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Competencies Reflection

JAMAR JOHNSON UNIVERSITY OF ST. THOMAS

campus culture by facilitating the development, articulation, implementation, and stewardship of a vision of learning that is shared and supported by the school community.
During my internship I was able to thoughtfully address Competency 1 by participating on the creation of our updated grading and retake policy. Looking through the lens of an administrator, I saw firsthand how difficult it is to create a grading policy that is all-encompassing for every course at a grade level 6-12 campus, while at the same time stays true to the vision of learning that is the foundation of our school. While on the retake policy committee I was able to offer up how I thought certain changes would affect my classroom and then I began to think through how specific policies would be implemented in other classes, and how we could make the transition seamless from the old policy into the new policy. Although I found this work challenging, I actually enjoyed working on the administrative level in the creation of a policy. To continue to learn more skills related to Competency 1, I will be volunteering myself to my administration to work on retooling our discipline system so that it also is more aligned to the shared vision of learning on our campus.

communicate and collaborate with all members of the school community, respond to diverse interests and needs, and mobilize resources to promote student success.
Competency 2 is a skill set that I know I am already proficient in but I still would like to continue to grow so that it can be a phenomenal strength for me. This semester I worked on this Competency by holding focus groups for students and teachers across grade levels to look into the issue of bullying on our campus. As I talked with teachers, I no longer was talking to them as teacher colleagues, but as an administrator who was seeking additional information about a topic of concern on our campus. Initially, I had some difficulty in communicating as an administrator, but after a couple of focus groups I was able to convey my message in a better tone. Additionally, I sought outside community groups to come to the school to work with students with bullying. While they have not yet been able to make it to the school, it was a learning experience with how to create a plan in order to mobilize resources for students.

Competency 3: The principal knows how to act with integrity, fairness, and in an ethical and legal manner.
When I began working on my schools retake policy committee, I did assume the role of leader of one of the subcommittees. While the leader of this subcommittee I had to learn how to balance what my personal ideas and beliefs were in comparison with what my teammates wanted to see in the policy. This was initially a difficult task for me as I did not want to give up control of my ideas and have them modified by others in the committee. However, I learned that as a leader you have to allow your ideas to be modified by others so that the result is fair and is representative of the shared vision of the school. This is definitely an area that I still need to improve in and I would like to shadow administrators at my school as they work with other staff members to observe how they communicate and share their ideas without coming across as overbearing and unfair.

Competency 4: The principal knows how to facilitate the design and implementation of curricula and strategic plans that enhance teaching and learning; ensure alignment of curriculum, instruction, resources, and assessment; and promote the use of varied assessments to measure student performance.
In order to increase my understanding of Competency 4, I created a curriculum for my school based around an anti-bullying campaign in order to reduce the incidents of bullying on our campus. This was the most time-consuming process of my internship, and it was also the project that I had the most control over. To design the curriculum, I worked with my Student Support Counselors and Deans of Instruction in order to identify appropriate research techniques that would be most effective for our students and would also align with our schools vision. As I began to design the curriculum, I had to take into account how this curriculum would interface with students in varied grade levels, which made the work slightly more difficult. However, I was able to design an anti-bullying curriculum for all grade levels that included resources and assessment of students to determine if the curriculum was effective. In this experience I did not get the opportunity to create curriculum for an actual subject which would allow me to create varied assessments, so I would like to be involved with that process in the spring semester.

Competency 5: The principal knows how to advocate, nurture, and sustain an instructional program and a campus culture that are conducive to student learning and staff professional growth.
In my role as Grade Level Chair for the 12th grade, I am responsible for maintaining and sustaining the culture of the 12th grade with the assistance of my fellow grade level teachers and my Dean of Students. As a GLC I have developed various culture initiatives to ensure that my team is able to maintain a vibrant student culture that promotes the success of students in my grade level. The ability to sustain this program was simple, however creating the culture initiatives was challenging because I had never had to create culture events/systems for an entire grade level. This was an excellent piece of training for me because I know that I will be asked to create culture programs in my role as an administrator. I will be working closely with my DoS to determine how I can design more meaningful programs/systems with my team that will continue to push our 12th graders to academic success.

Competency 6: The principal knows how to implement a staff evaluation and development system to improve the performance of all staff members, select and implement appropriate models for supervision and staff development, and apply the legal requirements for personnel management.
I did not get a chance to get much work in this competency, but I was able to create an evaluation system that I used when I completed cultural observations of teachers classrooms. In using this document I was able to focus directly on 10 specific tasks of my teachers so that I could give them actionable feedback about what they could do to improve the culture of their classroom. Because of the success that I experienced with this tool I then was able to share this with other grade level chairs so that they could also use it to conduct effective cultural observations of their teachers. Next semester I would like to actually get time to work with the instructional team on developing other measures to evaluation staff and work with them in determining how to implement appropriate models for supervision and development. Unfortunately I dont think I will be able to receive any training in the legal requirements for personnel management until I am in a different position at my school.

Competency 7: The principal knows how to apply organizational, decision-making, and problemsolving skills to ensure an effective learning environment.
Working as a grade level chair has allowed me to practice numerous skills which fall under the umbrella of Competency 7. Working with discipline issues when they arose in 12th grade, I was able to apply my decision-making and problem-solving skills to the various discipline situations. In thinking through these situations I was pushed to think of what was right and fair not only for the concerned students but also the general student body. It was interesting as I went through the thinking process of handling discipline for issues outside of my classroom, as I had to logically think through how my decision would affect others at the school; this thinking is vastly different than thinking about the discipline that I would administer within my classroom.

Competency 8: The principal knows how to apply principles of effective leadership and management in relation to campus budgeting, personnel, resource utilization, financial management, and technology use.
This semester I was able to gain experience in handling a budget, which was an entirely new experience for me in a work setting. I was quite nave to how intricate it is to manage a budget and how you go about requesting funds for a projects. One time this semester I attempted to request money for a project for students that was going to occur in a week and I was promptly turned down, as all check requests have to be turned in at least three weeks ahead of time. This was quite stunning to me and I had to experience that moment of rejection to understand that budgets and money decisions take a much longer time to process than I am accustomed to. However, I now know that I must plan out and be more diligent in how I am handling monetary decisions so that I can be a successful administrator. Going forward, I would like to get more training in how to handle larger budgets and personnel decisions.

Competency 9: The principal knows how to apply principles of leadership and management to the campus physical plant and support systems to ensure a safe and effective learning environment.
One of the projects I worked on with my 12th grade team was how to keep our courtyard clear of trash. At first we simply had students cleaning up the courtyard once a week, but that seemed quite reactionary to a problem that we thought we could be more proactive about. Therefore I decided that we would utilize more of our resources on campus and create a Sustainability Club on campus. The main purpose of this Sustainability Club was to provide outreach to the grade levels on campus about why it is important to maintain a clean and safe environment and how they could help us in maintaining this environment. Through organizing this club I was able to see how I could use my leadership to effect real change on my campus through the analysis of a simple problem.