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Crystal Nicholas

Competency Reflection
Spring 2014
DOMAIN ISCHOOL COMMUNITY LEADERSHIP*
Competency 001
The principal knows how to shape campus culture by facilitating the development,
articulation, implementation, and stewardship of a vision of learning that is shared
and supported by the school community.
This competency involves some of the most valuable aspects of a school leader. This is an area
that I feel can always be improved. Through my internship I was exposed to many circumstances that
addressed the culture, thus pertaining to Competency 1. An example of this is ensuring parents and other
community members are a part of the campus culture. I addressed this competency as part of my
community project. I learned some of the barriers to working with the community. As a school entity the
priorities are difficult to balance, and schedules are often full. Working with teachers who wished to create
a community event we ran into barriers in scheduling. An alternative was found by raising funds to meet
some of Maslows hierarchy needs and help students feel at ease at school.
In the fall I worked to ensure the parents and community were included in the campus culture by
cohosting an event both in English and Spanish in order to encourage and spread the character traits the
school was working to integrate into daily lessons and activities. Our school worked together to build a
culture of high academic standards and push the presence of character traits such as grit, self-control,
honesty and many more. Despite these effort I feel I still have some to learn about building a culture of
learning at a campus that has lost the culture along the way. It is very difficult to change a mindset toward
the positive once negativity takes over. This is true both for students, teachers, and others in the school
community.
The mentor project I completed worked on collaboration between the language arts team and the
math team to build relationships, guidance, and implement strategies with data and small groups. The
mentor project and the math data plan both utilized a variety of data to help develop a plan for a campus
academic vision.
Competency 002
The principal knows how to communicate and collaborate with all members of the
school community, respond to diverse interests and needs, and mobilize resources to
promote student success.

One of my strengths has always been the ability to rally troops toward a common good. An
example of this was the rallying of our school community to gather to fundraise for students who had
financial difficulties. I was able to mobilize resources to assist PTA in raising enough money to assist 10
students and ensure their needs are met.

This competency was also addressed during my internship as I worked together with the
language arts team to build a team culture. This required me to work on building consensus in the vision
for the team as well as managing conflicts that arise. I feel I learned that people working towards a
common vision can still have extremely varied opinions on how to get there. This requires the facilitator
of the dialogue to have great crucial conversation skills.
Competency 003
The principal knows how to act with integrity, fairness, and in an ethical and legal
manner.

All people in the field of education need to act in a manner following this competency. In
order to ensure this competency is upheld regularly leaders must be comfortable with The Code
of Ethics and Standards Practices for Texas Educators. I became familiar with this through my
coursework in School Law.
In my experiences as a teacher I have witnessed principals who have played favorites
with teachers and students. This has negatively affected the culture of the entire campus as
people lost trust in their leaders. Through my work mentoring a teacher I was careful to ensure to
act in a fair and ethical manner when dealing with crucial conversations.
I feel like I served as an advocate for all children through my mentor experience by
helping a teacher be fair to all students.

DOMAIN II INSTRUCTIONAL LEADERSHIP
Competency 004
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.

Through my work with the math and language arts teams during my internship I feel I spent a
great deal of time working toward designing and implementing strategic plans to help student
performance. We focused on backwards design in order to keep the end in mind and worked on ensuring
the teachers had both data to utilize toward making instructional decisions as well as a plan on how to
use the data once it was acquired to work in smaller groups on specific gaps. The strategic use of
formative assessment on a consistent basis helped the teachers vary their instruction to meet student
needs. Our campus is still hoping to develop a more concrete literacy plan to meet the needs of our highly
English Language Learner (ELL) population. This helped the special projects committee decide to attend
the International Reading Association Conference as a group in May.


Competency 005
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
One of my projects involved working with a small team in a mini professional learning
community. I served as a liaison between the group of teachers and the administrative team to
develop a plan to include the use of data in weekly interactions with our students to increase
performance and meet the needs of all students. One take away I have on staff professional
develop both through this internship and before is how crucial it is to implement staff
development that includes choice, check for understandings, follow through, and follow up. I
have attended and even partially planned some staff development that felt like it was not valued
by the administration. This is not to mean that they did not value what the intent of the
professional development was but rather it fell into a pile of to-do and soon it was the day of the
development and it had not been thoroughly thought through. If a leader does not plan to follow
through and follow up on an initiative it should not be presented to the staff as a requirement.

Competency 006
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.

Having successfully completed the Instructional Leadership Development (ILD) trainings I feel I
understand different methods of providing evaluation and development to staff. This being said a huge
difference exists between KNOWING and DOING. It is so much harder to help teachers develop when
you are in the field then in a classroom role playing. This is especially true when the teacher you are
working with has over 15 years more experience than you and is hesitant to process constructive
criticism. Working with a teacher who was almost placed on a teacher in need of assistance plan (TINA)
brought to light some of the difficulties that I will face as a younger administrator. Though the teacher
was never disrespectful, it was obvious she was hesitant to offer suggestions using a collaborative style,
yet hesitant to accept suggestions in the authoritative style. This was a wake up to the realities of the
perfect world compared to the real world of administration.

Competency 007
The principal knows how to apply organizational, decision-making, and problem-solving
skills to ensure an effective learning environment.

Throughout our coursework in the Educational Leadership program many professors
discussed the use of a decision making model that involved assessing and diagnosing issues,
planning and implementing strategies to address the issue, monitoring the plan, and finally
evaluating and reflecting on it. This internship again displayed the differences between the perfect
world and real life. Despite knowing the model, sometimes between graduate coursework,
personal life, my teaching job, and trying to be a successful intern the entire decision making
model was left out. The schedule I held this semester was hectic, yet I know based on shadowing
a principal for only part of a day that their schedules are just as hectic. This is an area that I need
to work to be cognizant of despite outside obstacles. During the clinical supervision course the
model was constantly on my mind, however; when things got hectic this semester it was not
always in the forefront. When I become an administrator I will place an outline of this model inside
of my desk drawer to remind myself until it becomes second nature!

DOMAIN IIIADMINISTRATIVE LEADERSHIP
Competency 008
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.

As a member of the Campus Improvement Team (CIT) I have worked closely with the principal to
discuss aspects involving budget, personnel (mostly involving hiring), resources, and technology. I feel
that I have developed a strong grasp of what different budgets exist on the campus and a working
knowledge of the basics in both creating a budget and the steps needed to adjust it if need arises. As
crazy as I know this sounds as a math person I enjoyed working with the budget to determine the most
beneficial ways to utilize the resources and money to best meet the needs addressed in the campus
improvement plan.

Competency 009
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.

In the wise words of a professor I had in the past, the best way to keep a campus safe and
effective is to keep the staff happy. The campus I work at has an amazing foreman who does
everything in his power to ensure the building is safe and portrays the image of an effective learning
environment.
One of the key things I have taken away from my internship is how important the staff is in
ensuring the safety of the campus. School safety is much more than an emergency plan. It is a daily
effort on the part of ALL members of the school community combined with set procedures.