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  • 1. MANAGING A LEARNING ENVIRONMENT “Principals can no longer simply be administrators and managers. They must be instructional leaders…… the force that creates collaboration and cohesion around school learning goals and the commitment to achieve those goals”- National Association of Elementary School Principals (Florida educational …, 2005, p. 2). I. Principles/approaches to Complement Future Open to change, the concept the quote introducing this report appears to relate, simultaneously serves to encourage the researcher to utilize in work on future issues with similar characteristics; Realizing the business of schools has not only changed, but will continue to evolve. The researcher realizes the responsibility to be an instructional leader and focus on improving the student’s achievement. Striving to be a force to help create collaboration and cohesion in and around school learning goals, the researchers realizatoins will mandate being committed to achieve these relevant goals (Florida educational …, 2005). From this research effort, the researcher notes the following five primary shifts from past focus for the contemporary preparation of school administrators to be relevant in work on future issues. Currently, particular emphasis is placed on: 1. Interpersonal skills, 2. consensus development, 3. accountability processes, 4. integration of community and school needs and resources, and 5. policy development (McCollum, Kajs, & Minter, 2006, Introduction section). The fact that communication constitutes a vital focus for principals as they may spend up to 80% percent of their time communicating with campus staff, students, parents, and the extended community proved to be the primary point the researcher retrieved from this study.
  • 2. Having school administrators able to demonstrate effective communication and social skills to address conflict resolution and consensus building situations not only in the school, but also extending into the larger community proves necessary, field research on principals confirms (McCollum, Kajs, & Minter, 2006, introduction section 6). II. Managing a Learning Environment Information The enhanced understanding in regards to the re-thinking educators are required to perform as related to re-thinking long-prevailing views of knowledge, intelligence, assessment and instruction contributed to changing the researcher’s knowledge regarding managing a learning environment. The researcher found it particularly interesting to note that along with the more established perceptions of school organizations as hierarchies and bureaucracies, considerations regarding community-focused and caring-centered conceptions of schooling are projected to increasingly compete for legitimacy. The researcher’s thinking is not solidly changed, however, regarding the projection that parents, along with other interested members of the corporate sector and community leaders, also stakeholders external to the school building will participate more and serve in enhanced roles in education (Interstate school… 1996, p. 7). In time, albeit, the researcher hopes this fact to prove true and confirm the change the researcher hopes to see personally and in the educational realm. III. Managing a Learning Environment Generalization One generalization regarding the managing of a learning environment is that the leadership consists of a number of complex, multi-faceted tasks. The effective school leader serves as a strong educator; anchoring his/her work on “central issues of learning and teaching and school improvement. They [effective school leaders and principals] are moral agents and
  • 3. social advocates for the children and the communities they serve” (Interstate school… 1996, p. 6). Primarily, the researcher contends, effective principles make a point to make strong connections with other others. They value and care for students, staff and others in the community not only as member of the community, but also unique individuals. IV. Managing a Learning Environment Questions The researcher concurs with McCollum, Kajs, and Minter (2006) in regard to one vital subject matter that needs to be further investigated; “More study is needed about the implications of efficacy on school administrators”. Particular focus could include: (a) Ways efficacious principals handle job stress, and/or relationships with students, staff, and parents; (b) Do highly efficient school administrators employ better management practices; implement more positive organizational planning, solve problems more easily; promote community growth (McCollum, Kajs, & Minter)? V. Managing a Learning Environment Perspective As the researcher examined the issue of management of a learning environment, the researcher learned of the tendency to become isolated at times. Principals must be aware that teachers may frequently feel isolated; that they need to know what teachers are regularly doing in their classrooms. Teachers and principals both need to be regularly sustained with quality conversation of a personal and/or professional nature (Burmeister & Hensley, 2004). This study reminded the researcher of the value of building positive relationships with classified staff and providing support for them. Principles need to make a point to communicate with others daily. It proves valuable, the researcher learned to enlist “office staff, yard monitors/ security, maintenance/
  • 4. facilities people and bus drivers as allies” (Burmeister & Hensley, 2004, 11). Learning from others in their areas of expertise helps the principle, instead of putting out fires, plan for prevention of problems. Being the school team’s facilitator, cheerleader, communicator, and caretaker of hope, presenting possibilities to overcome barriers also reduces isolation. During the process, others become inspired to help the principle perform the work that needs to be done and ultimately celebrate the results with him/her. VI. Managing a Learning Environment Implementation To utilize the newly acquired knowledge and any skills the researcher obtained as an educational leader, the researcher plans to: 1. Participate in meaningful assessment practices to address their professional growth needs .(McCollum, Kajs, & Minter, 2006, conclusion section ¶ 2) 2. Confirm areas of strength and to develop an action plan to address content, skill, and disposition needs. (Ibid.) 3. Administrator training… program[s] and… gauge the program's curriculum and delivery mechanisms. (Ibid.) 4. [Implement] processes of self evaluating, self-supervising, and self-motivating, along with goal-development, planning, attention management, implementation of learning approaches, and solicitation of assistance from others when necessary comprise self-regulated learning. (McCollum, Kajs, & Minter, 2006, conclusion section ¶ 4) VII. Managing a Learning Environment Experiences Previously, one experience the researcher recounts that proved helpful in examining managing a learning environment occurred during a time the researcher engaged more in isolation than in purposefully, actively engaging and interacting with others in the educational setting.
  • 5. Burmeister and Hensley (2004) point out that: “Teachers are isolated from their colleagues, yet they work in densely populated schools. Principals are isolated from other principals, yet they work in densely populated school districts” (Burmeister & Hensley, ¶ 1). VIII. Managing a Learning Environment Opinions The primary point the researcher currently challenges relates to the expectation that parents, along with other interested members of the corporate sector and community leaders, also stakeholders external to the school building will participate more and serve in enhanced roles in education (Interstate school… 1996, p. 7). As noted earlier, despite reservations regarding this projected practice, the researcher hopes this to prove true.
  • 6. References Burmeister, LaVern & Hensley, Phyllis. (2004). It's all about relationships: isolation has become part of the organizational culture of schools. But by building solid relationships based on trust, administrators can substantially reduce or eliminate the isolation they experience. Leadership. Association of California School Administrators. Retrieved March 31, 2009 from High Beam Research: http://www.highbeam.com/doc/1G1-123675759.html. Florida educational leadership standards understanding and implementing Florida’s new principal leadership standards. (2005). Florida Department of Education. Retrieved March 31, 2009 from q=cache:0jXkGKj9C1cJ:www.fldoe.org/board/meetings/ 05_01_18/PrincipalStandards.pdf+principal+leadership+standards&cd=1&hl=en&ct=cl &gl=us&client=google-coop-np Interstate school leaders licensure consortium standards for school leaders.(1996). Council of Chief State School Officers State Education Assessment Center. Retrieved March 31, 2009 from http://www.ccsso.org/content/pdfs/isllcstd.pdf Florida educational leadership standards understanding and implementing Florida’s new principal leadership standards. (2005). Florida Department of Education. Retrieved March 31, 2009 from q=cache:0jXkGKj9C1cJ:www.fldoe.org/board/meetings/2 05_01_18/PrincipalStandards.pdf+principal+leadership+standards&cd=1&hl=en&ct=cl k&gl=us&client=google-coop-np
  • 7. Interstate School Leaders Consortium Standards (ISLLC) Interstate school leaders licensure consortium standards for school leaders (1996). Council of Chief State School Officers State School Officers state Education Assessment Center. Retrieved March 31, 2009