The structure and content of principal support is flexible in order for it to be customized by the principals. Facilitators enter each meeting with 2-3 guiding questions, and then let principals frame these issues, and suggest possible topics related to TELS implementation for the next meeting
The Rationale Behind the Feature (Specific Design Principle):
Research suggests that as a function of the current political climate and school goals, principals differ in the way they prioritize various aspects of the science program. Principals shift their views of the usefulness of the science program to prioritize aspects of the instruction that meet both the political pressures and their individual, school-wide goals. Because of the wide range in principals’ school goals and political pressures, a “one size fits all” professional development model for principals won’t work (Kliebard, 1995; Murphy). Our research suggests that engaging principals in the design of their own professional support enables principals to identify possible incongruence between their knowledge and the expertise needed to improve science instruction, and customize the content and structure of support to fit their learning needs.
Context of Use:
Professional development for principals engaged in TELS curriculum reform
November 11 TELS Principals meeting (with 2 teachers)
P.D. Facilitator Diane (before teachers arrived): How are you thinking about professional development? How are you organizing it and implementing it at your site? Principal Bev: For the last three years, we had $600,000 every year because we are a high priority school. We used the money for literacy coaches, language arts materials, textbooks and lots of professional development… also in these past three years we had to prepare for WASC so we had staff development on discipline, and a little bit on technology through Edusoft, but never enough. Now, at the end of these three years, our high priority money is gone and we do not get more…recently we had to come up with a technology plan for CTAP (California Technology Assistance Plan – a statewide policy initiative). We read through the CTAP and examined our own technology practices. We identified that unfortunately our staff is not very technologically savvy. However, we are welcoming the state accountability intervention team very soon so we must continue to focus only on literacy…and we receive $150/student to address these literacy problems. So, our staff development on Wednesdays from 2:20-4:00 focuses on literacy and math, and sadly, we ignore the fact that our staff needs training on technology. The truth is we should be paying a lot of attention to technology-based opportunities to improve our curriculum, but until January we have to get the state intervention and WASC reports done…I can see a focus on technology training in the Spring.
………………………………………………………………………………………………….. Diane (after teachers left): Are there any other comments, did this bring up any questions for you, or get you thinking about anything differently at your site? Principal Bev: Well, I was interested if Kathy was, you know, still… had that hesitancy ...where it is hard for some teachers to see that if a curriculum is supplemental, it is helpful to what they’re doing. Because Jeff’s right, I mean, teachers, well it isn’t just teachers. We all really have a hard time with change. So, I mean, I’m just thoughtful about how I can use those teachers who are doing it right now. I think once we get through all required things we have to do between now and January, I think that it would be great to put those science teachers in front of the staff, and have them share how they are teaching.
PD Facilitator Diane: Well, we were hoping to have another meeting in December… Principal Bob: You know, what would really be fun, and I don’t know how to pull it off, would be to get kids to get involved in this discussion in some way Principal Bev: I will talk to David (TELS teacher) and Carol (TELS teacher) both, and see if they know some students that would like to come to our meeting.… maybe… I’d like us to find some kids that are in one of the at-risk groups or are an English language learner
December 5 TELS Principals meeting:
Principal Bev: I have a question right now that I think they could be helpful for. As an underperforming school we always have to go through the Williams case. And the money comes to us and it says textbooks and instructional materials. So every time we try to put something other than textbook through on their, it gets sent back to us. I am so thoughtful about the lack of computers and you know these students are using the computer cart and sometimes the difficulty of logging on, and the Internet issue... So I am wondering about funds to upgrade our computers, does anyone know about this? We need more funding. Prof Development Facilitator Diane: We could have Delaine come and offer an interpretation of the Williams Act in the form of policy. Principal Bev: I think that that would be helpful Diane for two reasons. One is just for expenditures and two is as we receive complaints about having textbooks for reasons of continuity –the district, state is really focused on text books when really textbooks are not an issue anymore. Everyone does have their textbook. It is interesting that no one is worried about their children’s lack of access to computers, that is the real problem.
Facilitator Diane (end of meeting): We talked a little bit about the possibility of our next time we come together to try and do our meeting at a school site where TELS is happening… Principal Bev: I would be curious to see a site that has a lot of moveable carts Principal Robert: Is there someone who has more than two carts? Principal Helena: We have two carts plus the two labs. We have been really fortunate in that we have had a set of parents who work for companies. Right now for example we are working on trying to think of the name of the company that is doing it for us but if we come up with 25% of the money whatever we come up with money wise, they will match ¾ to. SO if we come up with 25% - we are trying to come up with 5,000 dollars they will give us 20,000 for equipment.