Scholar Practitioners who Impact Social Change

Education as a Career 

I entered the field of education by way of working through corporate America in business.  Very young, I just knew my undergraduate studies would lead me to an extravagant and successful career in business management.  Although after several years, I found myself with a deep feeling of uncomfortableness.  I realized that although I was successful, even earning a management award; I wasn’t fulfilled.  I yearned for something new and realized those little unctions in undergraduate school to become an educator, were part of my destiny!

Responsibility as a Practitioner

I entered the field of early childhood education to make an impact on children’s lives. My hope was to become an encourager and mentor to motivate students to be successful.  Over 16 years later, I still have the same desire. Although, my responsibility as a scholar practitioner/leader has evolved from just being able to touch my own students within my classroom, to now teachers, and other leaders as well.  As I develop as a leader, I am developing an understanding of my impact and purpose to ensure that program evaluation is appropriate to ensure successful schools. Leading evaluation initiatives, will help our school develop best practices.

Barriers to Evaluations

There’s no secret that in education, the most common communicated barrier is lack of time and resources.  I believe that to be the case when implementing measures of change through school evaluation.  Change takes time and resources.  Educators and stakeholders need to be able to embrace patience and diligence when tackling on new measures or making changes.

Leader Roles During Evaluation

As a leader, my role to ensure that these barriers do not become a hindrance, include having a positive spirit.  As a leader, I can minimize this barrier to ensure that evaluations are effective by being an intentional planner to maximize resources and goals.  Planning is the key to making time valuable.  I believe that when educators understand that their leader has a plan, and has intricately scheduled milestones in a manageable way, then they will jump on board, roll up their sleeves, and get dirty in the trenches to help make evaluation successful.  The leader has to be the influencer and guide to help reach success. One lesson learned from other administrators in the field that might assist me in implementing evaluations based on data-driven change, would be implementing the quote from Dr. Lorraine Cooke, “It is possible to run a program and pursue accreditation” (Laureate Video File).  Just knowing that others have been through the process, and managed the process, is highly encouraging!

 

Reference

Laureate Education (Producer). (2016d). Voices from the field: Implementation experiences [Video file]. Baltimore, MD: Author.

Assistive Technolgy

Assistive Technology

There is one type of learner whose needs may be consistently overlooked or inadequately provided for.  That is the needs of the learner with disabilities.  It is important to ensure that students with disabilities and their families have equal access to curriculum and instruction.  Students with disabilities have Individual Education Plans (IEPs) that uniquely describe their needs and educational interventions and accommodations.  The goals set through the IEPs also ensure that the learners are continually striving to meet goals and not remain stagnant. Assistive Technology is a culturally responsive way to meet the needs of learners in the 21st Century.

Linc and Gold (2017) state, “Assistive technology (AT) enhances the ability of individuals with disabilities to be fully engaged in activities at home, at school, and within their communities-especially for children with developmental disabilities (DD) with physical, sensory, learning, and/or communication impairments” (p. 1).  Two assistive technology devices/resources that can be instrumental in the learning of students with disabilities is the Lexia Core5 and the ActivTable.

The Lexia Core5 is a technology-based literacy program that provides differentiated instruction for grades Pre K-5.  The Lexia Core5 “provides explicit, systematic, personalized learning in the six areas of reading instruction, targeting skill gaps as they emerge, and providing teachers with the data and student-specific resources they need for individual or small-group instruction” (lexialearning.com). Some of the ley features of the Lexia Core5 are that it “engages and motivates students in a game-like environment, provides progress-monitoring data without administering a test, and is accessible via iPad, Android tablets, Chromebook, browser, or download” (lexialearning.com).

The second assistive device is the ActivTable.  “The ActivTable offers more than 200 activities, including sequencing, sorting and categorization, labeling, timelines and pairing. It empowers students to lead their own learning, which drives engagement, participation and creativity in the classroom” (activtable.com) Teachers have the ability to create lessons with the ActivTable ActivityBuilder that are engaging and can be used by single or multi-users.

Kennesaw State University is leading the way in providing resources and environments for stakeholders to understand the assistive technologies available to students.  In 2015, Kennesaw opened a  Universal Design for Learning lab. “It houses more than 60 technologies, applications and devices to make learning easier. The lab’s resources range from low-tech, clear colored overlay sheets that make it easier to read to the latest three-dimensional computer-simulated learning environments using virtual reality headsets” (news.kennesaw.edu). The devices within the lab are all culturally responsive because they are not able to be used to be students with disabilities, but those with exceptionalities and language learners.

References

Kennesaw State University. (2018). Designed to share. Retrieved from http://news.kennesaw.edu/stories/2017/universal_design_learning_lab.php

Lexia Learning-A Rosetta Stone Company. (2018). Lexia Reading Core5. Retrieved from https://www.lexialearning.com/products/core5

Lin, S. C., & Gold, R. S. (2017). Assistive Technology Needs, Functional Difficulties, and Services Utilization and Coordination of Children with Developmental Disabilities in the United States. Assistive Technology: The Official Journal Of RESNA, 1-7. doi:10.1080/10400435.2016.1265023

Promethean Limited. (2017). ActivTable Activity Builder. Retrieved from http://activtable.com/

Purposeful Assessment

Purposeful Assessment

     Identifying proper assessments for student intervention can be difficult. Teachers, counselors, psychologists, and stakeholders, have to utilize classification data to understand a child’s story and administer purposeful assessments that will help guide instruction.  “Purposeful assessment drives instruction and affects learning. Assessment is an integral part of teaching and learning. Purposeful assessment practices help teachers and students understand where they have been, where they are, and where they might go next” (dpi.wi.gov). If you had the task of selecting purposeful assessments, how successful would you be?  Let’s look at a few scenarios below for experience.

Scenario 1

Student Classifications:

  • Gender: Male
  • First Grade
  • Birthdate: 7/25/11
  • Household: Two parent, two siblings=1-two years older, 1-one year younger
  • Primary Language spoken at home: Spanish
  • In-school Interventions:
    • ESOL
    • RTI Tier II
    • Title I services in ELA and Math
  • ED (Economically Disadvantaged)
  • Attendance: 3 days absent, 5 days tardy/90 days
  • Latest Standards Based Report Card Scores Mid-Year:
    • ELA:  1/13-Does Not Meet, 10/13-Progressing, 3/13-Mastery
    • Math: 1/11-Does Not Meet, 9/11-Progressing, 2/11-Mastery
  • Universal Screener Scores
    • Reading Inventory Lexile: 58
    • Math Inventory Quantile: EM100

The student is well behaved, attends school consistently, has intervention services in ESOL and Title I, yet is still struggling, due to his Spanish speaking background. What kinds of interventions should the classroom teacher explore?

Scenario 2

     Tenea’ is a third grade, Caucasian student.  She has been enrolled in the same school since kindergarten. As a kindergartener, she was placed on a 504; to ensure, in school diabetic procedures were handled consistently, for her diabetes diagnosis.  She comes from an Economically Disadvantaged (ED) family, and a single parent home; where the father only has visitation rights.  By second grade, Tenea’ was receiving Early Intervention Program (EIP) services in Reading and Math. By third grade, she was placed on Student Support Team (SST)-Tier III.  So far, this school year the student has had 12 absences and 14 tardies.  Her Lexile level is two years below grade level.  Her parent is very involved when it comes to matters discussing her health, yet not so involved during academic discussions.  At the end of this year, Tenea’ will participate in her state’s End of Grade (EOG) assessment that determines passage to the next grade. Her teacher is in need of intervention strategies to help her achieve grade level mastery in English Language Arts (ELA) and Math.

Your turn…provide an assessment or questions???

Reference

Wisconsin’s Guiding Principles for Teaching and Learning. (2018). Purposeful Assessment. Retrieved from https://dpi.wi.gov/sites/default/files/imce/cal/pdf/guiding-principles3.pdf

Scholar Practitioners as Program Evaluators

As I continue to work in the field of Childhood education, I desire more and more to become impactful and effect change.  I am inspired by stories of leadership and heroes that made changes in organizations by their sole work ethic or beliefs. It reminds me that one person can make a change, although it may seem that one voice doesn’t have enough impact.  I am hoping to become well versed in my craft to be an effective coach and leader of educators.  It is my goal to teach teachers to use best practices to become the best at their crafts; which in turn will positively effect student achievement.

The content in this course will directly impact what I do.  As a leader/coach, just like with our students, we have to know them to teach them; I will have to know and understand my teachers’ true talents and abilities, to coach them to success.  I will need to know how they teach, and what areas they need development in.  Using evaluation is the only way that I will be able to accurately know the areas that they need support. Utilizing the content in this course to help me evaluate and support programs will be influential to my success.

A simple best practice that I have from past experiences with program evaluation is to always include a comment box when giving or creating surveys.  No matter how genuinely we create a survey, they are not one size fits all.  People often like to have a comment box to explain a reason or a detail. If all questions cannot include an open ended/comment, then at least one as a summary to the survey.   This also opens the door to the person being surveyed. It states that they have a true opportunity to share their feelings and that their voice through a comment.

The process of evaluating program quality will both impact me as well as educational programs by shedding light on procedures.  Once again, as a leader, I can use the evaluations to inform my practice.  The data will not only show what areas need improvement, but it will also guide my leadership style. I will become better acquainted with the needs of my staff, therefore affecting how I need to lead.

Fostering Classroom Communities: Examining an Early Childhood Dissertation

Fostering Classroom Communities: Examining an Early Childhood Dissertation

 Dissertation Title:

The development of self-control from kindergarten to fifth grade: the effects of neuropsychological functioning and adversity.

Explanation of the study:

The current study builds research and examines the extent to which neuropsychological functioning and adversity influence the development of self-control from kindergarten to the end of fifth grade. Utilizing data from the Early Childhood Longitudinal Study-Kindergarten Cohort (ECLS-K), findings from the cross-sectional analysis revealed neuropsychological functioning to be significantly associated with the development of self-control, net of the presence of home, school, and environmental adversity (Gajos & Beaver, p. 1571, 2016).

Study purpose:

The purpose of the current study is twofold. First, the contemporaneous effects of neuropsychological functioning and adversity on self-control are estimated from kindergarten to the end of fifth grade. A contemporaneous analysis is utilized to uncover during which age periods neuropsychological functioning and adversity have the most influence on the development of self-control. Second, the influence of neuropsychological functioning and adversity measured during kindergarten are assessed on the development of self-control throughout early childhood (Gajos & Beaver, p. 1571, 2016).

Methodology:

Data for this study were drawn from the Early Childhood Longitudinal Study, Kindergarten Class of 1998–1999 (ECLS-K). The 1998–1999 kindergarten cohort is a nationally representative sample of children who were followed from kindergarten to the eighth grade. The ECLS-K employed a multistage probability sampling design, which sampled schools from various geographical locations. Additionally, both private and public schools were included in the sample (Tourangeau et al., 2001 as cited by Gajos & Beaver, p. 1573, 2016).

The ECLS-K employed parent and teacher instruments of the Social Rating Scale (SRS), which asked respondents to report on the child’s social skills and behaviours. The SRS was developed to assess behaviour functionality during childhood (Gresham & Elliott, 1990), and has been widely used in previous research (Hair, Halle, Terry-Humen, Lavelle, & Calkins, 2006; Jyoti, Frongillo, & Jones, 2005; Vaughn, DeLisi, Beaver, & Wright, 2009). Although both parent and teacher SRS instruments were administered in the ECLS-K, the current study only utilized the teacher instrument because it has been shown to be highly reliable (Tourangeau et al., 2001) as cited by Gajos & Beaver, p. 1574, 2016).

Among the items included in the teacher SRS questionnaire was a measure of self-control. Teachers were asked to rate individual students on how often they demonstrated self-control, through the use of a frequency scale that included four items. Together, these items indicated the child’s overall ability to control their behaviour through respecting the property rights of others, the ability to control their temper, accepting peer ideas, and responding appropriately to peer pressure. Higher scores on the self-control scale indicated greater levels of self-control. The reliability of the teacher SRS scale for self-control is high, with a split half reliability of .79 and .80 for the fall and spring of the kindergarten year, respectively (Tourangeau et al., 2001). Data on the students’ levels of self-control were available for each wave in the current study (Gajos & Beaver, p. 1574, 2016).

Population/participants/data sources:

Data for this study were drawn from the Early Childhood Longitudinal Study, Kindergarten Class of 1998–1999 (ECLS-K). The current study utilizes data from waves 1–6; however, wave 3 was excluded because a limited number of children were sampled during this wave. The cross-sectional sample included 13,400 children at wave 2, 13,292 children at wave 4, 9079 children at wave 5, and 8543 children at wave 6. The longitudinal sample included 7496 children (Gajos & Beaver, p. 1573, 2016).

Conclusions:

The influence of neuropsychological functioning and various types of adversity on the development of self-control were examined at waves 2, 4, 5, and 6. During wave 2, when children were approximately between the ages of five and six, neuropsychological functioning was found to be significantly associated with the development of self-control (p < .01), where higher scores on neuropsychological functioning indicated more self-control. Additionally, home adversity, school adversity, and gender (p < .01) were also significantly associated with the development of self-control (Gajos & Beaver, p. 1576, 2016).

All of the significant associations between the variables in the model and self-control became attenuated once prior self-control was introduced in Model 2, where prior self-control emerged as the strongest predictor of the development of self-control at wave 5 (β = .35; p < .01). Analogous results were introduced at wave 6, as prior self-control continued to have the strongest association with the development of self-control, once introduced into the model (β = .28; p < .01) (Gajos & Beaver, p. 1576, 2016).

Three resources used by the author:

Beaver, K. M., & Wright, J. P. (2005). Evaluating the effects of birth complications on low self-control in a sample of twins. International Journal of Offender Therapy and Comparative Criminology, 49, 450–471.

Camp, B. W., Blom, G. E., Hebert, F., & van Doorninck, W. J. (1977). ‘Think aloud’: A program for developing self-control in young aggressive boys. Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology, 5, 157–169.

Tourangeau, K., Burke, J., Le, T., Wan, S., Weant, M., Brown, E.,…Walston, J. (2001). ECLS-K base-year public-use data files and electronic codebook: User’s manual (NCES 2001–029). US Department of Education. National Center for Education Statistics. Washington, DC: US Government Printing Office.

How the information gleaned from this dissertation may further my work related to fostering supportive learning environments through positive classroom cultures and classroom communities:

My proposed work is to research how adversity affects student achievement.  Students of low socioeconomic status have several hurdles they must overcome.  These students face issues at home and at school.  Von Stumm (2017) stated “Children from low SES families performed worse in the early years of school than children from high SES homes, and their disadvantage amplified over the course of compulsory education” (p. 61). She continued to state that “Children from low SES homes attained on average half a grade level less than children from higher status families at age 16 when compulsory schooling ends” (Von Stumm, 2017, 61).

My study is to understand if children of color, who face adversity can show achievement from a one-size fits all school based intervention program; through proper teaching and engagement. Understanding how children handle emotional trauma and develop delf-control can be an imperative factor in my study.

References

Gajos, J. M., & Beaver, K. M. (2016). The development of self-control from kindergarten to fifth grade: the effects of neuropsychological functioning and adversity. Early child development and care186(10), 1571-1583.

von Stumm, S. (2017). Socioeconomic status amplifies the achievement gap throughout compulsory education independent of intelligence. Intelligence, 60, 57-62.

Advocacy Message-Brain Development Research

Brain Development Research is a critical area that can give stakeholders meaningful insight on how children learn.  It is imperative to provide opportunities to share research findings.  Brain research is a deep topic not always readily understood by parents or stakeholders.  However, parents and teachers alike could truly benefit from understanding brain research; and how to use it to better teach our children.

My message of advocacy is “How to be successful in The First Five of LIFE!”. My focus would be to inform educators and families of the importance of how a child develops and acquires knowledge in their first five years. Appropriate care giving is also influential in development of the brain. Research has proven that effective attachment relationships and social emotional interactions are imperative in developing healthy babies not only physically bit cognitively as well.

The role of educators would be to utilize how the brain works to better teach children; and communicate with parents how they can influence their children’s learning at home. “When schools, families, and community groups work together to support learning, children tend to do better in school, stay in school longer, and like school more.” Nea.org (2017) as cited by (Henderson & Mapp, 2002).  I believe that early childhood professionals are the most influential in informing parents; as they have built relationships and bonds with both the children and their parents.

Brain research is a deep topic not always readily understood by all.  Potential obstacles are misunderstanding from the community on how to effectively embrace instructional strategies.  Further misunderstandings can be where parents feel teachers should handle that level of learning and skill acquisition.  Lastly, low levels of stakeholder interest can affect positive interventions.   My personal experience has been parents don’t always come out in droves to hear the “fundamental stuff”. However, the task would be how we can interest the parents to make them want to seek out the information.

Brain research is imperative and a personal interest since it’s effects are so far reaching for elementary aged students.  Teachers cannot always be blamed for developmental delays in children.  There are so many interactions that effect children linguistically, cognitively, and socially within their first five years and before some of them reach elementary school, that is it unfair to hold teachers accountable for their delays.  I am advocate of early learning and early teaching to help prevent a cycle of unprepared, undeveloped children.

References:

Research Spotlight on Parental Involvement in Education. (2017). NEA. Retrieved from: http://www.nea.org/tools/17360.htm

Henderson, A. T. & Mapp K. L.. (2002). A New Wave of Evidence: The Impact of School, Family, and Community Connections on Student Achievement Southwest Educational Development Laboratory. Retrieved from: http://www.sedl.org/connections/resources/evidence.pdf

Language and Literacy Development Journey Community Advice

Hello,

My Language and Literacy Journey is centered around a Middle Income American Family with Irish roots, who live in a suburb of Atlanta, Georgia.  The family is a middle aged couple, who began their family later in life, after age 40.  Currently they only have one child, who took them over 4 years to birth due to infertility issues.  Their daughter, Leah seemed to be developing well socially by age 2, but linguistically by this same age was showing a few deficits compared to her peers.  By the age of 4 she was well behind her peers linguistically, and finally with  a diagnosed hearing test, it was found that she had minimal hearing in her left ear and medium hearing in her right ear.  Fortunately, after her hearing aids, she was able to begin developing at an advance rate.

My question for my colleagues/peers are:

Do you know of any birth related defects for women who suffer from endometriosis and/or fertility issues?

What strategies of implementation should be implored to a child who could barely hear for the first four years of life?

What interventions can private schools put in place to catch lack of linguistic development early on?

What research are you aware of for families of first born/only children to help their children develop linguistically at a rate as fast as peers who may have older siblings?

***Unfortunately, I am having problems posting my word document link. I have posted it in our courses’ blog section in the blackboard Under Module 3 blog, participate in blog. See link below.

https://class.waldenu.edu/webapps/blogs-journals/execute/blogTopicList?course_id=_16261596_1&content_id=_40035492_1&blog_id=_8529166_1&action=contentList&mode=view

I also have a pdf version below…

What does it mean to be an Education Professional?

Oh sir, by no means is “An Early Childhood Professional” a babysitter.  In fact, before I taught kindergarten, I actually thought the same way.  I remember even asking myself “What do kindergarten teachers do?” Teaching for them must be so easy, until, well I was placed in that very environment to teach.  I quickly learned how naïve I was. You have the task of taking children from various backgrounds, academic levels, and socioeconomic status and developing them to become readers, thinkers, mathematicians and most important of all, planting the seed and teaching them life skills and character traits. I had some of my most intriguing teaching experiences as a kindergarten teacher.  I learned more deeply about how young children learn, how they grow, and how emotions are real.  You sir, may actually be interested in reading the book, “All I Really Need to Know I learned in Kindergarten?” by Robert Fulgham. It is quite interesting, how he relates so many of the traits learned at such a tender age, to real life adult scenarios.

Furthermore sir, let me ask you a few questions, “What is your career or chosen work?”  How did you get to that point?” “Was it alone or did someone guide or mentor you?”  I wouldn’t be surprised if you stated you had help from someone. One of my favorite pieces of artwork is a piece drawn by Johnny Myers where he has an adult figure looking similar to Rosa Parks holding her arms around a group of children. The children are dressed in different career professional outfits. i.e. a priest, minister, judge, doctor, athlete, teacher, etc.  The phrase above them states “Teachers make all other professions possible.”  The more I muse over the statement, I believe without any of us to move forward, we learned from someone else; we learned from a teacher. Lastly before my floor comes up, take a moment to search the poem “What Teachers Make” by Taylor Mali.  You’ll definitely know by then, that an Early Childhood Professional is definitely not a babysitter, oh quite the contrary!!! Good Day Sir!