837 Slices
Medium 9781475811216

Words from “The Trenches”: Principals’ Perspectives on Effective School Leadership Characteristics

Rowman & Littlefield Publishers ePub


Schools are multifaceted organizations. Achieving and sustaining a high quality organization within a complex environment demands that organizational leaders possess a wide range of leadership capabilities. This holds true for principals as leaders of schools. Unfortunately, the path followed by aspiring school principals in the development of their leadership capabilities is typically fragmented and unfocused. Entry into the profession of school administration is usually through self-selection and, more often than not, pre-service training is dominated by students who “want to get through courses as painlessly as possible and get a certificate . . . just in case.” Educational administration programs often accept students, as long as they

have a pulse, possess sufficient financial resources, a completed baccalaureate degree, and the ability to complete the paper requirements for entrance. This ‘batch feed’ approach to student selection appears inspired by the plaque on the Statue of Liberty which invited the ‘huddled masses’ to our shores. (Daresh, 1996, p. 5)

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Medium 9781475811667

Distributed Accountability: Creating District Systems to Ensure Teaching Quality

JOURNAL OF SCHOOL LEADERSHIP Rowman & Littlefield Publishers ePub


ABSTRACT: Districts play a key and relatively unexamined role in distributed leadership research. This article explores how leadership was distributed through a district structure designed to improve the quality of teaching by improving the quality of teacher evaluation. It examines peer assistance and review, a policy designed to address the key problems of traditional teacher evaluation by allowing administrators and teacher leaders to share accountability for evaluation processes and decisions. The article presents data from a peer assistance and review program in one urban district, detailing how the program distributed accountability for teacher quality across the district organization. The article extends previous work on distributed leadership by showing how the design of shared tasks can effectively distribute accountability. The article also extends previous work on distributed leadership by elucidating the democratic effects of that distribution. As such, the article addresses questions of instrumentality (i.e., how can district leaders design and implement a better teacher evaluation system?) and agency (i.e., what are the political implications of distributing formal authority for teacher evaluation out of the hands of administrators and into the hands of teachers?).

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Medium 9781475811827

Drawing on a Knowledge-Based Trust Perspective to Examine and Conceptualize Within-School Trust Development by Principals

JOURNAL OF SCHOOL LEADERSHIP Rowman & Littlefield Publishers ePub

Shelby Cosner

Drawing on a Knowledge-Based Trust Perspective to Examine and Conceptualize Within-School Trust Development by Principals

ABSTRACT: Research has revealed the importance of trust to schools and pointed to the central role that principals play in cultivating within-school trust, yet less is known about the ways that principals cultivate such trust. Moreover, divergent perspectives and varied contexts for examining trust have limited the transfer of trust scholarship to practice by principals as well as by those who prepare and develop principals. With these issues in mind, I examine and conceptualize ways that principals cultivate within-school trust as a means of advancing understanding and practice. A multidisciplinary review of trust theory and research led me to focus this investigation in several ways to be instructive related to the cultivation of within-school trust by principals. First, rather than examine myriad types of trust and trust processes, I center on the development of knowledge-based trust, a critical lens for considering the development of within-school trust given that it has been regarded as a primary mechanism for trust development within organizations. Second, I consider two important within-school trust referents that are directly or indirectly responsive to principal activity: trust in leader and trust between colleagues. From this perspective, I explore organizational benefits derived by trust in leader and by trust in colleagues; I also examine and conceptualize ways that principals cultivate both forms of within-school trust. Finally, I share implications for practice and future research.

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Medium 9781475817218

Letter from the Editor

JOURNAL OF SCHOOL LEADERSHIP Rowman & Littlefield Publishers ePub

This issue of the Journal of School Leadership marks the change of editorial responsibilities. I am pleased to be your new Editor. I will be assisted by Don Willower, Consulting Editor and Kenneth Lane, Associate Editor, both of whom assume these positions with enthusiasm and dedication to the journal. We are joined by an outstanding board of reviewers and advisors, ensuring the publication of the best thinking and writing in the field. While our review process is rigorous, we operate on a foundation of fairness with substantive and timely feedback.

The Journal of School Leadership has as its mission to publish quality, relevant research and conceptual papers that inform the practice of educational leadership and provide meaningful inquiry about our field. The articles published in the journal reflect a growing emphasis on quality scholarship and diversity of perspective. It is my goal to strengthen the focus on quality, relevance, and multiple perspectives so that the journal reflects the latest discourse around school leadership and learning.

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Medium 9781475817133

Instructional Leadership in Practice: Fostering Meaningful Exchange

JOURNAL OF SCHOOL LEADERSHIP Rowman & Littlefield Publishers ePub



ABSTRACT: The educational literature of recent years speaks to teachers and principals differently. However, a need exists to connect the perspectives of teachers with the administrative structuring of the workplace. A sample of experienced teachers was selected for detailed interviews. The experiences of the teachers help us to better understand the conditions under which they engage in meaningful dialogue about their work.

Over the past 20 years, a rich literature has developed around what may be broadly termed “the institutional context” of instructional leadership in practice. That context encompasses changing roles and circumstances for building administrators and instructional staff. Yet, in our view, the existing literature seldom seems to speak to both teachers and principals simultaneously.

For example, on the one hand, there exists extensive research related to the workworlds and cultures of teachers and teaching (e.g., DeSanctis and Blumberg, 1979; Dreeben, 1973; Feiman-Nemser and Floden, 1986; Lortie, 1975; McPherson, 1972; Sarason, 1982; Willower and Smith, 1986). That literature reveals that the typical instructional context is characterized by norms of individualism, isolationism, and autonomy within the classroom. It tells us that, in most schools, there is minimal interaction between and among teachers. Even when informal relationships and social interactions do exist, dialogue seldom centers on the core tasks of teaching and learning. The norm of noninterference in peer’s work seems to be endemic.

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