First Presenter's Institution

Matilda Hartley Elementary School

Second Presenter's Institution

Matilda Hartley Elementary School

Third Presenter's Institution

Matilda Hartley Elementary School

Fourth Presenter's Institution

Matilda Hartley Elementary School

Fifth Presenter's Institution

NA

Location

Session 2 (Ballroom F)

Strand #1

Academic Achievement & School Leadership

Strand #2

Safety & Violence Prevention

Relevance

This proposal focuses on two of the conference strands promoting the well-being of children, Heart and Hand. The primary focus is on reforming school culture by fostering a climate of student leadership and citizenship to decrease incidents of student discipline referrals and increase student achievement

Brief Program Description

A school environment which chronically deals with disruptive students, high absenteeism and low student morale, may find traditional disciplinary consequences ineffective for changing the culture of the school. By using student leadership and empowerment opportunities, coupled with positive parental and behavioral contacts, the presenters will provide practical applications to transform and sustain a positive learning environment.

Summary

Matilda Hartley Elementary School in Macon, Georgia is an urban elementary school with a student enrollment of almost 500 students. 95% of the students are African-American and qualify for free/reduced lunch.

In 2015 the school had 389 discipline referrals, the highest number of any of the 20 elementary schools in Bibb County School District. 36% of the students enrolled missed over 10 days of school, the school's climate rating for CCRPI was one star, and the school's PBIS designation was Installing.

to change the culture, we implemented the following school initiatives:

  • Student Clubs- held monthly based on staff and student interests
  • Professional Dress Days - weekly "BowTie and Pearls Day" to foster workplace readiness soft skills
  • Positive office referral - implemented daily to highlight small wins for students' successes with behaviors
  • Junior Leadership Corps - development of leadership and citizenship skills for high risk students
  • Leadership notebooks - assists with fostering student self-awareness and goal setting
  • Peace Days - incentives for students and staff on office referral free days
  • Attendance celebrations - monthly rewards to highlight the importance of coming to school daily

At the end of the 2018-19 school year, Matilda Hartley Elementary reported 87 discipline referrals. The number of students missing more than 10% of the days enrolled decreased to 13.5%. The school met its 3% targeted increase in each content area of the Georgia Milestones Assessment. the school now has a four-star climate rating for CCRPI and is recommended to have a PBIS designation of Operational.

The reform of the school's climate has truly created an atmosphere where "Learning is Required." Teachers are more engaged in collaborative planning to devise more rigorous instructional plans and to analyze student data to drive instructional decisions. Parents are more engaged with the school and understand the importance of school attendance.

Evidence

Dr. Bill Daggett, from the International Center for Leadership in Education, studied the top 1% of high performing schools in the nation. He found several patterns, but nothing as strong as the culture within these schools. These schools had a school culture that was noticeable when you walked in; you knew right away you were in a school with a strong culture based on respectful relationships. According to Dr. Daggett, "Culture trumps strategy."

Based on this premises, the school leadership focused on reforming the culture of the school to address student achievement. Empowering students to become leaders was the paramount focus of the school. Utilizing the Leader In Me- 7 Habits and a Positive Behavior Support System, the school focused on building leadership skills in students and preparing students to be responsible, respectful, safe, and prepared.

Dr.. Anthony Muhammad, who has become a prominent voice for educational researchers and practitioners stated, "For a school to gather the momentum necessary to transform a toxic culture into a healthy one, educators must consider student intrinsic motivation."

The transformation of the school's culture in this proposal is based on the studies of these and other educational researchers whose works aim to foster students' understanding, internalization, and application of leadership and workforce readiness skills, coupled with relationship building by staff and community partners. The school empowers students to take ownership in their learning to work collaboratively to resolve disputes and to build self-esteem, self-image, self-discipline, and self-respect.

By celebrating student successes and small wins, the school fosters a nurturing community in which students are allowed to grow from their mistakes. The students know that yesterday's mistakes are in the past and today's successes are now in front of them. Students embrace and embody the characteristics of Leaders and Scholars.

Format

Individual Presentation

Biographical Sketch

Carmalita Dillard, Ed.D: Dr. Carmalita Dillard is the Principal of Matilda Hartley Elementary School, in Macon, Georgia. Dr. Dillard has served as an administrator for seven years and has been with the Bibb County School District for 23 years.

Amber Hurley, Ed.S.: Ms. Amber Hurley is the Assistant Principal of Matilda Hartley Elementary School, in Macon, Georgia. An eleven year educator, Ms. Hurley has previously served as an Academic Coach and Teacher in Muscogee County Schools.

Dolores Gordon, Ph.D.: Dr. Dolores Gordon is the Math/Science Instructional Coach and Family Engagement Facilitator at Matilda Hartley Elementary School, in Macon, Ga. Dr. Gordon has worked as an educator for 30 years, serving middle school and elementary students in Georgia and Florida.

Tene'Everett, Ed.S.: Mrs. Tene'Everett, is the School Counselor at Matilda Hartley Elementary School, where she has served for three years. Mrs. Everett previously served as a School Counselor in Macon County Schools.

Keyword Descriptors

Leadership, Character, Citizenship, Climate, Discipline, Student Accountability

Presentation Year

2020

Start Date

3-9-2020 1:15 PM

End Date

3-9-2020 2:30 PM

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Mar 9th, 1:15 PM Mar 9th, 2:30 PM

Cultivating Leaders to Reform School Culture

Session 2 (Ballroom F)

A school environment which chronically deals with disruptive students, high absenteeism and low student morale, may find traditional disciplinary consequences ineffective for changing the culture of the school. By using student leadership and empowerment opportunities, coupled with positive parental and behavioral contacts, the presenters will provide practical applications to transform and sustain a positive learning environment.