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Jsl Vol 11-N2

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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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Metaphors as Images of School Culture

ePub

MARIA M. FERREIRA
GERALD R. SMITH
KRIS BOSWORTH

ABSTRACT: In the study of organizational culture, metaphors help insiders bring to the level of conscious thought the assumptions underlying its essence. This study examined the culture of a suburban middle school through metaphors chosen by teachers, administrators, and staff to describe their school. The study focused particularly on how the metaphors held by individuals shaped their beliefs and practices. The results of our study indicate that the metaphorical images used by our participants to represent the culture of their school did reflect, to a great extent, their construction of professional reality. The assumptions underlying their professional worlds became evident as they described their metaphors and the roles they ascribed to themselves, students, and others within each metaphor.

Because schools are social organizations, the study of school culture has developed a further understanding of its complex phenomena. MacGilchrist, Mortimore, Savage, and Beresford (1995) define culture as “the procedures, values, and expectations that guide people’s behavior within an organization” (p. 36). To Schein (1992), culture comprises “the deeper level of basic assumptions and beliefs that are shared by members of an organization, that operate unconsciously, and that define in a basic ‘taken-for-granted’ fashion an organization’s view of itself and its environment” (p. 3).

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Analysis of the Relationships Among Site Council Resources, Council Practices, and Outcomes

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SCOTT C. BAUER
IRA E. BOGOTCH

ABSTRACT: This study investigates the embedded logic of theory connecting decision-making and communication practices of site-based management councils with the perceived effectiveness of councils. Survey data (N = 133) are used to test a path model that treats variables relating to the support provided to site teams as antecedent factors and those relating to practices as intermediate factors, each hypothesized to contribute to perceived outcomes. Results show that two factors relating to practice (decision focus and positive communication) have significant, direct effects on outcomes, while two factors dealing with the support (capacity and authority) tend to have significant indirect effects through their impact on practice.

There is considerable skepticism regarding whether restructuring decision making can fulfill the promise of promoting school improvement (Malen & Ogawa, 1992; Ogawa & White, 1994). Studies show that there is seldom a direct connection between the implementation of site-based management and student learning (Cohen, 1988; Leithwood & Menzies, 1998; Murphy & Beck, 1995; Taylor & Bogotch, 1994). There is mixed support for the connection between the implementation of site-based management and intermediate benefits, such as improved staff morale and stakeholder influence (David, 1989; Lindquist & Mauriel, 1989; Malen, Ogawa, & Kranz, 1990). The general consensus of the literature is that districts and schools seldom fully implement site-based systems (Marsh, 1994; Wohlstetter & Odden, 1992). Issues of “insufficient capacity” are often cited as explaining the failure of site-based management (Murphy & Beck, 1995). “Capacity” generally refers to district support for site councils in terms of providing authority, training, time, information, and other resources necessary to ensure successful site team operations.

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Equity and Excellence: The Effect of School and Sociodemographic Variables on Student Achievement

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MARCO A. MUNOZ
DENA DOSSETT

ABSTRACT: The purpose of this analysis was to examine issues of equity and excellence by means of exploring the relevance of school and sociodemographic variables on student performance in a large county of Kentucky. The study was correlational in nature. Hierarchical multiple regression analyses were used to identify the predictors of student achievement for the last four years. The predictors included school and sociodemographic variables. The dependent variable was operationalized using school scores on a standardized test, the Comprehensive Test of Basic Skills (CTBS). Previous research suggesting that poverty is the best predictor of educational outcomes was supported, but other variables were also found to be significant. Implications for policy and administrative practice are discussed.

Public pressure demanding higher levels of accountability has encouraged educational, psychological, and sociological researchers to explore factors that contribute to student performance. For example, Childs and Shakeshaft (1986) conducted a meta-analysis of research on the relationship between educational expenditures and student achievement. The researchers argued that the findings have been contradictory: (a) studies indicated no relationship, (b) studies indicated a positive relationship, and (c) studies indicated a positive relationship under specified conditions. The authors stated that, past a certain point, the amount of money a school district spends is not so vital as how the money is spent. In fact, they reported, there are multiple factors that have an influence on student outcomes:

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Organizational Health of High Schools and Dimensions of Faculty Trust

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PAGE A. SMITH
WAYNE K. HOY
SCOTT R. SWEETLAND

ABSTRACT: This research is an analysis of organizational health and faculty trust in high schools in a midwestern state. Seven dimensions of school health and four aspects of faculty trust—in students, colleagues, principal, and parents—were examined. In general, the better the organizational health of a school, the greater the degree of faculty trust. However, as predicted, each dimension of faculty trust had a different set of school health predictors. Moreover, trust in students and trust in parents were not separate aspects of faculty trust. They combined to form a single unitary concept of trust, which we labeled faculty trust in clients.

In recent years developments in the organizational sciences have prompted scholars to focus their interests on the importance of trust. A burgeoning body of research is emerging that supports trust as a key element in formulating and maintaining sound interpersonal communication and organizational effectiveness (Axelrod, 1984; Gambetta, 1988; Mayer, Davis, & Schoorman, 1995; McAllister, 1995). Throughout the 1980s and 1990s, economists, organizational theorists, psychologists, and sociologists have pursued the concept of trust and how trust is cultivated and utilized in organizational settings. Research has also demonstrated that trust represents a critical element in the development of healthy and purposefully directed school environments (Hoy, Hoffman, Sabo, & Bliss, 1996; Hoy, Tarter, & Witkoskie, 1992; Tarter, Bliss, & Hoy, 1989; Tarter, Sabo, & Hoy, 1995).

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