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Running Head: ACTIVITY 4 ANALYSIS

Activity 4 Analysis:
Culture, Diversity, and Community Relations
Ben Thayer
Central Michigan University

ACTIVITY 4 ANALYSIS

Activity 4 Educational Leadership Constituent Council (ELCC) Standards:


ELCC 1.1: Candidates understand and can collaboratively develop, articulate, implement, and
steward a shared vision of learning for a school.
ELCC 2.1: Candidates understand and can sustain a school culture and instructional program
conducive to student learning through collaboration, trust, and a personalized learning
environment with high expectations for students.
ELCC 4.1: Candidates understand and can collaborate with faculty and community members by
collecting and analyzing information pertinent to the improvement of the schools educational
environment.
ELCC 4.2: Candidates understand and can mobilize community resources by promoting an
understanding, appreciation, and use of diverse cultural, social, and intellectual resources within
the school community.
ELCC 4.3: Candidates understand and can respond to community interests and needs by
building and sustaining positive school relationships with families and caregivers.
ELCC 4.4: Candidates understand and can respond to community interests and needs by
building and sustaining productive school relationships with community partners.
Activity Synopsis
These particular field experiences during my internship pertain to the School Culture,
Parent Involvement, Diversity, and Community Relations. My first goal was to promote a
climate of acceptance and a culture of diversity. My second goal was to build positive
relationships within the school community. I was privileged to develop several positive
relationships throughout this time among staff, student, and parents. Some of my experiences
included: student conversations regarding diversity, mentoring 6th grade boys in an afterschool

ACTIVITY 4 ANALYSIS

program called INVICTUS, coordinating an 8th grade assembly with the Minority Student
Achievement Network (MSAN), greeting students and parents in the hallways before and after
school, assisting in the supervision of Derbys spring musical, participating in the district-wide
kickball tournament, playing in the annual staff wiffleball game, and attending parent-teacherstudent association (PTSA) and parent action committee (PAC) meetings with my building
Principal.
INVICTUS is a monthly, after school mentoring program for 6th grade boys who have
been selected based on the recommendation of the Assistant Principals and school counselors.
The program aims to develop the social skills, and confidence of young men through the pairing
with a male mentor teacher. Some activities (see Appendix A for calendar artifact) included
Pictionary, water balloon launch, and a service project (courtyard clean-up).
Coordinating the MSAN assembly involved numerous in-person and electronic
communications between myself, Derbys community school organizer, Nancy Johnson, and
Seaholm High School Assistant Principal, Verynda Stroughter. The assembly centered on Jane
Elliots Brown Eyes/Blue Eyes exercise. JaneElliot.com (2003) explains, This, now famous,
exercise labels participants as inferior or superior based solely upon the color of their eyes and
exposes them to the experience of being a minority. The process involved selecting the student
participants, finalizing permission slips (see Appendix B for exercise artifact), communicating
the details of the assembly with parents and staff, and the physical and technological set-up for
the assembly in the gymnasium.
Many more activities allowed me to build healthy, positive relationships with staff,
students, and parents in the community. One activity was to simply be visible as a leader and
greet people in the hallways each morning or briefly after school and make an effort to get to

ACTIVITY 4 ANALYSIS

know people on a more personal level. Another activity involved attending and supervising
Derbys annual spring musical which included many great interactions with students families.
Also, I had the opportunity to develop deeper relationships with staff members through
participating in Derbys annual staff wiffleball game in the gymnasium as well as participating in
a day long, district-wide kickball tournament with our Principal and many other staff members
on the weekend (see Appendix C for artifact pictures). I attended a PTSA meeting (see
Appendix D for agenda artifact) in the cafeteria where the current parent leaders were
transitioning from their leadership positions and where I was able to give a brief introduction and
school update. Finally, I joined in for a PAC meeting in the media center where parents voiced
their ideas, concerns, and overall feelings of school and community relations.
Reflection
An education leader promotes the success of every student by collaborating with faculty
and community members, responding to diverse community interests and needs, and mobilizing
community resources (Martin, Danzig, Wright, Flanary & Brown, 2013, p. 58). These
internship activities further enhanced my knowledge of ELCC Standards 4.1-4.4 in which
community was the driving area for skills and experience. Through my participation as a mentor
in INVICTUS I collaborated with the staff and a diverse group of students who needed
leadership demonstrated in their lives. This was perhaps one of the coolest after school clubs of
the entire year. Also, with the coordinated efforts of the MSAN and school community, I felt the
8th-graders benefited from experiencing a socially and culturally eye-opening performance by the
student and staff volunteers involved in the Blue Eyes/Brown Eyes exercise. This lead to a
powerful discussion and reflection on empathy and acceptance among both current and former
Derby students. I was proud to take the lead role in organizing this assembly for Derby. Also,

ACTIVITY 4 ANALYSIS

the planning process gave me the opportunity to work closely with students in other classes and
staff members that I do not typically see on a daily basis but are crucial for developing a strong
community relations program.
I found myself getting to know my fellow staff members even better when participating
in the school wiffleball game and kickball tournament. Each event was voluntary but
participation levels were great! I believe the families and public who witnessed the tournament
really saw a community coming together to form positive relationships. Teachers and
administrators from all different schools came together and raised money for the education
foundation which further advanced the learning opportunities of our students.
Finally, I found my experience with the PTSA and PAC both insightful and challenging
at times. Each group met once a month to discuss the important school improvement topics with
our Principal, Celeste Nowacki. Sitting in on a meeting for each one of these groups I found that
many community members simply desire a platform to voice their concerns while others
attempted to get off track and gossip. At times, it was a challenge to get back to the focus of the
discussion, student learning. Furthermore, I was able to share my insights, as a current school
teacher, on the unique learning opportunities taking place in my classroom and other classrooms.
The parents truly seemed to appreciate my perspective and passion for educating their children.
I felt a real connection through the diverse, positive, sustainable relationships built with
students, staff, and community members during these internship activities. I learned that a
school leader has to hear and be able to respond to community stakeholders in order to improve a
schools educational environment. I have grown to appreciate the many resources we have
available to us as educators (counselors, community event organizers, parent associations,
diversity committees) for enhancing the learning experience of each and every student. It takes

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teamwork, good communication (both written and oral), and organization to be an education
leader.

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References

Elliot, Jane (2003). Jane Elliots blue eyes brown eyes experiment: About blue eyes/brown
eyes exercise. Retrieved from http://www.janeelliott.com/
Martin, G. E., Danzig, A. B., Wright, W. F., Flanary, R. A., & Brown, F. (2013). School leader
internship: Developing, monitoring, and evaluating your leadership experience (3rd ed.).
New York, NY: Routledge.
National Policy Board for Education Administration. (2011). Educational leadership program
recognition standards. Retrieved from http://www.npbea.org/wp/wpcontent/uploads/2015/06/ELCC-Building-Level-Standards-2011.pdf

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Appendix A
INVICTUS Calendar artifact

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Appendix B
MSAN Diversity Exercise artifact

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Appendix C
Staff Wiffleball and District Kickball Tournament artifacts

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Appendix D
Derby PTA Agenda artifact