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Jsl Vol 19-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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4 Articles

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Leadership Dynamics Promoting Systemic Reform for Inclusive Service Delivery

ePub

Martin Scanlan

Leadership Dynamics Promoting Systemic Reform for Inclusive Service Delivery

ABSTRACT: This article presents a multicase study of two systems of schools striving to reform service delivery systems for students with special needs. Considering these systems as institutional actors, the study examines what promotes the understanding and implementation of special education service delivery within a system of schools in a manner that strengthens the capacity of schools to welcome students with special needs. Key findings illustrate how central office support and relationships across horizontal, vertical, and diagonal dimensions mediate efforts to reorient organizations, establish policy coherence, provide instructional leadership, and maintain the focus on reform. The article concludes with implications across school sectors for policies and practices that promote inclusive service delivery for students with special needs.

Effectively and inclusively serving students with special needs is a compelling and elusive goal of school leaders. This pursuit is typically an isolated endeavor of individual school leaders working to reform a specific school rather than an effort undertaken by colleagues working across a system. As such, these pursuits can create pockets of innovative practice in individual schools, often largely dependent on key leaders at the school. This article examines an alternative to this: leadership dynamics within and across schools in systems striving to improve service delivery for students with special needs. Special needs is used as an umbrella term encompassing students with diagnosed disabilities and those facing undiagnosed barriers to school success. This study compares and contrasts two school systems, answering the question, What promotes the understanding and implementation of the learning consultant model within a system of schools in a manner that strengthens the capacity of schools to welcome students with special needs?

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An Examination of Differential Item Functioning on the Vanderbilt Assessment of Leadership in Education

ePub

Morgan S. Polikoff

Henry May

Andrew C. Porter

Stephen N. Elliott

Ellen Goldring

Joseph Murphy

An Examination of Differential Item Functioning on the Vanderbilt Assessment of Leadership in Education

ABSTRACT: The Vanderbilt Assessment of Leadership in Education is a 360-degree assessment of the effectiveness of principals’ learning-centered leadership behaviors. In this report, we present results from a differential item functioning (DIF) study of the assessment. Using data from a national field trial, we searched for evidence of DIF on school level, geographic region, and urbanicity. We found evidence of intercept DIF for urbanicity on four items and slope DIF for urbanicity on one item, although all magnitudes were small to moderate. We conclude that the Vanderbilt Assessment of Leadership in Education’s items are not biased on the basis of these school characteristics, bolstering its use in schools around the country.

Principal leadership is widely believed to be an important factor in effecting school improvement. Researchers studying the characteristics of effective schools that raise achievement and narrow achievement gaps have found that principal leadership is among the most important factors (Beck & Murphy, 1996; Leithwood, Louis, Anderson, & Wahlstrom, 2004; Marks & Printy, 2003; Marzano, Waters, & McNulty, 2005; Murphy & Hallinger, 1988; Robinson, Lloyd, & Rowe, 2008; Waters, Marzano, & McNulty, 2003). Although there has been important work in research and policy to improve the quality of principal leadership nationwide, the focus of this work has been imbalanced. Much of the work to date has focused on the leverage points of standards—through the Interstate School Leaders Licensure Consortium and Educational Leadership Constituents Council standards, through professional development tied to the standards, through accreditation via the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education, and through licensure and certification via the School Leaders Licensure Assessment (Murphy, Elliott, Goldring, & Porter, 2007). However, little work has been done with regard to a critical fifth leverage point—leadership evaluation and consequences.

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Allocating More Experienced Teachers to Leadership Positions in Schools: A Double-Edged Sword?

ePub

Eric M. Camburn

Allocating More Experienced Teachers to Leadership Positions in Schools: A Double-Edged Sword?

ABSTRACT: This article presents a critical discussion of the implications of allocating the most experienced and skilled teachers in schools to teacher leadership positions. Placing such teachers in leadership positions supports school improvement initiatives, but it can also pull valuable teaching resources from the classroom. The article examines this issue by investigating how expertise is distributed between teacher leaders and regular classroom teachers in urban schools implementing comprehensive school reform programs. Results indicate that teacher leaders have substantially more postsecondary training and teaching experience than do nonleaders. The implications of these results are discussed.

Comprehensive school reform (CSR) is a widespread form of intervention that has been shown to positively affect classroom instruction and student achievement (Borman, Hewes, Overman, & Brown, 2003; Rowan, Correnti, Miller, & Camburn, 2009). Although the theories of action of CSR programs vary considerably, most programs attempt to bring about improvements in achievement by developing a school’s capacity to provide effective instructional experiences for students (Rowan, Barnes, & Camburn, 2004). One of the most common strategies used by CSR programs is to introduce teacher leaders into schools whose primary responsibility is to support instructional improvement. Recent studies have demonstrated that teacher leaders in schools implementing CSR programs do indeed play this role (Camburn, Rowan, & Taylor, 2003) and that teachers who engage with CSR teacher leaders are more likely to adopt teaching practices advocated by CSR programs (Camburn & Han, 2009).

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The Ecology of Democratic Learning Communities: Faculty Trust and Continuous Learning in Public Middle Schools

ePub

Lisa A. W. Kensler

Grace I. L. Caskie

Margaret E. Barber

George P. White

The Ecology of Democratic Learning Communities: Faculty Trust and Continuous Learning in Public Middle Schools

ABSTRACT: This cross-sectional explanatory study integrated three complex social processes—democratic community, faculty trust, and organizational learning—into a single testable model. The review of literature demonstrated substantial evidence for the proposed model. The data sources for the study included approximately 3,000 teachers from 79 public middle schools in Pennsylvania and New Jersey. Teachers from each school completed one of three surveys measuring democratic community, faculty trust, or continuous and team learning. Structural equation modeling was the primary method of analysis, with teacher responses aggregated to the school level. The data adequately fit the proposed model. Faculty trust was found to mediate the relationship between democratic community and continuous and team learning. Further research, including data collection over time, is necessary to fully understand the pattern of causal relationships among democratic community, faculty trust, and continuous and team learning.

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