Superintendent Internship Reflection Essay

In this essay, I will explain my experiences in the educational leadership program and share my understanding in each of the seven standards of educational leadership.  I will provide examples and evidence of my ideas as well as describe my strengths and area of improvement.

Standard 1.0: Candidates who complete the program are educational leaders who have the knowledge and ability to promote the success of all students by facilitating the development, articulation, implementation, and stewardship of a school or district vision of learning supported by the school community.

I feel I am fortunate to have the opportunity to work in an organization whose mission motivated me to develop my own vision for its educational program.  I was in a situation where the school was lacking leadership.  In the experience of being a teacher at the school, I developed a passion for at-risk youth success, created my own vision, and jumped at an opportunity.  My time in the educational leadership program has allowed me to develop and improve skills and strategies to implement my vision for the school.

                My Leadership Essay is driven by the decision of how I decided to begin the educational leadership program and my desire to become an administrator.  I had a vision in mind when I wrote the essay and continue to believe in that vision as made revision to my essay.  I believe all students have the potential to succeed, including at-risk youth who have been given challenges throughout their lives.  These challenges have caused mental and behavioral illnesses, addictions, and histories that make getting through a typical day a struggle.  Once we as educators provide effective strategies and teaching deliveries for these students, they will taste success for the first time in their lives, giving them hope and something to look forward to in life.  The educational leadership program helped me understand the importance of sharing my vision with the school, parents, community members, and local agencies. 

                I also have a vision to expand technology in my school.  I created a Technology in Education PowerPoint which describes ways to effectively use technology in the classrooms as well as promote families and members of the community to encourage their children to use technology to be prepared for the future.  Additionally, I wrote a Family-School Partnerships Action Plan which its purpose is to improve the communication of the school vision between the school and family/community members, as well as with employees in other departments of the organization. 

                Other evidence where I am promoting and implementing my vision is the Differentiated Instruction Unit Plan.  This plan covers multiple teaching strategies for various student learners.  Our school has a wide variety of student disabilities so we need to be creative and deliver our instruction in ways so all students can become learners.  I also would like to mention my paper on The Principal Story.  I felt a strong relation to the principals in the story and have used their methods of being involved in the community to determine the needs of the students and families. 

                I believe Standard 1 is a strength for me and I have a strong vision for me personally which I am continuing to build within my school.  However, an area I need to improve on with my vision is working with my own colleagues and teachers.   I found I was spending much time in the community and with families in the community sharing my vision, but I have not spent much time having discussions about it with the teachers in the school.  I need to involved them more in sharing the vision and even have them help make decisions where the vision is involved.

Standard 2.0: Candidates who complete the program are educational leaders who have the knowledge and ability to promote the success of all students by promoting a positive school culture, providing an effective instructional program, applying best practice to student learning, and designing comprehensive professional growth plans for staff.

I feel I have major strengths in some areas of this standard, but on the other hand, I do have more work to do to in other areas of this standard. I feel confident I am able to provide the leadership skills necessary to promote a positive school culture and am able to apply the best practices for student learning.  Areas I feel I need to improve on are providing an effective instructional program and professional development. 

                In my leadership essay, I describe how I recognized the need for additional leadership in our school and how to improve the culture in our school.  I have improved the relationships between residential and school staff.  I understand this type of relationship is not found in a public school, but I put it in the category of community relationships because the residential staff at my organization acts in the parent role to our residents/students.  This relationship is vital to the success and culture I desire in the school. 

                My differentiated instruction unit and lesson plans use different, multiple instructional strategies to ensure and improve student learning in the classroom for all students.  The student population I have experience with have many different mental and behavioral challenges.  As teachers, we needed to come up with different ways to motivate each student.  This is very challenging and required many tries to make work.  We are still making changes to our strategies and instruction delivery. 

                I also created a technology in education PowerPoint which provides explanations of several types of uses for technology in the classroom.  I feel technology should be required in the curriculum and the classroom because our world in moving being totally dependent on technology.  Students need to be prepared for our technology-driven 21st century.  Additionally, the curriculum discussion assignment allowed me to refer to curriculum mapping as an effective design.  This allows teachers to prepare and have multiple strategies in place to cover all diverse learners.

                The action research plan assignment allowed me to collect information on methods that are effective in alternative settings.  I set out to determine which methods would prevent negative behaviors and encourage learning in the classroom.  I learned how to develop a curriculum that would reflect our school culture by researching student learning strategies consistent with the school vision.

                My challenges in this standard proved to be communicating positive professional development plans consistent with the school culture and vision.  I seem to concentrate on the content and not enough on communication to my own staff, encouraging them to promote the vision of the school and help with developing the curriculum.  I did improve on developing a professional development program, but I still need much improvement to get where I need to be as an effective leader.

Standard 3.0: Candidates who complete the program are educational leaders who have the knowledge and ability to promote the success of all students by managing the organization, operations, and resources in a way that promotes a safe, efficient, and effective learning environment.

I believe to be able to promote the success of all students through the organization, we as a school needs to be knowledgeable about the community and the families in the community.  The sociological inventory assignment provided me the ability to collect information on the community and show an understanding of the community and its families.  The community in my organizations' case included agencies such as social services, public schools, division of juvenile services, referrals, residential program staff, and local clubs who donate to our organization.  I promote positive relationships with all members of the community, which allows us as a school to collect and process the information and make decisions in the students' best interest.

                I feel another strength in this standard is the ability to manage operations.  I describe in my leadership essay that I use team-based decisions and the importance of involving all teacher and staff necessary in the decision-making process.  In my action plan, I show I am able to put a team of teachers and staff together, and develop a standard based curriculum that supports the school's vision. 

                At the ID21, I was able to solve issues by responding to several situations in a timely manner.  I made sure to prioritize all of the issues and at the same time make sure I had some kind of communication in responding to who contacted me.  Some of the responses included reports to the superintendent, technology budget decisions, and communication to the community and teachers.  I was also able to manage resources in my practicum experience by working on the budget for my organization as well as developing a new evaluation system in the school. 

                A potential derailer for me in this standard would be not continuing to move forward with the knowledge I have gained in the educational leadership program.  I need to continually collect information and continue to manage the organization in the best interest of the students and creating an effective, safe learning environment.  I need to improve on using the knowledge I have gained and push for better communication and collaboration between teachers, parents, and the community. 

Standard 4.0: Candidates who complete the program are educational leaders who have the knowledge and ability to promote the success of all students by collaborating with families and other community members, responding to diverse community interests and needs, and mobilizing community resources.

                I have had the opportunity to work for an organization where there was much student diversity and a unique collection of student needs.  Each student at our facility comes from a different background with experiences that not many people have had to go through as a child.  We have had to collaborate with many community agencies in order to promote the success of all students.

                The Family-School Partnerships Action Plan was vital for me to gain knowledge in this standard.  The plan allowed me to create opportunities for the school, families and community agencies to work together and promote student success.  I believe it's important for how schools reach out to their communities.  A school is successful by how much its stakeholders support the environment created through positive learning for students.  My leadership essay expresses the importance of involving all stakeholders in the decision-making process, reflecting understanding to the community that schools are an essential part of the larger community.

                In my working with community agencies log, we collaborated with a local nursing home and have students spend time with residents of the nursing home.  We are trying to continue additional outreach like this because the students enjoy getting out into the community and residents at the nursing home are so grateful to have visitors.  I have a strong feeling of success when we are able to bring our organization together with a service in the community. 

                I feel I can improve on developing better relationships with the local media.  Our organization has a public relations department and has helped me reach out in the community.  However, I need to develop these skills on my own as I would like to see our own employees in education promote the community relationship ourselves. 

Standard 5.0: Candidates who complete the program are educational leaders who have the knowledge and ability to promote the success of all students by acting with integrity, fairly, and in an ethical manner.

My experiences at my organization directly demonstrate a respect for student confidentiality.  Our policy states we share no information regarding the residents/students and we cannot talk about the daily activities or the residents/students outside of the facility, unless it is necessary.  Working with community logs and letters show how we are able to take our students out into the public but are also able to respect the confidentiality while working with other agencies.  We remind the students and agency of the confidentiality policies in place, and we cannot share any information unless a request has been approved.  In the ID21 parent confrontation exercise, I respected the privacy and confidentiality of the student and his parents who was on an IEP.  I did not allow the upset parent of the regular education student to see the file of the IEP student when she made the request. 

                The sociological inventory shows my awareness of the diversity of students while collecting information in the community.  This inventory will be used to make accommodations in the school fairly to all students with challenges.  Additionally, my code of ethics demonstrates sensitivity to student diversity and treating all students fairly and introduces and explains how I came up with my personal code of ethics.  I feel I have an advantage with this standard because my organization has very strict confidentiality policies.  However, I feel strongly about respecting student information and have expressed this to all I work with.  I need to make sure I continue to move forward with my beliefs and not get complacent relying on organization policy.

Standard 6.0: Candidates who complete the program are educational leaders who have the knowledge and ability to promote the success of all students by understanding, responding to, and influencing the larger political, social, economic, legal, and cultural context.

This standard covers a wide range of understanding and influencing the school context.  Going through the educational leadership program has helped me realize the many different aspects to a school.  I now have the knowledge that the school has a huge impact on the community both economically and politically, both of which I lacked experience with.  I understood the social, legal and cultural parts and have been able to gain in that understanding throughout the program.  But, the economic and political parts I have only been introduced to, and will need to improve on them as I gain experience. 

                The organizational culture and climate inventory required me to apply specific research methods in collecting information on the school.  These methods involved interviewing teachers, students, administrators as well as collecting bits of information through discussion.  The brief I wrote from the case Mueller vs. Allen helped me gain knowledge on the legal aspect of the school.  I was able to understand the importance that education is affected by the taxpayer, and how states allow taxpayers to deduct education expenses when their children are in school.  I also was able to review my school handbooks and determine how the policies in the handbook are directly related to the constitution and the law.

                The sociological inventory I feel was the most important piece of evidence in this standard as it covered many different elements of the standard.  The inventory helped me describe economic factors shaping the community and the economic conditions of the community.  The inventory and writing the formal report allowed me to describe how community groups affect the cultural diversity of the school and how our school relates to the norms and values of the community.  I believe some students in the community need our services before going out to the community on their own.  These students lack moral and ethical values, as well as social skills due their history and childhood.  The inventory has helped me get members of the community involved with what we do at our organization.  I also have had to improve relationships within our organization in order to promote and expand our services and increase the student enrollment.  I plan to improve my ongoing dialogue with those needed to promote our school.  I make plans to present or promote our school in the community but am not sharing enough of what we do and we can do to improve our school with diverse community groups.        

Standard 7.0: Internship. The internship provides significant opportunities for candidates to synthesize and apply the knowledge and practice and develop the skills identified in Standards 1-6 through substantial, sustained, standards-based work in real settings, planned and guided cooperatively by the institution and school district personnel for graduate credit.

                I felt I missed out on an excellent opportunity to grow as a school leader.  The practicum experience, in my opinion, should include an expanded role in making changes in the organization or implementing ideas that will make improvement in the school.  I was put in a situation where I had no administrator in my school to guide me in a direction beneficial to the school.  However, I was able to find a field supervisor from another school in the area willing to help me with ideas to help my school. 

                Even though I had experience as a principal before my practicum began, I was still surprised by the amount of decision-making that is done by the principal on a daily basis.  I experienced day to day decisions that affect student success both academically and behaviorally.  With that, I decided to concentrate my practicum on the big picture decisions as I felt I needed growth and improvement on projects that are more long term. 

                The activity I feel I needed most work on was teacher evaluation.  The system that was in place when I began as a principal was broad and not effective.  I researched evaluation systems by asking local public schools to share what system they use and I also searched online to see what products are available to schools.  I felt finding a secure system online would be both efficient and effective, and I am a large supporter of technology.  An online system would increase the amount of interaction between administrator and teacher.  I do find face to face time is important and we will still have those meetings, but finding time in each busy schedule is a challenge.   We have the technology to provide real time or live feedback with the opportunity for additional self evaluation and response instantly.  If teachers receive sooner than later, I think more improvement can be made more often, making the learning environment better for our students.

                During my practicum and throughout the program, I found my communication skills need to improve.  The practicum log helped me realize this as I was logging my hours.  I found it difficult to sit down and meet with the teachers all individually.  I noticed how much the teachers appreciated sitting down with me and discussing the observations and evaluation. 

                Lastly, my experiences in the educational leadership program have helped me find and improve on my strengths.  It also has shown me the necessary improvement I need to make to become an effective leader.  I believe have the skills and tools to be an effective leader, and I also have the skills to understand and identify what areas I need to improve in, and the tools available, thanks to the program, to help me improve in those areas.

Internship Reflection Essay example

1355 Words6 Pages

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