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JSL Vol 25-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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7 Articles

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The Development of Literacy Coaches’ Self-Efficacy Beliefs in a Dual-Role Position

ePub

Susan Chambers Cantrell

Angie Madden

Margaret Rintamaa

Janice F. Almasi

Janis C. Carter

The Development of Literacy Coaches’ Self-Efficacy Beliefs in a Dual-Role Position

ABSTRACT: In this sequential mixed-methods study, we examined literacy coaches’ self-efficacy development in 21 secondary schools over the course of a 4-year literacy initiative. Teacher efficacy surveys revealed that coaches experienced a decrease in their sense of self-efficacy after their first year of participation and gained an increasing sense of competence as the project progressed. Through exit interviews, respondents indicated that coaches’ initial dip in efficacy was linked to overwhelming and competing responsibilities. Their subsequent efficacy increases were supported by internal and external influences, such as personal growth and student learning. Given the study results, we suggest a model of literacy coaches’ self-efficacy development.

In U.S. secondary schools, curricular changes—such as integrating literacy across the content areas and providing supplemental reading interventions for students who do not read well—have resulted in increased employment of specialized literacy professionals in leadership roles (Biancarosa & Snow, 2004; Bridgeland, DiIulio, & Morison, 2006; Kamil et al., 2008; National Governors Association, 2005). Often, these school leaders are literacy coaches who provide teachers with job-embedded professional development focused on modeling, feedback, and collective problem solving related to the teachers’ literacy instruction (International Reading Association, 2006; Neufeld & Roper, 2003; Paglinco et al., 2003). Coaches work to change teachers’ practices in ways that enhance student learning, and they may work directly with students.

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Making Sense of Organizational Change in Entrenched Schools

ePub

Cameron B. Carlson

Jean A. Patterson

Making Sense of Organizational Change in Entrenched Schools

A Case Study of Leading Instructional Innovations in a High-Performing High School

ABSTRACT: This qualitative case study explores considerations for leading instructional initiatives in high-performing high schools by examining a pilot one-to-one laptop initiative in a Catholic high school. As participant–observer, Cameron collected data through open-ended electronic surveys and the left- and right-hand column case method and reviewed documents to compare responses from those involved in the initiative and their department chairs (i.e., immediate supervisors to the teachers involved in the pilot). Findings and discussion reveal how two participant groups made different sense of the pilot laptop initiative. We advocate that an awareness of sensemaking and sensegiving are necessary leadership considerations when leading instructional initiatives, particularly if the new instructional approach differs significantly from the status quo.

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Public School Principals

ePub

ROKHSAREH KOHANSAL

Public School Principals

Agents of Bridging and Buffering

ABSTRACT: This article focuses on the leadership practices that four public school principals in two Northern California large urban school districts used during the process of implementing the state-mandated reading curriculum. These four school principals’ leadership approaches are described and analyzed through the lens of neoinstitutional theory to understand how they influenced instructional practices in their schools. The findings of this research suggest that the extent of school principals’ instructional, cultural, and political knowledge influenced their actions as agents of bridging and/or buffering.

A widely debated question among organizational scholars is whether recent standardization and accountability pressures reach classrooms to tightly couple the technical core or instruction to the institutional environment expectations (Rowan, 2006; Spillane & Burch, 2006). There are many elements involved in whether classroom instruction or the technical core is tightly or loosely coupled with institutional expectations. One of those is the role of school principals as instructional leaders. In this article, I focus on school leadership as the link between the district and classrooms in implementing reading instructional policy and reforms. This research investigates school principals’ management approaches in leading classroom instructional activities in different environments.

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Identifying and Measuring Expectation Gaps in Texas Public Schools

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Michael G. Richards

Page A. Smith

Identifying and Measuring Expectation Gaps in Texas Public Schools

ABSTRACT: This research targets student expectation levels in school districts across Texas and seeks to identify and measure differences according to demographic data obtained from the Texas Education Agency. Specifically, this study investigates whether school districts in Texas hold varying levels of expectations for different racial and ethnic groups and, if so, what is the degree of difference in expectation levels? The results of the study indicate that African American students are more than twice as likely to face lower expectations in Texas public schools as Hispanic and White students. In addition, no statistically significant differences were found in the expectation levels for Hispanic compared with American Indian students, and only a small difference was found to exist between these two groups and White students. Finally, the results are discussed in light of the complex social and academic factors that contribute to expectation levels for students.

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Teacher Perceptions of Principals’ Confidence, Humility, and Effectiveness

ePub

Brenda J. Oyer

Teacher Perceptions of Principals’ Confidence, Humility, and Effectiveness

Implications for Educational Leadership

ABSTRACT: Humility in leadership has received growing scholarly attention in recent years. However, the literature is devoid of empirical studies of the relationship among humility, confidence (an attribute consistently linked to effective leadership), and leader effectiveness. This quantitative study examined the understudied relationships among these three constructs. In this study, 137 teachers from K–12 educational settings completed a survey measuring teachers’ perceptions of their principals’ confidence, humility, and leader effectiveness. Results showed that humility and confidence were strongly and positively related to each other and to leader effectiveness. The findings provide support for the importance of humility and confidence as attributes of effective leadership and have potentially important implications for educational leadership.

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Lost in Transition?

ePub

Rhonda L. McClellan

Patricia Casey

Lost in Transition?

Campus Leaders’ Professional Pathways

ABSTRACT: As new assistant principals, our participants spoke of the importance of gaining experience. In this qualitative study, four years later, they admit that professional expertise must be a combination of challenging experiences and honest feedback from mentors. Furthermore, they present that this expertise is contingent upon identity. Transitioning along a career pathway becomes interplay of what the job requires, how the leader adapts when accepting and performing those responsibilities, and a deepening awareness of the congruence between personal and professional identity.

The shortage of people willing to step into the role of principal is noteworthy. In fact, the U.S. Department of Labor (2009) reported strong employment opportunities for campus-level education leaders. From the literature, rising rates of retiring principals, the increasing complexity of the position, and the pressures of accountability on the campus leaders indicate that filling the position, despite the number of openings, will become more difficult for school districts, resulting in “one of the most critical challenges facing schools today” (Winter & Morgenthal, 2002, p. 333). One potential resolution to this challenge is to recognize that a number of principals begin their careers as assistant principals, and if these numbers hold true, schools should be able to draw from this experienced pool of assistant principals to fill vacancies. Despite the common sense of this approach, little attention has been paid by preparation programs and educational leadership research to inform and foster the professional progression of assistant principal to principal. To address the absence in the literature, this study explores how assistant principals develop and transition professionally. The insights drawn from the inquiry will potentially inform how all educational leaders chart professional pathways.

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Online Communities of Practice

ePub

S. Kim MacGregor

Cynthia B. Vavasseur

Online Communities of Practice

A Story of Principal–Teacher Interaction in Two Middle Schools

ABSTRACT: This mixed-method study examined the ways that principals and teachers coparticipated in discipline-focused online communities of practice designed to foster instructional improvement in two middle schools. Findings derived from interviews and content analysis of the online discussion threads revealed the emergence of a shared language about learning between principals and teachers, as well as how the scaffolding of knowledge development among those teachers was supported. Principal participation allowed teachers to gain insights about their principals’ priorities, values, and beliefs about learning and was found to influence the quality of teacher-developed instructional units and teaching efficacy. Participative and directive leadership styles were represented by the principals, and their influence on the communication process and performance outcomes is discussed.

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