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Medium 9781475823929

Cultivating Trust Among Urban Youth at Risk

Journal of School Public Relations Rowman & Littlefield Publishers ePub



ABSTRACT: By examining data from interviews with students in the Upward Bound program (a federally sponsored program that provides academic support to students at risk who are preparing for college entrance), this study seeks to strengthen an understanding of the role of trust among urban youth at risk in the educational organizations that serve them. This work makes a unique contribution to the work of school public relations by highlighting the perspectives of urban students at risk on the role of trust in their educational organization. This qualitative piece uses data from a study of student participation in leadership, and it uses interviews, observations, and document analysis of participants and informants to build an understanding of the role of trust among urban youth at risk in educational organizations. Participants included 20 recent high school graduates enrolled in the summer Bridge Program of Upward Bound at a university in a midsize city. Students provided important insights into the role of trust. Some facets of trust (e.g., benevolence, honesty, openness, reliability, and competence) emerged from the interviews providing empirical support for recent theoretical work on the concept. For students, establishing and maintaining trust with each other, with faculty, and especially with staff members contributed to their decisions to help the Upward Bound program meet its purpose of motivating students to graduate from high school and enter college. Educational administrators in academic support programs and schools whose students benefit from these programs serving urban youth at risk will benefit from making efforts to forge trusting personal relationships with the students, parents, and other community members within students’ spheres of influence. Findings from this study suggest that urban students at risk may already view themselves as being capable of working with educational organizations that are willing to share power and flatten hierarchies. By understanding how urban students contribute to trusting relationships, urban school administrators may build their personal capacity to effectively communicate with this group of young people and develop strong ties with the communities whom these youth represent. Finally, the results of this study suggest that building trust among students may serve as a key component in successful school community relations if, as suggested in this work, students actively support and advocate for educational organizations with which they form trusting bonds.

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Medium 9781475811650

Principal Leadership for Social Justice: Uncovering the Content of Teacher Professional Development

JOURNAL OF SCHOOL LEADERSHIP Rowman & Littlefield Publishers ePub


ABSTRACT: Both principal leadership for professional development and leadership for social justice offer promising but underdeveloped conceptions of professional development content that school principals promote toward teaching for academic excellence and social justice. This article examines the professional learning content promoted by three school principals for social justice. Findings reveal a nuanced understanding of two content strands of professional development: subject matter expertise and social identity development. Principals should promote both strands of professional development to support teaching for social justice and differentiate this professional learning according to teacher needs. Implications for practice, theory, and future research are discussed.

One of the most important and daunting challenges that school principals face in the United States is creating affirming, equitable, high-achieving schools that prepare all students to be multicultural, justice-oriented citizens. Theoretically, this intricate challenge positions principals as transformative leaders (e.g., Shields, 2004) who join the unfinished journey toward democracy and social justice promoted at recent national conferences, such as those held by the American Educational Research Association in 2006 and the University Council for Educational Administration in 2005.1

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Medium 9781475827149

Uncovering the Need for Diversity Among K–12 STEM Educators

Teacher Education and Practice Rowman & Littlefield Publishers ePub

Uncovering the Need for Diversity Among K–12 STEM Educators

Vincent Basile and Kevin Murray

ABSTRACT: Unlike its predecessors, the 2010 PCAST report on STEM education calls for a significant increase in the number of students of color pursuing STEM careers. While the report suggests various ways to begin to pursue this goal, it fails to identify the need for a significant increase in the number of teachers of color in STEM education. With specific consideration to the PCAST report, this paper explores rationales behind the need for more STEM teachers of color and the evidence that supports those rationales.

We aim in this paper to work toward a critical definition of effective science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) education. Drawing on major STEM education policy reports (Before It’s Too Late: A Report to the Nation from the National Commission on Mathematics and Science Teaching for the 21st Century, Rising above the Gathering Storm: Energizing and Employing America for a Brighter Economic Future, and Prepare and Inspire: K-12 Education in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math for America’s Future), we find ourselves concerned that dominant definitions of effective STEM education are entirely silent on the issue of diversity among K–12 STEM educators. Most of these policy reports, which we review later in this paper, are focused narrowly on the ability of STEM to create economic prosperity both for individuals and for the nation as a whole. Even when these reports do engage in discussion about the ability of STEM to advance democracy and to serve the public good, they remain silent on the issue of diversity among STEM educators.

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Medium 9781475846980

Rural Education: Working in Elementary Multigrade Classes

Jenlink, Patrick M. Rowman & Littlefield Publishers ePub

Rural Education

Working in Elementary Multigrade Classes

Ilghiz M. Sinagatullin

ABSTRACT: This chapter briefly examines the contemporary condition of Russia’s rural schools and concentrates on the strategies designed and implemented by rural teachers working in elementary multigrade classes. The author bases his assumptions on his personal observations and the outcome of research conducted by a range of scholars and practicing educators. His reflections are also grounded on the experiences of several multigrade teachers who were interviewed.

Even though people on planet earth represent one human civilization, historically, urban and rural styles of socioeconomic life and attitudes to the issues of education have always differed more or less distinctly. In some parts of Central and Latin America, Africa, Asia, and Oceania, including also the huge territory of Russia, the distinctions between urban and rural ways of living and between urban and rural education are exposed and marked; however, in some parts of Europe these differences are not so noticeable (Sinagatullin, 2014). A good example of the latter is Holland, a small country in northern Europe, in which a foreign visitor will hardly tell a typical village from a town or even from a larger metro area.

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Medium 9781475831351

The Influence of Grade Span on Student Achievement in Florida: A Quantitative Investigation . . .

International Journal of Educational Reform Rowman & Littlefield Publishers ePub

The Influence of Grade Span on Student Achievement in Florida

A Quantitative Investigation

Jerry Johnson

Francis Godwyll

Shane Shope

ABSTRACT: The creation—through both new construction and reconfiguration of enrollments in existing facilities—of schools with broader grade spans is increasing in Florida and elsewhere in the United States. The extant literature reports increased fiscal efficiency resulting from the approach, but the potential influence on student outcomes is largely unexplored. This article reports on a completed quantitative study investigating the influence of grade-span configurations on student achievement among Florida public schools (n = 3,523). Results are interpreted to suggest that broader grade spans (e.g., K-8 versus K-5) might represent a viable policy option for administrators and policymakers seeking improved academic outcomes.

Keywords: grade-span, student achievement, school size

The primary intent of the study is to disclose and characterize the presence and distribution of various grade-span configurations among public schools in Florida and to investigate whether student achievement is associated with grade span. The number of schools with K-8 and other broader-than-typical grade configurations is growing among Florida’s 74 public school districts, including some of its largest and highest performing. St. Johns County School District has one K-8 school currently in operation and is bringing two more online in the 2014–2015 school year (Schoettler, 2012). Hernando County School District opened a new K-8 building in 2008 (Brown, 2008), and Orange County School District is set to open a new K-8 building in the Fall of 2016 and another in 2017 (Roth, 2013). Construction of buildings serving broader grade spans is trending, with districts citing lower operation costs, higher achievement, lower discipline referrals, and smoother transitions from grade to grade. Situated within this context and attentive to the relevant literature, the study considers the policy implications that can be drawn from the findings.

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