Tools for Action
Accountable Leadership is Critical
Building school success for students requires accountable leadership at all levels, including policymakers, school district leaders, community leaders and school personnel. At the campus level, administrative and supervisory personnel must deliver quality educational services to all students. In successful schools, they pride themselves on their ability to hold on to students to graduation. This means being knowledgeable about their diverse student population as well as actively ensuring that all students are well served. Effective school leaders also involve parents in the decisions affecting the quality of education that their children receive.
A Snapshot of What IDRA is Doing
Developing leaders – Whether mid-career professionals or recent college graduates, new teachers need instructional support to help them provide effective, state-of-the-art instruction to English language learners. IDRA’s mentoring and support services for new teachers involves specialized technical assistance focusing on instructional strategy presentations (or platicas) addressing effective teaching in bilingual education. This technical assistance also has included two-day institutes to guide the teachers in planning instruction and practicing delivery of lessons in a sheltered environment.
IDRA also has conducted classroom visits to observe new teachers as they deliver instruction in the actual classroom and then working with them side-by-side, in a co-teaching situation, to help them gain confidence and teaching expertise.
Conducting research – To expand dropout prevention services for students with disabilities, this year, through a partnership with the National Dropout Prevention Center for Students with Disabilities at Clemson University, IDRA will work with targeted schools to expand inclusion of students with disablities in the Coca-Cola Valued Youth Program. For more information.
Informing policy – IDRA’s Graduation for All: Get Informed. Get Connected. Get Results. shines a spotlight on opportunities for schools and communities to partner to strengthen school holding power. This e-letter also has been of growing interest to policymakers as they look for solutions to chronically high attrition rates in Texas and in other states. Graduation for All is free, bilingual and published monthly. You can subscribe to Grad4All at the IDRA web site.
Engaging communities – Recently, IDRA executive director, Dr. María “Cuca” Robledo Montecel, presented testimony before the Committee on Education and Labor, U.S. House of Representatives. Among her recommendations was the need to strengthen and support school-level change through local accountability teams at the campus level. “Community oversight is a critical missing ingredient in effective and accountable dropout prevention efforts at the local level,” she stated. “Local accountability teams would review their local dropout and graduation data, disaggregated by subgroups, as well as data on school factors affecting the graduation rate, such as parent involvement, student engagement, curriculum access and teaching quality. Using these data, the team would develop a comprehensive graduation plan of action to include all students.”
What You Can Do
Get informed. Pull together a school team, including parents, to compile school factor data, like the areas listed above. Examine the information in a new light. Look for relationships. Identify what is not working and brainstorm creative solutions based on the data and trends you have found.
Get involved. The Texas Education Agency has released its latest version of An Administrator’s Abbreviated Checklist to NCLB – Parental Involvement. This is a usable tool that identifies about 50 requirements to parent involvement across the federal title programs. http://www.tea.state.tx.us/nclb/
Get results. Countless studies demonstrate that students with parents actively involved in their education at home and school are more likely to earn higher grades and test scores, enroll in higher-level programs, graduate from high school, and go on to post-secondary education. The book, Beyond the Bake Sale – The Essential Guide to Family-School Partnerships, by Anne T. Henderson, Karen L. Mapp, Vivian R. Johnson, and Don Davies, reveals that partnerships among schools, families, and community groups are a necessity. The book shows how to build strong collaborative relationships and offers practical advice for improving interactions between parents and teachers.
Comments and questions may be directed to IDRA via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
[©2007, IDRA. The following article originally appeared in the IDRA Newsletter by the Intercultural Development Research Association. Every effort has been made to maintain the content in its original form. However, accompanying charts and graphs may not be provided here. To receive a copy of the original article by mail or fax, please fill out our information request and feedback form. Permission to reproduce this article is granted provided the article is reprinted in its entirety and proper credit is given to IDRA and the author.]