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School Environment Analysis Essay

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School Environment Analysis Essay
Courtney A. Redford
Grand Canyon University: EDA 575-Educational Leadership in a Changing World
Facilitator: Dr. Audrey Donaldson
Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Environmental and contextual factors affect my school and community on a daily basis. One of the most apparent issues would be the lack of parental involvement. This element influences both the school climate, as well as the community environment. In my years of teaching, I have found that students, who have parents that are detached from their school life, have difficulty remaining motivated and engaged in their education. Abstractly speaking, face to face bullying, as well as cyber-bullying also burden the demographics of my school. As teachers and administrators, we address the predictors of bullying and victimization on an ongoing basis, but the issue still exists. As a result of the lack of parental involvement and bullying/peer-pressure, teen pregnancy, within the district, has been on the rise. According to Gilbert, teen mothers are twice as likely to drop out of high school. This bit of research shows the increasing need to combat this issue. Within the context of this analysis, the factors mentioned above will be addressed and discussed.
According to Colombo, research has suggested that the missing link in educational equity, in terms of educational achievement, is parental involvement. Community and parental involvement are important in educating a child and ensuring success in their educational future. Since parents and caregivers are the first “teachers” of students, they have the most impact on their lives. The need arises at our school when it is difficult to make contact with parents for various reasons. For instance, participation from parents is almost non-existent at parent teacher conferences. It is also frustrating when I have contacted a parent with an issue or concern regarding their child, and the parent refuses to respond to my effort to communicate. We have an online program that allows parents to communicate with the teacher and become a stakeholder in their child’s education. The problem with this is the majority of the parents fail to utilize the system leaving them oblivious to their child’s educational progression or regression in school. According to (Larocque, Kleiman, & Darling, 2011) the population of our society is becoming increasingly diverse; therefore, the student body in public schools is also becoming increasingly diverse. The demographics at my school are broken down as follows:
• White 14%
• African American 40%
• Hispanic 41%
• Other 5%
• Economically Disadvantaged 71%
• Limited English Proficient 18%
Research shows that there is a disparity between African American, Native American and Hispanic students in comparison to their Caucasian counterparts. With this being noted, we can see why parental involvement is at the forefront of needs. “Given that increased level of parental involvement in schools and in the education of their children is positively correlated with increasing educational achievement, it is important to devise ways to increase parental involvement (Larocque, Kleiman, & Darling, 2011).” As leaders, we have to come up with solutions to the problems we encounter. Addressing language barriers, physical barriers, cultural differences, and emotional barriers are some possible solutions in combating this issue. When assisting families with language barriers, different modes of communication can be used to ensure the family understands and is not intimidated by the language being used by professionals. Communicating with families through email, video conferencing, and parental bulletins are just a few examples of different ways to communicate. Also, having a translator is important to non English speaking families to make sure the topics discussed are understood by all parties involved. Physical barriers cause problems for parent involvement as well. Allowing school transportation to be used for parents to attend school functions can be one way to increase parental involvement. Having a flexible schedule also allows parents to attend parent teacher conferences, school activities, and extracurricular activities. When parents are involved students are motivated to perform in every aspect of their life. When dealing with cultural differences teachers should become knowledgeable about the values and ideals of their students cultural backgrounds. Allowing parents to verbalize what is expected of the teacher and to participate in goal setting for their child is one way to address emotional barriers. Schools should also create a warm environment to give parents a sense of comfort and reassurance. It can be assumed there is a direct link between the increase in technological advances and cyber-bullying. Cyber-bullying can affect anyone who is connected to the Internet and regularly uses email, instant messaging, or any other part of the World Wide Web (Hummell, 2007). Several of my students have been a victim of cyber bullying. For instance, one of my students was harassed by another student on a social networking site because they were apparently dating the same person. Another incident happened when one of my male students was repeatedly harassed because of his sexual orientation. Those actions caused him to bring harm to himself and miss an extended amount of time away from school. The typical bully is one who exhibits significant externalizing behavior, has internalizing symptoms, has both social competence and academic challenges, possesses negative attitudes and beliefs about others, has negative self-related cognitions, has trouble resolving problems with others, comes from a family environment characterized by conflict and poor parental monitoring, is more likely to attend a school with a negative atmosphere, is influenced by negative community factors and tends to be negatively influenced by his or her peers (Gendron, Williams, & Guerra 2011). Demographically speaking, in reference to the quote above, my school has the ideal environment for both the predators and prey of bullying. Parents should familiarize themselves with social networking sites, parental control software, and their children’s online usage. Parents should not allow their children to have access to private usage of the computer. Placing the computer in a “family room” may decrease the risk of inappropriate or unsafe behavior on the computer. Bullying in the school should be taken more seriously by school administrators. When bullying takes place, proper intervention should be implemented. Bullying should never be taken lightly, because the effects on the student can be morbid, or damage that student emotionally for the rest of their life.
Teen pregnancy has been an increasing factor in economically disadvantaged areas. Teen pregnancy affects the teen mother’s ability to be a successful parent, an academically enriched student, and has the ability to lower their self esteem. Several things can be done for the teen parent to assist them in completing their future goals. For example, we have a childcare facility at the school where I teach. The student and their child ride school transportation to and from school. The teen parent receives a childcare waiver from the state to supplement childcare cost. Having the childcare facility at school is of substantial benefit to the teen parents. It has been found that the on campus childcare facility decreases the dropout rate for teen parents, increases student attendance, and enhances student performance in the classroom. Although teen pregnancy is not ideal, my school has been in the forefront of dealing with this issue. School and community needs will always be a factor in a school climate. It is how the school addresses these needs that make all the difference. We know our stakeholders play a vital role in the functioning and implementation of any school organization, so it is the duty of school personnel to consider their needs as well. Parental involvement, bullying, and teen pregnancy are a few of the needs that are prevalent at my school. Although the issues are there, my school system has taken several advances into finding plausible solutions. Addressing cultural and emotional barriers, encouraging parental monitoring of computer usage and providing child care facilities to “student parents” are just a few ways that my school has opted to provide assistance to these needs.

References
LaRocque, M., Kleiman, I., & Darling, S. M. (2011). Parental involvement: The missing link in school achievement. Preventing School Failure, 55(3), 115. Retrieved from http://library.gcu.edu.edu:2048/login?url=http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&db=ehh&site=ehost-live&scope=site
Gendron, B. P., Williams, K. R., & Guerra, N. G. (2011). An Analysis of Bullying Among Students within Schools: Estimating the Effects of Individual Normative Beliefs, Self-Esteem, and School Climate. Journal of School Violence, 10(2), 150-164. doi:10.1080/15388220.2010.539166
Hummell, L. (2007). Cyber-bullying: What It Is and How to Prevent It. Delta Kappa Gamma Bulletin, 73(3), 26-27. Retrieved from http://library.gcu.edu:2048/login?url=http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&db=ehh&AN=26442590&site=ehost-live&scope=site
Gilbert, L. (2007). The Teen Pregnancy Dilemma: A Different Solution. Delta Kappa Gamma Bulletin, 73(3), 5-8. Retrieved from http://library.gcu.edu:2048/login?url=http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true &db=ehh&AN=26442586&site=ehost-live&scope=site

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