Medium 9781475810233

JSL Vol 24-N1

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The Journal of School Leadership is broadening the conversation about schools and leadership and is currently accepting manuscripts. We welcome manuscripts based on cutting-edge research from a wide variety of theoretical perspectives and methodological orientations. The editorial team is particularly interested in working with international authors, authors from traditionally marginalized populations, and in work that is relevant to practitioners around the world. Growing numbers of educators and professors look to the six bimonthly issues to: deal with problems directly related to contemporary school leadership practice teach courses on school leadership and policy use as a quality reference in writing articles about school leadership and improvement.

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School Board Elections: Theories Meet Reality

ePub

Gregg Garn

Gary Copeland

School Board Elections: Theories Meet Reality

ABSTRACT: This exploratory article relies on qualitative data generated from observations and focus group interviews to investigate what motivates citizens to vote in school board elections and how they choose among candidates. Our review of literature suggests that capture theory, dissatisfaction theory, retrospective voting, partisanship, issue voting, character voting, and sociological theories of voting might be useful in better understanding voting behavior in school board elections. We conclude that the greatest potential for theoretical development is found in a sociological approach: According to our data, voters care most about candidate character and seek this information through social networks. We also suggest several areas for future research related to deepening our understanding of school board elections.

School boards in their various renditions approve school policies, priorities, and budgets (Tyack & Cuban, 1995). Local education governance varies, from models of professional leadership in some school districts that heavily dominate some boards to others where school boards behave more independently (Tallerico, 1989). In all districts, the continuance of district leadership is dependent on board support (Carter & Cunningham, 1997; Petersen & Short, 2001; Renchler, 1992). Who serves on school boards and how one gets to that position influence school districts in significant ways (Meier, Stewart, & England, 1991). Knowing how officials gain election may help us understand how they make policy, what policies they make, and what, if any, impact board members have on school outcomes.

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Internal Accountability and District Achievement: How Superintendents Affect Student Learning

ePub

Kimberly L. Hough

Internal Accountability and District Achievement: How Superintendents Affect Student Learning

ABSTRACT: This quantitative survey study was designed to determine whether superintendent accountability behaviors or agreement about accountability behaviors between superintendents and their subordinate central office administrators predicted district student achievement. Hierarchical multiple regression and analyses of covariance were employed, controlling for district socioeconomic status. Superintendents who agreed with subordinate administrators about their accountability behaviors or underestimated these behaviors led districts with significantly higher student achievement in mathematics and reading than did superintendents who overestimated their accountability behaviors. Effect sizes were strong, with the self–other rating agreement category explaining 22% of the variance in mathematics scores and 19% of the variance in reading scores.

While much is known about how principals and teachers influence student achievement, less is known about how superintendents lead for student results. Superintendents are often assumed to be too distal from classroom experiences to have any measurable impact on student learning. Superintendents reported that the largest motivator for accepting their positions was a desire to have a greater impact on student achievement, yet only 42.5% of superintendents believe that they are very effective (Glass & Franceschini, 2007).

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Superintendent–Business Executive Collaboration in Intermediary Organizations: Moral Agency and Democratic Functioning

ePub

Jeffrey V. Bennett

Tiffany McKee

Staci Martin

Superintendent–Business Executive Collaboration in Intermediary Organizations: Moral Agency and Democratic Functioning

ABSTRACT: This case study describes collaboration between business executives and superintendents to influence local/regional K–12 educational change. Specifically, we examine participant like-mindedness about the ethics and appropriate focus of K–12 intermediary collaboration, the extent of democratic functioning, and key individuals to involve. Data sources consist of existing semistructured interviews with 6 superintendents and 28 business executives involved in intermediary organizations (i.e., chambers of commerce, business–education roundtables, educational nonprofits) within a metropolitan area of the U.S. Southwest. Furman’s (2004) ethic of community frames the analysis. Participants narrate common moral purpose motivated by civic duty for the public good over profit-driven interests. Moreover, deficiencies in democratic collaborative processes formed divergent views on how this should be operationalized and thus caused some voices to be silenced. Superintendent inattention to democratic processes reinforced deficiencies despite the enabling potential of certain business executives.

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Using Social Network Analysis to Promote Schoolwide Instructional Innovation: A Case Study

ePub

Rebecca H. Woodland

Shannon Barry

Katrina Crotts Roohr

Using Social Network Analysis to Promote Schoolwide Instructional Innovation: A Case Study

ABSTRACT: Social network analysis (SNA), a methodological approach that enables the mathematical examination of interprofessional relationships, can be an important tool for understanding and leveraging the social relationships that support and restrain instructional innovation and the quality and pace of school reform initiatives. In this article, we explicate the conceptual underpinnings of SNA and summarize how it has been used in a range of preK–12 educational evaluation contexts. A school-based case study is presented in which school leaders examined formal and advice-seeking networks among teachers, staff, and administrators and used the findings to reduce teacher isolationism, promote efficient communication, and increase system capacity for instructional innovation. Challenges associated with SNA for educational evaluation and school improvement are also discussed.

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AVID Teacher Leadership: Administrator and Teacher Perceptions of Leadership Attributes

ePub

Shirley J. Mills

Jeffery J. Huerta

Karen M. Watt

Jorge Martinez

AVID Teacher Leadership: Administrator and Teacher Perceptions of Leadership Attributes

ABSTRACT: This study examined the perceptions of teachers and administrators with regard to AVID (Advancement via Individual Determination) teacher leaders. The purpose was to compare whether teachers and administrators agree on the types of attributes needed for teacher leaders involved in implementing AVID as a school reform effort. Results revealed that there is agreement among teachers and among administrators regarding the importance of a teacher’s personal attributes and attributes related to classroom environment. When compared to teachers, administrators generally feel that certain leadership attributes are more important, such as open communication with the principal, creative problem solving, collegiality on campus, organizational skills, and respect for other teachers.

Perspectives

As accountability and standardized testing increased over the last decade, teacher leadership has been promoted as one important means of improving test scores (Knight, 2007; Mangin & Stoelinga, 2008; Marshall & Ward, 2004; Randi & Zeichner, 2004). However, with the accolades that some teachers receive for their excellence in teaching, many others receive blame for problems of poor academic achievement in schools. Teacher leaders are solicited to provide solutions to classroom problems with little authority to carry them out, which creates confusion and distrust (Smylie, Miretzky, & Konkol, 2004).

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Distributed Leadership: A Good Theory But What If Leaders Won’t, Don’t Know How, or Can’t Lead?

ePub

Kathryn Bell McKenzie

Leslie Ann Locke

Distributed Leadership: A Good Theory But What If Leaders Won’t, Don’t Know How, or Can’t Lead?

ABSTRACT: This article presents the results from an empirical qualitative study of the challenges faced by teacher leaders in their attempts to work directly with their colleagues to change instructional strategies and improve student success. Additionally, it offers a challenge to the utility of a naïvely espoused theory of distributed leadership, which becomes the theory in use, to improve leadership capacity with the goal of improving classroom instruction and student success. Six teacher leaders at an urban elementary school were studied for 1 year. The challenges faced by the teacher leaders were categorized under three themes: dealing with conflict, negotiating competing agendas/responsibilities and balancing microdiversions, and frustration with lack of influence and impact. It was concluded that the challenges experienced by teacher leaders, those whom leadership is distributed among, are problematic and underestimated. Moreover, we assert that distributed leadership as a theory in use falls short when the espoused theory is naïvely conceived. We do, however, offer recommendations for overcoming the challenges experienced by these teacher leaders, which we hope might help reconcile the disconnect between a naïvely espoused theory of distributed leadership and the resultant theory in use.

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The Influence of School Factors on Racial Opportunity Cost for High-Achieving Students of Color

ePub

Terah T. Venzant Chambers

Kristin Shawn Huggins

The Influence of School Factors on Racial Opportunity Cost for High-Achieving Students of Color

ABSTRACT: Previous work on racial opportunity cost—that is, the price that students of color pay in their pursuit of academic success—is extended here using organizational culture literature to more closely explore the interplay of school culture with the racial opportunity cost experienced by the study participants. Eighteen African American and Latina/o underclassmen at two elite private colleges were interviewed about their experiences as high-achieving students of color in high school and college. Our analysis of the data revealed five interrelated school factors that both alleviated and exacerbated students’ racial opportunity cost. Findings regarding the critical influence of school culture on students’ experiences highlight the importance of school leaders creating supportive, whole school cultures to foster school engagement and academic achievement for all students.

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