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One of the foundational principles of the No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB) is the idea that teacher quality is critical to student success. Past research has supported this correlation between student achievement and teacher quality. The impact of having a high-quality teacher can be profound. Studies on the cumulative and residual effects of teachers on future student achievement found differences in student achievement as a result of an improvement in teacher effectiveness. Improving teacher quality through professional development is an important strategy for raising student achievement.
This instructional leadership report was conducted at E.B. Williams Stoner Hill Elementary Lab School, located in Shreveport, Louisiana. E. B. Williams serves grades PK-5 in the Caddo Parish Public Schools district. The school is located in the heart of the "Stoner Hill" community. Stoner Hill neighborhood is a predominantly African American, low-income community of nearly 2,214 residents. The community has two types of population. One type is mostly struggling urban singles that are on a tight budget, making minimum wage and working in service jobs. Most have a high school education or lower and most rent. The other type is single parents who support themselves and their children on a low income. A high proportion is female. Most have a high school education or lower, and most rent their homes. A community center services the stoner hill neighborhood. Valencia Park Community Center has become one of SPAR's busiest recreation facilities. From senior programs to daily youth and adult activities, this community center offers quality leisure programs and services that meet the needs of the entire Stoner Hill community.
E.B. Elementary School Demographics
E.B. Williams Stoner Hill Elementary Lab School is located in Shreveport, LA and is one of 74 in Caddo Parish School District.
The E. B. Williams Stoner Hill Elementary creates a learning community that provides all students with academic skills to enable them to become lifelong learners. Our goal is to improve literacy and numeracy school-wide by utilizing best practices, effective classroom management, and technology. All teachers and administrator will participate in professional development throughout this school year on the use of technology in the classroom. Smartboards, smart response systems, and better utilizing existing computer programs will be our focus. The vision is to improve the use of technology integrated into instruction and management and used by all students and staff as an integral component of school improvement and student success. The school's goal is to increase teachers, staff and administrators' knowledge, skills and abilities to plan effectively for technology integration.
For more than three decades, researchers, policymakers, and industry leaders have promoted computer technology use within and across learning environments to enhance teaching and learning. Research studies have documented the promise of well-designed instructional software to support learning and increase academic performance. Since 1996, K-12 schools are increasingly moving from a traditional educational environment to a technology-enriched environment utilizing technologies to deliver instruction. Today's students are raised in a generation of "digital age". The new digital technologies provide faster links to the world and from agriculture to medicine, all areas are implementing technologies. Therefore, this age's students' future, employment is dependent on how much they can implement technology skills and transfer those skills into their content is becoming more and more important in order to do this they depend on their teachers. Research has showed that the use of technology can enhance and enrich student learning. While progress is apparent, the typical classroom teacher may or may not utilize the technology to the fullest benefit of the students. Technology planning, staff development and training in the educational use of technology are crucial factors in determining the effective use of technology in the learning environment. The concern is primarily with managing processes, tasks, and resources. That is why we have to look into the barriers in using technology. As technology becomes more available in k-12 classrooms and teachers apply it their teaching, it is important to consider how we are going to evaluate the technology integration efforts of teachers. The idea of "technology integration" has evolved during the last several decades from teaching programming, to utilizing drill and practice, to implementing integrated learning systems, to addressing computer literacy skills, to participating in web-based communities. A more current view of technology integration involves the practice of using technology in ways that are both curriculum-based and future-oriented. According to research, teachers should focus on meeting content objectives within the "three Cs": communication, collaboration, and creative problem solving. It also requires that attention be given to preparing students for the future: theirs, not ours. The challenge for today's educators is using computers and other technologies in ways to promote meaningful learning for students.
School Culture Assessment
School Culture Triage
Teachers and staff discuss instructional strategies and curriculum issues.
Teachers and staff work together to develop the school schedule.
Teachers and staff are involved in the decision-making process with regard to materials and resources.
The student behavior code is a result of collaboration and consensus among staff.
The planning and organizational time allotted to teachers and staff is used to plan as collective units/teams rather than as separate individuals.
Teachers and staff tell stories of celebrations that support the school's values.
Teachers and staff visit/talk/meet outside of the school to enjoy each other's company.
Our school reflects a true "sense" of community.
Our school schedule reflects frequent communication opportunities for teachers and staff.
Our school supports and appreciates the sharing of new ideas by members of our school.
There is a rich and robust tradition of rituals and celebrations, including holidays, special events, and recognition of goal attainment.
When something is not working in our school, the faculty and staff predict and prevent rather than react and repair.
School members are interdependent and value each other.
Members of our school community seek alternatives to problems/issues rather than repeating what we have always done.
Members of our school community seek to define the problem/issue rather than blame others.
The school staff is empowered to make instructional decisions rather than waiting for supervisors to tell them what to do.
People work here because they enjoy and choose to be here.
School culture consists of "the beliefs, attitudes, and behaviors which characterize a school" (Phillips, 1996, p. 1). School culture is the shared experiences both in school and out of school (traditions and celebrations) that create a sense of community, family, and team membership. The School Culture Triage Survey was used to determine the current status of the school's culture. The School Culture Triage Survey has seventeen items that measures the degree to which three "culture behaviors" are present in a school. These behaviors are professional collaboration, affiliative and collegial relationships, and efficacy or self-determination.
Results from the survey indicated needs for modifications and improvements in school culture. The survey was given to all administrator and teachers at the school. Eighteen participated in the survey including two administrators, one counselor, and thirteen teachers including four special education teachers. Professional collaboration was the lowest scored behavior with an average score of 16.8. The other two behaviors averages were affiliative and collegial relationships avg. 19.5 and efficacy or self-determination avg. 19.7. According to the results, these areas scored an average of two and below are: The Teachers and staff work together to develop the school schedule, avg. 2.8; teachers and staff visit/talk/meet outside of the school to enjoy each other's company, avg. 2.7; when something is not working in our school, the faculty and staff predict and prevent rather than react and repair, avg. 2.9.
Promoting and Supporting Student Learning
Integrating technology into classroom instruction means more than teaching basic computer skills and software programs in a separate computer class. Effective tech integration must happen across the curriculum in ways that research shows deepen and enhance the learning process. In particular, it must support four key components of learning: active engagement, participation in groups, frequent interaction and feedback, and connection to real-world experts. Effective technology integration is achieved when the use of technology is routine and transparent and when technology supports curricular goals. Learning through projects while equipped with technology tools allows students to be intellectually challenged while providing them with a realistic snapshot of what the modern office looks like. Through projects, students acquire and refine their analysis and problem-solving skills as they work individually and in teams to find, process, and synthesize information they have found online. The myriad resources of the online world also provide each classroom with more interesting, diverse, and current learning materials. The Web connects students to experts in the real world and provides numerous opportunities for expressing understanding through images, sound, and text.
New tech tools for visualizing and modeling, especially in the sciences, offer students ways to experiment and observe phenomenon and to view results in graphic ways that aid in understanding. In addition, as an added benefit, with technology tools and a project-learning approach, students are more likely to stay engaged and on task, reducing behavioral problems in the classroom.
Technology also changes the way teachers teach, offering educators effective ways to reach different types of learners and assess student understanding through multiple means. It also enhances the relationship between teacher and student. When technology is effectively integrated into subject areas, teachers grow into roles of adviser, content expert, and coach. Technology helps make teaching and learning more meaningful and fun. Return to our Technology Integration page (2) to learn more.
Do teachers and staff participate in the selection progress of the professional development for the school year? Why or Why not?
Is appropriate time allotted to teachers and staff for professional development and incorporating technology into instruction?
What types of technology professional development have you taken part of and do you find the information useful for your classroom setting.
Does your school provide on-going training and timely feedback for technology integration in your class? If yes, what type of on-going training has been provided?
Do you feel that this targeted object will increase student-learning experience? Why or Why not?
Do your administrators schedule time for frequent communication opportunities for teachers and staff to give input about technology integration?
If you or your colleague were having trouble implementing technology into your curriculum, lesson plans, activities, and/or daily routines, how would you receive assistance?
Have you ever participated in selecting professional development activities? If no, why not? If yes, explain your participation in the process.
If not, what do you consider your greatest professional need that will assist you with students' academic growth?
What professional development opportunity would you like to focus on for the school year? Explain why you think it is essential to students' learning.
Summary of Interview
The results based on the interviews and surveys from teachers, administrators, faculty staff, and all participants were in agreement that professional development was selected by the principal based on the teacher's need and/or mandated by the parish or state. Teachers reported that they did not participate in selecting the professional development needs. Professional development was instructed afterschool during faculty meetings, during planning periods, and district-wide professional development days. Technology professional development training reported was Smartboard training, Classworks (used for intervention), Compass Learning Odyssey (Special Education), Eagle (Louisiana State Department), Louisiana Pass (Louisiana State Department), United Streaming, Fastt Math, Skill Tutor and Accelerated Reader. Two teachers participated in district level training that included advanced Smartboard training, pod casting, Edmodo, WebPAMS, and idevices. Administrators encourage professional development opportunities offered by the local school board. According to interviews, there was no on-going training throughout the school year. All participants believed that technology is an important part of teaching and learning; therefore; it was not the school's main focus due to the new state curriculum and teacher evaluation system. Participants reported having opportunity to communicate during weekly faculty meetings and grade-level meetings but technology discussions are not as frequent . Meetings were more focused on Common Core State Standards, transitioning to Common Core, and new teacher evaluation system (Compass). If teachers are having trouble implementing technology, they are able to consult with their principal, instructional coordinator, colleagues, technology experts, or attend technology in-services or workshops. Professional development needs noted from interviews were integrating technology with the Common Core Curriculum, assisting struggling learners, and using technology to increase reading readiness skills.
The researchers used interviews and survey to collect data in this report. The survey included the following eight sections: demographic questions, technology beliefs, learner-centered instruction, current practices in creating technology-enhanced, learner-centered classroom, perceived barriers to creating technology-enhanced, learner-centered classrooms, perceived effectiveness of current professional development programs/ suggestions for improvement, and support needs. The researchers developed questions based on an extensive literature review and feedback from eight teachers. The interview questions originally included open-ended questions, but teachers often provided short or vague answers to these questions. Therefore, the researchers added more Likert-style questions and changed wordings. The Results section describes more information about the interview. One twenty teachers participated in the survey and eight in the interview process. The participants were from E. B. Williams Stoner Hill Elementary schools in Caddo Parish District. The school environments varied from 94% was female. The teachers had an average of 10.2 years of teaching experience. They ranged in age from 24s to 60s (21-25: 10%, 26-30:21%, 31-35: 17%, 36-40: 14%, 41-45:14%, 46-50: 9).
Years Experience Avg.
Years Experience Avg.
Planning for Professional Growth
The Need for School Change
As the research literature confirms, leadership is the single most important factor affecting the successful integration of technology into the curriculum. The first focuses on assisting key leadership personnel in supporting the integration of technology and in identifying effective teaching and learning practice that incorporates technology into the educational process. Key leadership is being defined as both district and school based administrators and the school-based leadership teams. Obtain input from all stakeholders about a potential accountability system to ensure effective technology use and present findings to School. Identify best practices incorporating technology into curriculum through classroom observations, surveys, and monthly meetings. The school can develop recognition or reward system for teachers who effectively use technology for teaching and learning. Team an Instructional Technology Specialist to assist in incorporating technology into curriculum, staff development and monthly meetings. Provide on-going opportunities for curriculum.
Plan for Support
An essential part of effective practice is planning lessons and learning opportunities aligned with both the State Standards. Technology, as a tool for classroom instruction, can assist the teacher in the planning and delivery of lessons and provide valuable resources for enriching content. Lesson plans need to be evaluated and aligned. Once aligned, these lesson plans can then be readily made available to all teachers. Research has shown that modeling and coaching are effective strategies to assist both teachers and administrators in realizing the vision of technology integration. Adequate time and opportunity to observe effective practice in the integration of technology are needed.
As an extension of the professional development, schools need assistance in developing the skills of teachers so that they can use the technology to deliver curriculum. There are currently many "expert" teachers in our schools who can coach, model and train other teachers in effective practice. Teachers can be targeted to assist the district in building capacity for technology integration. Develop a technology committee to examine technology standards for the classroom and continuously review and revise standards as need based on data. Continue to provide a regular schedule of hands-on workshops for instructional, non-instructional and administrative staff on computer applications and new system technology training.
School and community are mutually dependent. An effective partnership with the community will enable the school to draw support from all stakeholders and at the same time serve as a rich resource to a diverse community. Apply for and implement grants to assist with the integration of technology into the curriculum. Continuously work with vendors, partners and the community to bring additional resources and expertise to assist with the technology integration process. Teachers' beliefs and practices are continually shaped by the values, opinions, and expectations of influential others, researchers have suggested building communities of practice, social networks, or collegial groups in which teachers can share and explore new teaching methods and tools and help each other. Appropriate communities of practice or social networks have the potential to provide ongoing support outside the formal training. Focuses on developing real-life skills, such as collaboration, higher-order thinking, and problem-solving skills, and better meets the complex needs of the information age.