Medium 9781475811858

Jsl Vol 20-N5

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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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Perceptions of Principal Leadership Behaviors in Massachusetts in the Era of Education Reform

ePub

JOHN PROVOST

MARY LYNN BOSCARDIN

CRAIG WELLS

ABSTRACT: Perspectives of principal leadership behavior contribute to how principals and other school leaders understand the role of the principal in an era of significant educational reforms. A Q methodology was used with 30 principals, assistant principals, and other educational administrators working in a variety of roles and different types of districts to ascertain how the perceptions of the school leaders align with reform mandates. Data analysis identified one component that accounted for 41% of the variance observed in the ways that these administrators sorted 21 statements about principal leadership behavior. The quantitative analysis was completed as the first stage of the data analysis; the qualitative data were analyzed to triangulate and cross-check the results of the Q sort. The level of agreement among the participants demonstrates a shared understanding of the role of the principal and suggests that principal leadership aligns with the models of sitebased management and instructional leadership that support educational reform.

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The Realities of New Principals: Challenges, Joys, and Sorrows

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ALAN R. SHOHO

BRUCE G. BARNETT

ABSTRACT: This empirical qualitative study of 62 new principals was conducted over several years to determine what challenges they face, how the principalship compares with their expectations, and what their long-term career aspirations are. The findings indicate that the challenges experienced by new principals pertain to instructional leadership; managerial issues such as budgeting and human resources; and community issues involving climate, politics, and differing expectations from parents. New principals’ job expectations depended on the experiences they had as assistant or vice principals. Finally, few new principals anticipated long-term careers as principals. Most new principals desired district-level positions within 10 years. Implications for preparation and professional development are provided.

As growing numbers of principals resign and/or retire, fewer qualified people are applying to fill these vacancies (Fenwick, 2000; Lacey, 2002). There are many reasons for the declining interest in the principalship, including lack of pay commensurate with increased responsibilities, intense workload, and more external pressure for accountability (Yerkes & Guaglianone, 1998). Societal expectations for schools to resolve problems of productivity, ethnic diversity, social cohesion, and inclusion also place principals squarely in the spotlight for taking on massive social reforms (Stevenson, 2006). Hall, Berg, and Barnett (2003) captured the complexity of the principalship by concluding,

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Improving the Physical and Social Environment of School: A Question of Equity

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CYNTHIA L. ULINE

THOMAS DEVERE WOLSEY

MEGAN TSCHANNEN-MORAN

CHII-DEAN LIN

ABSTRACT: This study explored the interplay between quality facilities and school climate, charting the effects of facility conditions on student and teacher attitudes, behaviors, and performance within schools slated for renovations in a large metropolitan school district. The research applied a school leadership–building design model to explore how six characteristics of facility quality—movement, aesthetics, play of light, flexible and responsive classrooms, elbow room, and security—interact with four aspects of school climate: academic press, community engagement, teacher professionalism, and collegial leadership. Because the schools were older and participants in the research perceived them as being in great need of maintenance and repair, the school building characteristics were often described as absent qualities. The survey data revealed moderate to strong relationships between the quality of school facilities and school climate. The interviews further explicated these relationships. Two additional themes—counterbalance and equity—emerged as being significant to occupants’ interactions with their current facilities. This study used a mixed-methods triangulation design–data transformation model. Specifically, school climate surveys, photo interviews with students, walking tours of the school facility, and formal interviews were triangulated to obtain complementary data and a more complete understanding of the educational facility to be renovated and its impact on occupants.

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Parents’ Networking Strategies: Participation of Formal and Informal Parent Groups in School Activities and Decisions

ePub

CAROLYN L. WANAT

ABSTRACT: This case study examined parent groups’ involvement in school activities and their participation in decision making. Research questions included the following: (1) What is the nature of parent groups in schools? (2) What activities and issues gain parent groups’ attention and participation? (3) How do parent groups communicate concerns about school policies and practices? (4) What differences, if any, exist between formal and informal parent groups? Social network theory provided the framework for analysis. Seventeen parents in one K–6 elementary school participated in semistructured interviews. Data were analyzed with analytic induction. Participants’ interactions around shared activities created dense networks that supported school activities and influenced school leaders’ decision making.

An extensive body of research has documented the benefits of parents’ involvement in their children’s schools, particularly on students’ academic achievement (Epstein, 2001; Henderson & Mapp, 2002). Research has examined individual parents’ involvement, with fewer studies focusing on the collective involvement of parent groups (Sheldon, 2002). Yet, studies using parent groups as the unit of analysis have shown improved student attendance (Sheldon, 2007), increased parental involvement (Sheldon, 2005), and more parental participation on decision-making committees (Sheldon & Van Voorhis, 2004). In studies that use schools as the unit of analysis to study the benefits of parents’ social networks (Sheldon, 2002) and the relationships of school structure and environment on parental involvement (Griffith, 1998, 2000), researchers collected data on parents’ perspectives about their involvement as individuals. Departing from this approach, this study examined parents’ perspectives about the collective involvement of parent groups.

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The Role of Superintendents in Supporting Teacher Leadership: A Study of Principals’ Perceptions

ePub

CARYN M. WELLS

C. ROBERT MAXFIELD

BARBARA KLOCKO

LINDSON FEUN

ABSTRACT: This article documents a study in which principals were asked to examine the concepts related to the development of teacher leadership in their districts by responding to an original survey sent electronically via SurveyMonkey. Half the respondents were chosen from districts that were involved with a program identified as preparing teacher leaders; the other half had no program affiliation. This descriptive study used quantitative measures that revealed some differences between perceptions of principals in school districts based on involvement in teacher leadership programs. Principals from all schools reported that the role of the superintendent was important in developing teacher leaders, although they seldom experienced the support. The article concludes with suggestions for superintendents to consider as they use a research-based approach to changing the culture of their schools to include teacher leadership.

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