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K-12 Leadership

K-12 Leadership Philosophy Statement
        To be effective leaders, principals need to view the challenges and decisions they face through a wide lens that considers the needs of students of all ages.  They need to take into account how the decisions they make for their building may affect educational programming at the other grade levels.  In order to demonstrate effective K-12 leadership, principals need to promote meaningful curriculum articulation and alignment, facilitate successful transitions between levels of schooling, and be well-versed in the developmental needs of students of all ages.
        As a principal, I plan to facilitate curriculum articulation and alignment not only within my building, but will encourage it district-wide.  As suggested by DuFour and Marzano (2009), I will support collaborative teams working on this task by providing the following:

  • Time for collaboration built into schedules;
  • Resources to examine curriculum; assessment frameworks; student performance on past assessments; rubrics used to judge quality of student work; standards for workplace skills; and
  • Vertical articulation with teachers in the next higher grade level or course to identify the knowledge and skills those teachers have specified as essential.

    Curriculum alignment can produce many benefits for schools including improved student performance on standardized tests, better communication and collaboration among teachers, and a new understanding for teachers of how their instructional decisions contribute to students' overall learning (District Administration, 2004).  In addition, effective curriculum articulation can result in smoother transitions for students from one level of schooling to the next. 
        Beyond curriculum articulation, principals can implement purposeful programs designed to help facilitate successful transitions between the different levels of schooling.  For example, the Boomerang Project houses two orientation and transition programs, WEB and Link Crew, for middle school and high school students.  These programs are designed to "provide a crucial backbone of support for transitioning students" while addressing their three fundamental transition needs - safety, information, and connection (The Boomerang Project, n.d., n.p.).  In addition, the programs utilize older students as mentors, providing them with a great opportunity to enhance their leadership skills.  As a principal, I will actively seek out and implement a formal orientation and transition program, such as WEB or Link Crew, to help ensure a successful transition between the different levels of schooling.  In addition to providing this transition program for all students, I will work with staff on addressing the unique transition needs of our students who have been identified as at-risk or who are receiving special education services. 
        As a result of my previous graduate training in school psychology and school counseling, I have taken numerous courses pertaining to the developmental needs of children of all ages.  I have become knowledgeable about the main theories of child and adolescent development and how they relate to the field of education.  As a school counselor, I have learned how to create and implement lessons designed to address the personal/social needs of all children, while as a school psychologist I have learned what "typical" development looks like and related assessment techniques.  I believe that these skills will be a great asset to me as a principal as I make decisions based on the developmental needs of all children, K-12. 

References
District Administration (2004). The benefits of curriculum alignment: Essentials on education data and analysis from research authority AEL.  Retrieved on March 9, 2010, from: http://www.districtadministration.com/viewarticle.aspx?articleid=600

DuFour, R., & Marzano, R.J. (2009). High-leverage strategies for principal leadership.  Educational Leadership, February 2009, 62-68.

The Boomerang Project (2007).  About us: Our history. Retrieved on March 9, 2010, from: http://www.boomerangproject.com/about

C.  K-12 Leadership: Sub-Competency for Principalship

  1. demonstrate understanding of the articulation and alignment of curriculum from pre-school through grade 12;
  2. demonstrate understanding of different organizational systems and structures at pre-K, elementary, middle or junior high and high school levels;
  3. demonstrate the ability to work with children of all ages;
  4. demonstrate the ability to work with parents, teachers and other staff in all levels of schooling;
  5. demonstrate understanding of the characteristics of effective transitions from one level of schooling  to the next;
  6. demonstrate understanding of developmental needs of children of all ages.

Artifacts

The following artifacts demonstrate my competency in the area of K-12 leadership:

This artifact demonstrates my understanding of the articulation and alignment of curriculum from pre-school through grade 12 (C1), as well as my understanding of the characteristics of effective transitions from one level of schooling to the next (C5).  My site supervisor and I have worked to develop a transition time line to guide the process of transitioning special education students from the middle school to the high school.  The ultimate goal of the time line is to create as smooth of a transition as possible for these students.  Each year, we review the time line and make adjustments as we learn more about the characteristics of effective transitions from one level of schooling to the next.  One of the specific steps in the time line involves class placement for the incoming 9th grade students.  Through reviewing academic data and relying on my understanding of the articulation and alignment of curriculum from 8th grade to 9th grade, I assist in developing the class placement recommendations.

This artifact demonstrates my understanding of the characteristics of effective transitions from one level of schooling to the next (C5).  As a school psychologist for the past 2 years, I have participated in bi-weekly meetings with the 9th grade core content area teachers, called CORE meetings.  The purpose of these meetings is provide a forum for teachers to express concerns about students in their classes, network with colleagues who might also have the student in their class, and brainstorm possible solutions.  Through my involvement in these meetings, I reached the conclusion that the meetings were not very efficient or productive.  With my administration's support, I have worked to create a more formalized process for referring students to CORE.  The two main purposes behind formalizing the process were to encourage teachers to try interventions prior to bringing the student to CORE and to limit the number of students being discussed per week to promote more meaningful problem solving.  The attached referral form walks teachers through a brief problem identification and analysis process and holds them accountable for trying a few interventions prior to referring the student to CORE.  Toward the beginning of the school year, I provided a training on the referral form, as well as on the suggested interventions.  As part of the training, I gave the teachers step by step instructions and resources for implementing the interventions.

 
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