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Saturday, February 16, 2013

Reflection EDLD 5301

This course has provided me with very important information within the education system. At the start of the course, I honestly thought it was going to be the typical research paper class. I was already mentally prepared for the countless hours I was going to spend reading and analyzing a plethora of journals, articles, and books. However, I was very wrong. This class introduced me to the term “action research” and provided me with a different point of view in regards to doing research. In addition, it has opened so many opportunities to me with my campus than I could ever imagine.
One of things I will take away from this course will definitely be the lectures. They were very engaging and informative. I really enjoyed the lectures from the three previous students in the Academic Partnership Program such as Dr. Chargois and Mr. Briseno. They seem to have a clear understanding of how to be an administrator. In addition, because Dr. Chargois is the superintendent for the school district I work for, it provided me with motivation to continue with the path of Educational Technology. Although he may not know it, he definitely motivated me to become the best teacher that I can be.
The readings were very helpful and informative as well. Although at times they were lengthy, it was definitely a textbook I did not dread to pick up. It provided me with different ideas and approaches in regards to choosing an action research topic and making sure it covered certain points in relation to the CARE model.
Finally, what can I say in regards to the assignments, activities, discussion boards, and blogs? Without my cohort, I believe that I would not have made it through the 5 intense weeks. I have learned so much from each one of them and I feel like I personally know them already even though I have not physically met them. We have worked together so much whether it’s making sure we have everything we need to for our assignments, to staying on top of each other’s blogs. In addition, the posts, via our discussion board, provided me, and others, with so many different ideas that I would have never considered. I must admit, there were plenty of times throughout this course that I would just tell myself to just quit. However, it would never fail when my cohort of the weekly conferences with my professor would prove me otherwise and I would reconsider my decision to quit. I think the program, throughout the 2 courses that I have taken thus far, really has professors that care and are genuinely concerned with the progress that we make. In addition to that, they also understand that we are not students 24/7. They are very aware that we have professional jobs as well as well as family that we need to be with. It’s this type of understanding that I believe they are able to connect with us keep us motivated.
Now it is safe to say that I definitely do not feel alone in this program. My family, professors, cohort, and my campus has made me feel so comfortable and has kept me motivated to continue with this intense and fast paced program.

Sunday, February 10, 2013

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. Parents of LEP students become more active with their child’s academics.
2. Academics of LEP students increases due to active involvement of their parents.
3. Students become more independent, confident and responsible on their own.
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. Faculty/Staff bilingual cohort shall maintain their same level of professionalism.
2. Students should maintain their grades, attendance, and behavior.
3. Students continue to participate and excel in their extracurricular activities.
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. Create a bilingual cohort to be the main people spearheading the workshops/informationals/activities for the parents.
2. Create, plan, and implement workshops/informationals/activities for parents in their language.
3. Discuss some kind of monthly activity for LEP students on campus so that they may feel included.
EVALUATE – Specifically and Often
(Identify the best ways to evaluate the implemented recommendations.)
1. Collect academic data post recommendations.
2. Create a wrap up meeting with faculty and staff to determine any changes that need to be made to workshops/informationals/activities.

Saturday, February 9, 2013

Site Supervisor Conference Week 4, Part 4

The meeting with both of my site supervisors, who are my principal and director of student activities/principal, went great. Because both of them are extremely busy, we mainly communicate via email and meeting at least once a week in person for possible suggestions and questions in regards to how my project/plan is going. This past week my supervisor passed my plan along to the assistant superintendent of secondary schools of our district. She seemed to enjoy all of my ideas and gave my principal the green light and support for anything that I needed to make this happen. In addition, because I am working with our LEP students, who are majority Hispanics, my principal also introduced me to the department chair of the Spanish department who also is in charge of the Hispanic Initiatives for the campus. Hopefully with her guidance, she will be able to direct me down the right path with my action research. A date was also chosen for our first informational workshop, February 24th. I am currently working on the presentation and the logistics of the informational. It will be a very brief informational directed towards the parents of 9th and 10th graders since they are the students on the STAAR track. I am very excited to see what the action research project has in store for me.

Sunday, February 3, 2013

Week 3, Part 4

In order for my classmates and professors in the Academic Partnership Program to follow the progress of my action research project, I have created a blog. This will allow my fellow colleagues to monitor my progress and make any suggestions or direct any concerns they may have as they follow along with my research. In addition, the group has also created a Facebook page to keep out our entire classmates informed simultaneously. In regards to my subjects in the action research project, such as my LEP students and parents, I plan to keep in communication with them via Edmodo and/or my webpage. Constant communication will occur with LEP students and parents, fellow faculty and staff, and even my classmates via blogging, emails, Facebook, flyers, word of mouth, etc.
LEP students are not taking the new state standardized tests (STAAR) seriously because they do not have parents stressing to them the importance of these tests. In addition, the significant changes with these tests have not been fully explained to their parents due to the language barrier. This causes a strain to the performance of the student because the parents are not able to stress the importance to their child because we as educators have not reached out to them in their language to better explain it to them. With the creation of informationals/workshops/and activities in their language, we will see an improvement, not only on their state tests, but also in their academic grades.
As mentioned in my action research plan, data will be collected via the counselor by obtaining test results from the previous years which will be broken down to several different classifications. In addition, a plan will be created and implemented so that we can have data post the action research project to compare it with. Constant monitoring will be obtained in order to observe anything that might need to be revised within the action research plan.
Concluding the action research project, my site supervisors and I will determine if the constant bilingual involvement affected the state test results of our LEP students and their academic grades. In addition, I will also look into their attendance to see if there were any significant changes to that as well.

Week 3, Part 3

1.    Examining the work: Setting the Foundation
·        The question that I propose is will the state academic performance (STAAR) of our LEP students heavily increase with an increase in parent/teacher bilingual involvement. As I mentioned to my principal, I feel that our 9th and 10th graders do not understand the gravity of the STAAR test and the main reason being that the parents do not stress to them the importance of it because, due to the language barrier, they themselves do not know. In addition to that, we also have a problem with parents of our LEP students showing up to activities/workshops we host at school for them. Therefore, instead of asking them to come to us, we will go to them. My principal has authorized me to set up informational workshops/mixers at places where we know a great number of our LEP students and parents attend. With the approval of my principal, I have received permission to plan said activities/workshops with my first one tentatively being on February 24, 2013.
2.    Analyzing data
·         What I plan to do to analyze my data is gather the STAAR results from the previous year from 9th and 10th graders. I will break the data according to subjects, scores, LEP and non-LEP students and make a comparison to. In addition, I will request the academic grades of my LEP students and analyze common trends that I may observe.
3.    Developing deeper understanding
·         After I have gathered all of my data, I will perform further research and create focus groups or surveys aimed towards the LEP students. The best way to understand the problem is to hear it from the subjects themselves. Perhaps with the focus groups and/or surveys, I will be able to gain a better understanding as to why these students did not perform to the state’s level.
4.    Engaging in Self-Reflection
·         Since this is an action research topic, I will continue with my research/investigating and create a plan in order to achieve my goal. Monitoring the progress of the students will take place throughout the entire action research project. I will make proper accommodations/revisions if I notice things going in the wrong direction.
5.    Exploring Programmatic Patterns
·         Throughout the entire action research project, I will be able to observe common trends from the data that I collect the previous year, current year, and make predictions for the future years. Staying consistent and maintaining contact with LEP students and their parents will assist me with making an revisions if needed.
6.    Determining direction
·         With a group of ESL/Spanish teachers and myself, and with the support of our principal, we will maintain our vision and goal with the subjects of our action research topic and that is out LEP students and their parents. Informing the parents of what they need to know in regards to STAAR testing and providing activities for them and the students.
7.    Taking action for school improvement
·         My textbooks being my main point of resources as well as my site supervisors and tech supervisor, when needed. In addition, the small group of ESL/Spanish teachers that will be assisting me with the planning and implementation of these activities will also be needed.

8.    Sustaining improvement
·         Constant monitoring will be performed through the course of this study. Improvements will be noted and if improvement is not seen, then we will re-focus our group and create an alternative way/plan so that we may be able to obtain and achieve our goal.