Topic, Title, or Essential Question:
What steps are critical in the process of analyzing a needs assessment and developing a strategic plan?
School administrators and strategic plan committee members are the target audience for this "planning to plan" project.
Description of the Project:
The process will include drafting a comprehensive needs assessment to identify key areas of program strengths and weaknesses. In addition, strategic steps will be identified linked to current program needs as well as the delineation of responsibility to ensure successful completion of each action step. The complete project will lay the foundation for a successful school renewal process.
Needs Assessment linked to S. C. Standards, SDRT results, PACT results etc.
In the city of Andrews and the surrounding areas, the percentage of people over 25 with a high school diploma is almost 25 percent lower than the average in Georgetown County. In addition, half of the households in the Andrews area have annual incomes less than $19,815 and more than one in five residents lives below the poverty level. Almost 5 percent of all housing units lack complete plumbing and lack other amenities that most American families possess. With many of our children at Andrews Elementary School coming from environments where these conditions exist, the needs of the children are clear.
In order to formulate the 2000-2001 Title 1 schoolwide project, achievement results from the Palmetto Achievement Challenge Test, the Cognitive Skills Assessment Battery, and the Stanford Diagnostic Reading Test were analyzed.. In 1998, 94% of the students scored ready on the CSAB for Grade 1, an increase of 7%. However in 1999, 91% of the students scored ready on the CSAB for Grade 1, a decrease of 3%. The results of the Palmetto Achievement Challenge Test reflects the following students scored above standard:
1999 Grade 3 Grade 4 Grade 5
Math 39% 38% 42%
Language Arts 53% 54% 51%
Academic Plans have been formulated for students who have scored below basic on the Palmetto Achievement Challenge Test. The Academic Plans written for these students formulated strategies to accelerate students by providing opportunities such as: extended day instruction, targeted instruction in language arts and/or math, targeted support from home, and instruction in test taking skills. An analysis of the last three years of the Stanford Diagnostic Reading Test results reflected a large percentage of our students having a weakness in the area of reading comprehension and vocabulary. Analysis of the Spring 1999 Stanford Diagnostic Reading Test, (4th Edition) reveals that the grade equivalent of the median scaled score was at, near, or above grade level for first, third, and fifth grade students. Conversely, the grade equivalent of the median scaled score was below grade level for the second and fourth grade students. The Palmetto Achievement Challenge Test data indicates a need for teacher instruction to incorporate a more balanced literacy approach. Additionally, the Accelerated Reader program will increase student interest and address the different levels of vocabulary and comprehension skills. Increased emphasis in providing writing opportunities will enhance students writing ability and increase readiness for the Palmetto Achievement Challenge Test. Research on child development indicates the following: that children mature at different rates, that children learn best through involvement and participation; and that four and five-year olds experience rapid growth in a variety of areas related to their school performance. Therefore, based on this data, the continuation of our full day kindergarten program is essential to ensure that children will have the skills needed for their entrance into the formal school setting.
Data from the 1998-1999 school survey reflects that 86% of the students, teachers and parents work together to improve the school and the environment. Although there has been an increase in parental attendance at special programs, there is still a need for greater parental involvement and training opportunities. Based upon records of teachers’ conferences, there is evidence that some parenting skills are deficient. In addition, teachers report minimal responses to conference requests. However, data reflects that 91% of the 275 parents surveyed indicated they met with their child’s teacher at least once during the school year. More volunteers are needed to meet the requests of teachers and the growing needs of our students.
There is a need for more guidance opportunities for all students. At present, two guidance counselors and 1 part time mental health counselor are not able to accommodate the needs of parents, students, and teachers. As a result, a large number of individual students are referred to administrative offices. With a student population of 1150, Andrews Elementary School employs 57 regular education teachers, 2 child development teachers, 4 special education teachers, 6.5 special area teachers, 2.5 reading/math specialists, 3 speech therapists, 16 instructional assistants and two assistant principals. At this time only five male staff members are employed. The number of male discipline referrals possibly indicate the need for more male mentors.
Our teachers need continued improvement of their professional skills, and the opportunities to acquire the knowledge and skills needed to instruct and prepare our students for the next century. As evidenced by surveys and admitted lack of technological skills, additional and ongoing staff development is needed. Decreased test scores also indicate the need for more staff development training in strategies for teaching reading and math. An increased number of guidance and discipline referrals show a need for teachers to learn additional strategies to address the emotional needs of children.
On April 19, 1999, a total number of 275 parent surveys were sent home and 164 (59%) were returned. The results of the parent survey indicated that 94% of the parents felt their children had made appropriate progress in reading and that 93% felt their children made appropriate progress in math for the 1999-2000 school year. In addition, 76% of the parents indicated that the school should continue to have Family Reading and Family Math Night. The committee did not make any one conclusion from the survey but utilized the information globally to assist in the planning of the 2000-2001 schoolwide Title 1 Plan.