Friday, December 16, 2011

My Personal Reflections for EDLD5301

Through the lectures and required readings in this course I learned that action research is a reflective practice, which allows me to think critically about my own practices in order to bring about change which is necessary to improve our school environment. In action research a question is posed based on a "wondering" and listening to Dr. Chargois, Johnny Briseno and Dr. Kirk Lewis helped me to see how the “wondering”  will develop into action research.
The assignments seemed overwhelming at times, but as it turned out they provided me with much needed practice for self-reflection.  Still, I find the reflection part one of the most difficult areas for me.
The discussion where very informational and I gained a lot of insight into what others are doing for their research and their feedback is a tremendous resource.  I enjoy going back to read what others wrote for their discussions, which in turn helps me.
Blogs can be a great resource for educators. Creating the Blog was a scary thought at first, but after posting to the blog a few times, it became easier and easier. I enjoy receiving comments on my blogs and I have also posted feedback on several other blogs.  Blogs can be used to discuss a wide variety of topics, and are a powerful tool for collaboration among students and professionals alike. I hope that I can find others that are engaged in the same kind of research as I, and share my concerns, activities and findings with them.
The web conferences were great, because I was able to ask many of my questions and concerns regarding the action research, assignments, TK20 just to name a view.  I was able to get clarification on some of the requirements and hear what others had to say.  It also provided me with a chance to meet other classmates and interact with them.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Action Research Outline

Action Research Outline
Goal: Increase Parental Involvement

1.  Setting The Foundation –
During a conversation with Mrs. Aleman, PIP clerk at our campus the issue of the lack of parental involvement on our campus was identified as a problem.
 2. Analyzing Data –
Using a variety of data gatherings (interviews with Mrs. Guajardo, Director of Parental Involvement, Mrs. Aleman, PIP clerk on campus, Mr. Ruiz, Communities in School, Mr. Torres, Principal, Dr. Vidauri, Asst. Superintendent C&I), as well as electronic searches (Google on how to increase parental involvement in schools, and getting information from the  National Center for Family & Community connections with Schools website) it became apparent that there are possible solution and steps that can be taken to increase parental involvement at our campus.
3. Developing Deeper Understanding –
Conduct additional interviews with Mrs. Guajardo, Director of Parental Involvement, Mrs. Aleman, PIP clerk on campus, Mr. Ruiz, Communities in School, Mr. Torres, Principal, and Mrs. Vidauri, Assistant Superintendent of Curriculum and Instruction, to identify the pros and cons of implementing various activities to increase parental involvement.
4. Engage In Self-Reflection – Why is it that parents only want to come to meetings, when there is free food or when prizes are offered?  Is there a cultural aspect to the problem? Does attendance have a correlation to parental income levels?
5. Exploring Programmatic Patterns – I will interview a variety of people to gather data and to gain more insight into the problem.
6. Determining Direction – A. I am attempting to increase parental involvement.
                                           B. I will revise the area of resources needed as the research evolves.
                                           C. Most of the work will be done by me, but I will work collaboratively with the persons interviewed to analyze data and come up with possible solutions.           
                                           D. I believe that my timeline is realistic.
                                           E. I will monitor the plan on a monthly basis.
                                           F. Levels of success are measured by the data obtained, the discussion and implementation of changes to be made and the identification of new strategies, and the observable increase in parental involvement during parent meetings.
                                           G. Revisions to the plan will be made based upon data, observations, and new findings.
7. Taking Action For School Improvement – I will use a written plan of action to monitor my action research.
8. Sustain Improvement – I will share the findings of the research (problems, new strategies and changes needing to be made) with my campus, and the district. I will also post my findings on my blog, as it might be of value to someone else.

Friday, December 2, 2011

Revisions to SIP/PIP based on monitoring and assessments
 Identify possible causes for minimal parental involvement at the junior high level.
Interview Mrs. Cynthia Guajardo, Director of Parental Involvement
Interview Mrs. Aleman, PIP Clerk               Interview Mr. Ruiz, Communities in School Interview Mr. Torres, Principal Interview Dr. Vidauri, Asst. Superintendent for C&I

Tape recorder to conduct interview, prepared interview questions.
Time to conduct interviews and to review data.

Ruth S. Garrett
January to February, 2012

review of the data collected to identify possible causes

Identification of what needs to be implemented / changed to increase parental                        involvement at the junior high level.

Follow up interview with  Mrs. Cynthia Guajardo, Director of Parental Involvement, Mrs. Aleman, PIP Clerk ,                 Mr. Ruiz, Communities in School, 
Mr. Torres, Principal
Dr. Vidauri, Asst. Superintendent C&I
Conduct Parent surveys,                  Student surveys

Parental and student surveys need to be printed and sent out.
Tape recorder to conduct interview, prepared interview questions.
Time to conduct interviews, review data, and to write a proposal listing changes and new strategies.

Ruth S. Garrett

March to April, 2012

A proposal listing the changes and new strategies needed to increase Parental Involvement.

More parents attend Parental Involvement Meetings
Implement new strategies and changes that came about due to the research into the planning of the next parental involvement meeting.

Time to attend Parent meeting, conduct a head count of parent attending, questionnaire for parents to evaluate the meeting.
Ruth S. Garrett

April to May, 2012

 April/May, 2012 Parental Involvement Meeting and Parent Surveys.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Passions that drive your journey

I was really suprised to learn that there were actually 9 areas of passion according to Nancy Fichtman Dana.  These 9 passions provide a wide area for action research. I found it somewhat difficult at first to formulate a "wondering" for each one of these areas, but I believe that with practice it will become easier.

Friday, November 18, 2011

How educational leaders might use blogs

Educational leaders might use blogs to communicate with each other. They can build a support system, by sharing their concerns and problems with other educational leaders, who are in the same situation or have been in similar situations in the past. Blogging will allow them to share possible solutions seen from a wide variety of different perspectives. It can serve as a tool for professional development and educational leaders can reflect on each others thoughts, which lends itself to professional growth.

Action Research

Action research improves both teaching and learning, because it allows the teacher to reflect on his/her teaching practices, make adjustments to the teaching process and assess the teaching through the use of student assessment data.  It allows the teacher to validate his or her teaching practices, continue with the strategies that are effective and replace those that prove to be ineffective.  While conducting action research educators are also able to analyze data to pinpoint areas of learning which pose problems to students, identify possible causes and suggest new strategies to elevate student learning. Educators receive help and input while conducting action research from a wide variety of sources and people during their review of professional literature phase.  This review is of great value to teachers, due to the fact that the educator is able to find evidence of successes, and instructional strategies that address the teacher's area of focus. In addition to finding a wide variety of resources, the action research also allows the educator to share
information and collaborate on a suitable course of action with other educators.

I will use action research to find a solution to the problem our school is having with the lack of parental involvement. This topic was actually not my first choice, since I thought I should address the inconsistent grading policy or should I say the none existing grading policy of our district. However, after talking to the Parental Involvement Person at our school, I  came to realize that something had to be done to get parents to become more involved with their child's education. At a parent meeting that was held on our campus just a few days ago, we had four parents show up. I refuse to believe that only four parents care enough about their child to get involved with their education and therefore their prospects for the future.

Other areas of concern and in need of action research would be ELL learners, their educational needs and ways to improve their benchmark scores.