Saturday, April 20, 2013

Action Research ::: Conclusion/Reflections

While I feel that the implementation of PBIS has had a hand in impacting the overall campus climate, I feel the most significant change that occurred during the course of this research was the change in leadership.  A new principal and assistant principal were hired prior to the 2012-2013 school year.  This new leadership team came in with a new energy, vision, and focus.  The staff bought in to what they wanted to see happen and thus the huge change in campus climate from one year to the next. 

The most important finding for me is this reality, leadership matters!

In reflecting on this action research, I found that there are so many different factors that come into play when discussing campus climate that it would be tough to say, “Can implementing PBIS really have a positive impact on campus climate?”  The simple answer is, yes it can.  However, there are so many different things that factor in to campus climate.  I cannot say definitively that PBIS did or did not have a significant impact on the climate of CMS.  I can tell you that it has changed for the better.  I can tell you that PBIS was used.  However, I can also tell you that there have been many other factors that I feel have had a significant impact on the overall campus environment.  

Action Research ::: Findings

Through the process of implementing some programs that focus on creating a more positive environment and a very important change in leadership, the campus climate at Community Middle School has changed drastically over the course of the time I have been doing this research.  I believe the best way to show the evidence of these changes is through an email that was sent to our superintendent from a parent.  This parent does not have any students at the middle school yet, but will at some point.  

Here is an excerpt from her email (names abbreviated to provide anonymity for students and staff):

“Prior to the beginning of this school year (2012/13) I can honestly say I was scared about T. & P. going to our JH as I did not hear anything positive.  I am an optimistic by heart and a parent that fully intends to be involved at each age level; however, it is unnerving to hear derogatory comments.  I can honestly say that has absolutely NOT been the case this year-I have heard nothing but praises, excitement and joy from JH parents.  It did my heart & soul so much good to walk the JH halls, meet Mr. T. and start to become familiar with the school and staff.  As you are fully aware, my “helicopter mom” took on a whole new meaning when T. was diagnosed with cancer; with that said I can honestly say I came home that Friday excited for T. (only one more year at MES)!  I shared with him all that I learned and told him how friendly & compassionate Mr. T., Ms. T. and all the staff we encountered were.  I was the ‘crazy mom’ that asked about “parent involvement” at the JH level and was so very thankful & blessed to hear Mr. T. and the Librarian say without hesitating that they absolutely welcome and want parent involvement!”

For me, know where this campus has come from and to know the place it has come to in less than one year is truly exciting. 

Here is some other data that I feel is very telling:

As you can see, 80-90% of the responses fall in the “agree” or “strongly agree” column.

This survey question and response shows me that we have 90%+ of our teachers who feel fulfilled in what they are doing.  I believe this is one of the huge keys to a healthy campus climate.

This data sheet shows that morale is high campus wide.  The columns for agree and strongly agree and by far the highest percentages with all but one being around the 90% range.  Morale being high is another key to a healthy campus climate.

Action Research ::: Abstract

Campus climate and culture affects every area of the life of a school.  From the way students behave in the hallways to the way the educational process works, and everything in between, is affected by the climate of the campus.  Campus climate can be a difficult thing to define or pin down, but educators know what it is and know when it is not very good.  Campus climate is one of those things that you can sense or feel, even as an outsider, when you step foot inside the halls of a campus.  When a negative campus climate is present, teachers have a tendency to feel stressed and under appreciated and students feel oppressed and under achieve.  When you have a staff functioning in a bad climate they are less likely to collaborate and have cohesion with a singular focus on student achievement and success.  This can be the most damaging aspect of the negative climate that is felt on a campus.  The research shows that it can be felt in many areas of the overall effectiveness of the campus.
For the purpose of this action research I chose to take a closer look at Community Middle School in Nevada, TX.  The problem that this campus was experiencing was a very negative campus climate, which had begun to affect virtually every aspect of the life of the school.  The initial intervention that was being applied was the implementation of Positive Behavior Interventions and Support, or PBIS.  PBIS is a decision-making framework that guides selection, integration, and implementation of the best evidence-based academic and behavioral practices for improving important academic and behavior outcomes for all students. ("What is school-wide," n.d)  The findings show that with the implementation of PBIS and some key changes in leadership over the course of the past year, the campus climate has changed drastically at Community Middle School.  The improvement in campus climate has been felt by all state holders and has had an immediately impacted on student achievement. 


Sunday, February 12, 2012

Greatest Challenges in Implementation

Challenges in implementation:
1.) Coordinating time to meet with all administrators
2.) Coordinating the student surveys
3.) Collecting useful data from students, teachers, and administrators
4.) Getting the students who have been selected for the panel to provide open and honest feedback

I know these challenges seem a little surface level but I honestly feel that I have a lot of support from our administrators on this project, including the superintendent, so the challenges I will have are not at all terms of cooperation, but more along the lines of things that I cannot control.

I am really excited about this project and it's findings.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Action Plan

Action Research Plan: PBIS and how it is affecting campus climate

Goal: To evaluate how the districts newly instituted PBIS is affecting campus climate

Activity: Survey students and teachers at our (two) secondary campuses in order to evaluate how affective the PBIS system is.

  • Persons responsible – Zach Snow
  • Timeline – February 2012 – August 2012
  • Resources – Surveys (hard copies for students, online for staff)
  • Evaluation – Collect surveys and compile data

Activity: Provide evaluations forms for administrators for the purpose of them rating how they feel their campuses are doing

· Person responsible – Zach Snow

· Timeline – February 2012 – August 2012

· Resources – Evaluation forms for the administrators

· Evaluation – Compare evaluation ratings to the actual data collected from the students and staff

Activity: Form a panel of students to meet with face-to-face to have some discussions and get honest feedback on their feel of the campus climate

· Person responsible – Zach Snow

· Timeline – February 2012 – August 2012

· Resources – 10 students from each of our secondary campuses (chosen at random) and access to a meeting area

· Evaluation – Compare these panels to the data collected from anonymous surveys

Activity: Engage in reflection time about the findings from the data collected and the interviews conducted

· Person responsible – Zach Snow

· Timeline – August 2012

· Resources – Time to reflect, data collected, blog entries, meetings with campus administrators

· Evaluation – Compare the collected data and information and review it with each campus administrator

Friday, February 3, 2012

Action Research Details

Topic: How is our newly instituted PBIS affecting campus climate/culture?

Context: Community ISD's secondary campuses (1 High School and 1 Middle School)

Target Population: Administrators, Teachers, Para-professionals, Students, and Community Members

Selecting Sample: I will be creating surveys that will be made available to every secondary teacher and para, as well as every secondary student. I will conduct a panel study at the middle school and another at the high school (panels will be made up of 10 students per campus chosen at random from the student population). I will also use the venue of our "Community U" group (made up of parents and other community members) to get anonymous surveys from community members.

Rationale: I feel the more feedback we receive from as many stakeholders as possible, the better the feel we will have for our current campus climate.

Description of how: I will use anonymous online surveys for staff (using surveymonkey or something of the like) and hard copy papers surveys for the students to fill out (also anonymously). I was given permission from the superintendent to have teachers distribute the student surveys during the student's tutoring time (which is a built in 30 minute period each day). I was also given permission from the superintendent to survey a group of 25 parents and community members that meet together once a month to learn about Community ISD, this group is called "Community U". Another part of the evaluation process will be to take a look at the number of office referrals we had last year compared to this year.

Monday, January 30, 2012

Campus Climate and Culture

The purpose for my proposed action research project is to gauge how we are doing in terms of our campus climate and culture at our secondary campuses. There are several different areas that I am wanting to look into in terms of what we are doing to create a more positive learning environment for both students and teachers. With the PBIS initiative in place this year, I would like to take a look at the number of office referrals that have been received so far this year and compare that to last year. I would also like to evaluate the extra curriculum programs, events, etc that have been put in place for the purpose of creating a more positive environment. Lastly, I will conduct surveys and face-to-face interviews with students, teachers, and parents in order to get a true sense of how they feel about their campus climate and culture and (for those who have been here for more than one year) what changes have they seen.

The significance of this project will hopefully be felt by all stakeholders for both our high school and middle school campuses. After evaluating the data we can determine if we are truly creating the type of campus culture that is conducive to student achievement. I will have the opportunity to meet with the campus administrators after collecting the data and discuss with them the findings. My hope is that if changes need to be made, based off of student, teachers, and parent responses, they will be willing to take a deeper look it to ways in which we can create the type of campuses that we all want.