I am employed in Harris County School District and I ought to conduct a study that is rather higher than relaxed scrutiny. The entire activities and performances of the schools and students affiliated with the district were investigated to get the required outcomes and results. From the conclusions, I have sought a few proposals for the betterment of the school district apart from the current path of victory. The historical perspectives were studied and various facts about curriculum programs, community standards, school district standardized test scores, and standards of teaching and learning were analyzed. The inspected outcomes were gathered to conduct a close assessment so that any possible redundancy in the performance or activity could be pointed out. The entire upshots were operated to put forward suggestions and recommendations. The major adoptions were interviews, discussions, and meetings with teachers, parents, and administrators from different schools in the Harris Country district. The reviews on weekly results were utilized in digging out necessary facts; the investigation succeeded in the exploration requirements.
Harris Country School District
Harris Country School District has a total of 8 schools including Elementary, Middle, and High schools. The district includes only public schools and has a total of 4948 students enrolled. The test scores of different grades of the entire district are being illustrated and analyzed. The blue bars represent Harris Country School district and pink bars symbolize the neighbor district Georgia. The entire analysis is done compared to the Georgia school district. “In 2008-2009 Georgia administered the Georgia High School Graduation Test (GHSGT) in English language arts, math, science, and social studies to students in grade 11. The GHSGT is a standards-based assessment, which means it measures how well students are mastering specific skills defined by the state of Georgia” ((Harris county school district, 2010, para.1).
Grade students show better reading skills. The overall skills are above 90% which shows better teaching in grade 1 and the success of students in achieving what they are taught.
Grade 2 students as well exhibit an overall performance of above 90%, giving more outcomes in reading skills.
Grade 3 sector has more skills to compare, among which reading skill remains higher. But, math skills came below 90% though it is above 80%. This is a bit unfair when overall performance is considered.
In test scores of grade 4, further degrading in math is seen along with a reduction of percent of social studies. When compared with previous grades, the scores show an overall fall in percent, though when compared with Georgia, it remains high.
Grade 5 exhibits further degradation in social studies percent, but compared to 4, it has a bit stuff higher. Also, it still leads Georgia as in another scenario, but the least score percent is below 80%.
The test scores show a depth of more than 10% at two levels – math and social studies, that too below 80% which is a degradation of teaching and learning. The fact becomes clear that the difference in scores has become thinner between the districts compared except at science scores.
Compared to the previous grade, a betterment is seen in math and science and all scores are above 80%, but the inter district difference remains almost the same here.
The grade 8 shows disappointing scores for math, science, and social science and an utter fail in the case of math. Georgia came up keeping Harris district about 5% behind it in math, which is really unsatisfactory. Social studies and math are below 70% and science below 80%. Only language and reading bring a bit of contentment.
Anyhow, grade 11 gives a satisfactory score percent, with at least just below 90% and all the rest above 90%. The major positive part is that math has reached its peak leading all other subjects.
The above analysis of test scores of the district should now be followed by school-wise scrutiny. The exploration lead to analytical research on each school and the results are explained through various paragraphs below.
Mulberry Creek Elementary School
The school has a very good reputation in every aspect of the curriculum and discipline. The test scores of the school are given for all five grades. The blue bars symbolize the school while light blue and grey represent the entire district and Georgia respectively.
In math and reading, it is below the district level while leading language; but above 90% for all subjects.
Here, all three subject scores are below the district average, but above Georgia. The language and art skills fell behind 90%.
Grade 3 shows a lower percentage of math and a higher percent for language. But, it is a fairly better result in math as it leads the district scores, unlike other subjects.
Grades 4 and 5 seem to help out the district scores to gain their peak.
The student enrollment graph is shown below. The total number of students was recorded as 567 with 20 full-time teachers and 32 classrooms; 28 students per teacher.
The encouragement of arts and special education with physical education adds to the color of extracurricular activities. The extended school days, special classes for students in need of special attention, and compulsory English training are their specialties.
The parents approve that the school succeeds in keeping the curriculum and results but fails to give proper freedom for the students. The term ‘juvenile detention center’ used by a parent really explains the unwanted strictness within the school. Office of Gifted and Talented is definitely an encouragement.
Pine Ridge Elementary School
The school has classes from kindergarten to grade 4 with 632 students and 42 full-time teachers to achieve a rate of 15 students per teacher having 38 classrooms. The enrollment plot is shown below:
The test score for the highest Grade is shown in the following graph which illustrates that the school percent always lead the district scores revealing the competence exhibited by them:
The extra curriculum includes an additional music class than Mulberry Creek. All other facilities are similar to Mulberry Creek with better results than them. The parental discussions show an overall support to staff, management and PTA, but some have an opinion against the approach of teachers. Majority appreciates the methods and systems of the school.
New Mountain Hill Elementary School
The test scores of New Mountain Hill Elementary School plotted are illustrated below:
Grade 1 and 2 helps out to develop district test score peaks which is actually a positive outcome of the school curriculum.
The Grades 3 and 4 exhibit just fair results when considering math scores, while social studies is a hard job for grade 4.
Grade 5 exhibits leading score than district percent which describes its better coaching and training.
515 students are studying in the school having 33 full time teachers with 16 students per teacher and 29 classrooms. Programs are exactly similar to Pine Ridge but there is no compulsory English training unlike other schools discussed so far.
The discussions regarding the performance of the school revealed the supportive back up of parents, staff and students in the betterment of school’s position and activities. But, there are complaints as before, regarding the strictness in the school even during lunch breaks. All agree with the quality of curriculum and training of the school which helps students to develop their talents.
Park Elementary School
Park Elementary School, unlike others, is being appreciated in every aspect. There are total 42 classrooms to accommodate 545 students taught by 47 full time teachers giving about 12 students per teacher.
The test scores are shown and explained below, which illustrate on the curriculum results of the school.
Reading skills which are important regarding the lower grades like 1 and 2 are achieved to better levels though not leading the district average.
The situation is same as 1 and 2 with higher reading skills. But the graph below shows a shift hike to language sector as well.
Computer Science classes create a motivational step in the contemporary world supported by information technology. The opinion about the school’s performance, staff and management is really appreciating. ‘They are so awesome people’ are words which can describe how comfortable the school environment is.
Harris County – Carver Middle School
This middle school has student strength of 1070 and 42 full time teachers. They have facility of 41 classrooms and 25 students per teacher rate.
The test scores of both grades illustrate that the school results have achieved a competing position never below the district percent.
The programs have given importance to Arts, Music including Band & Choral, Fine Arts including Drama, Vocational Education including Food Nutrition, Health & Phys Ed and Special Education for Gifted Students, Learning Differences etc. Vocation/Technical Curriculum is a provision of the school helping the students to develop better practical skills.
The major positive aspect recognized about the school is regarding the hard work they perform. ‘Administration and teachers are working hard’ is actually a remark to applause for a successful teaching and training given to the students. A distinct opinion forwarded in between the discussions was regarding the betterment of dress code in the school. Overall response seems to be a wondered experience over there.
Harris Country High School
About 1589 students study in Harris High School with a teaching back up of 63 full time teachers giving a rate of 25 students per teacher accommodated in 55 classrooms.
The test scores of grade 11 reveals a better coaching and training given in the school.
The illustration on percent of scores makes it clear that the curriculum is much better as it keeps up and higher with district average. Math result shows a real time appreciation to the school curriculum, so the same for all other subjects as well. Program listings will be a good record of their conduct and extra curriculum. Vocational Education is provided in Agriculture Education, Auto Mechanics, Drafting, Health, Phys Ed and ROTC. Arts, Music including Choral & Music, Computer Science education and Fine Arts including drama reveals creative promotion in the school. Support to Economics and literature along with advanced placement programs in Math and Science makes the objective of educational enhancements of the school. Special Education is given to gifted Students, hearing or mentally challenged, speech/language, visually impaired students. The resources of this school include all possibilities in Harris District itself.
Discussions supported the fact that ‘teachers are caring and want to see their students succeed’ which can be seen through the programs, resources and results exhibited by the school. Their excellence is underlined by all who came through discussions on the matter of school’s performance. The only complaint viewed is related to senior teachers who are showing attitude towards anyone whom they encounter student or parent. To be clear, may be Harris Country High School achieved the maximum good points and applause form the part of teachers, parents and administers.
The investigation has revealed the fact that Harris School District has resources and strength to compete in the contemporary situation of schooling from elementary to high school level of education. The expectations are met much more in the case of all schools when curriculum and extra curriculum are considered. The faults often identified are just regarding the strictness and rudeness in the name of discipline and behavior in almost all the schools. Compared to Georgia, our district is far better developed and advanced in curriculum aspects. The support of teachers and parents is seen in the district which actually contributes to the healthy feedback leading to betterment in the environment of studies in the schools of the district. The involvement of parents in the school activities help out in many aspects for the proper management and functioning of the schools. My investigation got a very good support from the part of parents, students, teachers and management.
Suggestions and recommendations
My suggestions and recommendations are based on my analytical conclusions and review on the case study. The entire analysis put me in front of the problem of extended strictness almost similar to a juvenile detention center they claim; so proper steps should be taken to make the environment relieving and creative. The programs can be extended to a similar approach of Harris High School. The resources should be made to maximum. The fact I saw in curriculum is regarding the highs and lows. Mostly, it is seen that results of lower grades are less compared to the higher ones. This can be due to lower standard of teaching or grasping or a combination of both. The situation should be analyzed and required measures are to be taken up. ‘Always follow our own path and then compare to others’ policy has to be adopted in every aspect. Just to achieve a position better than the one with which we are compared will never help; instead, develop from a distinct position and go or contrast will change the result. Again, a point to be considered is that the skills should be made in balancing account rather than flourishing in one and stunt in another. At many point of analysis, math skills lagged very much, which has to be given considerable significance. The extra curriculum and curriculum should be given a balance without bringing about poor test scores. The fact that teachers are for teaching and not for punishing should be absorbed by the teachers and management in proper means. The rate of students per teacher can be decreased to possible extent which can contribute to a better training environment.
As a whole, if the school succeeds in achieving the proposed developments in curriculum, extra curriculum and staff along with creating an interactive and approaching environment in teaching as well as PTA will bring about success. The success can never be limited within the shorter area, but considering the entire nation, because already Harris Country Scholl District is in proper track.
Questionnaire adopted in my research:
- How are you linked with this school?
- What is your opinion regarding the position of this school in your locality?
- What are you expecting from a school you opt for?
- Did you achieve whatever you expected? To which extend?
- What is the peculiarity you find regarding this school; both merits and demerits?
- Are the disciplinary actions effective or more than that? How can it build students?
- How about the curriculum of the school?
- Is it effective for this contemporary educational scenario of competence?
- Are you satisfied with the cooperation of teachers, management and PTA?
- Can you point out one main positive and negative fact you find about this school?
- What about extracurricular activities in the school; anything missing?
- How can, you expect, the school be upgraded?
- Maybe something I missed and you wish to share about?
Harris county school district. (2010). Trulia. Web.