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How to be a good instructional leader

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As an instructional leader, you have many roles attached to your title. You must first be self- aware, resourceful, and a believer in what your school is trying to accomplish. As an instructional leader your number one priority should be to ensure success for all students. As a future leader, I would first have to understand the state and district mandates.

I would need to know how to interrupt data, and identify what parts of the curriculum work for my student population.

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A good principal is balanced within all their roles and works hard to ensure that that they are doing what they feel is best for all constituents involved (Meador, 2017). According to past climate surveys Miami Jackson Senior High School is a place where students don’t necessarily feel the positivity which in turn doesn’t help them learn. Miami Jackson Sr. High school is composed of a diverse population which includes an array of ethnicities and educational levels. These factors have created challenges for administrators. One main challenge that I as an educational leader must work hard to overcome is the language barriers the students come with. Finally, the last few issues I must address as an instructional leader is the lack of parental involvement and low student/staff morale within the school.

As the leader of Miami Jackson Sr. High, I must re-visit the school’s curriculum each and every year. In re-visiting the school’s curriculum, I must identify and understand the needs and necessary changes appropriate for the curriculum. In order to accomplish this there must be a team effort especially when it comes down to interrupting demographic data, perceptions data, school processes, and student learning data to find what needs to be changed, or modified, in order to ensure that entire student population succeeds. Changes in the curriculum need to be made because the changing needs of children demand that teachers expand their role beyond purveyors of information, to become facilitators, coinvestigators, guides, and coordinators.

Educators need to evolve with the emerging research on teaching and learning and adapt their craft to the changing needs of students (Evans, 2006). As an instructional leader, one major change I would bring about within the curriculum is for literacy instruction to more accessible and relatable through various incentive programs, and forming a student advisement group, the Miami Jackson Generals student advisees (SAs) to help guide struggling students as well as to keep those who are passing in the right track. I believe that a student’s peers can be more influential than adults in most cases. This would display how much everyone cares about ensuring that all students succeed. Over the past decade data has proven that Miami Jackson Senior High School’s main area of weakness is literacy.

Although the scores have improved throughout the years, with 7% proficiency being the lowest and 25% proficiency being the highest in 2015-2016 according to the Miami Dade County Schools website, the results still aren’t a clear reflection of what the school is capable of. One incentive from my revised curriculum plan would be to motivate all my teachers to provide incentives to the avid readers and those who are striving to be. They will implement different programs and concepts such as Get Caught Reading and The 30-book challenge to encourage reading for pleasure within the classroom which would also build school culture and moral. This incentive is essential to the progress at Miami Jackson Sr. High not only because literacy is our biggest weakness but because studies have found that children who read for pleasure has made more progress on state assessments, as well as vocabulary and spelling than those who rarely read (Sullivan & Brown, 2013).

During the first and last ten minutes of each class period all classes will shut down and read any text of their preference (book, article, newspaper, comic). Instructional Coaches and appointed administrators will randomly check-in on the classes and give them a ticket if they are all reading. The tickets will be worth different prizes such entrance to a Literacy Dance , a shout out over the morning/afternoon announcements, and pizza hut for lunch. Another component to the Get Caught Reading initiative would be to reward students individually. Appointed administrators will have between 5-10 tickets in their possession at all times. If they see or catch a student reading during any time of the day other than the first and last appointed 10 minuets of the class period, then they will be given a ticket as well. At the end of each month, students and classes with passes will awarded accordingly. The final component of my incentive initiative that will be implemented within this particular plan will be the Green and Gold Student of the Week . All Literacy teachers will be provided with a laminated poster to display outside of their classroom where they can display recognition to one student per week as to their efforts amazing progress in their class. The purpose is to encourage and motivate students to further promote literacy within the school environment and foster a passion for reading. students enjoy being rewarded and recognized regardless of age and maturity level. (Murry, 2018 ).

That is why I believe in my incentive initiative. This initiative will continue throughout the entire school year and be an indispensable part of the curriculum change at Miami Jackson Sr. High. Furthermore, as the instructional leader I will make sure that every teacher in the Literacy department isn’t over loaded with students and given 2 planning periods. This will allow them to collaborate with their colleagues, share best practices, determine what will be their course of action to get the students engaged and motivated within the classroom and allow time for grading students work. Although an extra class (supplement) will benefit my instructors financially I’ve often times found that extra class interferes with mu teacher’s instruction especially if they feel overloaded. (Chingos, 2017).

Therefore I will provide other opportunities to my literacy department to gain extra financially. Once a week during one of the planning periods provided to each teacher there will be a mandatory meeting for all of the literacy teachers as well as the coaches. The purpose of the meeting will be for everyone to discuss their daily practices. Also, during this time, that the teachers will find the material that inspire and stimulate their students while still adhering to the district mandates and standards. This will allow students the ability to read material they can relate to and enjoy, while still improving their reading proficiency. This, in turn, will make them better all-around readers.

The next component of my curriculum change would be to form a student advisement group for students called the Miami Jackson Generals student advisees (SAs). Based off the schools’ demographic data and results from the school Climate Survey, students do not look forward to coming to school daily whether it is because they feel as if no one cares about their well-being, or they do not feel inspired in any way. Serious risks like homelessness, suspension, early parenthood, and a lack of academic confidence threaten to derail poor, young Americans from urban communities like Allapattah on their path toward high-school graduation especially if they do not have support along the way (Sebenius, 2016).

This student advisement group will be run by students but dedicated by educators and school staff who will collaborate to create a checklist for each grade level as to their requirements for graduation and thereafter. The advisees will focus on a particular group but will be available to everyone. The groups that will be the primary focus are the students with more than 15 school absences or repeat offenders regarding disciplinary action. This group of student advisees will collaborate with school staff to complete a checklist/contract for the focus group. Students will be required to complete task like school projects, community service projects, and college/career preparation activities, (on and off campus). The advisee will also monitor the focus groups grades and academic progress. Meetings will take once a week until progress is made then twice a month until the students are back on track. These meetings will help those struggling students feel cared for and a part of something. A program like this is essential so that we do not allow any student to fall through the cracks. Research have found that students with social support are more likely to re-engage with school in the face of adversity which suggest that this advisement program will be beneficial to the educational experience of these children (Sebenius, 2016).

In order to ensure that necessary steps are being taken within this curriculum to promote continuous progress, I will have to constantly monitor the curriculum plan. I would have to make sure everyone involved is doing their part and most importantly I would allow the stokeholders to monitor and provide feedback based on their findings. My leadership team would meet monthly to discuss progress and the data will be continuously analyzed throughout the year with the administrator, teachers and students.

If the results from the state assessments, do not reflect. Progress, then I will revisit my curriculum and make any necessary adjustments. An instructional leader sets clear goals, manages their curriculum, monitors lesson plans, provides resources and evaluates teachers. But a great leader thinks before they act or speak, instructs when necessary, puts the needs of the school before themselves, and leads by example. So, a great Instructional leader is what I’d encompass if given the opportunity to become an instructional leader at Miami Jackson Senior High School.

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