Saturday, February 21, 2009

Turning Theory Into Practice

Organizational learning exists when the members of an organization are compelled to find resolution for a challenging situation they are facing within the organization.  Because organizations are continuously faced with challenges and change, in order to improve their practice, they must strive to individually and collectively examine their methods for resolution in both contemplative and evaluative ways.  As a means of encouraging my own understanding of organizational development and learning, I have chosen to study the practices of one department within the unified school district for which I currently serve as an administrator.

The district serves approximately 23,000 students in Junior Kindergarten - twelfth grades.  The special education department is the smaller organization that I have elected to observe within the district.  There are currently approximately 2,500 students receiving services under the auspices of special education.  This exceeds the commonly held guideline of 10% of the total population.  The special education department provides services ranging from speech and language to more restrictive learning environments including special day classes.  

District leadership spans from the superintendent and assistant superintendents to department directors.  The director of special education oversees special education staff and programs.  In addition, it is her responsibility to supervise health services and the crisis response team for the district.  The special education department members that she directly supervises are coordinators and school psychologists.  The present director is in her third year of service in this capacity, having previously worked as a Learning Center/Resource Teacher and middle school assistant principal.

While an honest assessment of my choice in examining this department would include mention of convenience because of my own connection with the special education department as the principal of a school with four special day classes, I believe that I have a sincere desire to grow as well.  In examining the practices of the department in conjunction with my site practices and beliefs, it is hoped that I will be open to seeing room for growth and seeking to improve - both locally and in connection with our sister schools, the special education department, and the district as a whole.               

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