Self-evaluation Summary

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Mrs. Waddell is an educator who is:
  • A leader, encourager, listener, supporter, helper
  • Innovative, creative, open-minded and a risk-taker
  • Capable of transformative K-12 technology integration of any content area
  • Results-oriented
  • Respected by peers and administrators
Self-Evaluation Summary

“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed people 
can change the world, it’s the only thing that ever has”  ~Margaret Mead, 1962

As a special education teacher tend to think in terms of individualized educational planning but often feel that I fail to truly deliver what is needed at the pace, scope and sequence of the student involved. It frustrates me to realize needs yet have so few options at my disposal to make an impact. Sure, I --and teachers like myself-- design instruction with the curriculum in mind first then determine accommodations for reaching my students with what MUST be covered in light of their learning styles and/or learning disabilities. Most often affective concerns  impact a student's academic success: motivation--special needs notwithstanding; it is in this domain that I am growing to believe that technology-enhanced individualized instruction in a blended learning environment could support that segment of students who are just waiting to become of age to dropout of the traditional school setting. School dropouts then enroll into the "school of hard knocks" where authentic learning situations rule. It is this element of self-directed authentic learning that I would love the capture in my lesson planning to greater academic impact and engagement from my students. To accomplish this effectively, I need greater collaboration from contact area specialists (e.g., general education teachers to include ancillary support staff).

Multidisciplinary collaboration is why I initially entered the Special Education field. I realized that the needs of students were multifaceted beyond mere content acquisition and I required support to serve them best.
I am so thankful for my personal learning networks. Better still however is the changing culture of education towards embracing online teaching and learning as liable options for students.

My personal classroom technology integration experiences have shown to me that choice is motivating and holistic assessment is critical for allowing students to demonstrate their knowledge construction. I intend to continue to integrated new and emerging technologies in my classroom for purposes of enabling all students and removing all excuses of failure beyond that which one imposes on him/herself...myself included.
Improvement Plan

Beyond data gathering for district/government reporting purposes, I want my assessment data to motivate not only my classroom decisions but to empower my students' to improve their own progress. I try to accomplish the latter goal with authentic assessment projects that allow for alternate demonstration of knowledge and understanding. I think my students consider these activities just fun. I intend to develop my understanding of project-based learning development to increase the rigor of my projects, but in a fun way.

I truly desire to hone my assessment and evaluation skill using a variety of data. There is a real push for accountability and assessment of school districts, individual schools, administrators, teachers, and students. This is a good thing. I expect that by strengthening my data literacy skills I'll be better able to access, convert, and critically manipulate data to make informed decisions in the classroom; demonstrate measurable improvements in my students' learning; and suggest specific supports required to advance those students towards their personal best in the least restrictive environment. 

I am convinced that using a more technology-enhanced learning environment with a robust data-management system and establishing collaborative "communities of practice" among my colleagues could assist in supporting this endeavor. The right tools (both capital and physical resources) make a tremendous difference.