It’s springtime… and in Texas, that means state testing! We are two weeks from the first cycle of tests. Here are a few tips on how to get through spring testing.
Implement Intervention/Acceleration Plan
At this point, you should have data from district assessments. Use that data to create a plan to help improve ALL students. In state accountability, remember, all students count. Create a plan to work with small groups of students who have the same struggles. Don’t group students who performed the same overall… they may each have different skills with which they struggle. Look at the exact skills, skills that are high-leverage when it comes to STAAR, and group students according to that data.
Trust the Process
Trust that you have done right by students all year long. State testing is one day in the year, but is looking at instruction that took place for the entire school year. Trust that your Tier 1 (whole group classroom instruction) was solid. Trust that your intervention/acceleration plan was strong… that you provided support for each student, giving them the support needed to improve.
Finally, stay calm. This is probably the most difficult when it comes to administrative leaders. During this time, we get a bit nervous, antsy, and/or anxious. When the leader is anxious, it inevitably is passed along to teachers, who, in turn, pass it along to students. As the leader, remember, you must be the example. You may be crumbling on the inside, but keep it together. Be the cheerleader for the teachers and students. Let them know you believe in them and know they are going to rock it this spring!
The official start of spring is this week. Spring symbolizes new life, new beginning, and transformation. My mind has been stuck on butterflies lately. Much like spring, a butterfly symbolizes change.
Our lives are much like that of the butterfly. We go through many changes, physically, mentally, and spiritually. Think back just one year ago and think about all of the changes you have been through.
To me, I see drastic changes from just a year ago. I pray that each year for as long as I am on this earth, I can see a change from year to year. I am excited to see the butterfly develop in me… to see just how beautiful and colorful God has made me.
What changes do you see now and what changes do you look forward to seeing in your life?
We have officially begun the third month of the new year. Is your 2019 off to a great start? Yay for you if it is and don’t give up for you if it is not. Roughly two months ago, people made lofty goals for the new year. They were going to be healthier, smarter, nicer, etc. Whether you made a one-word commitment for the year or made a new year’s resolution, it’s time to check on your progress. Read below for a few goal check tips.
Take a look at your calendar for this year so far. Where did you spend most of your time? You can always assess your priorities based on how/where you spend your time. You may say you want to increase your knowledge and skills in a specific area, but when you look at your calendar, you spent your free time shopping, going to the movies, or watching tv. Your calendar can give you a wake-up call on whether you are truly working toward your goal.
Just like your calendar shows you where you spend most of your time, your bank account shows you your priorities as well. Where you spend your money is where your priorities lie. If your goal was to increase your savings account or to save for a big vacation… check your progress. Have you saved as much as you planned?
I hear you saying, ok, so now what? Well, if you have been doing a great job of staying on track with your goals, this would be a good time to celebrate. Don’t go overboard and get off track of your goal, but everyone needs positive reinforcement. Treat yourself to a little treat (new pair of jeans, a movie, a cupcake… whatever you enjoy). If you find that you are not on track, it’s not too late. You still have nine months left, but don’t procrastinate. Re-assess where you’d like to be at the end of December 2019 and re-commit to make it happen. Remember, you can do this! Ready, set, GO-ALL-IN!
Paula Patterson is a former principal who shares practical points on the principalship.