Medium 9781475811667

Jsl Vol 17-N4

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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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5 Articles

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Distributed Leadership for Social Justice: Exploring How Influence and Equity Are Stretched Over an Urban High School

ePub

JEFFREY S. BROOKS
GAETANE JEAN-MARIE
ANTHONY H. NORMORE
DIANE W. HODGINS

ABSTRACT: Although leadership for social justice and distributed leadership have separately garnered a great deal of interest among educational administration scholars, no studies have explored the possible conceptual and empirical links between these important and promising areas of inquiry. This study draws from extant literature to suggest an exploratory conceptual framework designed to investigate distributed leadership practice for social justice; it then explores the efficacy of the framework using data from an ethnographic study of leadership practice conducted in an urban high school in the southeastern United States. Findings suggest that the framework has potential for explaining social justice leadership practice as the context-specific and situation-bound work of formal and informal leaders throughout an organization.

Over the past 2 decades, educational leadership scholars have made significant contributions to our understanding of the ways educators can and do lead for social justice in schools (Marshall & Gerstl-Pepin, 2005; Marshall & Oliva, 2006). Conceptual research suggests that a social justice orientation toward educational leadership practice and research promises to lead to an understanding of “how institutionalized theories, norms, and practices in schools and society lead to social, economic, and educational inequities” (Dantley & Tillman, 2006, p. 17). Social justice scholars argue that leadership practice informed by such understanding will empower and enable leaders to serve traditionally marginalized students and dismantle long-standing norms that privilege certain students at the expense of others. Empirical studies in this line of inquiry support the contention that school leadership can positively influence these dynamics but that such work is fraught with organizational barriers that perpetuate inequity within schools (e.g., Gooden, 2005) and deeply rooted sociopsychological dynamics that permeate all levels of society (Scheurich & Young, 1997).

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Socially Focused, Situationally Driven Practice: A Study of Distributed Leadership Among School Principals and Counselors

ePub

MATTHEW MILITELLO
CHRIS JANSON

ABSTRACT: This study investigated how school counselors and principals perceive their professional relationship with each other. Specifically, it used Q methodology to develop 45 statements about the relationship between the school counselor and the principal. Subsequently, 39 professional school counselors and principals sorted the statements. Four factors emerged, each representing a distinct view of this relationship. The factors were analyzed using a distributed leadership framework. Although each factor contains constructive attributes of the school-counselor–principal relationship, one factor contains characteristics closely approximating the distributed leadership framework reflected in the literature and in the current school counselor and administrator professional standards.

The current mandate-driven, sanction-laden, and hortatory-natured accountability efforts (McDonnell, 2004) to improve student achievement in schools have forced educators to reconsider current boundaries of leadership. The emphasis on results-focused practice has led the promotion of new models of school leadership. Such models are structured by the formation of teams and are embedded with collaborative practices (DuFour, Eaker, & DuFour, 2005; Halverson, 2003; Lambert, 2002; Seashore Louis, 2006; Spillane, 2006). Professional school counselors and principals are uniquely placed to engage in new leadership structures and activities. However, these new normative models of practice are dependent on the current viewpoints and perceptions of school principals and counselors.

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Beyond Distributed Leadership: Collaboration, Interaction, and Emergent Reciprocal Influence

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SHELDON T. WATSON
JAY PAREDES SCRIBNER

ABSTRACT: Distributed leadership has joined the current pantheon of educational buzzwords. This represents a shift from a past that focused on positions and individuals as the keys to leadership. Unfortunately, the distributed perspective itself fails to capture much of the leadership activity that takes place in organizations. Specifically, activity that is inherently collaborative, interactive, and reciprocal is difficult to isolate and identify within the context of contemporary lenses of leadership, including distributed leadership. This article explores this conceptual terrain, through a review of scholarship and a discussion of empirical findings. It concludes that the lens of distributed leadership needs further conceptual development to effectively capture the dynamic nature of leadership in today’s schools. The framework of emergent reciprocal influence is offered as an initial means of conceptualizing the complex and interactive forms of leadership that emerge within the context of collaborative activity in organizations.

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Trust and the Development of Distributed Leadership

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MARK A. SMYLIE
DAVID MAYROWETZ
JOSEPH MURPHY
KAREN SEASHORE LOUIS

ABSTRACT: This article examines the relationship between trust and the development of distributed leadership. It presents a theoretical argument with supporting evidence from longitudinal fieldwork examining distributed leadership development in comparative cases of two secondary schools. The analysis suggests that trust matters in the design, performance, and perceptions of distributed leadership; that the relationship between trust and distributed leadership development is dynamic and mutually reinforcing; that an initial level of positive or provisional trust may be necessary; and that principal leadership and the trust relationship between principal and teachers are especially important to distributed leadership development.

Of all the “big” ideas now on the landscape of educational leadership, few are more prominent than that of distributed leadership. Within a few short years, distributed leadership has evolved from a theoretical consideration of naturally occurring social influence processes in school organization (e.g., Gronn, 2000; Spillane, Halverson, & Diamond, 2001) to a mantra for reshaping leadership practice. More and more schools and school systems are attempting to develop distributed leadership. Increasingly, state education agencies and national education organizations are encouraging them to do so. Among the best known of these efforts has been the State Action Education Leadership Projects (SAELPs), funded and promoted by the Wallace Foundation, the Education Commission of the States, and the Council of Chief State School Officers. At the time that this article was being prepared, many of the 24 states receiving SAELP grants were actively promoting the development of distributed leadership.

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Distributed Accountability: Creating District Systems to Ensure Teaching Quality

ePub

JENNIFER GOLDSTEIN

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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