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Examining the Relationships Among Emotional Intelligence, Coping Mechanisms for Stress, and Leadership Effectiveness for Middle School Principals

ePub

Christy Hall Reynolds

Laura M. O’Dwyer

Examining the Relationships Among Emotional Intelligence, Coping Mechanisms for Stress, and Leadership Effectiveness for Middle School Principals

ABSTRACT: The role of the school administrator has grown increasingly complex as a consequence of the recent testing and reporting mandates and the threat of sanctions for failing schools. In satisfying the needs of local stakeholders and the state and in meeting the criteria set forth by federal mandates, successful educational leaders must be able to cultivate positive working relationships with many people (Cherniss, 1998; Fullan, 2001), handle the needs of individuals, motivate employees, and foster a sense of belonging in the workplace (Goleman, 1998). Based on the importance of effective leadership for improving school outcomes, the purpose of this study was to explore some behavioral characteristics associated with effective leadership. Building on prior research in the area of leadership, this study explored the relationships among public school principals’ emotional intelligence, leadership effectiveness, and coping mechanisms for stress. Although the analyses revealed a negative relationship between principals’ leadership effectiveness and their emotional intelligence, mechanisms for coping with stress were found to be positive and significant predictors of leadership effectiveness. Preexisting measures of leadership effectiveness, emotional intelligence, and coping mechanisms for stress were used.

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Student Achievement and Principal Quality: Explaining the Relationship

ePub

Robert C. Knoeppel

James S. Rinehart

Student Achievement and Principal Quality: Explaining the Relationship

ABSTRACT: This study considered the question, how do principals influence student achievement? We adopted a direct-effects model with antecedent effects to measure the relationship between principal characteristics and student achievement. Using such a model, we postulated that preservice principal characteristics, such as training and experience, enable one to predict principals’ actions in the school setting that influence student learning. Findings reveal that principal characteristics were significant predictors of student achievement and so explained 3.9% of the variance in achievement. Findings also reveal that principals, as currently distributed, may not have the necessary training to implement change in an era of standards-based reform.

What qualities of principals contribute to student learning? The answer to this research question assumes additional significance as educators face impending deadlines for student achievement, as standards for educational leaders are revised, and as states rethink the content of leadership preparation programs. According to Fullan (2003), “what standards were to the 1990s, ‘leadership’ is to the 2000s” (p. 16). A consistent finding from two decades of effective schools research is that successful schools are led by dynamic, knowledgeable, and focused leaders (Kaplan, Owings, & Nunnery, 2005). Other findings indicate that principals set the direction for successful schools and influence student learning (Davis, Darling-Hammond, LaPointe, & Meyerson, 2005; Hallinger & Heck, 2000; Leithwood, Seashore Louis, Anderson, & Wahlstrom, 2004; Waters, Marzano, & McNulty, 2003). Still other findings suggest that principals not only contribute directly to learning, by keeping a focus on student achievement and by providing a school culture conducive to learning and teaching (Davis et al., 2005; Waters et al., 2003), but also directly influence learning by attracting, selecting, and retaining high-quality teachers (Kaplan et al., 2005). Although principals are expected to fulfill myriad roles in their schools, their primary responsibility is to facilitate effective instruction to maximize student achievement (Darling-Hammond, 2007; DeVita, 2007; Haycock, 2007; O’Donnell & White, 2005).

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Money Down the Drain: Mandated Professional Development

ePub

Sherry Kragler

Linda Martin

Diane C. Kroeger

Money Down the Drain: Mandated Professional Development

ABSTRACT: Federal, state, and district policy mandates are increasingly affecting primary grade teachers—especially, those in at-risk schools, given that they face more mandated curriculum and professional development. This study investigated K–3 teachers in two inner-city schools as they navigated through various mandates. Qualitative and quantitative data were collected and analyzed. The results indicated that the teachers attempted to make sense of the curricular changes and that they had confidence in their colleagues’ abilities. They were concerned about how to implement the expected changes from these mandates and what impact the mandates would have on their students’ achievements; however, little change was observed in their instruction.

A cursory look at the last years of federal legislative and judicial activity reveals the extent to which federal education policy, as stemming from national concerns about students’ reading proficiency, has increasingly nudged its way into the realm of the K–5 classroom. Consider, for example, the impact of the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001, the implementation of which has generated an increased awareness of student achievement and a focused effort to improve student test scores. Although the act has implications for all teachers, federal funding (e.g., Reading First grants) has focused on primary grade teachers in at-risk schools. When the array of federal policies are combined with state, local, and site-based policy demands, one can sense the policy press intended to improve education outputs through the regulation of teachers’ work. One result of various mandates is the numerous and continual professional development activities required for primary teachers in at-risk schools. All these activities are designed to help teachers create more effective reading programs to raise their students’ achievement scores.

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Time Use by Special Educators and How It Is Valued

ePub

Dana Pomykal Franz

Kimberly J. Vannest

Richard I. Parker

Jan E. Hasbrouck

Nicole Dyer

John L. Davis

Time Use by Special Educators and How It Is Valued

ABSTRACT: Recent federal legislation is affecting how special educators assess students, select curricula, document growth, teach, and consult—in short, how they spend their time during a school day. This study empirically measured special educators’ use of time over the course of several weeks. It compared actual time use with its perceived value by both the teachers and their principals. Congruence between actual time use and its valuation was generally high but not so in select areas. Likewise, special education teachers and their administrators largely agreed in valuation but were far apart in some areas. A better understanding of the administrative duties required of teachers may help administrators appreciate the scope and demands of such nonteaching duties. A new level of communication may lead to more administrative support, as related to prioritizing administrative duties, thereby allowing teachers the time to engage in the tasks they value most.

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