Donald F. Spencer
Distance Education / ECOT
Taught six workshop hours of
online classes through
Created a program through Visual Studio.NET that tracked the progress of each student in the credit recovery program (Success Academy) and made it available to each teacher on the team. Saved the comments made to each student by the team teachers and made them available to each member of the team. Information was made available through the Internet and was always current.
Chaired a committee charged with reviewing and evaluating curriculum and curriculum software employed in an intranet school. Committee hearings were held to examine current practices and vendor provided curriculum software. Strengths and weaknesses of existing curriculum and practices were discussed. Teachers were interviewed as well as company representatives.
This resulted in the adoption of a new, vendor- provided software curriculum. The curriculum is currently being tested in the academy I administer. Pending a successful trial, the curriculum will be considered for other schools within the system. Students will be exposed to a broader and more in-depth curriculum. The students’ chances of success have been greatly increased.
Implemented Best practices
I researched best practices for at-risk students and applied the research to the academy for which I am an administrator. I did a thorough literature review of best practices for at-risk students. I then adopted the practices for my intranet academy. These practices included an online orientation, mentoring, interdisciplinary activities, and greater social presence among the students. An online orientation was created that included a personal call from a teacher, an online written overview of the academy, and an online Power Point summary presentation. Each student had a clear idea of what the program was about from the beginning.
Each student had a teacher assigned to him/her as a mentor. The mentor had a grade summary for the student’s classes and was able to discuss overall progress with the student. The mentor also asked the student to establish a tentative weekly schedule for study with the student.
Simple interdisciplinary activities were created in the form of forum postings and live chats. The emphasis was on the relationship between the disciplines and their applicability to the real world. Social chats were also held to increase social presence for the students.
The result was increased success for students who previously had failed. All students in the intranet academy had previously failed their subjects and were engaged in credit recovery. Each student success represented a victory over past defeat. The success rate was roughly equal to that of the regular high school.
Developed Integrated Curriculum Units
The teachers with whom I was working were not using integrated curriculum. My task was to introduce them to the concept of integrated curriculum and enable them to incorporate it into their teaching practices.
In two separate years, I lead an eighth grade team of teachers in an integrated curriculum unit. On both occasions we centered the project on community service in the form of improving school landscape. Each teacher taught to the activity. The math teacher taught the students how to compute the number of plants and how many plants we could afford. The history teacher taught the history of conservation.
The result was that the students were more engaged. The Dean reported a decrease in the number of referrals and the teachers reported improvements in grades. The teachers continued to employ integrated units of their own design.
Developed Computer Applications Curriculum
task was to create a curriculum for a new computer lab being developed at
read appropriate literature and visited existing labs throughout
The result was that the students were able to do research on the Internet and develop multimedia presentations. The interdisciplinary aspect created a synergy effect on the students’ ability to do research and create presentations.
Developed Statistically Valid and Reliable Instrument to Measure Curriculum Effectiveness
I was a member of an eighth grade team that had implemented an integrated curriculum unit and we needed to assess the impact upon the students. My task, as the leader of the project, was to devise a valid and reliable measure of our success.
I created a survey that would provide a valid and reliable measure of the four areas in which the team waned to see some improvement. The goals of this project were to increase student involvement, collaboration, perception of curriculum relevance, and student satisfaction with the lessons. I developed three survey scales, one for each goal, to measure the effectiveness of the unit.
The scale development followed guidelines presented in DeVellis’ Scale Development: theory and applications. The scales were tested for internal reliability through the use of Cronbach’s Alpha. Statistical analysis was performed with SPSS base 8.0. A two-sample (independent) t test was conducted comparing the survey results from the two teams.
Mentored New Teachers
We had a number of new teachers join the staff at my school. Although seasoned teachers are assigned to them as “buddies”, occasionally a rapport between the two did not develop. I have had a number of the new teachers come to me to me to talk about their first year experiences. I have also had experienced teachers stop by to talk about frustrations and challenges.
My task was to mentor these teachers and enable them to develop a critical paradigm and discover their own solutions. I encouraged them through conversations and mutual classroom visitations.
The result was that the majority of the teachers I mentored are now established in very productive careers. One in particular has begun a Masters Degree and Educational Leadership.
Facilitated Electronic Staff Meetings
Created Instruction Booklet for Staff
At our school we held meetings in the same way faculty meetings have always been held. They were time consuming and not stimulating: certainly not as productive as they could have been. The Principal wanted to initiate electronic staff meetings.
However, the school was being renovated and one-third of the teachers did not have access to their regular computers and had to get their email from whatever computer they could log onto. My task was to use my technology skills to enable administration and teachers to communicate in a more efficient and productive manner.
I helped the Principal develop a Power Point presentation and send it electronically to the teachers as a group. I helped the teachers to gain the ability to access their email accounts from any computer they could access. I developed a small booklet with instructions graphics reproducing the actual screens the teachers would see as they configured the machine available to them to access their email.
The result was the first successful use of an electronic faculty meeting. The teachers were able to receive their mail at any computer that was part of the local area network. Teachers began to use email more frequently and continue to use email as a venue for group meetings.
The result of our assessment was to recommend and implement changes for further integrated curriculum units that resulted in improved instruction. We streamlined our operation. Future units were of shorter time duration, of a smaller scales of operation, and more discrete in scope.
Created curriculum to celebrate cultural diversity
My school has a diverse population with large Hispanic and African American populations. Not enough was being done to celebrate the contributions from those groups. My task was to supplement my regular American History curriculum with an enriching experience that celebrated our nation’s diverse origins.
organized a field trip to the city of
The result was that the students were exposed to unique and interesting accomplishments .of diverse groups that to which they could relate. The climate in the classroom became warmer and more open.
Used Technology to Improve Parental Communication
There was a lag in communication between myself and the parents of students who were not progressing satisfactorily. Using the established policy of progress reports alone was not getting information fast enough to the parents of struggling students. With better communication, t he parents could act more effectively. My task was to find a way to provide that timely communication.
The action I took was to more effectively use technology to communicate with my students’ parents. I used Microsoft Excel along with Microsoft Access to instantly generate letters to the appropriate parents after every graded activity. As soon as I entered the grades into the computer, the computer commuted the grades, selected any student whose grade had gone down and generated a letter home.
The result was much improved communication between my students’ parents and me. The number of unsatisfactory grades was cut in half.
Conducted Doctoral Level Research
I had to conduct research and present my research in the form of a written dissertation to satisfy the requirements for a Doctorate in Education. My task was to write a five-chapter dissertation explaining my research.
wrote 162-page dissertation that passed a review by a committee of five
professors at the
The result was that I advanced, to a small degree, the body of knowledge regarding distance education as compared to traditionally mediated education.
Faculty Presentation on Concept Mapping
Our staff was largely unexposed to the benefits of electronically based concept mapping. My task was to present to the staff the benefits and the means to use electronically based concept mapping in the form of the software, Inspiration.
I arranged for a nationally known presenter, who was also part of the county administrative staff, to come to our school and present the benefits and use of Inspiration software. I was part of the presentation. I also made arrangements for the purchase of the software for any staff member who wanted to use the program in his/her classroom.
The result was that ten teachers opted to use the software in their classrooms. The quality of instruction was improved for those classrooms.