ELCC Standards for District Leadership: Standard 4
Standard: A district-level education leader applies knowledge that promotes the success of every student by collaborating with faculty and community members, responding to diverse community interests and needs, and mobilizing community resources for the district by collecting and analyzing information pertinent to improvement of the district’s educational environment; promoting an understanding, appreciation, and use of the community’s diverse cultural, social, and intellectual resources throughout the district; building and sustaining positive district relationships with families and caregivers; and cultivating productive district relationships with community partners.
My Interpretation of the Standard: Standard 4 represents the district leader's ability to inspire and engage others to join the mission and work of the district. This includes families, as well as community partners, school board members, and also all levels of staff. District leaders who embody Standard 4 give voice to staff, students, families, and the community, as we all work towards improving student achievement.
- Candidates understand and can collaborate with faculty and community members by collecting and analyzing information pertinent to the improvement of the district’s educational environment.
- Candidates understand and can mobilize community resources by promoting understanding, appreciation, and use of the community’s diverse cultural, social, and intellectual resources throughout the district.
- Candidates understand and can respond to community interests and needs by building and sustaining positive district relationships with families and caregivers.
Evidence of Mastery:
- Arts, Culture, and Technology (ACT) Standards and Curriculum: The ACT Standards were designed to bring context to the content standards. The community of Sitka is very invested in ensuring that arts, culture, and technology all play a vital part in our public schools, and with the focus on the new content standards, we did not want to lose sight of this community value. Additionally, we did not want to have arts, culture, or technology be seen as an add-on in our teacher's eyes, but rather the foundation that engages students in wanting to learn and helping to understand the content. Our ACT initiative has always included local arts advocates, and we have benefited from partnerships with the Sitka Fine Arts Camp (SFAC), the Sitka Tribe of Alaska (STA), and the Alaska Arts Education Consortium (AAEC). Our ACT initiative has received funding from a 5-year New Visions grant from the Alaska State Council on the Arts and from our Title VII Indian Education grant funds. Through our partnership with SFAC, our ACT initiative is also fueled by a 10-year Margaret A. Cargill Foundation grant, which helps us offer 2-week intensive trainings for teachers following the successful and research-based AAEC Basic, Advanced, and Special Arts Institute model where teachers develop units of instruction that weave the ACT standards into their everyday work with students. Teaching Artists, school district Cultural Para's, and STA Cultural Specialists work alongside of our teachers as they implement the units.
- Orientation Final Paper: It seems like a lifetime ago; however, it was just two years ago when I wrote my first Final Paper for our very first Orientation to the Superintendency class. As I review my work from the program and think in terms of artifacts that demonstrate my master of Standard 4, my Orientation Final Paper rates high on my list of relevant artifacts.
- Partnership Action Plan: As part of the coursework for this program, I completed a District Analysis and Plan of School and Family Partnerships. The plan provides an overview analysis of how the district is doing in our efforts to partner with families and community partners, and also identifies specific steps we are taking to improve our efforts. The analysis and plan help to address a School Board Goal of fostering family engagement to create more welcoming and academically sound schools.
- Wooch.een Preschool: Wooch.een is the shortened version of Wooch.een Yei Jigaxtoonei, which means We Are Working Together. Wooch.een became an important part of our work in the district three years ago when we sought to answer a question related to the school board goal of closing the achievement gap for low-income students. Our district’s strategic plan involves asking Action Research questions and then developing projects that help us to achieve a school board goal. The question developed to help us achieve the school board goal of closing the achievement gap for low-income students was, What was the impact of six-hours a week of culturally rich preschool on kindergarten readiness? The project we developed to help us answer our Action Research question involved partnering with Head Start and STA to provide at least six-hours a week of a culturally rich preschool, which is named Wooch.een Yei Jigaxtoonei. Prior to Wooch.een Preschool starting, Head Start was never able to hire a Family Engagement specialist; however, since Wooch.een began the power of the partnership allowed one of the Head Start staff to become a Family Engagement specialist.
Summary: In summary, given the evidence I have presented, I believe I have met or exceeded the expectations for Standard 4.