Section I: Context

Part A: Educational Context

This is my nineteenth year teaching at Lockwood School. During my time at Lockwood, I have taught Special Education in grades 3-5, regular education in grades 1 and 3, and most recently, Special Education in grades 1-2. Lockwood is a title one school in a suburb east of Billings. It encompasses its own district, and the school houses over 1,400 students from PK-11th grades, with 12th grade starting in the 2022-23 school year. Socioeconomically, the community of Lockwood residents live in a wide variety of homes, from very nice $250,000+ single family homes, all the way down to shacks and small mobile homes. Lockwood school also educates a small homeless population. I am a member of the teacher's union at the local and state level, but I have not been an active member. I have not attended a meeting and only hear about what goes on at meetings through word of mouth and emails.

Part B: Connecting Self-Assessment

My own biases inform my capstone project in numerous ways. I come from a two parent household, in which education, the arts and culture, and hard-work were encouraged and expected. I was taught to respect others and to treat people the way you would like to be treated. I was taught to respect my elders and authority, not to talk back, and to think before I said something out loud. The project I've chosen to pursue has been challenging my biases because I feel that some of my superiors are people who are not respectful of others. I have not "talked back" to any of my supervisors, but it is difficult to hold my tongue at times. I have to remember that not everyone was raised with the same values that I was, and that others feel just as strongly about their own beliefs as I do about mine. I also have a difficult time asking for help and admitting when I don't have the answers. I have felt very isolated in my position this year, and need to be aware of my own biases so I that I can open myself up to other points of view and to ask for help when needed.

In the beginning of this capstone project, I chose the following leadership competencies and pathways for my focus (see side panel for competency descriptions):

Overarching Competency 1: Personal Effectiveness. I am currently between the pre-emergent and the emergent stages of personal effectiveness. I would like to move into the development stage, so that I am not only understanding but capitalizing on my own strengths as a future leader. I am not sure what kind of leadership style I have and I need to become more self-aware about my own strengths and weaknesses

Overarching Competency 2: Interpersonal effectiveness. I am currently in the pre-emergent and the emergent stage of interpersonal effectiveness. I would like to move into the developing stage, so that I am building trust and critical relationships with others. I have a difficult time articulating my own needs and feel isolated in my current position.

Foundational Competency: Facilitating Collaborative Relationships. I am currently in the emerging stage of facilitating collaborative relationships. I hope to move to the developing stage, by engaging in collaborative discussions with colleagues about learning and teaching, and establish data based structures to engage with colleagues about their practice.

Leadership Pathway: Instructional Leadership. I am currently in the pre-emerging stage of instructional leadership. I believe that through strong collaborative relationships with my colleagues, I can move into the emerging stage through helping to build a stronger team and in turn become better teachers who feel valued in their positions. The team can also share strategies that have proven effective and ask for ideas and feedback from our colleagues when we’re struggling. These relationships and open dialogue with peers will ultimately benefit our relationships and instruction for the students.

Part C: Connecting Assessment of Diverse Stakeholders

The stakeholders I plan to include in my capstone project are the other special education teachers at Lockwood Schools and the director of special education services at Lockwood Schools. We currently employ 12 special educators, from pre kindergarten through 11th grade, with varying levels of experience. Our director is responsible for the special ed program at Lockwood School, and has 30+ years of experience in education. I plan to collect data through personal interviews, a needs survey, and through school e-mail communications.

coaches capstone approval form