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  • 1. Mary Katherine Cox CAPSTONE EXHIBITIONABILENE CHRISTIAN UNIVERSITY S E P T E M B E R 1 1 TH, 2 0 1 2
  • 2. ISLLC 1: Vision (Experience 2) The student will explain and defend a 21st Century vision of learning for all studentshttp://www.slideshare.net/MaryKatherineCox/m3- a9coxm-14168945This is a slideshow that I prepared while in EDUC 652: Leading Evolving Digital Learning Systems.This presentation clearly explains my vision for students in terms of 21st century learning for all. I based my fictitious university on the amazing accomplishments of ACU in terms of digital education.
  • 3. ISLLC 1: My Vision Mary Katherine Cox-Vision Statement: “My leadership style will focus on capacity building at every level. Every staff member, from custodian to principal, will feel that they contribute vital components to the school community. Every child will feel self worth and importance and the school community will value diversity and consider differences to be assets. Teachers and staff will understand that every child arrives with different skills and abilities and that each child has individual needs and specialized requirements for success. As the educational leader I will make certain that the total child is reflected in a balanced curriculum that will allow each child to reach maximum potential.” My personal vision statement reflects the importance of dealing with children on a personal and emotional level; and exemplifies my belief that relationships make a campus. No improvement, gains, or excellence will occur unless we form real, lasting bonds with our students. Relationships with students are vital, but so are relationships with each person on staff. Every staff member should feel valued and respected, and feel as though they have real purpose in our school. In building relationships with our students, trust is vital. When students trust you, respect you, and know that you care about them, they will try harder and aim to please. The students’ confidence will soar when they know that the staff is behind them 100 percent.
  • 4. My Vision-ISLLC 1 cont’d When I become the leader of my future campus, students and staff will be able to clearly see and feel my vision thought my actions and positive modeling. I will be seen and be heard, and will be very present in the classrooms. Part of making each student and staff member feel important is being visible in the classrooms and taking part in their projects and curriculum. There have been so many times as a teacher that I have presented something powerful with my students, and an administrator never bothered to take a peek, even when the event or project was promoted on campus. As a teacher this hurt both me and my students and as an administrator I vow to never have my teachers feel that way. Part of my modeling will be the way that I interact with the students in front of the staff; for example, getting to school early because I know that I might be the first person that speaks to some children each day. Showing teachers and assistants the way that I would like for our students to be spoken to is a high priority for me as a principal. If I model the correct treatment and relationship building with students, then the staff will hopefully treat the students the same way, with my vision in mind. In my vision being seen, heard, and felt is top priority. Each child will be valued and honored for their individual gifts and also be held to strong expectations. With strong relationships in place, my vision will lead our students to excellence both academically and emotionally.
  • 5. How My Vision Looks in My Future School-ISSLC 1 Ipads/itouches in every child’s hand Students blogging, creating their own digital media Creating word and ppt documents and publishing them Researching and producing work using cloud-based technology Digital literacy to increase college/career readiness
  • 6. ISLLC 2: Learning (Experience 3)The student will appraise and evaluate effective learning environments that are conducive to learning for all students. My background as a teacherI teach at Spring Branch Elementary School in Houston, Texas. My school is in a poverty-stricken, extremely unsafe area. Our population is 99 percent Hispanic, with roughly 95 percent ofSpanish-only speaking parents. We have approximately 720 children this year. We received 170 morefrom Cedar Brook Elementary this past year when we opened our new multi-million dollar campus.Previous to our new school, we were in the original site of Spring Branch ISD, established in 1898. Sosome parts of our building were literally crumbling. Our principal for the past three years has hadmany problems thus creating low morale among teachers. We have a young assistant principal who ishighly intelligent and keeps our school running in terms of organization. We are very thankful to haveher. She also unfortunately has low morale and wishes to start a Montessori school. We have littleparent involvement and huge movement among students. We get and lose kids depending on theapartment specials. We have giant issues with disconnected phone numbers, even reachingparents, and each have high numbers of open CPS cases in each classroom. Our campus isunfortunately a mess, and we have the district watching us very closely. “This is an excerpt of a paper that I wrote in EDUC 688: Creating Effective Learning Environments.In this course we discovered how to analyze teacher, student, and school factors in order to improvestudent learning.
  • 7. My Vision of Effective Learning Environments for All Students-ILLSC 2 Digital-based learning for all Rigorous tutoring to close gaps Relevant and Viable Curriculum Small group instruction No more tracking based on student learning levels Focus on literacy above all else.
  • 8. ISLLC 3: Environment (Experience 4) The student will distinguish multiple measures of facilitating safe, efficient, learning environments.In this set of experiences I learned how the school functions on a deeper level. I was able to get firsthand experience in: Building and maintenance Food service School budgeting Attendance proceduresThis set of experiences truly helped me see the big picture that extends beyond instruction, and gave me a true glimpse into management.
  • 9. My Vision for a Safe and Efficient Learning Environment- ISSLC 3In researching safe and effective school, I found this excellent description of what a true leader possesses when effectively managing a school. This is taken from, http://www.e- lead.org/principles/standards1.asp Instructional leadership that focuses on strengthening teaching and learning, professional development, data-driven decision making and accountability; Community leadership manifested in a big-picture awareness of the schools role in society; shared leadership among educators, community partners and residents; close relations with parents and others; and advocacy for school capacity building and resources; and Visionary leadership that demonstrates energy, commitment, entrepreneurial spirit, values and conviction that all children will learn at high levels, as well as inspiring others with this vision both inside and outside the school building.
  • 10. ISLLC 4: Community (Experience 5)The student will demonstrate collaboration with faculty and community to promote the success of every student.For Experience 5.1: Parent Involvement, our team presented a Hero Project in which each student“became” a hero both at school and at home with their family. This was a huge and quiet involvedproject that spanned nine weeks. To begin the unit, we invited the parents to have a parent meeting inour classrooms. We showed a slideshow of the various heroes that we were going to explore, andexplained to the parents that this was not only a school project, but even a bigger home project. Due tomy campus population (poverty-stricken and 99 percent Hispanic, single-parents, incarceratedparents, CPS cases or neglect and abuse), we have little to no parent involvement. We decided tochange this by almost forcing the parents to buy-in to the project. We told them that they would beacquiring costumes, makeup, hats and mustaches, ect. At first the parents said “we can’t affordthis”, but we convinced them that they could. We sent them to thrift stores and garage sales and theycame up with what we required of them! They also were instructed to learn about their student’s hero-from George Washington to Hilary Clinton, and to embody their mind, spirit and actions. The parentspracticed their speeches at home, typed up the speeches, rehearsed, and really did a beautiful job withtheir children. Even though we had to convince them and push them, they came through and reallymade the Hero Project sparkle. This project culminated in a live presentation in full costume wherethe parents were required to attend and help the teachers. We had parents putting onmakeup, drilling kids on their speeches, making props, running the slideshow, and translating. It wasa beautiful sight and the parent involvement soared. Some of these parents even started volunteeringin our second grade classrooms. It really made me understand that even on our campus this type ofparent involvement is possible.
  • 11. My Vision of Community as it Relates to our Schools-ISSLC 4 Parent trainings on academic and non-academic issues Parent volunteers Church and community volunteers in the classroom teaching children Rich mentor program to help at-risk students. Visible community leaders in our hallways helping children and working collaboratively with educators. Classes for parents on raising children in poverty, matters of financial management, and parenting in any sense.
  • 12. ISLLC 5: Ethics (Experience 6) The student will distinguish ethical behavior that models integrity and fairness in promoting the success of every student. For my school law review I stumbled upon a fascinating article. This article was taken from The Texas School Administrator’s Legal Digest, http://www.legaldigest.com/news/appeals-court-holds-elementary-principals- immune-from-students-free-speech-claims. This article involves two principals who were sued for preventing children and parents to distribute religious materials at school and at after school parties and events. These items were pens and candy canes with religious messages attached to them. The parents were furious that these principals didn’t let them and their children distribute these materials. It was also stated that the parents claimed one of the principals even went as far as to threaten one student with expulsion. The principals were found guilty but the course went on to the Texas Supreme Court and subsequently the court of appeals and ultimately the principals were granted immunity. In researching laws on this matter, I came across and website entitled Freedom First, which is a pro- religion/constitution site helping teachers and educational staff wade through the legal banter associated with religion in schools. This site stated, “Students may freely express their religious beliefs or carry a Bible, so long as they are not disruptive to the class and school day. The prohibition on promoting, inhibiting, or establishing religion applies to teachers, counselors and administrators as representatives of the state, and, in some states to students when they are leading a "captive audience." A student may read aloud from his or her Bible in class only when this reading serves a secular, non- devotional purpose”, taken from http://www.firstfreedom.org/education/CRC-FAQ.html. It is now my understanding that students may in fact distribute religious materials at school and hold discussions on religious matters freely, as long as school is not disrupted. This was new to me, I didn’t know that students were allowed to do this. I found both of these sites very informative and am very glad that I stumbled upon them.
  • 13. My Vision of Ethics in Schools- ISSLC 5 All students can learn- above all else. All students are created equal despite their religion, upbringing, socio-economic status, sex, or race All adults on campus must be 100% committed to our shared vision that all students can and must learn.
  • 14. ISLLC 6: Global (Experience 7) The student will discriminate and appraise factors affecting student performance at the student, teacher and school level. Tonight I attended our SBISD school board workshop meeting. I found this meeting to be both very interesting and equally exciting. Tonight the agenda was approving a contract for a construction company to build new schools within our district. Apparently this contract had been discussed at the previous meeting and all were in favor of approving this quickly. Next, the board discussed the revisions that were made to the calendar for next year and all approved. The most interesting part of the meeting came next. A consulting firm had been hired to do a demographics study on the next 5 years of enrollment for SBISD. The consultant discussed trends and patterns in our neighborhood; especially the apartment complexes. The school that I work in is the lowest economically ranked elementary school in our district. Over 95% of our kids live in slum-like apartments and this was the focus of the demographic data. The consultant advised us that due to the crackdown on subprime lending and the inability of families to acquire homes in this economy that they are forced to live in these apartments and are forced to pay unreasonable rents. These are apartments in which the blinds are ripped, windows are broken, and are infested with rats and pests. The consultant also explained that many of the homes in our district have residents who will leave after their kids graduate from high school and new generations will move in. In some cases the new generation will tear down the current homes and build semi-mansions. It was also discussed that our 3rd grade across the district now has the highest population which the consultants do not believe is a trend; simply a bubble.
  • 15. ISSLC 6: School Board Meeting The future projected enrollment is 45,000 ten years from now. At this point we are at approximately 36,000. Our area is flourishing in the area of enrollment and only growing more yearly. More schools being built was on the agenda as well, even though last year we completed construction on at least 11 new campuses. The meeting was swift and very comfortable, with all board members in agreement on each agenda item. One member from the community continually pressed the consultant on what the figures meant, but our superintendent explained the trends to him and the item was resolved. I had a great time witnessing this and look forward to next week’s meeting in which I will also attend.
  • 16. My Vision of Global implications for My Future School- ISLLC 6 Heavy emphasis on teacher, student, and school level factors and their importance in using data to make students successful All adults possess shared vision to bring our school to greatness Changes will be data and research driven to ensure student success. Instructional time sacred
  • 17. Self-Reflection (Experience 8) The student will reflect on personal and professional growth. Use items from your practicum experiences, course assignments, or any other related materials to reflect on your growth over the course of this program.Over the course of this program, I have not only benefited from my training in school leadership to become a principal, but have become a much better teacher in the process. I did not expect that. I am including my spiritual reflection as my self-reflection piece.I have experienced a great deal of spiritual growth since I started the ACU program. I was raised in church as a child but have not really attended regularly since then. Reading the texts, participating in the journals and discussion boards, and watching the videos and podcasts have provided me with a multi-layered educational experience enriched by the religious element. The Christian ideals and teachings that we have been exposed to will definitely make me a stronger, more compassionate leader. When I first began my journey into becoming a principal, it never really occurred to me how much the Golden Rule would play a part in every step. Having served under many types of leaders, many of them Outsiders (unchristian) and just as many of them Christians, I have seen remarkable differences. The women and men principals whom I have taught under who were Christians had more a sense of compassion, more patience, more understanding, and were more true to themselves in general. However, I have served under a leader who is a self-proclaimed Christian (even has prayed with the staff), and struggled greatly with fairness, respect, and just plain meanness. This particular leader struck fear in the heart of our staff and caused great unrest and fear.
  • 18. ReflectionWhat I have learned from all of this is that I will be a Christian leader; one whorespects my staff, takes into consideration what they might be going through intheir life with family, finances, ect., and above all treat them with respect andkindness. I will reflect upon this program and remember that people havemany obstacles that are separate from their job that might affect theirperformance on a given day. Throughout my classes at ACU I have learnedabout what drives and motivates people to do their best work. I feel as a strongChristian leader that I could lead my staff into greatness while gaining theirtrust. I think as a strong Christian leader that I could also lead an academicallysuccessful school if the right people were behind me and respected me.Through my own experiences I feel that the key to be a successful principal isearning your staff’s respect. Without this you are lost as a leader and peoplesimply won’t work as hard for you.
  • 19. Thank you Thank you for the opportunity to earn my Master’s degree from such a fine university. Thank you for preparing me to pass my Principal’s Exam on the first try. Thank you for growing me into a better educator and future principal Thank you for my spiritual growth.Sincerely, Mary Katherine Cox: Class of 2012