Little, Valerie EDLE 5316.502 Dr. Betancourt Breakthrough Principals – School Culture Principal’s Toolkit - TOOL 4.5 Reflection Questions on Student Efficacy The first tool I chose to use was Tool 4.5 which is Reflection Questions on Student Efficacy, Student efficacy means “the belief that they can accomplish significant academic and personal goals through consistent individual effort and improvement.” (Desravines, p. 115). This means that this Principal tool is questions that we have to answer about how much selfbelief we think we instill in our students that their work ethic will bring about self growth. These questions are ones that will take some deep thought and self reflection by a Principal in order to ensure they are truly doing what is best for all students and their self confidence so that learning can ensue. As students, do we make them believe they have the potential to grow? This should be answered by these questions I do think this is a useful too because as the text mentions, “for student to increase their achievement, all students and adults in a school including parents, must believe in each student’s ability to reach ambitious academic goals through hard work, effective instruction and feedback” (Desravines, p. 115). This tool will provide us with the answers to those questions about if if we truly have buy in from all adults in the school and students. They must BOTH believe that learning is possible before it is able to occur. The very first question asks if teachers believe students can grow and achieve. Well certainly if your teachers do not believe in it, your students will sense that and not believe themselves. Question 2 asks about students believing in themselves. As we all know from life experiences, if the self-belief/self-confidence is not there, it is even more difficult to convince a student to learn new concepts. They do not believe they are capable or worthy of learning new concepts. The questions make you ponder if you have supported and encouraged students enough in their future plans. If they have another adult - teacher – encouraging them, they are more likely to fulfill their potential. We mention a lot in our office that people “don’t know what they don’t know”. This is so true with students – if you aren’t pushing them to do more and be more, they do not realize it is truly within their grasp and they are capable of achieving success beyond their wildest dreams. I do think there are a number of ways you can utilize this tool in your school. What I would do is a Google survey with students. First, I would survey my upperclassmen and find out if they were encouraged and supported with their future decisions. I would take this data and take action. What did they think they missed out on? How can we improve next year? Other than that data from your first class of students, it is always good to push ideas/programs for what happens after high school as many of them truly don’t know. I would remind them about our college fairs we host as a District. You can visit with representatives from all types of colleges around the nation about their programs as well as them answering your questions. We also host a fair for future employment opportunities as college is not for everyone. We have local businesses attend to educate our students and parents about all possibilities. I would ensure they all felt educated and informed about every type of opportunity for them & their future and not try to limit them. I would also utilize our District resources -Recruiting Coordinator, Counselors – employees that know the college realm to help our students understand the opportunities out there in regards to Juco’s, Division 1, 2, and 3 colleges. I would also have our Recruiting Coordinator host a presentation for not just athletes, but all parents of upperclassmen preparing for college. I would have him discuss the process for application, the process to apply for financial aid, housing, etc. These are all items that are important, but unless you are educated on them, they may not come to mind. Overall, I do believe this tool is very useful because Principal’s can truly get a picture of how prepared their students and parents feel for college and meeting their goals. It will let you know if you have met your goal of instilling in them the self-belief they will need to be successful in our world once they graduate and move on! Principal’s Toolkit - TOOL 4.7 Guide for Family Engagement The second tool I researched was Tool 4.7 which is Guide for Family Engagement: Reflection on the Current State. This tool is all about making you as a Principal reflect on how much you have reached out to parents; how much have your teachers reached out to parents; have we truly brought parents into the fold with us so they are a full partner in their student’s educational experience. This survey goes further to ask how much are your teachers committed and trying to follow your vision of reaching out to and involving parents, I think this tool is one of the most valuable for use as a Principal because your community will make or break you. If they do not buy into what you are doing, they will create doubt in your Administrators’ minds and a mess for you! This tool will make you reflect to assess have you laid out the expectation for all teachers as to how they react and respond to teachers as well. Last week I received an email about a program and the parent’s biggest complaint was that the Coach she emailed - an Assistant Coach – didn’t even bother to respond. If the Head Coach/Leader had laid out the expectation that all parent emails be respond to in 24 hours – as is District policy – this situation would have been prevented. They can’t follow the rules if they don’t know them! I like how the tool makes you assess if the parent are critical partners. They must be if we are going to push our students to their potential. They can’t just be on a mass email or parent phone tree. They must be critical partners and truly involved in their student’s success I would use this tool in a number of ways to ensure that we had the level of community engagement my District and myself both expected on my campus. This tool would tell us where we needed to grow and increase our outreach. As the text mentions, “effective engagement programs must be relevant for parents” ((Desravines, p. 140). If we find out through sitting down and going through this survey, that there is only a small amount of parents engaged in the activities we offer each month out of our 800 students, then we need to change the activities we are doing and make them relevant for the parents so they are more willing to attend and engage in their students’ education. We made a big push this year as a District to offer more programs to get parents into our schools. We tried to do a community workout at our stadium and after two valiant efforts (Fall & Winter), we had zero participation – COVID and the cold weather both contributed. Sitting down and evaluating this program and it’s lack of participants caused us to change to make it more effective for our parents and community to engage with us. That is where this tool is effective the most as it helps evaluate just how effective your community outreach efforts truly are or are not! I would also use this tool to make sure I am holding programs at the day and time that are most conducive to my parents and when they can attend. It bothers me that all of our PTO meetings are in the middle of the morning and it excludes any working parents from attending and being a part. I would use this survey to ensure I chose the ideal day and time for the majority. I realize you can’t plea everyone, but at least catering to the majority instead do the minority helps. The final way I would use this tool is to assess if we were involving students in the family outreach as they are part of the formula for having FAMILIES involved. I would maybe host a game night – bingo, UNO, something easy. I would invite all families up and have them play together and then at the end talk about how this ties into our curriculum and required standards. The key is once you get them there, take advantage! This survey will help you determine if you have utilized your students/staff both to their potential. The survey helps keep you on track and ensure you are involving the necessary parties for student success.