Having been an elementary and high school teacher for the past 18 years, I am looking forward to the opportunity to build upon my experience and advance my career. In this respect, I believe that CSUSA is a potentially great fit for me. As such, the following essay provides my responses to five prompts: specific responsibilities I want to develop and enhance as my focus area, my focus as an outcome, the evidence data I will collect to verify that I will have attained my outcome, how my outcome relates/supports the CSUSA Strategic Plan/Priorities, and my next level career aspiration for leading the profession.
With a focus area of CRT/facilitator, the specific responsibilities that I want to develop and enhance include: ‘communication,’ ‘optimizer,’ and ‘change agent.’ Foremost, I believe that being able to establish strong lines of communication with and among teachers and students (or others within the organization) is a key success factor for any CRT. Effective communication, in other words, is the most important means of facilitating individualized learning for all stakeholders. Although I consider myself an excellent communicator (both verbally and non-verbally), I can always improve, develop and enhance communication skills and, thereby, better support the learning opportunities and outcomes of those who depend on me. Of equal importance to communication, a CRT must also be able to inspire and lead new and challenging innovations - that is, be an optimizer. Keeping up with the demands of a changing education system and society can be a daunting and intimidating task for teachers, administrators, and students. When a CRT is able to establish a realistic and shared vision for innovation, however, feelings of uncertainty are replaced with trust and assurance of successful learning outcomes. Similarly, I also want to improve my capabilities as a change agent in order to actively and consistently challenge the status quo. Being able to do so will help me motivate and encourage teachers, administrators, and students to follow my lead. Thus, in sum, by developing and enhancing my leadership responsibilities as a communicator, optimizer, and change agent, I can better assure my own success and the success of all stakeholders.
In terms of stating my focus as a CRT/facilitator as an outcome, the endgame is to improve and enhance curriculum support systems (i.e., learning environments) such that all stakeholders experience significant personal/professional growth and development. By the end of the 2013-2014 school year, I will achieve improved expertise in providing curriculum support systems so that teachers, administrators, and students take significant steps towards the realization of their full potential. I will specifically support this outcome objective by assisting teachers in understanding curricular programs and implications for classroom practices so that students show learning gains. As such, I view myself as a CSUSA curriculum concierge, of sorts, who should be aware of the needs of all stakeholders and understand how to administer and distribute learning resources to promote the best student outcomes possible.
As for addressing the question of what evidence data I will collect to verify that I have attained my defined outcome of being an expert CRT, three information domains come into play: needs identification, resource identification, and needs satisfaction. The first domain requires me to determine the learning and resource needs of all stakeholders. To support this evidence data objective, I will communicate with teachers and administrators regarding their perceived resource needs. I will also get to know students by identifying the level at which they are performing in each subject area. Further, I will determine student interests by identifying topics of interest to them. Based on aggregate findings, I will then identify and map all existing and potential resources in order to determine the feasibility of meeting everyone’s needs. As for the needs satisfaction domain, I will collect student achievement and performance data through the utilization of both formal and informal instruments. To ascertain this information and validate assessments and teacher observations, I will use standardized test scores (Benchmarks and FAIR, for example) and other information found in students' records. Questionnaires and self-reports can also be used to collect data for monitoring learning and tracking learning gains. Additionally, I will keep track of all my meetings with teachers and watch for opportunities for informally gathering evidence data – i.e., impromptu meetings in hallways, conversations in the teacher lounge, and so forth.
In treating the all-important question of how my outcome relates to and supports the CSUSA strategic plan/priorities, the short answer is that it all boils down to advocating and facilitating a student-centered learning environment. Strategic objectives like providing a guaranteed and viable curriculum, supporting individualized learning, and even encouraging CSUSA students to learn new languages can all be supported most effectively by a CRT who is an expert in the field. My outcome relates and supports the CSUSA strategic plan/priorities because, foremost, I will assist teachers in implementing effective instructional strategies. I will also support and assist classroom teachers in implementing teaching strategies, identifying appropriate activities, organizing and managing the classroom, selecting materials, and identifying the needs of individual students. Additionally, I will coordinate with other educators in planning instructional goals, objectives, and methods. And finally, I will facilitate the implementation of programs, activities, and strategies designed to achieve school improvement objectives. In short, by striving to be an expert CRT, I am aligning myself with the student-centered learning philosophy that undergirds the strategic framework of CSUSA.
In looking to the future and my next level career aspiration, I will complete the Modified Core Curriculum for Educational Leadership certification at Nova University. Specifically, the certification focuses on preparing prekindergarten through 12th-grade teachers and others like me for administrative positions in public and nonpublic schools and school systems. I consider completion of this certificate as important because it will help me improve upon my leadership skills, practical applications, teacher quality, and knowledge of social, political, and economic forces at play in society that greatly affect and influence education and educational settings like CSUSA. Even further, by acquiring the Modified Core Curriculum for Educational Leadership certification at Nova University, I will advance my understanding and expertise in the area of research-based best practices in education that not only align directly with the Florida Department of Education’s program certification requirements but also align with the spectrum of strategic plan/priorities of CSUSA.
In sum, having covered the five key discussion prompts, I am hopeful that decision-makers at CSUSA will recognize me as a leading-edge candidate for the CRT position. I fully believe that I am both competent and highly motivated to succeed in my focus area and projected outcome. My experience and skill will help me in gathering evidence to verify that I will have attained my outcome and that I can support the CSUSA Strategic Plan/Priorities, not to mention achieve my next level of career aspiration.
Charter Schools USA. (2013). About CSUSA. Retrieved from <http://www.charterschoolsusa.com/about-charter-schools/.
Nova Southeastern University. (2013). Certificate of Educational Leadership Modified Core. Retrieved from <http://www.fischlerschool.nova.edu/cert/edleadermodcore.