E-Staff Weekly for 3/16/15
Message from the Transportation Department
We are continuing with the procedure for emergency evacuations drills that was implemented during the 2009-2010 school year. These safety issues are very important for the students. The drivers need to have the opportunity to explain the necessary steps to follow during an emergency.
We will conduct these emergency evacuation drills over a full week period. They will be held from Monday, September 22, 2014 to Friday, September 26, 2014 (except for Thursday, September 25, 2014). A schedule will be sent via email for these evacuations. It will notify your school the schedule of which buses will conduct their emergency drills on what days during this period at your school.
The second set of drills will be held Monday, March 16th through Friday, March 20, 2015.
Teaching Resources, Inspiration, and Sometimes a Good Laugh!
School Climate as a Major Factor in Student Achievement
In this Teachers College Record article, Curt Adams, Patrick Forsyth, Ellen Dollarhide, Ryan Miskell, and Jordan Ware (University of Oklahoma) report on their study of school climate and its impact on student achievement in 80 elementary and secondary schools in a large urban district. They compared schools that controlled student behavior and regulated performance through external contingencies (rules, punishments, and rewards), and schools that worked to create a self-regulatory climate emphasizing student autonomy, competence, and relationships. The researchers hypothesized that a school with a self-regulatory climate would lead students to be “metacognitively, motivationally, and behaviorally active learners” who would “act volitionally toward academic goals and possess the inner agency to control academic efforts” – and that this would result in improved academic achievement.
What did they find? Schools with a self-regulatory climate produced significantly higher student achievement in mathematics. What were the key steps in achieving this kind of climate? These schools successfully orchestrated four interacting elements:
- Collective faculty trust in students – This was measured by faculty responses to questions like, “Students in this school can be counted on to do their work,” “Teachers believe students in this school are competent learners,” and “Teachers in this school trust their students.”
- Collective student trust in faculty – This was measured by student responses to questions like, “Teachers are always ready to help at this school,” “Teachers at this school really listen to students,” and “Teachers at this school are good at teaching.
- Students’ perception of a strong academic emphasis – This was measured by students’ answers to questions like, “This school has high expectations for student achievement,” “Teachers in this school encourage students to keep trying even when the work is challenging,” and “Teachers in this school place an emphasis on understanding school work, not just memorizing it.”
- Self-regulated learning – This was measured by students’ responses to items like, “I arrange a place to study without distractions,” “I get myself to study when there are other interesting things to do,” and “I remember well information presented in class and textbooks.”
The researchers found that self-regulated learning correlated .96 with student trust in teachers, .83 with academic emphasis, and .66 with faculty trust in students. The bottom line: “Schools organized in ways that build collective trust and emphasize academic excellence can regulate student learning in ways that leverage the natural capacity of students to flourish… A self-regulatory climate establishes predictable and cooperative interactions through shared influence and risk taking, reducing the dependence on external controls that constrain behavior and undermine autonomous action… Schools with high collective trust and strong academic emphasis can use these conditions to their advantage as they implement new curricula, assessments, instructional technology, and other improvement strategies”
The researchers found this was true for students of various racial/ethnic and economic groups. They believe these factors create a “virtuous cycle” that improves achievement and helps students overcome weak entering academic skills.
“Self-Regulatory Climate: A Social Resource for Student Regulation and Achievement” by Curt Adams, Patrick Forsyth, Ellen Dollarhide, Ryan Miskell, and Jordan Ware in Teachers College Record, February 2015 (Vol. 117, #2, p. 1-28), http://bit.ly/1Gz985p; Adams can be reached at Curt.Adamsemail@example.com.