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Brent Teachers Visit to Washington DC Public Schools

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A SWOT analysis was carried out as part of the group's preparation for the trip to Washington The results of this analysis are presented in the following

    Brent Teachers Visit to Washington DC Public Schools

    March 2002

    Group Report

    

     Children do not care how much you

     know, (about them) they only want to

     know how much you care.’ Quote from Dr. Diane Powell

    Teachers’ International Professional Development Programme

    British Council

     ththDates Monday 19 to Thursday 28 March 2002

    Inclusive

     1

    A recommendation from the group:

There was considerable interest in the work of Dr. Diane Powel and

    her team. The Brent teachers group clearly recognised the potential

    of her work on the Peaceful School initiative. (See section appendix

    one of this report)

    The group strongly urges the British Council to explore the

    possibility of bringing Dr. Powel and members of her team to

    London to share some of her work and to contribute to staff training

    in an area that is as valid across London and England as it is in

    Washington.

     2

    CONTENTS

1. Background (p 4)

2. Team Members (p 4)

3. Our objectives (p 4 5)

4. SWOT Analysis (p 5 8)

5. Focus for research (p 9-10)

6. First Impressions (p 10)

7. What we saw

    .1 At the briefing session (p 11)

    .2 The Duke Ellington School (p 12 14)

    .3 Rose L Hardy Middle School (p 17)

    .4 Woodrow Wilson Senior High School (p 17)

    .5 Hine Junior High School (p 17 20)

    .6 Benjamin Banneker Academic High School (p 20 22)

    .7 Roosevelt High School (p 23 25)

8. Aspects that we feel are worth further investigation and development (p25

    27)

9. How has the group made use of its experiences in Washington

    (p 27 28)

10. What we have committed to achieve over the coming year 2002 to 2003 (p 28

     29)

    11. Recommended publications (p 30 31)

12. Appendices and useful contact names (p 32 onwards)

     3

    1 The Background

The team is grateful for the opportunity to take part in this valuable initiative

    and in particular to Faira Elkes, Brent School Improvement Officer, who was

    able to secure the additional places so that we could take part in the British

    Council programme.

    The focus for our visit was social inclusion / supporting the achievement of pupils from diverse ethnic minority groups.

Our destination was Washington DC USA.

The group was hosted in Washington by …………………..

    2. Team members

    ? Terry Molloy (Team Leader) Headteacher Claremont High School.

    ? Lola Birnie Head of Year and teacher I charge of Social Inclusion

    Claremont High School

    ? Suzette Shuttleworth (Quinn) Head of Sociology / Psychology /

    Assistant Head of Year 8 and running a pilot project with year 12 girls on

    study support Claremont High School.

    ? Lorna Langley Assistant Headeacher at Willesden High School

    ? Cristalina Fernandez Head of English at Willesden High School ? Andrew Richardson Assistant Headteacher at Willesden High School ? Ralph James Head of Science at St.Gregory‟s R.C. High School

    ? Dee Mclean-Boyd Assistant Headeacher at St.Gregory‟s R.C. High

    School

    ? Luna Rupchand Head of English faculty Queens Park Community

    School

    ? Alison Hook Deputy Head of English Faculty / Gifted and Talented

    Coordinator Queens Park Community School

    3. What we identified as our objectives.

    1. To measure the progress made by Brent LEA in developing policies and

    practices in respect of Social Inclusion and Behaviour Support.

    2. To use our findings to further Brent‟s work in this important area of

    education and to influence the national and local social inclusion agenda.

    3. And for each participating school

Claremont High School

    ? Initially to share development across the LEA;

    ? To explore the potential for trying new ways of working with

    groups and individuals at risk of failing to achieve their potential;

    ? To raise awareness of the real issues in respect of social inclusion;

    ? To test our ways of working and measures of success against

    experience in the wider context.

     4

Willesden High School

    ? To acquire new skills which can be applied in the context of the

    schools development;

    ? Broaden personal experience of working with pupils;

    ? To further develop strategies that aim to provide inclusive education

    for all students and to explore how this has been done in another

    country;

    ? To study the achievements of black boys and the effectiveness of

    strategies to remove the barriers which prevent them from achieving

    their full potential;

    ? To share good practice on the above and behaviour management

    strategies.

St.Gregory’s R.C. High School

    ? Observe and contribute to sharing good practice;

    ? To improve teaching and achievement in Science with a particular

    focus on identifying the factors that influence young people to opt out

    of science beyond the age of 16;

    ? To develop the science focus further in order to develop strategies to

    ensure that science at all levels is an inclusive aspect of the core

    curriculum;

    ? To gain additional insights into the strategies that support girls from

    ethnic groups to achieve consistently better than boys from similar

    groups.

     Queens Park Community School

    ? To study the achievement of young people in order to develop

    strategies to improve motivation and performance;

    ? To look specifically at factors affecting the success and achievement of

    black boys and girls.

    3.1 Commentary

It was quite clear from our initial meetings to plan the exchange that

    there were many common aspects of interest and that we each had

    specific areas that we were hoping to explore.

    4. Results of the SWOT Analysis

A SWOT analysis was carried out as part of the group‟s preparation for the

    trip to Washington The results of this analysis are presented in the following

    sections.

    4.1 Commentary

The SWOT analysis provided clear evidence that we already shared a

    number of important views and perceptions. Whilst each of us recognised

    that there were a number of weaknesses in our ability to meet the needs of

     5

specific pupils, provide effective leadership on many aspects and in the

    materials that are available to us, it was also felt that we shared many

    strengths and that there were many opportunities. This shared

    understanding provided a sound basis upon which to agree the foci for

    the visit. Importantly, we felt a shared conformation in our belief that we

    would be able to bring valuable insights, experiences and aspects of good

    practice to the exchange.

     6

    SWOT ANALYSIS - Classroom management issues related to the theme

    Strengths Weaknesses

    ? The management of change ? Continuity the teacher shortage does

    not help this ? Clearly defined procedures for inclusion

    ? Setting and banding may be too rigid in ? Support in the classroom

    some places ? Differentiation and planning to meet the

    ? Lack of consistency within and between needs of all students

    departments ? Celebration of achievement

    ? Continuity of staff/different teacher ? Feedback and assessment

    expectations ? Enrichment

    ? Lack of experience of some teaching ? Time out/Learning Support Units

    staff and having to deal with shifting ? Lesson Plan recipe

    goal posts ? Banding and setting

    ? Differing levels of support for new and ? Gifted and talented programme established colleagues ? Opportunities to share good practice ? Lack of real time for training in ? Relationships between mainstream teachers teaching and learning and learning support departments

    ? Use of data we are data rich

    Opportunities Threat

? To share good practice ? The social contexts in which we teach

    threat of violence etc. ? To be more creative and strategic in how we

    allocate teachers to classes ? The pressure created by an increased

    number of National Strategies ? Training opportunities for developing good

    practice in teaching and learning ? Time which is never as freely

    available as we would like ? To review the impact of the National

    Curriculum on pupils and teachers ? Lack of funding in some aspects of

    teaching and learning ? To be creative in how we develop training

    and development opportunities ? Teacher workload

     ? Diversity of the teaching role are we

     educators, funding bidders, social

     workers?

     ? Setting our expectations too high

     7

SWOT ANALYSIS - Leadership issues related to the theme

    Strengths Weaknesses

    ? Walking the talk a belief in what is ? Context not all people share the

    being achieved same point of view! ? Commitment from the top especially ? Social engineering concerns about

    the commitment to Inclusion this

    ? Time spent interpreting policies ? Communication failure to make

    colleagues aware of why we need to ? Communication of ideas

    include ? SMT support for new initiatives

    ? Lack of opportunities for training ? Length of service of key staff e.g

    and skills development Heads of Year etc

    ? Induction of new staff ? Personal autonomy through EIC

    ? The link between inclusion and ? Growth of mentoring

    money! ? Self awareness

    ? Unforeseen circumstances

    ? The status of new initiatives

    ? Lack of flexibility of some aspects

     of inclusion

     ? Planning ahead

     ? Equal Opportunities

     ? Commitment and time

    ? On the job training

    ? Lack of community involvement

    Opportunities Threat

     ? Lack of resources ? To share good practice ? Unclear local and national agendas ? To have an impact on the local and ? Volume of work

    national agenda ? The danger that inclusion could be

    ? Professional development seen as negative when it should be

    seen as a right ? To develop a programme that supports

    that acquisition of good classroom ? Inconsistency in interpreting and

    management skills implementing policies ? City Academy Support Service ? The day to day running of the school ? EIC/G and T strands ? The need to respond to and meet the

    needs of the many ? Possibilities for professional

    development and promotion ? Perception s of the school through

    press, media ? To seek the support of the wider

    community ? Parental and community perceptions

     of the school as an inclusive school

     ? Lack of credibility when problems

    are not acknowledged

    ? Capacity to monitor and review

     8

5 Following the SWOT analysis the group agreed its shared and individual

    school foci for the visit.

    FOCUS FOR RESEARCH / IDENTIFICATION OF GOOD PRACTICE

    Policy and its Implementation

    Aspects of good practice in creating and applying this across an education authority

     Whole Group Use of data to set targets, to understand the nature of school populations and to inform resource allocations.

     In addition each of the Home School Links group members would like

     to be able to follow up on Behaviour management their own specialist

     subjects. We would like to remain flexible on these group foci so that we

    are able to follow up areas of interest that may arise out of our

    research and sharing of experiences.

    Developments related to the Arts Claremont High School

    Leadership and Management The achievement of black girls and girls from other ethnic

     groups.

    Science

     Psychology and Sociology The achievement of black boys and boys from other minority St.Gregory’s High School groups.

     Science The uptake of science subjects by students beyond the age of 16 and how the inclusion debate has impacted on the development English and Personal and of policy and targeting of resources. Social Education

Ways of achieving inclusion through science.

    Aspects of working with the most able students (the gifted and Queens Park Community talented) and the potential to extend this through in-school School projects and projects that require collaboration between school.

     English in particular the Widening participation in extending pupils at all levels. experience of students in the

    first three years of High

    School The impact of the City Academy approach to raising expectations Willesden High School and achievements.

     ICT and New Technologies The achievement of black boys.

     9

     English and Expressive Arts

    Expressive and Creative arts programmes and their impact on

    ensuring inclusion and raising achievement. Humanties

5.1 Commentary

    It is clear from the list of individual school foci that each participating

    school had a clear set of objectives. Whilst each fell within the overall

    brief of inclusion it was apparent that each of the group’s members felt

    the need to establish a set of personal objectives so that there would be a

    strong learning experience.

6 First Impressions

    ? Eloquent, articulate pupils

    ? Excellent hospitality

    ? No uniform

    ? Large amount of space in schools

    ? Run down nature of some school buildings

    ? Pupils‟ attitudes and behaviour largely the same as those in England

    ? Tolerance of each other

    ? Corridors filled with students staggering from lesson to lesson with large

    folders and texts

    ? Low level of science provision

    ? Science curriculum? What science curriculum?

    ? Students‟ and staff attitudes towards each other were very positive there was

    a high sense of self worth and no real barriers between teachers and pupils

    ? Children in a school setting seem to be the same the world over

    ? No „hard‟ or severe discipline measures being needed or taken. That is not to

    suggest that there never would be any. In fact one boy was returning with his

    mother after being excluded

    ? The team of professionals who hosted us at DC were inspirational and highly

    impressive

    ? A significant number of lead professionals from African American

    backgrounds and from other ethnic groups.

6.1 Commentary

    First impressions are always crucial in setting the tone for what follows.

    From the outset the group was impressed by the clear thinking and

    honesty of the host team. This provided a sound introduction to the

    schools that we were to visit and the contexts in which these schools were

    achieving success.

     10

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