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Jsl Vol 16-N6

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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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The Organizational Socialization of Assistant Principals

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NORMA T. MERTZ

ABSTRACT:The purpose of the study was to describe the organizational socialization of assistant principals and consider how that socialization prepares them for becoming principals. Using a case study research design and social systems theory as the theoretical framework, 8 assistant principals in 2 different high schools were interviewed (as were their principals) and observed as they went about their work. The assistant principals were socialized in the position by what they lived as assistants, what they learned by the example of their principals and other assistants, and what was and was not reinforced in their practice. They learned to do school as it is currently being done and to see how it is currently being done as the way that it should be done. What they learned prepared them ill to lead schools in new ways when and if they became principals.

After a long period of neglect (Hartzell, 1993), the position of assistant principal is reemerging in the literature. Fueled by reports of an impending shortage of candidates (Educational Research Service, 1998; Fenwick, 2000; Jones, 2001; Malone & Caddell, 2000; Pounder, 1994), with “40% of the nation’s principals . . . nearing retirement” (Winter & Morgenthal, 2002, p. 319), it makes eminent, if not urgent, sense to look more closely and deeply at the position of assistant principal, “a ready source of potential leadership” (Daresh & Voss, 2001, p. 2), and the position from which the overwhelming majority of principals is drawn (Denmark & Davis, 2001). Adding piquancy to this renewed interest is the concurrent call for fundamental changes in the nature of principal leadership. Recognizing the critical importance of the principal to school effectiveness (Brookover & Lezotte, 1977; Duke, 1987; Edmonds, 1979; Fullan, 1982; Greenfield, 1987; Hallinger & Heck, 1996; Leithwood & Duke, 1998; Murphy, 1990; Purkey & Smith, 1983; Rowan, Bossert & Dwyer, 1983; Smith & Andrews, 1989), the current call is for principals who balance traditional managerial skills with instructional leadership to guide programs and personnel (Daft, 1999; Drake & Roe, 2003; Greenfield, Marshall, & Reed, 1986; Sergiovanni, 1989) and with transformational leadership to guide fundamental changes in schools (Foster, 1986; Hallinger, 1992; Murphy & Seashore-Louis, 1994; Norris, Barnett, Basom, & Yerkes, 2002; Sergiovanni, 1995).

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Educator Perspectives on Parent Involvement for English-Language Learners: Examining Student Needs and School Programs

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GORDON S. GATES
DEBORAH SMOTHERMON

ABSTRACT: This qualitative study describes educator perspectives on student development, resource allocation, and parental knowledge for furthering understanding about parent involvement for English-language learners. The critique of schoolcentric parent involvement programs offered in literature is examined and recommendations advanced for focusing parent–educator collaboration on addressing student academic, affective, and physical needs. The study exposes the slippery slope of deficit thinking that confronts educators who step forward to assist in meeting the needs of students and their families, and it provides insights for strengthening the home–school connection that resist division and inhibit blame.

Current educational reform establishes goals for increasing and improving parent involvement in American public schools, particularly for students who have traditionally been disadvantaged by race, ethnicity, class, and language. Federal and state mandates require districts to develop and institute programs to garner and guide the participation of parents (Kessler-Sklar & Baker, 2000; Mattingly, Prislin, McKenzie, Rodriguez, & Kayzar, 2002). The responsibility for policies and programs that build community relations, share decision making, and support teacher outreach rests largely with school administrators. Teachers also possess duties of inviting, dialoguing, and collaborating with parents in educating students. How educators embrace and enact involvement practices has been found important to parents and critical to the ways that they take part in schools (e.g., Edwards, 1993; Epstein, 1986; Feuerstein, 2000; Hoover-Dempsey, Bassler, & Burrow, 1995; Hoover-Dempsey & Sandler, 1997; Mapp, 2003). Yet this literature is replete with references to the difficulties and differences between parents and educators (e.g., Chavkin & Williams, 1987; Lareau & Shumar, 1996; Lewis & Forman, 2002; Trotman, 2001; Villenas & Deyhle, 1999). These findings have led scholars to declare that “significant needs remain for new languages and practices”—specifically, those that support “schools wishing to forge and establish meaningful connections with their communities . . . for mutual empowerment strategies that meaningfully support the wants and needs of parents and teachers alike . . . [and the] transformative goals [involving] contested processes” (Lawson, 2003, pp. 126–127)—framing leadership as a critical component in parent–school collaboration (Henry, 1996).

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Collaborative Leadership Preparation: A Comparative Study of Partnership and Conventional Programs and Practices

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MARGARET TERRY ORR
MARGARET E. BARBER

ABSTRACT: The need for more and better-prepared educational leaders has led to greater program effort to adhere to national leadership standards and form university–district partnerships for improved preparation, particularly in creating better-quality internships and more supportive structures. This article compares 3 leadership preparation programs—2 partnership and 1 conventional— on program attributes and differences in graduates’ reported gains in leadership skill development, career aspirations, and career advancement. Forty-nine program graduates were surveyed from 2 cohorts of a suburban university–partnership program, its conventional program counterpart, and an urban university–partnership program. The findings show that internship scope and quality as well as program structure qualities—more common of the partnership programs—were significantly and positively associated with leadership learning and career outcomes, beyond graduates’ initial commitment. These results suggest that program design and operation are instrumental in participants’ education and their postprogram career aspirations and pursuits. The article offers insights into conceptual methodological considerations for further research on preparation effectiveness.

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A Cultural Shift Toward Distributed Leadership

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CLAUDINE P. BEDELL
LEONARD C. BURRELLO

ABSTRACT: The story of Bryon Elementary School’s 10-year transformation is a story of school improvement. Moreover, it’s a story of a cultural change that altered roles, responsibilities, and expectations and led to significant gains in student achievement. A principal, faculty, and staff who were driven by a common vision, who spoke a common language, and who produced work and opportunities based on a common instructional framework were at the foundation of this shift. This case study offers an analysis of leadership activity that was distributed in nature, one that practitioners can examine and interpret as they consider their own leadership practice.

Over recent years, the definition of educational leadership has evolved from a managerial view of leadership with the principal at the helm to embody a more comprehensive view, one that includes a reciprocal relationship between leaders and followers, a moral purpose, and an understanding of the complexities of change. This type of leadership is defined as transformational (Bass, 1985; Burns, 1978; Burrello, Hoffman, & Murray, 2005; Elmore, 2000; Fullan, 2001; O’Toole, 1996; Rost, 1991). Leithwood (1994) further built on the work of Burns and Bass and translated the behaviors of school leaders into four factors: individual consideration, intellectual stimulation, inspirational motivation, and idealized influence. These four factors represent a much more comprehensive view of educational leadership than previously considered. The corresponding school leader behaviors have to attend to individual teacher needs, solve old problems in new ways, promote high expectations, and model appropriate behaviors for teachers. Yet the image of principals engaging in these four behaviors is not often seen.

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