Justin J. White, M.Ed
Hello all –
My name is Justin. I was raised in Arkansas, but moved to Texas after graduating Arkansas State University with a degree in Business Administration. I moved to Texas and began my career in Education. I enjoy being a mentor for my students on campus and a leader in the community in which I live. In addition to being an educator, I am an avid writer. As you can see from my site, I have published several pieces of literature. I am also an active member at Lakewood Church in Houston, Texas. This portfolio will showcase my leadership skills and abilities in education, and will give you insight into the type of person I truly am.
For the first addition to your site, please read and complete the leadership survey listed in the Lunenberg & Ornstein text on pg. 105.You may also have a colleague rate your leadership qualities according to the survey and provide you with objective feedback. Begin a personal electronic portfolio and add your thoughts on the survey as your first artifact. What are your strengths and areas for strategic growth?
As a new leader, I entered this position as an Instructional (Teacher) Specialist with fresh eyes. I was, and still am, like a sponge, soaking up every ounce of knowledge that I could get my hands on. Everything I thought I knew before becoming a campus leader, I was now challenged on. Just like the survey, my challenges and beliefs were questioned. Making the transition from a classroom teacher to a campus leader opens up a world of new discoveries. Decisions, now, are not made based on what’s happening in an isolated classroom, but what’s happening around the entire campus. What decisions can be made to positively effect the campus, instead of a few individuals?
This role has taught me much about working with adults. It can be extremely challenging at times. The level of pushback by teachers, and even other campus leaders, has been the most surprising discovery of this new role as a leader. My strengths are that I work great under pressure, I have great professionalism, and I do my job, effectively.
As a new leader, I have plenty of areas to grow in. I am still learning how to adapt to disruptive teachers who challenge authority. I am learning how to compromise on decisions. A decision cannot be made by one person when it effects a large campus, it has to be a team effort.
Analyze your knowledge of Texas public school finance. What do you know about the system? What do want to learn?
I’ve learn through reading that Texas public school finance comes from several factors, mainly student attendance. The more students enrolled at a campus, the more funding that campus receives. In addition to that, schools also receive funding based on the property taxes in the areas that surround the school. That is the extent of my current knowledge.
What I would like to know is how large districts, like HISD, can have an open enrollment policy which allows students to enroll in schools of their choice, instead of the school they are zoned to? How can a school ensure proper funding if loads of students choose to attend other schools?
After viewing the videos on cultivating leadership in others, think about ways you can gain leadership experience. Who might serve as a mentor to you? In what areas of your school could you volunteer to lead? Do you see opportunities or creative ways in which you might serve in a leadership role?
The great part about my position as a Teacher Specialist is that I get the opportunity to be a part of the Leadership Team and sit in meetings with Administrators to make campus-based decisions. My input as a specialist is valuable to these meetings because, unlike the administrators who handle discipline, I get the privilege of working hand-in-hand with teachers and students daily inside the classrooms. I observe teachers, coach, model, and provide feedback that makes the classroom better.
When I bring these experiences to back to the leadership team meetings, the conversations are crucial to making informed decisions that effect the entire campus. As a relatively new leaders, I have had the opportunity to watch more seasoned leaders and gain valuable insight to the decision-making process. My mentors are the Assistant Principals, the Principal, and even the campus TEA representative. These individuals play a key role in nurturing me as a new leader and helping me gain leadership knowledge and skills. These interactions, to me, are better experience than any textbook can offer.
This role also allows me to see needs of the campus that I could not see while in the classroom. I put together an EOC Informational night for parents and students. I presented information about the new passing standards, best practices, test-taking strategies, and instructional strategies that have been proven effective for students. This type of volunteer experience continues to build my capacity as a leader and allows me to work closely with parents, students, and teachers.
Also, I help teachers by doing interventions with students. In the pictures, you can see me working with a select group of students helping them write and develop thesis statements. Those close interactions with students cannot always be provided by teachers directly.
For your final electronic portfolio contribution, assess your growth in this course in Domain III. In what areas of this domain do you feel more confident? In what areas do you feel you need to gain more exposure?
As the Instructional Specialist for the English Language Arts Department at a large high school with 7 teachers and 5 tutors, I quickly learned a lot about budgeting. My campus received a $335,320 Targeted Assistance Budget from the district. This budget is specifically for “Improvement Required” campuses. Because my campus, upon my arrival, was at a 30% passing rate for ENG I and 31% passing rate for ENG II, my department was considered high needs.
My principal and I met to discuss my vision for the department and I was given full control over the Targeted Assistance budget. With that budget, I was able to order library books, which the campus had very few. Each teacher was able to order classroom sets of at least 4 novels, and after students took their LTI exam (and the program suggested books for them to read), I was able to order interest-based books for individual students. With over 40% of students at the campus reading below grade level, I felt it important to promote literacy.
The budget was also used to fund the 5 tutors that were hired. I interviewed each candidate and chose them specifically for their skills in literacy. I created intervention rotation schedules that the tutors followed. Each tutor was assigned students at a 5-1 ratio during each instructional period. This significantly assisted the campus with struggling students and with increasing EOY EOC scores.
As the Saturday School Administrator, I was also able to work directly with the campus Nutritional Services Manager to ensure breakfast and lunch was provided weekly for students who attended Saturday School. Because my campus is 100% reduced lunch, there was no need to allocate budgeting funds to this portion of the intervention program.