School Improvement Action Plan Barry Thibault Nov by ajizai


									 School Improvement Action Plan                       Barry Thibault Nov. 15, 2008

Many things have changed in the schools since I began teaching 10 years ago. I have had the

opportunity to witness different schools and have also been disappointed in how the schools are

not all treated fairly when it involves money and technology. All schools have plenty need and

room for improvement in supporting the students and faculty. This year, I am working in the

Atlanta Public School System at Douglass High School in the Bankhead area of Atlanta. The

Bankhead area is not a financially rich area and many families rely on the school to support them

with teaching, supporting and keeping the students safe. Douglass High School is improving in

many areas however, there needs to be more research and funding towards an after-school

program utilizing technology, music and reading to help students prepare for their future. An

afterschool computer lab would also be a benefit for students trying to work on homework and

projects, equipment like mobile computer carts, use of computer labs, Accelerated Reader

Programs and other required software to aid in student’s success would be a great asset to all

students and faculty.

As a student, I was highly interested and engaged in the fine arts curriculum and technology. I

did not make all A's in my academic courses and benefited more from music and playing around

with my Atari and Commodore 64. I now realize that this was creating the interest level that I

have in both fields. Students today need to be offered this type of setting rather than a full load of

academic classes and this is one major problem at Douglass High School. The solution would be

to utilize the arts and technology after school- This would be the initial step until we can make

more classes offered during the school day as well. I would be very interested in supporting and

organizing the preparations needed to get the project started at Douglass.
 School Improvement Action Plan                        Barry Thibault Nov. 15, 2008

 As a music educator, I have had the unique opportunity to witness countless students excel in

music. It has been a privilege to observe students who are straight A students and students with

weaker GPA's demonstrate exceptional skills in music. Some remarkable musical skills I have

observed include skills in performing music, reading music, identifying music, rhythmic

accuracy, musical creativity, improvisation, fine motor skills on an instrument, gifted vocal

skills, pitch matching skills, and acute listening skills. I think it is imperative for students to

utilize technology in refining these skills offered through some great music programs and

software for the computer. Douglass High School is lacking all technology programs that offer

this. The budget would require a license from some of the major music programs of only around

$2000 to complete access to enough computers for students to be used afterschool.

With the passing of the NCLB (No Child Left Behind Law), all students are required to be at a

certain testing and reading level. Many students are not passing the required reading level set by

the NCLB law at Douglass High School. We are constantly struggling to find a way to

incorporate reading into the daily classroom routine. Many students would benefit with the help

of a reading program used with the computer lab and this could also be accessed during the

afterschool- technical program. I am very familiar with several programs that a school in

Hillsborough County Florida used in the early 2000-2005 school years. I was involved in

working with the media specialist in having all students be accounted for reading support

through the use of the Accelerated Reader (AR) software in the computer lab on a daily, weekly

or even monthly basis, if needed.
 School Improvement Action Plan                      Barry Thibault Nov. 15, 2008

The Accelerated Reader is a reading software program produced by the Renaissance Learning

Company. Renaissance claims it is “the most popular and successful reading software of all

time” and that it “personalizes reading practice to each student’s current level.” What used to be

a CD ROM program on a couple of school computers has grown exponentially since 1986 and is

now found in more than 73,000 North American schools. Renaissance states that their “tools

provide daily formative assessment and periodic progress-monitoring technology to enhance the

curriculum, support differentiated instruction, and personalize practice.” Renaissance asserts

that they “help educators make the practice component of their existing curriculum more

effective by providing tools to personalize practice and easily manage the daily activities for

students of all ability levels.” They state “teachers using Renaissance Learning products

accelerate learning, get more satisfaction from teaching, and achieve higher test scores on state

and national tests.” The AR program is great for all student who need to practice, drill be

tutored in reading. The cost basis for a computer lab setting would be less than $1,000 to set up

in our school. Because this is computer based software there is no timeline considerations at this

point that we must challenge. Everything can be handled by the computer capacity in our media

center. I am also looking into some grants for the Fine Arts Building to handle all music

resources as well as AR for the after-school program as well.

The format and premise of Accelerated Reader (AR) is that a student can be assessed by taking a

computerized test and will receive a reading ranking called a reading level (RL). “Reading

Level” guides students to choose reading materials that closely align to their reading strengths

and skills. These drills can be done at any computer lab with the AR software.
 School Improvement Action Plan                      Barry Thibault Nov. 15, 2008

       The next component is that students read the book and take an assessment at the

conclusion of reading to obtain points. Each book is allotted a point value and the student’s

performance on the assessment determines how many “points” are obtained from reading the

particular selection. AR is not intended to provide reading instruction but to help motivate

students and monitor students’ reading practice. In exchange for points earned, the teacher or

school can decide whether or not to offer incentives or prizes. I think this would help out many

students at Douglass. Several schools that I worked at use the rewards, incentives, and prizes to

entice children to read for points.

I have learned that there are many types of learning styles that students acquire. The use of these

programs will help all the students and teachers feel as if they are actually accomplishing

something on a day-to-day basis. As I look more into this over the course of the class, I will be

sure to add any more information for the school and other teachers for your consideration. The

cost factor for this improvement plan is minimal when compared to the learning and student

safety that will be taking place after-school at Douglass High School


Anderson, J. (2001, July). A Skeptic is Sold. School Library Journal, 47 (7), 31.

Brisco, S. (2003, April). Counterpoint: AR: What are motives behind the motives? Teacher

       Librarian, 30(4), 33-34. Retrieved October 29, 2008, from Research Library database,

Chenoweth, K. (2001, September). Keeping score. School Library Journal, 47 (9), 48-51.
 School Improvement Action Plan                  Barry Thibault Nov. 15, 2008

Florida Center For Reading Research (2006). Accelerated Reader. Retrieved October 30, 2008,


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