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.