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Educational Policies and Practices Essay

“Change is a process, not an event. It can be planned or unplanned and can be influenced by forces inside and outside of the schoolhouse. ” (http://wps. prenhall. com/chet_green_practicing_2/23/6137/1571248. cw/index. html). Current education reform has stressed the urgency of teacher learning in improving classroom education and expanding student success. Current education reform in the United States has increasingly described standard levels of mastery for learners and focused on holding schools responsible for student outcomes.

As one approach for increasing student attainment, officials have zoned in on improving the quality of public school educators (Parise & Spillane, 2010). Certain policy plans concentrate on the dimension involved in refining the quality of educators coming into the area of teaching through state accreditation exams, more rigorous degree requirements, and recruitment efforts.

In addition to the aforementioned, increased responsibility and stress on schools involve learning and modification for many of the educators already working within this capacity, as they are pushed to apply new instructional methods and advances in order to promote and foster student achievement (Parise & Spillane, 2010). Assessing the Condition: Loris High School Trevor Strawderman, principal of Loris High School, Horry County, South Carolina, reorganized educational structure to benefit the school. In 2005, Loris High School ranked in the bottom percentile among high schools, scholastically, in the state of South Carolina.

Principal Strawderman knew that issues in the area of literacy plagued the school’s academic performance. Assessment statistics revealed that 74 percent of the 9th and 10th graders of the school were reading below grade level. As a result of this issue, dropout and class failings soared to extremely high figures (http://www. nassp. org/Content. aspx? topic=59746). Strawderman, the newly appointed principal at the time, and other leaders of the school were aware of this issue, but did not realize the severity until results were revealed from student assessments.

It was determined that the majority of the 9th and 10th graders at the time were reading way below grade level. After examining the textbooks utilized in the school, it was discovered that the 9th and 10th grade level books were written for 10th/ 11th grade reading comprehension. Upon the discovery of the low reading skills, Strawderman met with faculty to inform them that changes were necessary to improve reading skills of the students. Data collected about the student reading assessments was Mr. Strawderman’s proof as he provided information for this needed change (http://www. assp. org/Content. aspx? topic=59746). Implementing Necessary Change The school’s leadership team began to read and study about ways to improve on reading. Through the study it was discovered that providing more reading would be the best solution. The leadership team identified a process that could be utilized to achieve the vision. Through the vision of Strawderman and the leadership team, a homeroom reading initiative was put in place immediately. Two days for 50 minutes a week have been designated for this activity. Students were grouped by grade level and lexile level.

Strawderman and his team stressed the importance of steering away negative connotations with this activity, and felt that grouping by lexile level was pertinent (http://www. nassp. org/Content. aspx? topic=59746). Challenges and Rewards As with change, Mr. Strawderman faced defiance by some faculty members. Comments like, “Some students are going to think this is stupid and childish,” were used to discourage this new activity. As the process began, aproximately $70,000 was spent on high interest inventory reading. Strawderman and his committee did all of the work, not putting the strain on the teachers with implementing this program.

This process was made easy as possible for the teachers. After the program began, it was discovered that the students loved the program. The majority of the at-risk students enjoyed it the most. What was also discovered, is that every student may act is if they do not like to read, but they all want to know how to read (http://www. nassp. org/Content. aspx? topic=59746). Within this program celebrations were rendered and awards are given as incentives. This program provided an additional 33 hours of reading in the school for the year and has provided a positive outlook for the school’s reading deficit.

Since Strawderman became principal, the school has made noteworthy and substantial cultural and meaningful changes that have led to effective progress for each student. Strawderman understood that the necessary changes implemented could not done by him solely. Along with making improvements for students, Strawderman also realized the importance in providing leadership and support for his staff members. “He envisioned a school of professional learning communities in which teachers worked together ‘to choose every day to make a difference in the lives of our students’ (http://www. assp. org/Content. aspx? topic=59746). First Order or Second Order Change? First and second order change are natural occurrences involved within settings of change. It has been reported that uninterrupted, first order change happens without interference to the system in place. Within this particular order of change the leader is involved in pushing for improvement within the productivity and value of a school or program without making major alterations to what has been established among teachers and students.

In addition, this conflict often faces less confusion and divergence (Green, 2013). Second order change, on the other hand, faces uneasy transitions because of change and interruption to the system in place. In this particular order of change the existing order is taken in another direction for the good of the school or program. Furthermore there are new objectives, as well as changes in structure and programs in which individuals are asked to function differently within their role (Green, 2013).

Becoming principal of Loris High School, opened doors of opportunity for Trevor Strawderman to make necessary changes for the betterment of the school. Strawderman initially took some matters in his hand to push for this change by presenting data figures to faculty as proof of the situation in need. As a result of this new change every teacher was given a task to apply “student lexile levels from the Measures of Academic Progress -Reading (MAP-R) computerized assessments to gauge students’ mastery of basic reading skills” (http://www. nassp. org/Content. aspx? topic=59746).

Because implementing these changes required disruption to the already established program curriculum, Strawderman and his team faced some defiance. This situation is reflective of the second-order change. The Good and the Bad Although the reading program at Loris High School has brought forth much success, negativity surfaced at the beginning stages of implementing this program. Mildly disgruntled teachers gave notion of their dislike of changing their already established curriculum without consulting them fully.

Before allowing the situation to escalate with these faculty members, Mr. Strawderman could have met with the teachers to answer questions and to address concerns about the immediate change once he brought it forward. (http://www. nassp. org/Content. aspx? topic=59746). Working collaboratively with faculty could have also presented a variety of innovative ideas. Michael Fullan’s reports on research indicates that institutionalization of modification and change is extremely challenging. Moreover, additional reports reveal that school improvements that are substantial and long-term rarely can be set, authorized or guided by organizations or individuals (Fullan, 1993).

When change occurs in a school setting the following attitudes may arise: “teachers may feel a sense of in adequacy or lack of preparation, or they may fear the unknown or perceive a loss of power or control” (Green, 2013). Conclusion Through this assignment an abundance of useful information was grasped regarding leadership and instructional change. Due to the changes in time, it is pertinent for all leaders to foster the ideas of bringing forth instructional change in a school setting.

The way children are educated must change because children, the world, and economics are changing daily. At times change is considered taboo and frightening. However, when handled effectively and efficiently, it may be the cure to an ailing situation. There is much confidence among the reorganizers of school and researchers in the field of education that enhancing the learning opportunities of practicing teachers will boost and develop teacher performance and progress to developmentally improved student outcomes (Parise & Spillane, 2010).

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