Jenny Ulrich will represent all Missouri school principals next month when she attends a national education summit in Louisville, Ky.
Ulrich, principal of Lonedell School, is one of six Missouri educators who were invited to attend the April 9-11 National Summit on Educator Effectiveness sponsored by the Council of Chief State School Officers.
“I consider it a great privilege to be selected to attend the summit that will be focused on educator effectiveness,” Ulrich told The Missourian. “I am honored to attend and very grateful for the opportunity for growth and learning in my own career while being able to be a voice for Missouri principals in this important conversation among many states.”
The goal of the annual summit is creating discussion and ideas centering on how teachers can be supported to be successful in their classrooms.
“The meeting brings together educators from kindergarten through 12th grade with educators from educator preparation programs to explore the overall continuum of development, beginning with an individual deciding to first become a teacher, through their clinical experience, and then becoming a beginning teacher in a school somewhere in our state,” said Paul Katnik, interim assistant commissioner of the Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education’s Office of Educator Quality. “All participating states like Missouri will bring a team to think about how we best ensure the quality of the educator, from the preparation process all the way through the practice of educating Missouri students.”
Besides Ulrich and Katnik, other educators from Missouri attending are Gale “Hap” Hairston, director of educator preparation from DESE’s Office of Educator Quality; Patty Corum, deputy superintendent of personnel services, Fort Zumwalt School District; Carole Basile, dean of the University of Missouri-St. Louis; and Kathryn Chval, associate dean for academic affairs at the University of Missouri.
Katnik said Ulrich was selected to participate because “her perspective and experience will assist us in addressing how to provide quality school leaders capable of getting positive teacher and student performance in rural, small school settings.”
In addition, Katnik said “we were looking for districts where student achievement is a priority and data on student performance indicated positive results. We also wanted to include perspectives from both the large and small schools. Jen and Lonedell matched up well for meeting these.”
According to its website, 24 states belong to CCSSE, which is described as a nationwide, nonpartisan and nonprofit membership organization committed to creating a public education system that prepares every child for lifelong learning, work and citizenship.
The group’s promise “is to lead chiefs and their organizations in this effort by focusing on those state-driven leverage points they are uniquely positioned to address and increasing their capacity to produce students ready to succeed as productive members of society.”
The website also states that “through decisive leadership and collective state action, we are committed to delivering on this promise.”
“All member states are working in the area of educator effectiveness,” Katnik told The Missourian. “These areas include educator standards, preparation and evaluation. The consortium was created to explore effective ways to increase educator quality, with the primary purpose being the improvement of student learning.
“This meeting marks the beginning of collaborative work between nearly 40 institutions of higher education, over 500 public school districts and the State Department of Education.”
Ulrich, in her fourth year as Lonedell principal, recently was nominated for the principal of the year award through the Missouri Association of Rural Education. Lonedell also recently was recognized as one of 10 schools in the state that received a perfect score on the Missouri School Improvement Program’s latest accreditation summary report.
Those results, released in February, showed Lonedell earned a perfect 80-of-80 tally. The school received a perfect 48 points in academic achievement, which accumulates 16 points each for English, language arts, math and science. It also scored a 12-for-12 in subgroup achievement, gaining four points in each of the same four subject areas. In high school readiness, Lonedell scored a perfect 10. In attendance, the school also tallied a perfect 10.
In all, there are 574 school districts in the state. Schools that earned a 90 percent or above ranking are accredited with distinction.
“Supporting teachers and building a system of support within your school is the most critical job of a school administrator,” Ulrich said. “Effective educator support systems cultivate a positive culture within your school and provide teachers with the tools, feedback, professional growth, support and resources needed to be successful in the classroom.
“I am looking forward to learning more about what other states and administrators are doing to support their teachers in the classroom. After all, in the classroom is where the rubber meets the road. Ensuring teachers have the tools, knowledge, professional development and resources they need equals more opportunities for student success; the ultimate winners in it all are our students.”