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Jsl Vol 2-N3

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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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Letter from the Editor

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I believe that the quality of a school facility has a direct impact on the ability of teachers to teach and students to learn.

There exists a lack of leadership in this country regarding an understanding of the school facility as an integral part of school reform. In 1986, the National Governors’ Association in their report Time for Results outlined the need for the States to give school facilities immediate attention. The report states that “the most startling thing we found is that our nation’s public school buildings represent a quarter-trillion-dollar investment, yet these facilities are often underused and poorly maintained.” The report goes on to state that a 1983 estimate indicated that it would take $25 billion dollars to catch up on needed repairs and maintenance. In 1989, the Educational Writers Association in their report Wolves at the Schoolhouse Door found that 25% of our nation’s schools are not suitable for learning and that an additional 33% are becoming inadequate due to increasing enrollments and deferred maintenance. The maintenance and repair tag was now $41 billion. Additionally, more than fifty percent of our school buildings were built in the 1950s and 1960s.

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A Meta-Analytic Model of Principal Assessment

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JOHN WILLIAMS1,*

LINDA PANTILI1

ABSTRACT: The selection of a school principal is a very important personnel function in a school system. Considerable effort has been expended by school systems to improve the selection process. In an endeavor to establish objectivity in an apparently subjective procedure for principal selection, the National Association for Secondary School Principals (NASSP) developed an assessment process to enhance the identification and selection of potential school principals.

Research studies to date have been individually inconclusive in identifying the best criteria for assessment and selection of school administrators. The primary questions of this study centered on concerns about the criteria used for evaluating leadership potential. First, are NASSP-style assessment centers effective in evaluating desirable criteria for the principalship? Which criteria used in assessment are the most and least correlated with job performance criteria? If the criterion validity of current dimension estimators is relatively low, which alternate criteria might augment the current assessment process?

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Beyond Direct Instruction: Educational Leadership in the Elementary School Classroom

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GEORGE DAVIDSON1

ABSTRACT: The instructional imperatives of the principalship demand a knowledge of more than the direct instruction model. Changing the role of the direct instruction model from an instructional methodology to a planning tool permits the principal to introduce additional instructional methods based upon the characteristics of the school and the classroom. The article presents a set of frames for the implementation of instructional methods and strategies.

Direct instruction is a teaching strategy that has at its core teacher effectiveness research which “. . . provides some guidelines as to the environmental variables that promote successful implementation of a direct-instruction teaching strategy. These are academic focus, teacher direction and control, high expectations for pupil progress, time, and nonnegative effect” (Joyce and Weil, 1986, p. 326).

Teacher effectiveness research uses a structured teaching technique to accomplish its educational objectives. Direct instruction is that instructional method.

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Lessons from the Power Company

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DAVE DAGLEY1

ABSTRACT: Empowerment as a means of school reform is a term rich with metaphor. A number of studies have used the metaphor of power in the physical science sense to describe power in the organizational sense. In this paper, school as an electrical distribution system is offered as a metaphor for describing how power operates in schools. Eight lessons for school administrators are offered to increase the likelihood that empowerment will produce positive results in the school setting.

Restructing schools through empowerment of school personnel is a means of school reform currently being proposed and tested throughout the nation (Lewis, 1989; Murphy, 1990; O’Neil, 1990). Empowerment, a redistribution of power within a school system, is a term that carries with it metaphoric aspects. Stimson and Applebaum (1988) describe power as a shared resource that is distributed and exercised in school settings. Wolfe, Howell and Charland (1989) write about “energizing the school community” through the application of research-based school practices to practical school improvement. In both studies, the power metaphor attributes some of the qualities of power in the physical science sense to power in the organizational sense.

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Perceptions of Desired Skills for Effective Principals

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THEODORE J. KOWALSKI1

ULRICH C. REITZUG1

PHILLIP McDANIEL2

DOUGLAS OTTO3

ABSTRACT: Concepts such as shared decision making and decentralization are prominent in current school reform literature. The attention they are receiving is causing those who prepare and employ principals to reexamine skills required for building-level administration. However, little is known about current perceptions of teachers and principals relative to skill requirements for principals. This dearth of knowledge hinders appropriate considerations relative to professional preparation (long dominated by an emphasis on technical skills), employment decisions, and staff development. This study examined teacher and principal perceptions of skills required for principal effectiveness. Katz’s (1955) widely used taxonomy that classifies managerial skills as technical, human, and conceptual served as an organizing framework for the study.

Concepts such as shared decision making and decentralization are prominent in school reform literature. The attention they are receiving is causing those who prepare and employ principals to reexamine the responsibilities of and expectations for building-level administrators. This is no easy task, since, as some observers have noted, “the skills needed by an effective school principal are so extensive and diverse they almost defy any attempt to list them” (Kimbrough and Burkett, 1990, p. 16).

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Potential Problems (and Solutions) of Mentoring in the Preparation of School Administrators

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IVAN D. MUSE1,*

GLORIA JEAN THOMAS2

F. DEL WASDEN3

ABSTRACT: In a few university administrator preparation programs, experienced principals are being used effectively as mentors to aspiring principals. The mentoring relationship has been found to be more positive and beneficial if the practicum experience is long term and the mentor is seen as an important member of the university training effort. Under the best of circumstances problems may occur that affect the value of mentoring. The article discusses twelve common pitfalls of mentoring and provides suggestions for their resolution.

Over 3000 years ago, Mentor, the loyal companion of King Odysseus, was charged with the care and education of the king’s son, while Odysseus was away fighting the Trojans for 20 years. Today, the word has taken on an almost mystical, magical meaning as it is applied to the training of younger, less experienced persons by those older and more knowledgeable. No mentoring relationship today–whether in business, art, science, or education–can take on the personal and professional long-term aspects of that original mythical experience between Mentor and Telemachus. Yet, the benefits that can accrue to a novice studying with a master are still recognized.

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School Reform: Real Improvement Takes Time

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WILLIAM STRESHLY1,*

MAC BERND2

ABSTRACT: Politicians and educational leaders are under pressure to come up with quick fixes for our nation’s schools. However, significant changes in schools are complex processes which take years to accomplish. Moreover, the results of a faculty’s efforts may not be fully measurable for ten years or more. A case study of a California school district, which was given ten uninterrupted years to develop and implement an outcome-based instructional model, suggests that more time be given to schools to implement program improvement strategies. The study also reinforces the research linking positive labor relations to environmental conditions for successful school districts.

When Joseph and the Pharaoh developed ancient Egypt’s plan for control of farm commodities, their efforts were guided by a dream–a vision of what might be. For seven bountiful years, the economic planners focused on preparations for seven lean years. Those preparations paid off in time of famine because the Pharaoh wisely recognized that the project suggested by Joseph needed time. He perceived a natural time scale of ten to fourteen years before any rational conclusions could be drawn about the success of the project. He knew that no quick fix was possible; only a long-range solution would work.

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Shared Decision Making: Moving from Concerns about Restrooms to Concerns about Classrooms

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PEGGY C. KIRBY1

ABSTRACT: While some schools dive head first into shared governance, others struggle with issues and processes that frustrate both faculty and administrators. Here the author describes selected experiences of four schools at various stages of implementation of a shared leadership model in an effort to identify factors that facilitate meaningful involvement. Propositions are offered regarding issues for shared governance, the structure and composition of leadership teams, and the collection and use of information.

Faculty empowerment is often narrowly construed as participation in decision making. A more inclusive definition–one that includes the enabling aspect of the term–can assist educators in anticipating possible negative consequences of decision participation. Maeroff (1988) argued that empowerment required elevating teachers in terms of status, knowledge, and access to decision making. Decision participation alone does not equal power. Empowerment also requires professional training and new levels of respect. Maeroff viewed in-service training as an appropriate vehicle for elevating teachers’ status and knowledge.

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The Bridge between Policy and Practice: Implementors’ Belief Systems

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CAROL Z. McGREVIN1,*

ANNE SPIDELL RUSHER2

ABSTRACT: The belief system of teachers and principals regarding what constitutes sound educational practices for educating young children is a key ingredient in implementing successful early childhood educational programs. This fact must be taken into consideration by policy makers at the state and district level as they formulate policies affecting the education of our nation’s young children.

Principals and superintendents are held responsible for the countless decisions they make each day; the trivial as well as the critical. The trend toward teacher empowerment and teacher participation in decision-making places yet another set of players on the decision­making field. Realistically each individual and group brings with them talent, skills, and beliefs regarding the decisions impacting the youth of our nation. Decision-making involving numerous persons is not without its problems. With an emphasis on group decision making, great effort will have to be taken to address differences in the beliefs systems held by those persons involved. Peter Senge (1990) defines this alignment as “a group of people functioning as a whole.” Furthermore, he suggests that “empowering the individual when there is a relatively low level of alignment worsens the chaos and makes managing a team even more difficult” (p. 235).

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The High School Dropout: Antecedents and Alternatives

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BEATRICE BALDWIN1,*

M. RANDY MOFFETT1

KEN LANE2

ABSTRACT: Administrators recognize that students dropping out of school is one of the most difficult challenges to our public school system. Today’s school administrators can begin to deal with this crisis by becoming familiar with the characteristics of dropouts and the reasons for dropping out. This paper outlines what school administrators can do to increase their understanding of local dropout problems and to decrease dropping out. The suggestions include analyzing local data, instituting early tracking of potential at-risk students, creating alternative programs, reorganizing to improve school climate, and initiating new forms of student assessment.

The public education system of the United States continues to maintain the traditional mission of shaping students’ academic and social development. Our system operates under the assumption of equal educational opportunity for all persons; no other system in the world attempts to educate all youth with essentially one pathway as does the American system. Yet, this basic premise that Americans value so highly may also contribute significantly to the unsuccessful performance of a large portion of our nation’s youth. The high school dropout is American education’s most serious dilemma and presents one of the most difficult challenges to our public school system.

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