Response Summary Survey, Needs Assessment and Action Plan

To assess the beliefs of ———- Elementary staff we created and administered a survey regarding the Nine Characteristics of High Performing Schools prepared by G. Sue Shannon, senior researcher for the Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI). Twenty-two staff members, out of a possible 36 people (61%), completed the online survey that was comprised of 22 questions. The questions were on a nominal scale of never, sometimes, often and always. After analyzing the compiled data we found three areas that displayed need. The first area of need was under the characteristic of effective school leadership specifically the question I believe leadership is shared between administration and staff. 59.1% of the participants answered sometimes. The second area of concern was under the characteristic of high levels of collaboration and communication. The question was I believe there is clear communication between administration and staff; 50% answered sometimes. The third area of need also falls under the characteristic of high levels of collaboration and communication. The question was I believe parents and community members are involved in identifying problems and working toward solutions with the school. 81% of the staff that took the survey answered sometimes.

Below are links to the Response Summary Survey that the staff completed, the needs assessment created based on the survey results, and the action plan focused on the top two areas of need identified in the needs assessment. (All  school, district, city and tribe names were omitted for privacy).

Response Summary Survey

Needs Assessment

Action Plan

Distributed and Shared Leadership

Everyone learns. Everyone leads. Everyone contributes.

I can’t remember who wrote this statement or when I read it. Once I read it; however,  it has been the banner on my work computer and on my cell phone!  I also believe this statement to sum up the main ideas of this week. Distributed and shared leadership. “Distributed leadership is characterized as a form of collective leadership in which teachers develop expertise by working together” (2004).

Coaching of many types were addressed in this week’s reading. The gradual release of responsibility was mentioned in regards to coaching, which matches perfectly with the statement above. Everyone is learning when both the coach and the teacher get the opportunity to observe each other; leading and contributing through planning lessons,  teaching and reflecting upon decisions and student learning outcomes. The knowledge that comes from these coaching cycles can then be brought to a larger group such as professional development studio work to further contribute to the teaching practice.

I would like to continue my reflection by switching gears, just a bit, and move toward a focus on district coaching as there was an intriguing discussion about whether district coaches are meant to advance system goals or individuals’ goals.

I believe that coaching is distributing leadership simply by empowering the teacher by aiding in filling the gap between theory and practice. Both coaches and classroom teachers have the ‘big picture’ district goals that they must adhere to, and for good reason, as many intelligent people are behind those system goals. So, the answer is to whether the coaches are meant to advance system goals or individuals’ goals? My answer is, “Yes!” Coaches have a big job. They, like gen. ed. teachers (all educators) have the responsibility to keep those system goals  on a pedestal while the coach coaches the classroom teacher in achieving his/her individual goals (that is, at the same time, making sure that the individual’s goals match the system’s goals.)

Harris, Alma. (2004). Distributed leadership and school improvement: Leading or misleading? Educational Management Administration Leadership, 32 (11).