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William Molnar

PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT PLAN PARTS I-III

BY

WILLIAM MOLNAR

FOR PhD: EDUCATION: K-12 LEADERSHIP

PART I:

I currently teach elementary music in an urban school district. My school district has 35

elementary schools and 5 high schools. I have been teaching in an inner city school for 19 years.

At one time, big city public school systems have been the target of criticism from virtually all

points of political and social circles. Today’s inner-city schools are faced with what may be a

unique situation for which there is really no historical precedent. A century ago, the big cities of

America were educating children who were “foreign”. They, along with their parents, were

viewed by many within the public school education system as having a set of values and

aspirations. But times have changed. The pressures on today’s big city public schools are a

direct result of economic hardship and the instability of family values. Many families, if they

exist, have two parents working where 30 years ago women would stay at home. Many of the

students in the big city public schools also have no father figure in the house to look up to. This

causes behavioral problems in the schools as well. American children are facing many

challenges such as gang violence, AIDS, and substance abuse. Perhaps one of the most

potentially dangerous environment for today’s child is within inner cities where crime and

poverty are serious issues. My goal in my career is to develop the expertise in helping the

students in the inner city make something of themselves and make them reach their full potential
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using higher order thinking skills. In my current position, I try to help students use music as an

escape from their troublesome life style. Since music is a universal language and the only

subject in school that can utilize all other subject matter, I try to tie in the role of music in the

past to the role of music in the present. I use music as a catalyst to other subjects such as math

and science so that the child can see its relationship to things outside of the music room. One

reason why I want to pursue a PhD in K-12 Leadership is because I want to understand the role

of all subject matter at the elementary level. My personal and professional goal is to obtain a

position at a higher level where I can change what and how music along with other subjects is

taught within the state, in other words, I would like to obtain a position as a leader in the area of

supervisor or curriculum and instruction. I feel that furthering my education at the doctoral

level will enable me to be a better educator and researcher in education and will give me the

power to bring my students one step closer to enjoying music rather than seeing it as just another

period in their school schedule. Teaching elementary music in the urban schools is very

different than teaching music in the suburban environment. I have to deal with many different

ethnicities and religions whereas many of the suburbs do not. My school is made up of African-

American, Hispanic, Egyptian, and Caucasian students mostly of poor families. Some of my

students come to school homeless, hungry, and barely any clothes on their back. These children

come to school with a lot of baggage and I want to be able to make a difference in their lives.

Teaching music is a good way to reach many of these kids but sometimes ethnic and racial

boundaries cause a loss in translation. This is why I chose to pursue a PhD in Education

specializing in K-12 Leadership. I want to study the area of elementary education more closely

and look at what others have found and what they have done to reach these students. I want to

gain knowledge in elementary education as a whole, understanding how various subject areas
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align with each other., I want to study some of the top education philosophers such as Dewey,

Marx, Weber, Toffler, Darwin, Berstein, Diamond, and Gardner just to name a few. Many times I

feel like I am not getting through to the students and I feel helpless. Working with students of so

many races and religions, it is very difficult to find a common thread in many subject areas. I

think that studying the philosophies of the aforementioned philosophers will help me understand

the social impact that is causing my students to fail in education. The hardest part of teaching in

the urban schools is student discipline. I find myself spending more time disciplining than

teaching. After 19 years, one would think that discipline would not be a problem and I believe

that to be true if it was in the suburban environment. They have other priorities in mind like

where their next meal is coming from or where they are going to sleep tonight. While studying

for my PhD, it will give me the opportunity to improve my ability to teach in the urban schools.

By becoming a scholar-practitioner in my situation, I will hopefully empower the students to

want to learn thus causing social change. Once I obtain a PhD in K-12 Leadership I hope to

leave the classroom and acquire a position in supervision or curriculum and instruction.

PART II:

In order to develop a good professional development plan, it helps to take stock of my previous

accomplishments and assess my strengths and weaknesses. These assessments will enable

Walden University to place me with a mentor suitable for me. In addition, looking at the

accomplishments at the same time will enable me to realize what areas I need to focus on in

order to succeed in the doctoral program. With this in mind, I would like to address coursework

in the Social and behavioral science. I have not had any coursework in the social nor the

behavioral sciences. I am aware that had I had previous experience in these areas, it might have
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helped me with my dissertation since societal issues is a major portion of the dissertation. As far

as academic coursework in other fields, I have extensive training in music and music education

since this is my field of teaching. In addition to the coursework I accumulated in my

undergraduate studies, I did training at the graduate level also leading me to my first Masters

degree; MA in music education. Within this degree, I had numerous courses in music theory,

problem solving in the music classroom and modern movement in the arts. I focused the better

part of my graduate time focusing on the study of opera, mainly opera of the Renaissance and

Baroque time periods. I also had courses in counseling theories and techniques of interviewing

and counseling. I was at one time planning to pursue a degree in student counseling, but instead

decided to focus on educational leadership.

I have much training in academic coursework relating to Supervision and Administration since

this is the area of my second master’s degree (M.Ed). Within this degree, I had courses in

curriculum development, school finance, school law, cultural foundations in education,

computer applications in educational administration, administration in the elementary school and

introduction to research and educational statistics. Many of these courses will help me pursue a

PhD in Education K-12 Leadership.

I have had some experience with professional presentations, seminars and workshops. Within

my school, during one of our professional development days, I did a presentation to other

teachers on the use of music in other subjects, mainly science and mathematics. I also did a

workshop for the entire music faculty within my district on using music to enhance memory

within other academic courses. In 1997 I did a presentation to the New Jersey Symphony
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Orchestra by supplying lesson plans for public schools that were designed to teach the music that

was being performed by the New Jersey Symphony Orchestra in 1997.

I have had many volunteer activities, some which are related to my field and some which are

not. My major volunteer activity is the church choir and tenor leader. I have been involved in

church choir for almost 15 years in three different parishes. I also am a member of the Holy Men

Society and the Knights of Columbus. Both organizations are deeply involved in charity

activities. As a member of the Knights of Columbus, we would hold many charitable activities

to raise money for various venues. Our biggest activity is the pancake breakfast which we hold 4

times a year. In addition, we have flower sales, and sales of gift coupons to a local supermarket.

In 1989, when I taught in the South Bronx, New York City, I participated as a member of the

restructuring committee creating a “Musical Styles” curriculum of fifty-seven lesson plans in

five units to be used in Intermediate and Senior High Schools throughout District seven.

I had the opportunity to experience designing and executing research. In 1996, I was awarded

the Arts Genesis Grant, funded by HUD (Housing and Urban Development). With this award, I

researched the rhythmic ability between African-American and Hispanic students in grades one,

two, and three. I then reported my research in an article that is published by our district in their

monthly newsletter.

I also experienced designing and executing research in 1997 when I was honored the New

Jersey Symphony Master Teacher’s Collaborative award (Funded by the Geraldine R. Dodge

Foundation). The purpose of this award was to allow the teachers that were chosen throughout

the state to work with the New Jersey Symphony Orchestra in preparing lesson plans that
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teachers can use in the classroom relating to the music of the season that the NJSO was

performing. There were 12 teachers chosen amongst hundreds across the state. These lesson

plans were discussed with the orchestra and then submitted in a book format and disseminated to

all music teachers throughout the state of New Jersey.

Another volunteer activity I was associated with was being appointed conductor and

coordinator of the 1995 and 1996 All City Orchestra. This was a huge undertaking but was very

rewarding at the end when we performed in front of hundreds of friends and family throughout

Jersey City.

Being a member of the Pupil Assistance Committee was a rewarding volunteer activity. The

PAC’s purpose was the responsibility for the assistance of staff members in designing,

coordinating, and monitoring with the peer intervention strategies that are effective for students

within traditional classroom setting prior to referral to the Child Study Team. Each student that

was PACed was given a work plan that lasted 6 to 8 weeks. If no progress was made, then the

child was forwarded to the Child Study Team for further testing and possible placement into a

special education setting. Being a member of this committee was purely a volunteer position.

For four years 1992-1996, I served as the head of the “Cluster” choral music festival for

Division “B” schools which I initiated in 1992. Our district at that time was divided into two

districts, A and B. I initiated and coordinated a choral festival for our division. It ended in 1996

when there was a change of administration and the music festival became something of a lesser

importance. It was around this time that our school began to fail in the state testing, and the

principal removed all extra-curricular activities.


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One of my strong accomplishments was the designing of half-time shows for two of the Jersey

City High Schools. I took on this responsibility with no pay. It was a passion of mine to work

with marching bands. I have been involved in marching bands since my freshman year in high

school and was still at the time of writing the half-time shows, marching with professional drum

and bugle corps. My volunteering was no longer needed when the marching band programs

were removed from the high school programs.

I had the opportunity to serve as the chairman of the curriculum committee for the Fine and

Performing Arts in 1993, 1999, and again in 2008. As chairman, I advised four other members

of the curriculum committee to revise the current curriculum to fit with the guidelines being set

forth by New Jersey and had to be realigned to match the New Jersey Core Curriculum Content

Standards. I respectively removed myself from the 2008 position to spend time working on my

doctorate degree. I felt the work would be overwhelming and I did not want to judge my

academic quality of work with Walden University.

Experiencing designing and executing research is an area of weakness for me. The only

research I experienced was in the areas of music education and educational leadership. I did take

a course in research seminar during my graduate studies.

In publications and other writing experiences I have had several. The first experience I had was

one that I recently mentioned when I wrote the “Musical Styles” curriculum while working in the

South Bronx. I also had experience writing curriculum as mentioned before, both in 1993 and

1999. And last, my research on rhythmic studies amongst African-American students and

Hispanic Students in grades one, two, and three was published in the Jersey City Public Schools

monthly newsletter.
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Teaching Assignments: My first experience teaching was in the South Bronx in New York City.

It was here I created the 57 lesson plans (Musical Styles) and purchased electronic keyboards to

enhance current music curriculum and created an electronic music program for students in grades

five and six. I also instituted a daily morning music exercise for the entire student body prior to

arriving to homeroom.

My second teaching experience was in an urban district in New Jersey where I enhanced

ethnically diverse children’s appreciation and understanding of classical music by creating lesson

plans that explored similarities with contemporary music. I also launched a successful string

program that performed for various social functions.

My third teaching experience which is where I have been for the last 18 years and is also an

urban district in New Jersey is where I developed myself and grew into being the professional

and educated person that I am today. It was during my tenure here in Jersey City that I

accomplished most of what I have mentioned above such as, the “Cluster” choral festival,

designing the half-time shows for the two high schools, appointed as conductor and coordinator

for the 1995 and 1996 all city orchestra, recipient of the Arts Genesis Grant funded by HUD,

recipient of the New Jersey Symphony Master Teacher’s Collaborative, member of the PAC

committee, chairman of the curriculum committee and mentoring two newly hired music

specialists within our district.

My professional training was done at the West Chester University of Pennsylvania and was a

very well designed program. I had extensive courses in music theory, history and aurals. In

addition, I had a lot of preparation for teaching by taking numerous courses in teaching methods

and student teaching for a semester. I then continued my training by completing my Masters
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degree in music education at Montclair State University of New Jersey and a Master’s degree in

Educational leadership from Trenton State College.

My academic strengths lie in the fact that I am very well versed in the field of music and the

teaching of music to elementary student. Another issue that gives me support in my position is

that I am also certified in elementary education. Having this certification helps me when I

design my lesson plans so that I can align them with what is being taught in other subjects such

as math, science, reading, and social studies. I have had experience in teaching according to the

musical philosophies of Orff, Kodaly, Dalcroze, and Suzuki. My weaknesses lie in being able to

teach the music of today and tie it in with traditional music. I find it very difficult to teach

musical concepts using music the students listen to; what I call “Street Music”.

My research strengths are best in the fact that I know how to do computer research in addition to

traditional library research. I am knowledgeable in using the Library of Congress and the Dewey

Decimal System of research. I also know how to use the Boolean system of research. I don’t

feel I possess any weakness in research.

With regards to availability of library, reference and information technology resources, I have an

abundance amount of resources. First I have the county library which has an interlibrary loan. I

also have access to the Rutgers University Library because my wife is a graduate of the

University. She as an unlimited amount of books she can take out for me. I personally have

access to the technology and reference resources. As a graduate of Trenton State College, I have

unlimited access to the library and they also offer interlibrary loans with various Colleges and

Universities throughout the state although New Jersey only has one University.
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In conclusion, the aforementioned material within this professional development plan gives the

reader the necessary information to begin doctoral studies at Walden University.

Part III:

My major learning goal is to develop expertise in the area of elementary education and

educational leadership in particular curriculum development. I would also like to gain

knowledge in working with students who are at-risk. Pursuing a Doctoral degree in K-12

Leadership will prepare me with the knowledge and skills needed to make a change in the

educational system in the state of New Jersey. I would like to work at the state level working

with curriculum and development. With a Doctorate degree from Walden University, I will have

the ability to seek out jobs that otherwise might be impossible at the graduate level. I would also

like to work closely with the national core curriculum content standards and align the state

curriculum to reflect the NCCCS.

There are three KAMs in my program of study:

KAM 1: Theories of Societal Development,

KAM 2: Theories of Human Development

KAM 3: Theories of Organizational and Social Systems.

KAM I is a study of the sociology of education. I will have the opportunity to study the

philosophies of Alvin Toffler, Karl Marx, Peter Berger, G.H. Mead, Max Weber, and John
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Dewey. In KAM I, I will study societal influences as it relates to education. This will be the

Breadth component of KAM I. In the Depth component, I will research 15 peer-reviewed

journal articles within the last five years and compare/contrast them to the classical philosophies

previously mentioned. In the Application component, I will apply what I learn from the Breadth

and Depth component and create a project that is related to school and society. For KAM I, I

would like to study students who are at-risk.

KAM II is theories of human development. Again in the Breadth component I will study the

ideas of theorists in human development from the field of education such as Adler, Bandura,

Darwin, Piaget and Erikson. In the Depth component I will research 15 peer-reviewed journal

articles within the last five years and compare/contrast them to these classical philosophers. In

the Application component, I will apply the theories I learn from the other two components and

design a project that will apply the philosophies and current trends in behavioral science as it

relates to child development and the role it plays in current trends in education. In KAM II, I

wish to study in depth child’s cognitive development and grade placement in the public schools.

I would like to find if a student in a certain grade should be age appropriate, or should students

be placed based on learning ability.

KAM III is Theories of Organizational and Social Systems. This KAM is designed to study

systems theory and what a system is. I will study the language of systems thinking and study the

two kinds of general theories in systems science. KAM III will help answer how scientific

knowledge is developed. In the Breadth component, I will study the philosophies of Aldrich,

Bandura, and Etzioni. The Depth component will consist of 15 previously reviewed articles in

the area of systems theory and organizational changes. In the Application component, I will
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apply the theories I have learned to a project that emphasizes the field of education as it is seen

through the eyes of a social system.