High School Z - Whole School Improvement

Our team had the opportunity to visit a site who was using The Leader in Me, from FranklinCovey, to implement whole school improvement.

What struck me about this process is the way that it is implemented. Many times in a school each teacher will have their classroom rules and it differs from grade to grade and class to class.There may be no consistency and expectations may be different.

This site was implementing The Leader in Me across all classes, across all grades and all sites. The "rules" and "expectations" for the kindergarten class are the same as for the seniors in an agriculture education program!

Throughout the school instead of different posters showing different rules they had banners, "street signs" in the hallway (see picture above) and posters in the cafeteria that serve as a reminder for the habits that they are supposed to be developing.

But what happens when teachers retire or move to another system and new ones are hired to replaced them? As part of their hiring process newly hired personnel must take the same training that everyone else has received in order to be introduced into the culture of the school system and understand the whole school philosophies.

I am not saying that you must use the same program but I really liked the concept of the entire school system using the same base and that they have a process for on-boarding that includes training the new hire in the way that the site does whole school improvement.


High School Z - Turn off the Noise!

As we were touring an academic center we were discussing how the site helps students concentrate on the task at hand - testing.

In the center there was a speaker that was connected to the site's communication system. They installed a switch on the speaker, a light switch in particular, that they could use to turn off the speaker if they are testing.

As a student I was very easily distracted and very willing to chase a "squirrel" when I should be concentrating. Having class interrupted by an announcement was a sure fire way for me to not concentrate on what I was supposed to be doing anymore.

So there you have it, a switch that turns off the announcement speaker so that students will not be interrupted with the lunch menu. Seems like a pretty good idea to me!


High School Z - Counseling After Hours

At a high school our team visited we had a great discussion with administrators who bragged on their counselors as one was staying after hours to reach those students and parents who could not make it in during the normal school day.

The counselor stayed until 8pm every Tuesday so that students could be served. This happened in two different ways. Students and parents could drop in or they could set up an appointment. 

Currently the time is being paid by a grant that the school applied for and received. Their plan for sustaining the program is looking at flex time for the counselor and letting them come in later the next day or take longer lunches.

The concept I believe has multiple benefits. It allows an opportunity to engage a specific segment of the population that might not be engaged any other way. There may be students or parents who have to work until 5 or after that can now see a counselor and get the needed career guidance and other services a counselor provides. It allows for relationships to be built and has the opportunity to engage parents, on their time, increasing parental involvement.

I am sure there are many other ways that this program enhances the academic success at the school. There are most likely other schools that have implemented this or a similar program with success. This is the first school I have heard about a program in place and having success and thought it would be something that I should share and something that I would strongly consider if I was an administrator at High School Z.


High School Z

Over the past several months I have had the privilege to lead multiple teams in travels to numerous schools across Oklahoma. I can't wait to total up the miles since I have started and see how far I have gone. I feel like I might be close to reaching 24,901 miles, or the distance around the earth!

One thing that has remained consistent is that at each visit our team has made, whether visiting a middle school, junior high, high school, technology center or college, is that we are able to find at least one thing that should be shared as a best practice with the rest of the educators out there.

Allow me to introduce you to the High School Z label in the Oklahoma CTE Blog. Here I will gather thoughts on schools and highlight some of the neat things going on in #OklaEd. I will not name the schools, but those that attend may figure it out. All credit goes to the schools but I do not want to "call" anyone out or start a "that was our idea first" argument.

So here it is, if I was an administrator, the ideas, concepts and applications of educational practices that stick out that I would further explore and possibly implement at High School Z


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