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Jsl Vol 13-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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Guest Editors’ Introduction: Innovative Practices in Educational Leadership Preparation

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SPECIAL ISSUE INTRODUCTION

Guest Editors

Gini Doolittle

Bruce Barnett

Our purpose in creating this special issue of the Journal of School Leadership is to stimulate dialogue and action about promising approaches for preparing school leaders, especially the impact our programs have on aspiring administrators and the students they serve. We wanted to publish scholarly works that reveal how leaders are being prepared as well as the effects programs have on school administrators as they lead their organizations. Engaging in this type of scholarship is challenging for several reasons. For example, Malen (2002) cautions that many professors believe their instructional practices and structures are innovative; however, these approaches may actually represent prevalent practices, which have become generally accepted within the field. Cohorts, an approach utilized in all of the university preparation programs described in this special issue, are one such example. Mentoring for novice and aspiring principals, advocated in several articles, is another practice dominating the profession.

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Effects of Cohorts on Learners

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TRICIA BROWNE-FERRIGNO

RODNEY MUTH

ABSTRACT: Cohorts are increasingly popular management tools for recruiting students into professional education programs, for organizing their learning experiences, for promoting performance-based outcomes, and for developing and using innovative teaching–learning practices. This article examines issues about the effects of learning in cohorts by focusing on existing research and posing rhetorical questions about what happens both inside and outside cohorts. The purpose of the article is to stimulate dialogue about the impact of cohort participation on learning outcomes, professorial roles, and professional practice. The authors pose a series of unanswered questions about learning in cohorts as a beginning strategy for developing a nationwide longitudinal study to explore transference of learning in cohorts by aspiring school administrators to their professional practice.

Over the past decade, many university-based administrator-preparation programs have evolved into coherent, sequenced curriculums delivered to groups of 20 to 25 students called cohorts (Barnett, Basom, Yerkes, & Norris, 2000; Kelley & Peterson, 2000). A premise for using cohorts is that keeping students together as a unique group of learners enhances professional learning and skill development (Norris & Barnett, 1994; Peel, Wallace, Buckner, Wrenn, & Evans, 1998). Another assertion is that the cohort structure provides excellent opportunities for aspiring school leaders to learn and practice skills in collective goal setting, community building, conflict resolution, and culture management (Geitner, 1994; Milstein & Krueger, 1997). Findings suggest that cohorts have a positive impact on student learning and performance. Thus, the cohort model of instructional delivery in educational leadership preparation is often highly recommended (Milstein & Krueger, 1997; Murphy, 1993, 2002).

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Instructional Cohorts and Learning: Ironic Uses of a Social System

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JOE F. DONALDSON

JAY PAREDES SCRIBNER

ABSTRACT: This research explored the organizational nature of cohorts with particular focus on the relation between structural factors. including conventions, culture, power, and unintended learning. An in-depth case study of a cohort project team of educational leadership students led to identification of four major themes. Students employed a product-centered orientation that blurred distinctions between learning and performance. This orientation was a consequence of recipes for action appropriated by students from other institutions, conditions of action (including deadlines imposed by instructors), and structural rules the team constructed to guide its work. Implications for instructional practice are identified.

The instructional cohort has gained in popularity in the delivery of programs preparing educational leaders (Barnett, Basom, Yerkes, & Norris, 2000; Basom, Yerkes, Norris, & Barnett, 1996). Cohorts appeal to adult learners by providing lucid program structures, supportive peer groups, and high-quality contact with instructors (Norris & Barnett, 1994; Reynolds & Hebert, 1998; Yerkes, Basom, Norris, & Barnett, 1995). Cohorts also appeal to faculty and educational leadership programs as a means to effectively and efficiently organize students and instructors for teaching and learning (Barnett et al., 2000; Norris & Barnett, 1994).

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Developing Democratic and Transformational School Leaders: Graduates’ Perceptions of the Impact of Their Preparation Program

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ROBERT B. STEVENSON

GINI DOOLITTLE

ABSTRACT: As administrative preparation programs ground strategies for developing new genres of school leaders in transformational and democratic communities, of particular interest are the instructional and programmatic strategies that contribute to successful program outcomes. Constructed over time, this article highlights the specific contribution of student feedback to a program’s coherence as it engaged in a recursive practice of development, monitoring, evaluation, and program revision. In addition, the article argues for the value of considering students’ experiences within a collaborative structure and culture.

Criticisms of educational administration preparation programs in the literature have highlighted their failure to prepare leaders capable of solving myriad problems confronting today’s schools, particularly in urban settings, and of developing a vision of meaningful school-based change (Marshall, Patterson, Rogers, & Steele, 1996; McCarthy, 2001; Murphy, 1992; Young, 2001). In addition, school boards and districts have complained about the difficulty of finding individuals capable of leading complex change at both the elementary and secondary levels (National Commission on Excellence in Educational Administration [NCEEA], 1987). Some critics have pointed out that the changing social, cultural, and political context in which today’s (and tomorrow’s) principals must lead and manage schools creates new and different demands and requires different types of leadership preparation. Other critics have drawn attention to new approaches to organizational and leadership theories and practices that have emerged in the past two decades that should inform leadership preparation programs (Murphy, 1992). For example, the NCEEA report (1987) called for a new vision of school leadership that promotes schools as learning communities, fosters collegiality, and encourages the involvement of all stakeholders.

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Leading in the Relational Space

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RUTH POWERS SILVERBERG

ABSTRACT: This article describes the application and outcomes of using a shared framework and vocabulary for understanding learning, the Let Me Learn Process, to create a relational space necessary for constructivist learning. Students in an urban leadership preparation program learned about their own and each other’s unique learning patterns and participated in activities integrating understanding of the influence of learning patterns with course content. This allowed them to come together in a relational space of shared understanding where they could make new meaning of learning, schooling, and leadership. At the end of 1 year, candidates described the influence of their participation in knowledge construction in the relational space. They also revealed their growing awareness of the role of constructivist leadership in the facilitation of school communities where all students achieve at the highest levels and prepare for democratic participation in their communities.

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Leadership Program Effects on Student Learning: The Case of the Greater New Orleans School Leadership Center

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KENNETH LEITHWOOD

BRIAN RIEDLINGER

SCOTT BAUER

DORIS JANTZI

ABSTRACT: Demonstrating the contribution of leadership development programs to student learning has become a problem of considerable recent interest to both school reformers and those attempting to improve how school leaders are prepared. This article describes an innovative approach to improving school leadership developed by the Greater New Orleans School Leadership Center. Longitudinal evidence from a four-and-a-half-year external evaluation of the effects of the center program on schools and students is summarized. Promising evidence of program effects are reported using state-collected achievement data and measures of student engagement with school collected specifically for the study in each leader’s school. The article highlights lessons from this case that may be of general value for others engaged in leadership preparation initiatives and their evaluation.

Evidence about the important effects of leadership on schools and students mirrors a widely held assumption on the part of the public that leadership matters a great deal to the success of most organizations. This evidence and assumption accounts for the unprecedented focus, at the present time, on improving leadership preparation as a central feature of school reform efforts (Young, Peterson, & Short, 2001).

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Preparing Leaders for Tomorrow’s Schools: An Internship Project

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GARY CROW

GEOFF SOUTHWORTH

ABSTRACT: This article reports on an internship project developed by the Department for Education and Skills (UK) to prepare headteachers (principals) for schools facing challenging circumstances. The project placed experienced deputies (assistant principals) in secondary schools to work alongside mentor headteachers who had demonstrated leadership competence for school improvement. We provide an extensive review of the knowledge base on school leader socialization, internship, and mentoring and describe the internship project. In addition, we report on an evaluation of the project using participants’ perceptions to identify strengths and areas for improvement. The conclusion discusses implications for learning to lead toward school improvement.

The importance of leadership for school improvement and student attainment has been recognized for several years in research, governmental initiative, and practice. However, until recently leadership preparation had not received comparable attention. Fortunately, there are some indications that this is changing and that educators and community and government leaders recognize that how leaders are prepared has implications for what happens in schools to enhance the teaching and learning of students (National College for School Leadership, 2001; Young, 2002).

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Call for Papers

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Special theme Issue of the Journal of School Leadership

Guest Editors: Betty Merchant, University of Texas at San Antonio Charles Slater, Southwest Texas State University

Submission Deadline: December 31, 2003

The Journal of School Leadership invites the submission of manuscripts for a special theme issue: International Perspectives on Educational Leadership. The intent of the special issue is to promote multiple leadership perspectives and to exchange ideas across borders and across cultures.

Most writing about educational leadership is in English journals written by English-speaking authors. There is a tendency to neglect the ideas of those who speak other languages and those who do not have access to traditional outlets for scholarship. The purpose of this issue of the Journal of School Leadership is to take a broader approach and include voices not typically heard. We envision articles from around the world including Latin America, Africa, Asia, and the Pacific Islands.

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Acknowledgment of Guest Reviewers for Volume 13

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Many thanks to the following scholars who graciously and expertly served as guest reviewers for the Journal of School Leadership during the past volume year.

Chuck Achilles

Richard Andrews

Judy Alston

Randy Averso

Jo Roberts Blase

Joseph Blase

Lars Björk

William Cunningham

Michael Dantley

Gini Doolittle

Jane Fleenor

Frances Fowler

Paul Goldman

Steven Gross

William Kritek

Sharon Kruse

Kaetlyn Lad

Gerardo Lopez

Jean Madsen

Joseph Murphy

Jerry Natkin

Diana Pounder

Carolyn Riehl

James Rinehart

Carolyn Shields

Jacqueline Stefkovich

John Tarter

Megan Tschannen-Moran

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