Every organization must have an action planning process, which starts by creating mission, value, and vision statements. Through them, community initiatives by the organization become successful since they explain the organization’s aspiration. Also, the statements help an organization stay focused on the important things while providing a basis for developing other strategic plan aspects. A person who conducts in-depth study on a subject to gain greater knowledge about that subject is called a researcher. There is no one set of duties that a researcher is expected to fulfill across all academic disciplines or professional domains. Researchers in the medical field may utilize clinical trials to evaluate the efficacy of a novel treatment, whereas social scientists may use questionnaires and in-person interviews to gain a better understanding of how people behave (Aspers, P., & Corte, 2019).
Through the processes of data gathering, analysis, and interpretation, the role of a researcher is to contribute to the existing body of knowledge in their respective discipline. Researchers acquire data through a variety of methods, some of which include controlled experiments, surveys, interviews, and direct observation (Bakker, 2018). Direct observation is another method. They first do statistical analysis on the data to derive conclusions, and then they interpret the findings of that study. They present their findings at conferences and publish them in academic journals and papers to share their findings with others and advance the field.
I am the former principal of George H. Oliver Elementary School. It was my role and responsibility to serve as the instructional leader of the school. As principal, it was also my responsibility to conduct informal and formal observations of teachers using the Mississippi Professional Growth Rubric. School administrators are required to be trained by the Mississippi Department of Education to give teachers ratings during observation (Mississippi Department of Education, 2022). I also worked with teachers to set learning goals based on the state approved curriculum.
As the leader of the school, I had to build partnerships with community stakeholders so that we could educate the whole child. I was also responsible for developing and implementing a school improvement plan. In my capacity, I served as support for new teachers and served on the district’s disciplinary committee. It was also my responsibility to manage GHO district and federal budget. I had to ensure that federal money was spent according to the needs of the school. Finally, as principal, it was my responsibility to improve the culture of the school by boosting teacher morale, decreasing the amount of discipline problems, and increasing attendance.
Description of the Setting
George H. Oliver Elementary School (GHO) is in Clarksdale, Mississippi, which is in the heart of the Mississippi Delta region. GHO is in the Brickyard neighborhood, an area of the city plagued by violence and crime. GHO inherits all the social ills associated with these tumultuous community environments. GHO is one of the Clarksdale Municipal School District’s four (4) elementary magnet schools serving students in grades Pre-K-4. Currently, GHO serves approximately 350 students, which represents an enrollment increase due to the closure of one of the district’s elementary schools in 2016. Students from the closed elementary school were divided among the 4 remaining schools. Almost all of students at GHO come from low-income families. 100% of the students at GHO receive free meals through the district’s participation in the Community Eligibility Provision Program. Approximately 99% of the students at George H. Oliver are African American (George H. Oliver School Wide Plan, 2021)
GHO is a themed, magnet school targeting the Visual and Performing Arts to enhance the curriculum. In addition to the core subjects, students can participate in music classes including keyboarding and choral music. The staff is comprised of approximately 30 employees, consisting of 1 Administrator; 1 Secretary; 1 Part-time Counselor who comes 2 times a week; 15 full-time certified staff members, consisting of 1 pre-K teacher, 1 part-time music teachers, 1 part-time PE teacher, 1 part-time librarian; and 9 non-certified staff members. Staff turnover at GHO has been a tremendous challenge. Over the last four years, there has been three different school principals, and approximately 40% of the current teachers have less than 4 years of teaching experience. About 15% of the teachers hold an emergency or provisional license.
The district leadership includes a superintendent, assistant superintendent, chief executive officer, and business manager. The district also has several departments in the organizational structure which include the special education, transportation, maintenance, human resource, and food service departments. The various departments ensure that schools are provided with the supports they need. An important part of the district is the federal programs departments. Funds are received from the federal government to ensure equity for all the students in the Clarksdale Municipal School district. Federal funding makes up a majority of the district budget (Clarksdale Municipal School District, 2023).
Organizational Background and History
George H. Oliver was established in 1962 in Clarksdale, Mississippi. George H. Oliver is one of 4 elementary schools in Clarksdale, Mississippi. Clarkdale Municipal School Board wanted to establish an elementary school in an area where it was easily accessible by the African American population. The goals of George H. Oliver are improving student achievement, build teacher capacity, and increase student attendance (George H. Oliver Strategic Plan, 2021). George H. Oliver increased their accountability rating with the state the department of educations from an F to a D in 2018. The school received recognition from the Mississippi Department of Education (Mississippi Department of Education 2018). George H. Oliver has had 3 principals and high traditional high teacher turnover. From 2019-2021 the teacher turnover rate was low, because they able to keep the same principal for four years.
In 2018 George H. Oliver Elementary school was a comprehensive support and improvement school because of the F rating on accountability. The school was able to raise the accountability level by eighty-seven points to become a D school on accountability (Mississippi Department of Education 2018). Factors that contributed to the improvement was improved school culture, teacher retention, and improved attendance. One of the most importance factors in helping to transform the school was increase in teacher morale. George H. Oliver continues to struggle with socioeconomic issues that prevents academic achievements from being the main focus.
The Mission Statement
The elementary school’s mission is to provide an accurate, comprehensive, and contemporary curriculum that prepares students for increased understanding, critical thinking, and lifelong learning. In addition, we aspire to contribute to developing a positive school environment where students are nurtured as healthy individuals who can become active participants in society. This statement is concise and focused on what drives the school (Dernowska, n.d). It includes who they are, what the school do, and why they are doing it (Alegre et al., 2018). It also sets out how these goals are achieved.
It should guide the organization whom they want to serve and what it wants to be. The given mission statement consists of the name of the school; George H. Oliver Elementary School, values; high-quality learning, and a unique distinguishing factor that makes the school standout; teamwork of parents and qualified staff. The statement outlines what the school is striving to accomplish. It describes student life, parent involvement, and community relations. The statement also highlights the organization’s future target, ensuring that students are responsible citizens in the future. An essential part to add would be the school’s innovations. Moreover, long-term goals inclusion would make the statement a success.
The Vision Statement
The future is now! We believe a great school starts with a deep understanding of each student’s needs and the communities surrounding our schools. We share this belief and are passionate about developing strong leaders who can serve their students, communities, and the world in the ways they want to. We will provide many opportunities for students to develop skills in areas such as reading, writing, math, and science, as well as other areas which give them a strong foundation for success. Each student will graduate from elementary school with a quality education, knowledge of navigating the world surrounding them, and the motivation needed to achieve their personal goals. The statement encompasses a completely objective or goals the school can and will achieve (Allen et al., 2018). The vision statement also contains something simple to remember, concise, and intellectual (Sulastri et al., 2021). It clarifies goals, defines values, and communicates how people are motivated.
This should define what the organization wants to become in the long run and its target position. The statement for George H. Oliver Elementary School has been expressed positively, where the institution strives to utilize its high-quality learning experiences to provide superior education to every child. Although the statement is short and complete, I would add details on learning technologies to support learners in becoming productive global citizens
The Value Statement
Our organization emphasizes the importance of respect, responsibility, integrity, excellence, collaboration, creativity, and innovation. These values will be expressed in a way that speaks to our organization’s commitment to helping our students reach their fullest potential. This statement is clear, concise, and straightforward (Gurley et al., 2021). This provides clarity for teachers, classmates, administrators, and parents alike (vic.edu, n.d). The statement is neither too long or nor complex to read that easier to comprehend it
The value statement is clear, concise, and easy to understand. It has been written in a way that is accessible and easily understood by students, staff, and the wider community. Also, it is reflective of the school’s culture and values. And it is aspiring and inspiring while reflecting the school’s goals and objectives. It is the foundation that sets the school’s tone and establishes the values, principles, and beliefs that the school stands for and will strive to uphold. It is important to clearly articulate the school’s values to create an environment conducive to learning, growth, and success.
Organizational Reputation and Sustainability
George H. Oliver Elementary School in Clarksdale, Mississippi, has a poor reputation based on test scores, student progress, and equity. The test scores at this school fall far below the state average, which indicates that most students need to perform as expected at grade level (U.S.News, 2019). The student progress is also slow and poor annually compared to similar students in the state (U.S.News, 2019). In addition to low test scores, most students in this school have low points and fall behind their peers in terms of their academic progress. The highest percentage is underserved students from low-income families, which leaves them at an economic disadvantage that create a significant achievement gap (U.S.News, 2019). This vulnerability makes most students fall behind other students in the state. Based on enrollment and student demographics, 98% are Black, 1% are White, and the other 1% are white. Overall, this imbalance creates a negative perspective that results in a negative reputation for the school.
George H. Oliver Elementary School lack sustainability due to a lack of capacity building of professional teacher, lack of financial resources, and short-term pressure for higher academic performance. Nonetheless, there is an opportunity for the school to improve its organizational sustainability. For example, the school can use the student support and academic enrichment grant to increase its capacity to establish a pool of professional teachers (Mississippi Department of Education, 2023). The grant can also help the school to provide all the students with access to a well-rounded education, improve the use of technology and improve school conditions for student learning resulting in improved academic achievement (Mississippi Department of Education, 2023). It can further use section 4101, section 4106(d), section 4110, and section 4109(b) of article IV to establish student support and academic enrichment programs that ensure the school’s substantiality in short and long term,
Academic Achievement refers to a student’s learning outcome of a school’s curriculum (Huisheng, 2018)
At-Risk Student is defined as student who is likely to perform poorly in school (Fazul, 2022)
Researched-Based Instructional Strategy is any teaching approach supported by a statistical analysis of data from the learning environment (Apostolou,2020)
Mississippi Department of Education seeks to create a world class education system that give students the knowledge and skills to be successful in college, the workforce, and to flourish as parents and citizen (Mississippi Department of Education, 2023)
School Culture is the belief and attitude influencing every aspect how a school function (Hall and Hord, 2015)
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