Final Blog Post

Parents and care givers are a vital part of their children’s education and so why are they excluded as important voices in any program and policy changes traditionally relegated to school leadership decision making? An ongoing global issue is how can educators improve the public’s attitude towards school effectiveness? The answer is by inviting parental and community feedback as a factor in implementing school program and policy change. One of the challenges in gaining parent and caregiver insight is the impression that families who are economically disadvantaged must work multiple jobs in order to provide for their families, so they cannot join these time-consuming parent “power groups”.  Parent dissent regarding school achievement, practices, and teaching should be encouraged as a way to pursue improved approaches to education and to protect the wellbeing of children (Stitzlein,2015).

New York City educational policy makers decided that parental and community voices needed to be included to assess public school improvementand to keep schools truly public in their urban environment.In 2017, New York adopted the Great Schoolsdigital survey that allows parents and care givers to rate their children’s schools. These digital surveys with their interpretive rubrics allow schools to become more aware of their educational quality from parents’ and caregivers’ points of view. This Great Schools survey promotes input on “rigorous and engaging curriculum aligned with common core, research-based instruction, resources to support goals and needs, positive and inclusive culture, assessment for practices and instruction, goals and actions shared by the communities, and teacher collaboration.” Completing this digital survey with its rubric allows schools to become more aware of their school’s educational quality from parents’ and care givers’ points of view by sharing These voices and opinionsin order to help improve school quality, parent school satisfaction, and student educational experiences (Stitzlein, 2015). As for economically disadvantaged families, Great SchoolsNYC identifies children or populations who are being overlooked or harmed by school practices, and seek the perspectives and input of their families to help remedy the situation, offering the survey both online and by mail. (Stitzlein,2015).

This study used the Great SchoolsSurvey for New York City database from 2017 and 2018.36 District Two public schools were partitioned by area in New York including Upper East Side, Chelsea, Financial District, Greenwich Village, East Village, Chinatown, Lower East Side, Midtown, Tribeca, and Roosevelt Island. The digital survey uses a standardized rubric containing six categories: Rigorous Instruction, Supportive Environment, Collaborative Teachings, Effective School Leadership, Family/Community Ties, and Trust using a rating score of 1-4. This survey is standardized and measures all schools fairly and equally because parents respond to same questions. In addition, the data are analyzed ensuring the accountability & dependability of the results. To observe parental/care giver impact for change between the first survey year and the second, an average score from all the questions in each category were analyzed from 2017 and 2018. Also, to further contextualize the findings, demographic data were collected from the New York City School’s Report Card, with particular focus on the percent of students who are economically disadvantaged and who have disabilities to support data analyzation.

After analyzing the data, the results revealed that the scores were higher in every category from 2017 to 2018 supporting the statement that parents’ feedback does impact schools and, thus, parents and care givers were more satisfied with school policy and programs. In 2018, 47% of schools had more parents who took the survey, 70% parents reported stronger family ties, 55% of parents rated their caliber of rigorous instruction higher, 30% of parents rated their collaborative teachers higher, 50% of parents rated a more supportive environment, 33% of parents rated better school leadership, and37% of parents rated more trust. As for those schools with the highest economic disadvantage had the highest number of parents answer the surveys, 91% of economically disadvantaged schools had at least 60% of parents answered compared to 54% of economically advantaged schools.

Thus, based on the results of this comparative survey, parental feedback, regardless of economic status, does positively impact school policy and practice changes. When parents and community members are provided a forum to express their opinions and feel more respected and invested in school decision- making, schools improve. Based on these findings, schools should not only make changes internally, but also schools must reach out to the other change makers, such as parents and caregivers, to voice their opinions about the schools in their children’s lives.

My Experience

As for my experience I learned so much as a researcher. I found the best mentor I could have asked for who guided and supported me through the various roadblocks we encountered, including changing our whole project and direction. I felt like I was lost and she helped our project and me tremendously to head in a new direction. I was determined to be the first Pace NYC School of Education pair to participate and compete, but I was motivated to put my best effort out there and I was so lucky to find a mentor who shared in my determination and enthusiasm. As a researcher I feel like I have grown working with someone so experienced at hitting road blocks and learning how to get around them. Through this experience I have learned to manage my anxiety a little better when things go wrong, how to analyze results by looking for patterns and connections, and how to formulate findings into something people think is important. As a researcher I feel more confident and defiantly want to continue doing so.



Blog 3 Updates

My project has had its set of huge challenges, actually project changing setbacks. My first project draft involved going into schools and testing if kinesthetic and aesthetic programs such as Brain Pop positively affects student achievement in the classroom. The ultimate goal was to support the fact that the direction that school districts are going into, taking away recess and play time and making students sit in chairs all day, is actually doing the opposite of what they want, to increase student achievement. Because I student teach kindergarten at Spruce Street Elementary, we thought entering a second grade may be easy because I already had a connection. The teachers seemed on-board when it was mentioned in person but then we were directed to get permission from the principal first, which seemed logical and easy. This proved to be a challenge because, with her busy schedule, countless emails, phone calls, and secretary visits proved fruitless. After a month and a half of countless energy spent trying to contact her from both my faculty member and I, the principal finally gave us the ok. We returned to the teachers very excitedly but once details and proceedings of the study were fully divulged and things were becoming more serious, the teachers turned their backs on the study. They sent us a very strong email saying that they had no extra time in their packed schedule as well as many students who have diverse and high needs with parents who are not flexible.

After many re-designs of the study, we concluded that getting into New York school’s is a multi-year process, if entrance is granted at all, because of tough standards and pressure on schools and teachers to produce high scores on standardized tests and to move through material quickly. Although ideally, hands-on educational research in the classroom is what we wanted, we began to re-plan our experiment as research barriers and obstacles happen. We thought about recess time, teacher education, and many other ideas but came across something very interesting that is a pretty relevant topic in education, especially in New York. In 2017, New York adopted the Greater Schools survey that allows parents to rate their child’s school using a rubric in six categories: rigorous instruction, supportive environment, collaborative teachings, effective school leadership, family/community ties, and trust out of four points. This study compares 2017 and 2018 surveys to assess if parenteral input through the use of digital rubrics changes the school in these categories. We have chosen to assess school primary school in district 2 which gives a wide range of socio-economic background and culture. We are out to show the importance of rubrics because the shift from, qualitative to quantitative data helps parents display their input in order to make reform happen.


Blog Post #2: Challenges

Trials and tribulations are the current status of the project. We have been working with teachers from Spruce Street, that were originally on board, but then dropped out before we began, just when things got serious. Our first rode block was the principal because although she ended up being ok with it, had a very rough time responding and getting back to us. This long and arduous road of tons of emails and in-person visits, seemed to be a success when the principals said yes but when that tedious process was repeated with the teachers, they changed their answers and declined. At this point, we changed our perspective to do any grade K-3 teachers from Spruce Street when it was originally designed for 2ndgrade. Since the principal has not been answering, we reached out to her secretary and are in limbo with that.

In the meantime, we are coming up with an alternate plan to maybe just play this as a case study that turns into a qualitative more than a quantitative study because we will ask teachers a series of questions based on a pre-designed study about their feelings and results towards kinesthetic interventions. We considered doing a meta-analysis but it seems there is a lack of time for that. We are either heading in the direction of a Tribeca school my faculty leader may have contacts with or a qualitative study to start this project in a packed manner starting winter break. My faculty leader and I are a great team! We communicate exceptionally well in a timely manner and we are defiantly problem-solving collectively and fully discussing ideas from both sides.

Beginning Steps, Blog Post #1


Synopsis 1

The title of my research project is The Impact of Aesthetic and Kinesthetic Strategies on Academic and Attitudinal Improvement: Engaging Young Students for Pedagogical Success. If aesthetic and kinesthetic strategies are implemented as transitions in the first-grade classrooms before standard work, these activities will increase task-based behavior, focus, attitude and academic achievement.

The participants will be two classes of first-grade students from Spruce Street Elementary School in Downtown Manhattan. One class will be a control group in which they will receive additional kinesthetic and aesthetic interventions. The other class will be the independent group who not will receive the kinesthetic and aesthetic interventions multiple times a week. The interventions that will be used will be commercially available songs with videos ex., Brain Pop or Go Noodle.  Using a pre-post research design based upon the Leuven Involvement Scale for Young Children developed by Prof. Ferre Laevers at Leuvan, Brussels, the students will be initially pre-assessed by the researchers who will observe the students’ participating in their “brain breaks” and then observe them as they are seated to complete assigned text-based tasks. Researchers will rate the participants and assess their engagement/involvement on a one-five scale using on the text-based assigned task and use video recordings to re-evaluate. At the completion of the multi-month intervention period, the students will be observed and reassessed based on their completion of a similarly assigned text-based task.  All students will have signed permission slips from their parents or guardians.

Because I am going to school to become a teacher, this research is in hopes of direct application. I am hoping to find that these breaks really do help emotionally and academically and if they do it is something that I will implement student teaching and when I become a teacher. I am also hoping that this research can help teachers and administrators realize that taking away physical activity in order to have more learning time is not beneficial and is actually detrimental to student’s academic success.