An Innovative Principal’s Mindset
— written by Candice Navas, LSEM teacher —
When I began my LSEM journey here at St. Mark Lutheran School, Principal Dallas Lusk introduced the staff to the book “An Innovator’s Mindset” by George Couros. After that book study, we knew as a team that we needed to create a new way of how LSEM would operate within the St. Mark learning community. Through the assistance of LSEM’s Kara Bratton, St. Mark Lutheran School’s Dean of Students Ms. Angelica Young, and me as LSEM’s Resource teacher, we developed an action plan of how to best accommodate the students with the perspective of the learner in mind.
The journey began with Kara traveling to Houston and training the teachers on how to modify student’s classwork to meet their accommodations, which resulted in better teaching opportunities for them. We then implemented an innovative curriculum based measurement tool, Aims Web Plus, that helped us determine which students needed remediation through the LSEM program and how the process of identification works. Last year, we identified 11 students, a 57% growth, with the data derived from the Aims Web Plus computer based program. In celebration, we graduated 5 students from St. Mark’s LSEM resource program as a result from various data and the response to intervention indicating that these students no longer needed such intensive support.
Meanwhile, Principal Lusk was immersed in constructing a beautiful new space for the LSEM program that is equipped with an interactive Smartboard, Apple TV and a teacher Macbook Air for team planning. Principal Lusk even found time in his busy schedule of finding a new Pastor, Pastor Matt Popovitis, to visit one of our recently graduated LSEM students at his new high school. The student is doing well and thriving in the ninth grade because of the spiritual and academic support he received throughout his many years here at St. Mark Lutheran and the LSEM program!