceptive and retaliatory have lead to rumors, gossip, and formal complaints. The current culture of the district has had an enormous influence the attitudes and feelings of the personnel.

Biases in the organization

Winters ISD is a rural farming community with a strong heritage of work and effort of masculine labor. Although women have been placed in leadership positions within the district, there still exists a gender bias towards the effectiveness of women leaders. There also exists a bias towards the economically disadvantaged students and poverty. There has been no professional development for teachers on the effects of poverty and often the attitudes of teachers blame individual lack of effort as the reason students do not perform rather than the underlying effects of poverty.

Cues that encourage learning

Historically, high expectations and a sense of academic excellence defined Winters ISD. The district has been competitive in both academic and extracurricular events. The past several years, administrative emphasis has been placed on budgets and funding. In order to construct new facilities, funding has been cut in all academic programs. Resources for technology, teacher aides, and tutorial programs have been abandoned in order to create a fund balance to build a new gymnasium. As a result, student achievement on the state assessments has declined and the elementary campus made an unacceptable rating under the state accountability. Community and district personnel have called for an immediate removal of the school superintendent. As a result, the district is in upheaval and chaos.

Modeling strategies

Leadership in Winters ISD has been negligent in modeling high learning and performance expectations. An attitude of "maintaining" rather than excelling has permeated the system; thus, the district has created a negligent and careless view of student achievement.

Diversity in the organization's work force

Although the district is over fifty percent Hispanic, the work force is comprised primarily of white teachers. The community has a high minority population but the leadership and positions of influence are Anglo. The district does not recognize that individuals differ from one another and use diversity to strengthen the school system.

Individual beliefs and values

The community of Winters, as well as Winters ISD, displays a strong Protestant belief system. Most employees of the district are active members of local Christian churches. This value and belief system is reflected within the district.

Within the district, this spiritual value system has influenced most personnel to complete tasks and to focus on working "as unto the Lord" in spite of frustration and perceptions that they are not appreciated by administration.

Cross-cultural issues

The district is comprised of 51% Hispanic. Most families within the district are long term residents of the community. There are many interracial marriages in the community. Prejudice, bias and discrimination are rare within the classroom.

Individual goals

Winters ISD follows a state mandated pay scale for teachers. Many surrounding districts pay "above" state base in order to attract high quality teachers. Since many of the district employees are native graduates, the district has not offered any increase above the required state salary. Also, the district has not chosen to pay any stipend for teachers who pursue advanced degrees such as a master's of education. The district appears that it does not encourage professional training and therefore teachers are not motivated to seek individual goals and advancement. The district does not foster or enhance the growth and development of employees in terms of their own perceptions, needs, aspiration, and self-fulfillment.

Rewards

A mentality of mediocrity permeates Winters ISD. There is no formal reward system and teachers are seldom recognized for exemplary performance. There is no evidence of a supportive, accepting climate that seeks to address the growth needs to benefit individuals. The reward system is based upon keeping a job if the teacher is a "good" teacher and being reassigned or punished if the teacher is a 'bad" teacher. Individuals are not motivated in a growth-enhancing environment.

Benefits and incentive systems

Few incentives are offered at Winters ISD. In order to attract teachers to coach or sponsor academic competition in the state University Interscholastic League events, teachers are given a stipend for working with students for the annual bi-district competition. As community and employees began questioning the funding of the new construction project, the board of trustees began a 'teacher retention" incentive which was giving a $1,000 as a Christmas bonus. The underlying motivation of the bonus was to pacify complaints with monetary rewards in an effort to pacify or reduce job dissatisfaction. As a result of the recent decision to have a "voluntary separation" of the superintendent, which will require a certain amount of severance pay, the board of trustees has voted not to extent the Christmas bonus to teachers. This motion has created more controversy and discontent within the community and the district personnel.

Individual traits of the leaders

The leadership for the past four years at Winters ISD has been a traditional bureaucratic management style. The basic elements of leadership have been policy and procedural management. There has been no motivation to create a shared vision or an effort to arouse personal commitment to the goals of the district. There exist no followers of the present administration but rather compliance based upon fear. As a result, discontent has had a negative effect on student achievement and worker satisfaction.

The position power of the leader

Power is considered the capacity to influence others (Owens, 2007). Within Winters ISD, the power of authority, rather than leadership, has been the vested authority and superordination. The relationship between subordinate and superordinate is compulsory. Much of the power structure has relied upon coercion which is based upon punishment for non-compliance. As a result, Winters ISD has not had a true "leader' because there are no followers. The current management has been an expert in financial affairs but has failed miserably in building trust and motivation within the organization by creating an environment of trust and commitment to pursue the district goals of providing an excellent education to all students.

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