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JSL Vol 22-N1

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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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Editorial: The Importance of Both Cutting-Edge and Contemporary Research in School Leadership

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The first issue of volume 22 of the Journal of School Leadership represents a diverse set of articles that showcase a variety of theoretical orientations toward the study of school leadership issues. We have studies that examine homelessness, profiles of principals’ work in successful and unsuccessful schools, studies of social justice, and a case study that investigated of school culture and inclusive schools.

In “Beyond Instructional Leadership: The Lived Experiences of Principals in Successful Urban Schools,” Kimberly A. White-Smith of Chapman University employs phenomenological study methodology to show how some principals are creating a counternarrative to the dominant discourse around the declining quality of urban schools. Cynthia McCartney, Sandra Harris, and Vicky Farrow of Lamar University report in “Experiences of Secondary Hispanic Immigrant Students: Their Stories of Challenge and Triumph” issues that impede a quality education for secondary Hispanic immigrant students. Using a narrative methodology they report on four important themes: (1) respect for homeland, family, friends, and others; (2) responsibility to family; (3) resiliency; and (4) hope. In “Professional Development for School Improvement: The Case of Indiana,” Anne-Maree Ruddy and Ellen Prusinski of Indiana University find that when activities support the development of a well-supported collaborative community of educators—which includes data-driven teacher leadership and instructional leadership—school improvement can take hold in a more engaging manner. In “Inadvertent Exemplars: Life History Portraits of Two Socially Just Principals,” Martin Scanlan of Marquette University explores the trials, tribulations, and successes of leaders committed to social justice. Likewise, in “Aspiring School Leaders Addressing Social Justice Through Art Making,” Christa Boske of Kent State University documents how innovative instructional strategies can facilitate a deeper understanding of practice. “Multilevel Considerations of Family Homelessness and Schooling in the Recession Era,” by Peter Miller of the University of Wisconsin and James Schreiber of Duquesne University, is an outstanding study of a woefully understudied condition—homelessness—that is an all-too-common issue in many school settings and communities. In “Understanding the Role of Culture in Developing Inclusive Schools: A Case Study From Cyprus,” Panayiotis Angelides and Eleni Antoniou of the University of Nicosia present a compelling case for developing and sustaining appropriate leadership for inclusive schools. Finally, in “Managing Educational Champions: Entrepreneurship in Schools,” Ori Eyal of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and Doron Yosef-Hassidim from Ontario Institute for Studies in Education, University of Toronto, explore the utility of entrepreneurship as a way to conceptualize leadership practice.

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Beyond Instructional Leadership: The Lived Experiences of Principals in Successful Urban Schools

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KIMBERLY A. WHITE-SMITH

ABSTRACT: Despite national statistics that suggest declining African American and Latino student achievement, few schools accept the challenge of educating the neediest students, and even fewer succeed. This phenomenological study examined the experiences of and strategies employed by three principals of urban schools that effectively educate traditionally underserved students. Contrary to instructional leadership practices, these principals limited opportunities for teachers to share in the decision-making process regarding school operation and leadership, instead expecting teachers to concentrate on classroom instruction as the priority. Additionally, these principals focused and nurtured teachers’ personal and professional characteristics to enhance the quality of instruction at their particular schools.

Theoretical frameworks for understanding urban school reform have included critical race theory (Yosso, 2005), a community revitalization approach (Warren, 2005), and instructional leadership (Crum & Sherman, 2008; Hallinger Bickman, & Davis, 1996). In this regard, researchers have found that principal leadership, through its effect on teachers, can positively affect student outcomes (e.g., Crum & Sherman, 2008; Hallinger et al., 1996; White-Smith & White, 2009). Understanding how principals encourage and deliver instructional excellence is crucial to implementing successful urban school reform. With this in mind, this study focuses on the influence of principal leadership on teaching and teacher development—specifically, the relationship between a principal’s leadership and improved achievement in high-performing, low-income minority schools. To this end, this work examined three principals’ perceptions of teacher characteristics and the professional development opportunities that sustain student achievement in their respective schools.

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Experiences of Secondary Hispanic Immigrant Students: Their Stories of Challenge and Triumph

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CYNTHIA MCCARTNEY
SANDRA HARRIS
VICKY FARROW

ABSTRACT: Secondary Hispanic immigrant students have many struggles and barriers to overcome. This qualitative study investigated the experiences of 10 secondary immigrant Hispanic students, all non-English speakers, as they lived and attended high school in the United States. Narrative techniques were used to explore the challenges they faced in culture, immigration, and education. As students told their stories of struggle and success, the following four themes emerged: (1) respect for homeland, family, friends, and others; (2) responsibility to family; (3) resiliency; and (4) hope.

Although, historically, the United States has been a nation of immigrants, immigration continues to be a controversial national concern. Related to this concern is that increased accountability standards mandated by state assessments and the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001 have challenged school leaders with improving the low academic performance and decreasing the high dropout rates of this immigrant student population (Fry, 2003).

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Professional Development for School Improvement: The Case of Indiana

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ANNE-MAREE RUDDY
ELLEN PRUSINSKI

ABSTRACT: Drawing on data collected during an evaluation of Indiana schools receiving Title I 1003(g) School Improvement Fund grants in the 2008–2009 school year, this article explores how professional development can be used to support school improvement efforts. This article upholds the conclusion that when activities support the development of a collaborative community of educators and the effective use of data, professional development can be a vital element of school improvement efforts. By engaging teachers as leaders and learners, professional development can help to ensure that school improvement efforts are embraced by all staff and to prevent teachers from feeling isolated during the school improvement process.

Teacher quality is widely believed to affect student learning and achievement; therefore, school improvement efforts aimed at increasing student achievement naturally include supporting excellence in teaching through professional development opportunities. The Title I 1003(g) School Improvement Fund—a federal fund developed to support high-poverty schools engaged in the school improvement process—emphasizes the impact that professional development can have on the capacity of teachers to take active roles in improvement efforts and help students succeed. However, not all professional development is equally effective in supporting teachers and contributing to school improvement. To yield improvements in student performance and develop teachers’ capacity to teach effectively, professional development plans must include teacher input, take actual classroom conditions into account, and be supported by key stakeholders, including principals and district officials.

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Inadvertent Exemplars: Life History Portraits of Two Socially Just Principals

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MARTIN SCANLAN

ABSTRACT: This study creates life history portraits of two White middle-class native-English-speaking principals demonstrating commitments to social justice in their work in public elementary schools serving disproportionately high populations of students who are marginalized by poverty, race, and linguistic heritage. Through self-reported life histories of these principals, I create portraits that illustrate how these practitioners draw motivation, commitment, and sustenance in varied, complicated, and at times contradictory ways.

Why do principals choose to work in schools primarily serving traditionally marginalized students? What are the motivations behind such choices? From whence do commitments to such work arise? What sustains leaders in this work? The research study reported here explores these questions by creating life history portraits of two White middle-class native-English-speaking principals demonstrating commitments to social justice in their work in public elementary schools serving disproportionately high populations of students who are marginalized by poverty, race, and linguistic heritage. These portraits explore each principal’s vocational journey and commitments to ameliorate educational inequities. The study suggests that principals may inadvertently emerge as exemplars of social justice leadership.

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Aspiring School Leaders Addressing Social Justice Through Art Making

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CHRISTA BOSKE

ABSTRACT: There is little in the professional literature about how school leaders or other professionals committed to promoting social justice deal with and manage their emotional responses to the challenges that await them in educational arenas. Even less has been written about how art making can be utilized as a means of developing new understandings and responses toward issues facing underserved populations. This study seeks to examine how 24 graduate students in the state of Texas understand the role of art making—specifically, the making of digital shorts using MovieMaker—to address issues of social justice and equity facing U.S. public schools. This study employs a grounded theory approach. Data consist of reflective interview responses, written narratives, and field notes. Participants identify art making as a valuable tool to deepening understanding and responses toward social justice and equity-oriented work in schools.

I never imagined I could learn how to produce a short film about what it really means to live, work and serve in this community. This film gives people a glimpse of the way our children and families really live. Art making made it possible to witness how our children have been forgotten and for me to take a stance and announce it has been long enough.

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Multilevel Considerations of Family Homelessness and Schooling in the Recession Era

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PETER MILLER
JAMES SCHREIBER

ABSTRACT: This mixed methods investigation of homeless education in a major urban region identified a number of significant developments and dilemmas amid the larger homeless crisis in the United States. We found that the wider community demographics of homelessness have shifted in recent years, resulting in a higher number of homeless families—many of whom were experiencing homelessness for the first time. In the education domain, these families experienced wide-ranging problems that they perceived as limiters to their advancement. The findings are framed with the help of several elements of Bronfenbrenner’s bioecological theory, and several implications for educational leaders are posited.

A recent survey of school districts across the United States found that over 1 million children and youth had been identified as homeless during the 2006–2007 academic year (Wong et al., 2009). The authors projected that this staggering number was actually a conservative estimate. Given that “in 2008 and 2009 an estimated 1.9 million children may lose their homes due to foreclosures” (p. 56) and countless others will be homeless due to domestic abuse, substance abuse, natural disasters, and other causes, the youth homeless crisis in the United States appears to be rapidly escalating. It is a crisis that requires engagement from diverse institutions in both the public and the private sectors (Miller, 2008a, 2009). In that many children are of school age who are—and will soon be—forced into conditions of homelessness, schools are clearly among the institutions that are called to action.

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Understanding the Role of Culture in Developing Inclusive Schools: A Case Study From Cyprus

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PANAYIOTIS ANGELIDES
ELENI ANTONIOU

ABSTRACT: Over the last few years, there has been considerable debate regarding the ways in which the different educational systems in the world should develop more inclusive practices in their schools. An important aspect of this discussion revolves around the question of what schools can do to become more inclusive in terms of maximizing the participation of all children in their cultures, curricula, and communities. The Cyprus educational system, in responding to international developments, has made certain efforts to provide equal educational opportunities. These initiatives are undertaken centrally by the Ministry of Education and Culture without paying much attention to individual schools, their cultures, and the relations between schools and their communities. Given these efforts, this study examined how school cultures influence the development of inclusive practices, using case study in a rural primary school in Cyprus with 115 students, and through the analysis of our data, we spotted certain elements of the school’s culture that contributed to the success of inclusive education. The provided examples, as well as the way that the leaders led the school under investigation toward an inclusive culture, might be helpful for educators in other contexts who struggle to develop inclusive schools.

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Managing Educational Champions: Entrepreneurship in Schools

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ORI EYAL
DORON YOSEF-HASSIDIM

ABSTRACT: This study explores how educational champions—teachers who initiate unsolicited innovation—construct their entrepreneurial endeavors while interacting with principals’ management styles and how that interaction influences the sustainability of teachers’ initiatives. Through semistructured interviews (N = 71) and analysis anchored in grounded theory, champions revealed three entrepreneurship strategies: semiautonomous entrepreneurship while interacting with a facilitative managerial style, loosely coupled entrepreneurship with directive management, and sponsored entrepreneurship with consolidative management. Analyses of these entrepreneurial endeavors illuminate teachers’ strategies for negotiating the ongoing tension between autonomy and control in schools and their influence on the sustainability of champions’ innovations.

In recent years, new hope for change in the education system has taken hold, as schools increasingly emphasize the role of teachers as agents of educational change (Frost & Harris, 2003; Yendol, Gimbert, & Nolan, 2000). This changed perspective has yielded numerous studies about teacher leadership (Gunter, 2006; Keung, 2009; Little, 2003; York-Barr & Duke, 2004), distributed leadership (Frost & Harris, 2003; Heck & Hal-linger, 2009; Mayrowetz, 2008; Spillane, 2005), and learning communities (Horn & Little, 2010; Little, 2006; Louis & Marks, 1998), all of which acknowledge teachers as key initiators of instructional innovation. Among researchers, one main area of concern pertains to the relationship between organizational affordances and constraints and the emergence of teachers as agents of change.

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