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BrandeeSpencer

EDAD 5323 OL

April 16, 2016

P-16 College Readiness and Successful Strategic Action Plan

Objective 3- Infuse prekindergarten, elementary, middle, and high school curricula

with appropriate rigor to academically prepare students, including those with

special needs, for success in college/ university courses and career pursuits.

The formal relationship of a child and teacher begins as soon as the child enters

the public school system as a prekindergarten learner. Objective 3 strives to ensure that

students are getting off to the right start and this is continued throughout their educational

career. This right start includes making sure that academic standards are raised, teacher

quality is exceptional, and there is a smooth transition from one level of learning to the

next. I believe that that base of good education, and the ability to make all students

college and career ready begins with exceptional teachers who are constantly looking for

professional development. Holding all students accountable for rigorous learning that
will allow for success in the next grade and beyond requires teachers to step outside of

their classrooms and to work cooperatively as a campus. In chapter fourteen of The

Principal as Curriculum Leader it discussed the importance of enrichment activities and

then in the proceeding chapter discussed the benefits of project/performance based

activities. The enrichment curriculum should be seen as the leaven of the curriculum ,

providing lightness and excitement and restoring some fun in to the curriculum

(Glatthorn,2009,p.156) What if we allowed our students to take a subject they enjoyed,

choose a concept and teach it to students in the grade before them? Joining classrooms

allows for the students to take ownership, problem solve, plan, and work together; all

skills that are essential to higher education and the workforce. Lets look at science for an

example. On my campus we have chunked science into 4 categories; environmental,

energy, matter, and Earth. These units are aligned so that the entire school is working on

concepts in the same unit, and with the structure of elementary curriculum there is a very

obvious vertical alignment of concepts. Often times we spend time reviewing with our

own classroom concepts that were learned the previous year; it does the trick but can be

expanded to incorporate higher level thinking skills that would be more beneficial and

meaningful to our students. If my team and I could create essential outcomes with the 4th

grade team we could work together towards a rigors project that would have our students

teaching each other. Classes could get together once a week for enrichment on the science

topic of their choice and explore deeper. Students could even work within their

classrooms to prepare a lesson, or an activity for their next enrichment time. Teachers

could help facilitate and ensure outcomes are being met, concepts are being focused on

and students are learning. By teaming up with another grade level, teachers are able to
learn from one another and stretch their educational brains beyond their own classroom

or team. Students are also being held to a higher bar of academics because they are in

charge of their learning, and have choice. Not only will they gain knowledge but also

important people skills as they work with peers, and younger students. And finally, by

involving 4th and 5th grade science, students coming into 4th grade will be acquainted with

the teachers, the expectations, and the concepts being taught; making for a smoother

transition.

Objective 4- Establish sound accountability measures for college readiness in public

education and for persistence and timely graduation in higher education.

College and career readiness indicators are parts of TEAs Academic Excellence

Indicator System (AEIS) in order to provide an overall look at students and their

preparedness for higher-education. These indicators take into consideration test results,

the courses one is enrolled in, and the courses completed. As an elementary teacher, it is

very hard to get students to understand the importance of such indicators because high

school is too far into the future. They cannot hold value in something that doesnt affect

them in the immediate future. Therefor, it is left to the elementary teacher to build within

his or her students the desire to strive for their best and to push them beyond what comes

easy. Elementary needs to be about pushing every student to his or her highest potential

clear of labels, or judgments based on how they are performing all before the age of 11.

My campus, as I am sure many others do, has a gifted math program we call PACE. This

program is an accelerated math program that teaches TEKS from the next grade level to

students who qualified for the program. In my district we are qualifying students as early

as kindergarten. Kindergarten! How is it that by the second, possibly even the first, year
of a childs educational career we are already placing them on the path mentally, and

educationally for an advanced course? This PACE label travels with them k-12 once they

qualify and affects their graduation plan in high school. I believe that elementary aged

students are too young, impressionable, and emotionally not ready to have such a label

available to them. Students who make it in often become complacent in their learning

because they are seen as smart. They have stifled their ability and desire to do well

because in their eyes, and often their parents eyes, theyve made it. On the other hand, if

a student does not qualify for PACE they immediately see themselves as behind or not as

good at math. This, as any educator would know, severely affects their ability to learn,

self-confidence, and success; all before they even leave elementary! What if this program

did not exists in elementary school? It should be every childs right to receive accelerated

math if that is something they are ready for. Teachers need to be knowledgeable enough

to know what skills build upon what they are teaching in their core curriculum and to be

able to push students above and beyond. Sitting down with each student to set goals,

make a progression plan, and to track progress would assure that every student is making

growth. Once they are ready to leave the elementary setting ALL students should then be

required to take the PACE screener to see if what they have received in elementary has

prepared them to be capable of then getting into a formal PACE path for the rest of their

6-12 educational years. Advanced course enrollment is important, and as indicated on the

AEIS a part of college and career readiness, but it is not something that children as young

as 6 should be stripped of before being given a chance to truly learn.

Objective 5- Create a college going culture in every public prekindergarten,

elementary, middle, and high school in Texas.


Objective 5 focuses on the need to intertwine the K-12 educational journey with

the one students will take after as they enter higher education. Post secondary education

is becoming essential to being successful in todays global economy and this idea must

become part of our education language starting at an early age. Often time school focus

on a students graduation date being when they graduate high school, what if we switched

it to when they graduate college? Sometimes something as simple as stating a different

outcome could switch ones mindset and help them to encompass that as a reachable path

for themselves. As I said earlier, getting students in the elementary to think about

something so far in the future as collage, or even high school is probably not going to be

the most affective way to instill the importance of college readiness. Elementary students

need to be charged with the excitement of education, learning, and the opportunities

available to them with the rapidly changing technology and global advancements they

will see in their lifetime. During Education: Go Get It Week there is a great chance to

get community members involved that students look up too. High School seniors from

the football team, dance team, cheerleading squad, or any other performance group at that

level gives meaning to our students in the elementary setting is a great resource. A mentor

program between these groups and elementary students would be a great additional to the

clubs offered in an elementary school. A boys club would include high school boys and

our 5th grade students that meet once or twice a month; the same could go for a girls club.

In this club students could discuss academic issues, social issues and the standards the

high school students are meeting to further their education. Since my 5th grade students

look up to these seniors it would inspire them to be like their local hero. They can see

their possibilities in action and make a plan to reach those themselves.


Resouces:

Glatthorn,A.A.,&Jailall,J.(2009).Theprincipalascurriculumleader:Shapingwhat

istaught

andtested(3rded.).ThousandOaks,CA:CorwinPress.