August 2015 Column

  Immediately before the start of the school year more than 100 HMS teachers and administrators met to create the vision for Hobbs Municipal Schools.  The meetings were held at the HMS Training Center with presentations from current staff.  HMS recently completed a two-year agreement with the University of Virginia, Darden School of Business, which focused on improving academic performance in four specific schools (Will Rogers Elementary, Southern Heights Elementary, Houston Middle School and Hobbs High School).  The Virginia model paralleled research and trainings in which the district participated in the past few years. HMS gleaned policies and procedures to create a non-negotiable plan and expectation for our district.
  Southern Heights’ leadership team along with Principal Michael Hunt made a culture presentation on the topic, “What will you be famous for?” In order to see growth and sustainable gains, an organization must have a culture that allows collaboration and treats everyone with respect.  Differing opinions can expand the knowledge of the organization. Students and parents must feel welcomed.  Staff has to be able to express their ideas and opinions without fear of retaliation or embarrassment.
  Will Rogers, under the direction of principal Andi Engle, presented Data implementation.  Mrs. Engle and her staff emphasized the need to base decisions on the use of quantifiable data that does not not always include test scores.  Data can be gathered to analyze discipline and attendance.  Rather than make subjective judgments, data should be collected, analyzed and used in making decisions that will move the organization forward.
  Donna Jones, Jon Gilcrease and Houston staff members demonstrated the importance of a leadership team.  They displayed the method Houston uses to collaborate on interventions, assessments and day-to-day operations. Although someone must take overall responsibility, the ability to include a team allows the school to critically analyze situations and make recommendations that will benefit everybody.
  HHS presented their lesson cycle as a method of good instructional practice. The loop includes Identifying goals, designing assessments, planning learning activities (teach, assess and adjust).
  Another component of the training was ways to use magazine articles and book chapters to create discussions on how leaders and their teams handle certain situations.  The group had to pre-read the articles, then were led through discussions by Mr. Zeke Kaney, Debbie Cooper and Will Hawkins on solutions to various questions and directions. In order to move an organization in a positive manner, the leader must understand the makeup of the organization and the integral components who must be part of the decision making. Although not everyone will embrace change, it is vitally important to include certain members in the conversation to assure success.
  The culmination of the retreat is for each campus to create a 90-day plan.  Each campus will use their leadership team as well as their entire staff to set goals and objectives for their campus.  Each campus must have at least one academic goal and one goal addressing culture.  The 90 day plans will be the driving force for all conversations, plans and budget requests. HMS will narrow its focus on academic achievement as well as making sure each school is an inviting place for students, staff and parents. By creating “The Hobbs Way” we will eliminate the fluctuation in top down bureaucracy locally as well as state and federal mandates.  The focus for Hobbs Municipal School is; Teach, Learn, Care.  
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