Sunday, September 17, 2017

Improving Adult Education via / Authentic Relationships in Rural Education Communities.

As I begin to navigate through the process of educating adult learners, I am doing so by reflecting on the six significant learning pillars associated with adult learning. The first is foundational knowledge. It is important when making the appropriate recommendations for adult learners that you realistically accept the students’ ability and functional levels. Furthermore as we place and make determinations towards their learning outcomes and program goals to include remediation services, you must have adequately addressed their basic needs (i.e.) affective domain. In my practice as both a 
P-12 Educator/Administrator and Post-Secondary Educator, I currently use ACT Key-Train as an initial program assessment of the student’s foundational skills. 

     It also helps me place and path the student’s instructional goals. I am seeking greater success with this practice as I continue to use it with my adult students. I currently us it as readiness for their GED, Ready To Work / Career Readiness Certification and mostly for their personal improvement needs. In short, it is a user friendly on-line/hybrid resource relative to the education skills needs of adult learners (i.e.) locating information, reading for information, and applied mathematics. 

The process of application should direct how long in my opinion a learner will remain in a particular program. Often adult learners need to self-assess as well as have formal assessments provided to them. Many of my adult learners have been out of an educational setting for more than 10 years. This is why the concept of application is needed. We must determine goals and set timelines towards achieving them. The skills that are yet developing will guide the rate in which the student is making progress in their learning. 

     The outcomes should support the learners’ goals and objectives set collaboratively. In my work I see that the more consistent the learner is, in terms of their learning outcomes the greater the impact is on their path towards success. Career success and some level of advanced education should be available to all individuals. Post secondary organizations are improving in their recruitment towards making this happen (i.e.) short certificate programs, certificate programs, and associate degree programs.

Integration of new skills based on learning acquisitions is vital in the learning process. In this 21st Century it is most important that we offer more applied replications of modern resources in our curriculum development. Learning is yet the same and in some ways it is different in reflection of 20 years past. What I am noticing as a consistent pattern is the matter in which students learn. All learning is based on the resources available and the process in which these resources are used in the learning environment. The process of integration must be well adapted if the concept is going to be successful. Specifically, a collaborative approach must be in place in order to meet the needs of the students and to have measurable outcomes. This will consequently assist the evaluation process of programs as a means of continuous improvement. 

As an educator and administrator I often make the statement “you can have the best curriculum and the worst staff per its implementation or you can have the best in human resources and the worst in materials and resources”.  Human Dimension is a valuable entity in all organizations but in the context of educational organizations it is a must. Learning is a process that requires not only the appropriate curricula, but it is also logical to match similar personnel towards meeting the needs of a successful implementation process. In nineteen years of working with both P-12 and Post-Secondary settings, I am beginning to see a greater need to plan as a collaborative group as well as to share faculty characteristics. The more recent initiative in my work setting is dual enrollment. With this I see best practices emerging towards meeting the needs of our students within this authentic relationship. 

     Some are to share resources within programs. We often share students so why not consider sharing personnel. When must continue to plan together as we are finding that much of our curriculum is the same. We also have noticed favorable outcomes and a greater retention within our shared student populations. For example, dual enrollment in the Macon County Public School System and with Trenholm State Community College has increased from 15 – 111 in a three year relationship. As of FY: 2016/2017 there are twenty-one seniors who graduated high school with dual enrollment credit towards their associates degree. The human dimension concept should be favored to enable these outcomes. Success must be shared equally. We are using this learning pillar of organizational development to aide our students. Offering a humanistic approach will ultimately provide greater success towards our largest commodity; our students. 

You can not have success in any organization or function without caring. I recently developed a new initiative in my work setting “CTE STEM Student Send OFF”.  This was developed out of caring for the students that I work with. The process is simple, I often think of my successes and how I achieved them. This reflection then humbles me to impress on others to consider caring unconditionally of themselves towards the improvement of someone else. 

     In adult learning, there is a need to allow your adult students an opportunity to see you from different lenses. Often those lenses are you’re caring in the simplest manner. I have provided simplicity in my caring; offering a adult student a meal that we share together, offering a student a ride after class, attending a or community event with a student, etc . These are modest, but I have witnessed a more improved learning relationship between students and the instructional staff having demonstrated a genuine interest per their personal-selves. Caring is free and it works. 

Lastly, in the teaching of any individuals we often have to decide what is best. Learning how to learn is one of the concepts that are every changing. Methods in teaching often need to change. However things do not change because we fail to reflect on what has worked and what has not worked and to accept it. I see the practice of best teaching practices at a stand-still in some areas of service and instruction. 

     More directly, we fail to focus on how individuals learn and what is needed to learn and how to learn. In an effort to improve adult learning and learning in general we must reflect on how we as educators learned and then reflect on what could have been implemented differently. We must also focus on our new the generation of learners individually and how we must better direct their’ learning to learn processes. Intuitiveness is the nature having a solid inclination of what is considered insightful. Learning is indeed a science and must be considered as such. Methodology will continue to steady how we define learning. However, a more intimate view can provide a reflection per past and future best practices. A best wish will be to gain more personal development and to correlate those experiences with current practice. The change will come with a greater understanding of these six kinds of significant learning.  

Resources:
Fink, L. D. (2013). Creating significant learning experiences: An integrated approach to designing college courses (Rev.). San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.

Barr, R. B., & Tagg, J. (1995). From teaching to learning—A new paradigm for undergraduate education. Change, 27(6), 1–18.

Post by: 
Dr. Melvin Alonza Lowe, III, EdD, EdS, M.S., M.Ed., B.S.
Educational Director - 
Macon County Public School System
     lowemelvin724@gmail.com
     lowema@maconk12.org 

Sunday, June 25, 2017

Strategies To Improve Higher Education w/ a focus on curriculum, globalization, and funding.


 Strategies To Improve Higher Education w/ a focus on curriculum, globalization, and funding.

In an effort to increase students’ interest in post-secondary education there must be encouragement supported by a quality learning experience and there must be programs of study that are attractive to both the student’s interest and industry needs. An active effort should be taken within the following manner to ensure that ongoing best practices are developed and implemented towards these goals and objectives. To support an improved learning environment within post-secondary settings, colleges and universities should consider: the curriculum structure, globalization of services and support initiatives, and financial assistance towards meeting the advanced educational needs of the learner.
Modern approaches to curriculum leadership include online learning as well as web-based platforms. More recently we are moving away from blended instructional frames in come college settings. However the increased uses of educational technology manifest blended instructional methods within certain programs, the more advanced learning environments. We are yet moving more towards continued site-based instruction and more web-based instruction. In colleges and universities where there is an increased enrollment you will find more support of online learning environments which are an attractive quality for adult learners who are also employed.
There are many more advancements that are coupled with curricula advancements such as content, grading criteria, short-term semesters, and degrees offered. Nevertheless, the greater qualities of the learning experience for the student are those that meet their life-long goals, personal needs, and career objectives. These are the areas that post-secondary administrators should consider when making adjustment for the improve efforts per their curriculum design. Curriculum should be a daily task in post secondary setting. Thus, knowledge of program outcomes must be well vested in the planning of new program designs and curricula structures.
As advanced efforts are taken towards increasing the affects of student learning, we should also focus on the globalization of our organizations. The methods used within the instructional practices should include the focus on diversification of faculty, facilities, to include recruitment efforts. Students must see themselves in the organization where they are to study successfully and where they are expected to advance socially. Retention in programs is greatly impacted by the manner in which students see themselves on college campuses. In the organization of programs, faculty, and programs there should be equity in the level of instructional programs with a fair distribution of cultural respects. There must be policy statements that support and protect these conditions and provisions for students enrolled as well as for those who may consider enrollment into a particular organization. These efforts will support the acceptance of your organizations’ graduates as their presence in the local community will be well respected and receive
Lastly, the financial needs of adult learners are a changing dynamic that should be addressed with more attention. In some college and universities there are many resources available to the student and their unique learning needs. For example, dining services, housing, and child care continue to be major factors in the enrollment, retention and graduation of students in both 2-year and 4-year college systems. More adults are working directly from high school and need the financial assist that is provided at larger colleges and schools. In rural populations there is also a need if not a greater need for similar services and career opportunities. To off set the experiences of college students in a new environment there should be more opportunities for employment available to them. If at all possible the campus location where they are seeking an advanced education would be a great start of both educational grown and development and employment. To future assist the financial needs of the adult learner, the organizations should consider offering required financial literacy programs as a curriculum and graduation requirement. Many times students complete college with poor fiscal management habits which leads them to failed careers. Colleges must improve in the exit procedures for students in post-secondary environments. The organizational culture, academic posture, and fiscal posture of the student towards the end of their learning experience will determine if the process was successful. These practices must be a revisit on a regular cycle if greater outcomes are to flourish in post-secondary learning experiences.

References:

Guri-Rosenblit, S., Sebkova, H., & Teichler, U. (2007). Massification and diversity of higher                           education systems: Interplay of complex dimensions. Higher Education Policy, 20(4), 373-389.
                  Retrieved from Walden Library using the SAGE Journals Online database.


Salmi, J., & Bassett, R. M. (2009). Rankings 09: Measures matter. World University Rankings 2009. Retrieved from http://www.timeshighereducation.co.uk/story.asp?storycode=408566

Post by:
Melvin Alonza Lowe, III, EdD
Educational Director
Career Technical/Workforce Development
Macon County Public Schools
(Walden University M.S. Higher Education w/ Adult Learning)

Globalization and Post Secondary Education


Globalization and Post Secondary Education
Many of the colleges and universities that I have reviewed in the United States are within the southern states. They are faced with similar issues regarding staffing per programs and outcomes. In my review of two-year community colleges in Montgomery and Opelika Alabama I am noticing that in the areas of automotive manufacturing and information technology there is yet a disconnect with regards to  instructors and students per naturalized Americans. Many of the staffers for these programs are none-naturalized Americans. This is due to a large percentage of globalizations and pre-service programs (high-school) curriculums that do not prepare students for careers in these STEM areas. Equally, there is a shortage of instructors for programs in these areas of instruction due to lack of employment opportunities, housing, and retirement options.

Recently at two of the community colleges that I have researched (Trenholm State Community College and Southern Union State Community College), there is a shared instructional population. Many of the same staffers teach at the same colleges as there is a shortage of qualified personnel in the areas mentioned. To be exact, I am in a hiring freeze for an Industrial Manufacturing program in that there have been no qualifying applicants for the position. Secondly, the communication barriers are also a concern when the instructor’s dialect is so strong and the American students are unable to gather a good understanding of the curricula content due to this disadvantage. These are a few of the concerns that globalization has caused post-secondary education in terms of instructional staffing.

In staffing post-secondary organizations there are often issues per salary, rank, and tenure. Additionally these are all valid issues that I have interfaced in my research per globalization and how effective the process is in the United States in particular to the southern states. Many of the staff at the two post-secondary schools that I have reviewed are the same in that they have not earned tenure at either school due to their mobilization to secure higher pay within the post-secondary system. Most recently the post-secondary board of trustee has been re-developed meaning that we have separate governance with P-12 and Post-Secondary. Again, many of the previous issues remain but they are addressed by a different governing board of directors/trustees. Additional areas of concerns are presented in the organizational structure of individual colleges within a unified system. In one setting there is a President and various department heads. In the other organization there are is President, Vice President, Deans, and Directors. This is a concern in terms of staffing because they are both organizations that have similar programs and student populations yet their leadership structure is vastly different to include pay for their employees. In one setting there has been litigation regarding positions and appointments and not enough diversity given to the concept of globalization. In a fair sense you may decrease potential enrollment based on this mere fact in your organization. The development of a globalizing organization is an ongoing process. There must be input from the community and employees to include hiring procedures that insure that there is equity within the organization.  

I have experienced many new strategies offered by post-secondary organizations in terms of recruitment and retention. Some of them I think have worked and some have not. The ones that I find working the most are those that impact the quality of instruction. Too often the programs of study are not given the merit they are due. In many cases the same courses are offered at two-Year College are the same courses are offered at four-year colleges. I am speaking of the academic courses in general (Math, Science, English, and Social Sciences). With this in mind, high school students both American and none-American should be given the same opportunity to pursue these educational experiences and tuition benefits. Many of the students that I work with in Alabama are rural students who can not afford four-year College directly from high school. With this, there needs to be more domestic globalization to encourage and share the programs of study with local students yet exposing local none-American cultures the same experience. There should be more focus on STEM and Foreign Language programs in community colleges with a connection to four-year colleges after graduation. There are so many benefits that can manifest at the two-year college system but advertising that the institution welcomes diversity should be a factor to ensure that the programs are equally staffed and populated with a mixed-culture of students.
In closing, I have seen programmatic changes take place by offering simply organizational changes in staffing and outward communications. In my school system we are partnered with two community colleges with dual enrollment programs. Both school present different programs to our students based on interest and need. With a greater appreciation given towards the cultural differences of both high schools, we are seeing more student entering community college from high school as well as an increase in returning students who have graduated 5-8 years ago. The impact has been credited to the programs offered and the diversity in the staff who work with the students. As colleges and universities continue to expand their programs and increase student enrollment, I feel that many forward approaches towards globalization should be taken into consideration in efforts of providing a more advanced, educated thus diversified workforce.

References:

Cooper, J., & Mitsunaga, R. (2010). Faculty perspectives on international education: The nested realities of faculty collaborations. New Directions for Higher Education, (150), 69-81.

Wildavsky, B. (2009, September/October). How America's mania for college rankings went global. Washington Monthly, 41(9/10), 48-53.


Posted by:
Melvin Alonza Lowe, III, EdD
Educational Director
Career Technical/Workforce Development
Macon County Public Schools
(Walden University M.S. Higher Education w/ Adult Learning)


 


Sunday, January 15, 2017

Career Planning and Goal Setting within Adult Learning


Career Planning and Goal Setting within Adult Learning

            Adult learning is an evolving concept that focusing on many pedagogies and methodologies. When we think about best practices and ways in which to approach adult learning we often reference the six assumptions.
First, adults need to know why they need to learn something. Second, adults are responsible for their own decisions. Third, adults have a great deal of experience to bring to education. Fourth, adults are ready to learn what they need to know. Fifth, adults consider learning to be life centered. Finally, adults are mostly motivated
by internal pressures. As we further relate these assumptions to practice, please see the following.

1.               Self-concept: As people mature, they move being a dependent personality toward being more self-directed.
2.               Experience: As people mature, they amass a growing set of experiences that provide a fertile resource for learning.
3.               Readiness to learn: As people mature, they are more interested in learning subjects that have immediate relevance to their jobs or personal lives.
4.               Orientation to learning: As people mature, their time perspective changes from gathering knowledge for future use to immediate application of knowledge. As such, adult learners become more problem-centered rather than subject-centered (Knowles, 1980).
5.               Motivation to learn: As people mature, they become more motivated by various internal incentives, such as need for self-esteem, curiosity, desire to achieve, and satisfaction of accomplishment.
6.               Relevance: As people mature, they need to know why they need to learn something (Knowles, 1984). Furthermore, because adults manage other aspects of their lives, they are capable of directing or, at least, assisting in the planning and implementation of their own learning.
As a theoretical practitioner I find it necessary to employ these assumptions at best towards the target audience which is probably that of adult learners. When addressing the needs of adult learners it is most important to focus on personal goals as well as program outcomes. As we interface new facets of teaching and learning into the scheme of education, we must consider the importance of career planning and goal setting. Adult learners in their own regards must address each of the six assumptions with equity. However, not all will be addressed in the same order and this is based on each individual’s background of experiences.
In my personal focus on learning and adult students, I focus on the first assumption; adults need to know why they need to learn something. This is true for my learning and my personal outcomes. I must know why I am doing something. As I make this work for adult learners, I share with them the concept of goal setting and how to establish realistic goals based on their current academic and economic position. Learners should be able to determine a connection towards where they are and where they would like to go. Often the journey is different based on educational needs verses academic ability. All in all, the learner must be able to connect the pieces to conceptualize if this will work for them.  We are finding that adult learners are more independent than they typically think.
Looking at the Anthology you find that many of the functions of education are both the same for independent and dependant learners. Learning in fact is learning regardless of the age, gender, social economic status, etc. The learner dispositions may be different; nevertheless these are the concept used to set career and educational goals

In my study of these concepts, assumptions, and theories, I am finding that the approach taking to assist an adult learner is paramount. The learner must have the assumptions mentioned by Knowles met before, during, and after their progress through any program of study. Secondly, the student must feel empowered and respected in their identification of self-worth with respect towards their career goals and educational outcomes. More so, the student must be encouraged without ridicule. In my work with adult students, I find that self-pity does exist only if allowed. You must enable the student to store their past experiences but only focusing on those that will propel their future. This is why it is important to help the student discover their strengths and weaknesses with dignity and diligence early in the process of determining an appropriate program and education plan. Adult learning is diverse and must be respected in the manner that all students learn differently because they bring different needs to you as the educator. Foremost, these are the concerns which make the pedagogy of adult learning unique in both the process and outcome. Education planning and peer guidance is most essential in the develop of successful programs for adult learners.

Resources:
Knowles, M. S., Holton, E. G., & Swanson, R. A. (1998). The adult learner: The definitive classic in adult education and human resources development. Houston, TX: Gulf Publishing Company.

Merriam, S. B. (2008). Adult learning theory for the twenty-first century. New Directions for Adult and Continuing Education, 119, 93–98.

Post by:
Dr. Melvin Alonza Lowe, III, EdD
Educational Director -
Macon County Public School
lowemelvin724@gmail.com

Sunday, November 6, 2016

Higher Education For Everyone, and Why We Must VOTE on Tuesday......


Higher Education For Everyone, and Why We Must VOTE on Tuesday......

In my career as an educator, I value the options that I have as an American citizen. Education has allowed me to make the choices that I have for myself. Often in my conversations with fellow colleagues I site examples of how my educational achievements have postured my successes. With these conversations I ask, don't you want the same for your students? The state of America is yet before us. The ability to vote on Tuesday is another example of the options that I mention to parents, students, and co-workers. If not for the ability to educate ones' self, to make informed decisions, and to obtain the pursuits of happiness you desire your choices are limited. These should be the choices before ALL Americans. It should be your reality. Specifically there would be a limited understanding of this option if you do not VOTE. Thus to voice an intelligent decision for your future and your children's future.

We yet have students who are the first in their families to attend college. Many are the first immigrants to attend both public and private colleges and universities. As educators, we should foster the best in learning resources and opportunities for American's youth. I can attest to being the first child (eldest) to attend college. No, I was not the first in my family to attend and graduate from college but I was the first of my parent's two children. The experiences I encountered were new in that I graduated from a small private high school. I attended at local HBCU and I lived at home. My education was supported both by my parents and other financial resources available to me. I mention this because this is my truth. It helps me to focus on who I feel is the best candidate to support my adult needs, who will understand my past concerns, and who will further make way for my future aspirations. Yes, it applies to so many in particular those that I lead in education (my students). Students are finding themselves on college campuses both pre-pared for somethings and un-pre-pared for other things. Yes, I know how I syllabicated these words. I am intending to show the disconnect.... The disconnect will widen if we are not focused on who is best for education and the causes that we support.

In education we must continue to improve and provide meaningful learning experiences for our students while in high school. College and Career Ready must not be a slogan it must be a reality for all students. With this, your ability to VOTE on Tuesday should be impacted by the candidate that embraces your needs, abilities, and postures you to reach your goals. A reality check is to first identify where are you currently in life? The fashion should not be for the candidate that only speaks to your party but it should be to the one that can identify with your needs and where you currently are in life.... Wow, this is a heavy load but it must be your truth. What candidate do you see walking in your shoes or who has ever walked in your shoes? These are just questions that will help you recognize your true identify in this matter. I know very well who I identify with, truthfully!

I have well identified with the candidate that mirrors my past, present, and future. If you will take a view at what the faces of college and career students look like in the 21st century you will see the need to VOTE responsibly on Tuesday. I see myself in so many of these college students. Equally, I am cognizant of how I have derived at my current place in America. It was with Financial Freedom, Academic Freedom, Justice for ALL, Equity for ALL, Social Liberations, Women's' Rights, and mostly Dignity in Democracy that aided my growth and professional development. America is GREAT. We must maintain what has made it great. We are not rebuilding but we are continuing to build on what is already great. The insert is very true of so many of our students in P-12 education. You should be able to find yourself in some of these college students.




As a district level education administrator, I take great leadership in my support of public education and any candidate who supports higher education for everyone. We must vote for the candidate who will support our needs from our present place (i.e.) rural American, affluent backgrounds, poverty, etc. We must realize that we all can achieve but the freedom to choose must be available to us. Colleges and Universities must have funding to support the educational needs our students. States must have resources to support best practices and more improved educational outcomes for students and adult learning in P-12 settings. Mostly, we must have leadership that addresses the needs of everyone. Diversification should not be an option but a requirement. Acceptance without tolerance and understanding is an unequal equation. All genders, ethnicities, backgrounds, and preferences must be present to make this nation work.

Therefore on Tuesday; November 8, 2016 please vote for our Nation's First Female President "Hillary Clinton"; the fate of College and Career Readiness depends on it. The fate of HBCU's depends on it. The fate of first time college students entering and graduating post-secondary institutions depends on it. Minorities in leadership depends on it. In short, the fate of America depends on it. As a proud American I support what is best for all. As a educator, I support Hillary Clinton for President.

Resources:

Patton, L. D. Renn, K. A., Guido, F. M., & S. J. Quaye . (2016). Student development in college: Theory, research, and practice (3rd ed.). San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.
  • Chapter 1, “An Introduction to Student Development Theory” pp. 5-18
  • Chapter 2, "Using Student Development Theory" pp. 51-6

Post by:
Dr. Melvin Alonza Lowe, III, Ed.D., Ed.S., M.Ed., M.S., B.S.
Educational Director - Career Technical Education / Workforce Development
Macon County Public Schools
lowema@maconk12.org
lowemelvin724@gmail.com

Post-Doctoral Student - Walden University
Higher Education - M.S. Program

Sunday, October 16, 2016

Where Do We Begin Our Leadership Practices... Why and How?

Where Do We Begin Our Leadership Practices... Why and How?

In educational leadership and administrative management in general there are so many facets and means for providing a quality outcome. Nevertheless they must all begin with an appropriate vision which is based on research, faith to do what is right, and collaboration among stakeholders. These are a few qualities that I have used and found to be successful. Educators often share a common vision; however without communication and the sharing of concepts we tend to practice in isolation. In my efforts towards expanding greater successes in education I practice open communication via effective communications. Very simply, there must be ongoing developments to improve and maintain effective educational programs and administrative services. Specifically, professional growth and retention within student organizations can lead to successful outcomes. May of which are impacted by other professional actions in education. Student leadership in CTSOs - Career Tech Student Organizations is a emergent topic of discussion as it is the focus for this post. Student Development and Adult Development mirror similar outcomes, preparations, and focus. Please see the following.

Educational Planning:
  1. Strategic Development.
  2. Organization Structure.
  3. Identification of Resources.
  4. Authentic Partnerships.
  5. Expected Outcomes.
Educational Management:
  1. Communicating the Vision.
  2. Addressing Problematic Matters.
  3. Providing Corrective Action and Meaningful Support.
  4. Delegation of Authority Roles and Responsibilities.
  5. Empowering students and subordinate staff by understanding the psychology of leadership to include professional growth and organization retention.

The areas of focus for this article are not limited to understanding the nature of leadership in all education settings. The identification of resources should include your human factors; these are your students and adults. The many dispositions that leadership carries may vary as we have many different messengers. Leadership is shared and it must be shared equally if it is to be effective and without bias and motive actions. An ideal leader is transparent and unyielding to common beliefs and practices. Having said, best practices guide uniform decision making and program outcomes. As I have researched the concept of intuitive leadership, it is measured differently based on ones understanding of educational psychology. In the process of employing the above Educational Management Outcomes based on the Educational Planning Goals there must be equity within the organization. Having said, shared leadership and value towards internal strengths should be a vital resource.

Where do we begin our leadership practices, why and how? This can be interfaced by all individual in educational settings. Students, Teachers, Counselors, Administrators, Stakeholders, etc can all ask this question. We will find that the responses may vary but should all impact educational growth and development. As a practitioner of best practices, I make it my best effort to empower those that I supervise. I encourage educational development as a first in my leadership regimen. Equally, I recognize the efforts of those who seek and have sought educational advancements. This is done with promotion in the workplace and added and shared responsibility. More directly, the same applies to student learning, leadership and growth. CTSOs provide opportunities for student growth which will improve college and career readiness among high school students. Student leaders should also have added responsibilities in the school setting.

All organizations of greater impact, employ these dispositions. Not all at the same time or in the same manner but equally towards accomplishing the same goals. From my readings of the references posted I have found these methods and recognition of these strategies to be effective in my leadership. Organizational development is only as strong as the planning and vision of the leadership in front of it. Therefore the question is asked, where do you begin our leadership? If not founded on principle, it should not temper discussion. Why and how we develop our programs and organizations will be determined from the leader. The outcomes either good are bad can also be pre-determined in cause by the leadership actions taken. As educational director in my current school district, I lead the effort in developing student potential within our CTE CTSOs. This is what is expected of me in regards to my professional role and  responsibilities. All organizations should manifest and promote professional growth as a means of reaching higher goals and obtaining greater resources.

In good keeping,  CTE programs will only be as strong as their CTSOs. Similarly, teachers will only be as strong as their principal's leadership, principals will only be as strong as their district's leadership, and district leaders can only be strong when effective strategies for their leadership are in place. This will include but is not limited to the recognition of educational accomplishment, value and worth in the organizational structure, etc. In doing so, organizational management should embrace an open perspective towards achievement and outcomes. The links between leadership and how to obtain leadership are common among entities. As I continue to explore these and other methods I will continue to encourage and promote my students, teachers, and staff. I will support   professional advancements in education. Furthermore, in my role, I will maintain the efforts of proving professional experiences designed to increase membership in CTSOs and professional organizations among teachers and staff. With this I will provide a balance for this connection which will allow professional success for all.

Resources:
Gardner, H. (1995). Leading minds: An anatomy of leadership. New York: Basic Books.
Northouse, P.G. (2004). Leadership: Theory and practice. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.

The Future of Higher Education: Rhetoric, Reality, and the Risks of the Market
Chapter 12, "A Decade of Opportunity"


Posted by:
Melvin Alonza Lowe, III, EdD, EdS, M.Ed., M.S. B.S.
Educational Director -
Career Technical & Workforce Development
Macon County Public School District

Monday, September 5, 2016

Transforming Student Learning w/ Dual Enrollment; a focus on Higher Education.

Transforming Student Learning w/ Dual Enrollment; a focus on Higher Education.

As we look more towards district level accountability in public education we also need to look internally to our high school programs and educational structures set to meet these outcomes. In my current education setting, we are offering a new concept which is dual enrollment. For the past two years we have aggressively pursued enrolling high school students in college courses both 2-year and 4-year colleges and universities.  In our attempts to prepare students for a professional life after graduation, we have postured our academic programs to meet this long-range goal in a short period of time. Students can now begin taking college classes as early as the ninth grade. In our district we have met this provision with success. Additionally this concept allows our school system to meet a new plan for district accountability. With this new initiative we have met many challenges as well as we have made many positive outcomes and advances. There is yet more development needed to synthesize this initiative which is the reason we must improve our transformation process.

Presently we have 85 students in dual enrollment with a post-secondary institution (2-year college). We have grown this number from fifteen from our first semester two years ago. We offer courses in: Health Sciences, Public Speaking, Automotive Manufacturing, Automotive Services, Business Administration, and Finance w/ Accounting. Yes, we have a strong STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) focus within our Career Technical division. With all of this, there is a need to improve and continue to advance our teaching methods in general education to better prepare students as they face dual enrollment. Dual enrollment at a 2-year college is just as important as dual enrollment at 4-year college/university. In fact, many of the core courses are the same (I.e.) Math, English, Science and Social Sciences to include some of the electives. Dual Enrollment hopefully will not vanish anytime soon; therefore, as a public educator I see the need to bridge a stronger connection between P-12 and Post Secondary learning environments regardless of their size, location, and historical background. Every institution of higher learning supports learning growth for all students. We must connect our students to these possibilities. To do so we must continue the following:

  • Develop cross-walks for similar content courses. This must co-exist with all secondary courses. This is currently in place but it needs more definition.
  • Improve career development within cooperative education programs. This will increase student' interest in high demand jobs and careers. We have improved this practice within our existing cooperative education program. Furthermore, we are now offering COOP to both of our high schools with more STEM related employment, job shadowing, and internship opportunities.
These are just a few of the ongoing improvement activities needed to further develop a transformation process. The need for students to matriculate through high school to college and from high school to career success is paramount. The outcomes are endless but it will only begin with planning and a strategic implementation of a unified plan. Student success is for every student; moreover there are many levels of successful methods. A school district must offer as many opportunities for success as there are students enrolled. The collaborations that we (Macon County Public Schools) has with post-secondary is a great start; however the greater challenges are in front of us. As a senior level district leader, I will continue to support the efforts of every student interfacing dual enrollment within their high school career. Additionally, that every child has a cooperative education experience to further place them in proximity of having a slice of the American dream. In my efforts of meeting these long and short terms goals, I will continue to explore higher education and its resources available to P-12 entities. Funding, authentic collaborations, student exposure, parental support, and internal structures will be the focus of my post. My goal is to improve the outcomes for student success by providing a healthy conversation per the need for college and career success. This post will be a series of improvement conversations needed to better support our students via Dual Enrollment and Higher Education.

Resources:

Newman, F., Couturier, L., & Scurry, J. (2004). The future of higher education: Rhetoric, reality, and the risks of the market. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.
Chapter 1, "Higher Education in the Grip of Transforming Change"

O'Banion, T. (2010). Focus on learning: The core mission of higher education. In T. O'Banion & C. Wilson (Eds.), Focus on learning: A Learning College Reader. Phoenix, AZ: League for Innovation in the Community College.


Posted by:
Melvin Alonza Lowe, III, EdD
Educational Director -
Career & Workforce Development
Macon County Public Schools
www.maconk12.org
lowema@maconk12.org
lowemelvin724@gmail.com