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Jsl Vol 11-N5

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Making Sense of Policy Paradoxes: A Case Study of Teacher Leadership

ePub

JEAN A. PATTERSON
CATHERINE MARSHALL

ABSTRACT : In this article we present findings from case study research conducted in one district that was implementing inclusive special education programs and new testing and accountability policies in site-managed schools. We specifically examined how, in the absence of direction from school- and district-level administrators, teachers provided the leadership in their schools and helped others make sense of and manage these paradoxical policies. We concluded that leadership emanates from those willing to step forward and help others make sense of paradox. In this case, teachers filled the leadership void and facilitated special education reform in their schools. Their values, vision, and preferences provided the framework for sensemaking. However, in the absence of a unified district-wide vision, teachers’ efforts were idiosyncratic and isolated, which limited their abilities to effect systemic change. We propose that teacher leadership cannot be allowed to happen by chance, but must be supported with changes in role, training, and structure.

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Teachers’ Ratings of Effective Principal Leadership: A Comparison of Magnet and Nonmagnet Elementary Schools

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CHARLES S. HAUSMAN
ELLEN B. GOLDRING

ABSTRACT: This study explores teachers’ ratings of principal leadership in magnet and nonmagnet elementary schools. The article provides potential explanations for nonmagnet teachers’ ratings of their principals as more effective leaders than their magnet school counterparts. First, more permeable boundaries characteristic of magnet schools may compel magnet principals to allocate additional time to external management. Second, the enrollments and staff sizes in magnet schools are larger; therefore, magnet principals have less time for each individual. Third, nonmagnet schools serve more low SES children and have fewer resources to do so. Confronting these challenges may help explain why nonmagnet teachers rate their principals as more effective. Finally, magnet teachers report greater autonomy and expertise, which may make principal leadership in specific domains extraneous.

The shortcomings of public schooling in the United States have been highly publicized. Although there is some debate over the magnitude of the problem, there is unanimous agreement that there is room for significant improvement. A potpourri of remedies have been urged but perhaps none more vehemently than school choice. The call for school choice has been issued with such force that the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching (1992) concluded: “The decade long struggle to reform American education seems suddenly to hang on a single word: choice” (p. 1).

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Organizational Citizenship Behavior in Schools and Its Relationship to School Climate

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MICHAEL DIPAOLA
MEGAN TSCHANNEN-MORAN

ABSTRACT: Within effective organizations employees often go beyond formal job responsibilities, performing nonmandatory tasks with no expectation of recognition or compensation. Therefore, it is important to learn more about how organizational citizenship behaviors (OCB) can be cultivated. In this study a new measure of OCB, which is useful in exploring how this construct functions in K–12 schools, was developed. Data were collected in two separate samples and confirmed that this new measure was reasonably valid and reliable. Further testing explored whether the two-factor structure found in other organizational contexts held in public school settings. A significant relationship was found between OCB and school climate. Implications of these findings and directions for further research are discussed.

Within effective organizations employees often go beyond formal job responsibilities, performing nonmandatory tasks with no expectation of recognition or compensation. These altruistic acts are neither prescribed nor required, yet they contribute to the smooth functioning of the organization. One noted scholar’s interest in organizational citizenship was initially sparked as he reflected on an experience he had as a young factory worker. He was struggling with the use of a piece of equipment until an older worker noticed his difficulty and left his own work to assist the floundering young man in the proper use of the tool. It was not in the job description of the older worker to offer such assistance, but his efforts aided both the struggling young factory worker and the organization as a whole. Later, after becoming an organizational scholar, the once struggling factory worker reflected on the importance of these types of behaviors, he coined the phrase “organizational citizenship behavior” (OCB) to denote these organizationally beneficial gestures (Bateman & Organ, 1983).

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Professional Learning Communities: Leadership, Purposeful Decision Making, and Job-Embedded Staff Development

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JANE B. HUFFMAN
KRISTINE A. HIPP
ANITA M. PANKAKE
GAYLE MOLLER

ABSTRACT: This article reports the results of a preliminary study of how schools involved in a national project are developing structures critical to becoming professional learning communities. The study investigates the characteristics that distinguish schools at a high level of readiness for the development of a professional learning community from those at a low level of readiness. Based on interviews of principals and teachers in 20 schools, three characteristics emerged that were evident in the high readiness level schools.

In contrast to the scientific management theory of organizing schools, which dominated the early part of the twentieth century, work during the same period by James (1958) and Dewey (1938) in progressive education led to the current constructivist ideologies that link learning with experience and context. This earlier progressive education research is supported by the work of recent theorists (DuFour & Eaker, 1998; Fullan, 1993; Hord, 1997a; Levy & Levy, 1993; Newmann & Wehlage, 1995; Senge, 1990), who propose that professional learning communities, essentially a constructivist approach to engaging school staffs in meaningful learning, can lead to increased student achievement.

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