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Jsl Vol 1-N2

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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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Letters to the Editor

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Editor’s Note: This section contains comments representative of the letters and telephone calls that we have received concerning the journal. If you have thoughts about the journal–questions or concerns about particular articles in the journal, address your letters to the Editor. As I’m sure you are aware, we have attempted to identify authors by institutional affiliation and give their addresses for correspondence. However, realizing how time-consuming correspondence can be, we have also included the telephone numbers for all the authors to provide the reader more ready access to the author. We hope both authors and readers will find the service useful and it continues to stimulate discussion and dialogue.

. . . It looks like the journal is getting off the ground well. . . . The new national, refereed journal in school leadership is an exciting project.

Jean Wilson, Associate Dean
Graduate School of Education
California State University, Long Beach

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The Principal and the Pear Tree

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JOHN R. HOYLE1

ABSTRACT: America’s school principals find that unlike my pear tree their efforts bear little fruit in a difficult environment filled with stress and weak support. With this sense of futility comes the uncertainty principals face in the shift to site-based decision making and the inconsistencies found in their university preparation. While some “hero” principals are overcoming the stress and uncertainty of new leadership demands, others are looking for greater support. Promising strides have been made in the identification of the knowledge base and related competences and skills and in the development of professional studies degree programs which can prepare principals who are able to inspire teachers and students to greater achievements and who will build a strong support base.

We have a ragged, gangly-looking pear tree in our side yard that is a lot like many dedicated, successful school principals. Year after year this unprotected, unpretentious pear tree gives and shares its beauty through bloom and bounty even though it rarely gets any attention, except at picking time. The crooked asymmetric limbs are hacked off each fall to keep them from skinning my head when I mow under it, and the top has been chopped off to keep it off the TV cable. When lower limbs droop to the ground with the heavy pears, I prop them up with sawhorses and sticks. This is the only support the tree receives.

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The Administrative Internship: Effective Program Characteristics

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EDWARD W. CHANCE1

ABSTRACT: This paper represents a synthesis of characteristics of effective internship field experiences and programs. The internship serves an important function in the preparation of educational administrators, as it bridges the gap between classroom preparation and professional practice. An effective internship program may be designed in several ways, but it is the conclusion of this paper that the internship should address several general areas.

The beginning of the educational reform movement in this country is popularly associated with the publication of The Nation at Risk in 1983. The reform movement initially focused on curriculum revisions for better preparing high school students for the adult world. Teacher preparation, or the absence of it, was also of primary interest during the initial reform debate. Throughout the early stages of the reform dialogue, there was an occasional reference to the preparation of school administrators (Karst, 1982; Peterson and Finn, 1985; Pitner, 1982). However, as the decade of the eighties came to an end, the focal point of the debate shifted to administrator preparation with the publication of Leaders for America’s Schools (1987) and Improving the Preparation of School Administrators (1989).

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Restructuring Schools through Empowerment: Facilitating the Process

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PAULA MYRICK SHORT1

JOHN T. GREER2

ROBERT MICHAEL3

ABSTRACT: School restructuring through participant empowerment has gained national attention. One restructuring effort, The Empowered School District Project, is a three-year endeavor to facilitate the creation of empowered schools in nine school districts across the country. A primary objective is to study the change process in these schools in order to understand key variables significant in the facilitation of school empowerment. The results of the three-year study are reported in this article.

There is much advocacy for the restructuring of public education with the empowerment of school staff members (Cuban, 1990; Chubb and Moe, 1990; Farber and Miller, 1981; Frymier, 1987; Maeroff, 1988). The assumption is made that staff members who are able to initiate and carry out new ideas by involvement in decision making will, in turn, create enhanced learning opportunities for students (Lieberman and Miller, 1984; Metz, 1983; Short and Greer, 1989). Traditionally, however, school-level personnel are excluded from critical decisions including personnel allocation and hiring practices, curriculum, budget allocation, and scheduling of teaching time (Zielinski, 1983).

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Stress Be Not Proud: The Myth of Burnout

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DONALD F. DEMOULIN1

ABSTRACT: Virtually every form of media has reports concerning teacher burnout in education. Many of these reports have been directed towards a relationship between teacher burnout and a declining educational status in this country. However, the question of concern should be, “Is the term burnout being appropriately used or being systematically abused when describing teacher productivity?”

The following study is a culmination of a seven-year investigation concerning the impact of stress on self efficacy and personal productivity. From information received from the Career Awareness Index and the Instrument Summary Assessment Program, analysis indicates that the term burnout may be an inappropriate descriptor of low to moderate levels of self efficacy and personal productivity. Hence, professional development activities may be incorrectly designed having little or no affect in enhancing self efficacy manners. Therefore, it is imperative that professional development activities be specifically designed to match individual needs and interests in order for positive effects to occur.

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Administrative Considerations for Development and Implementation of Dropout Prevention Projects

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SANDY ADDIS1

ABSTRACT: Pilot programs that serve at-risk students have identified planning and management considerations that are unique to dropout prevention and are applicable to a variety of project designs. Dropout rates and other measures of success are elusive and must be standardized before a project begins. Staff selection, duty assignments, and work loads are different for at-risk educators; they are crucial to project success. Reduction in the true dropout rate impacts other measures of school effectiveness, and this impact must be anticipated. These conclusions are based on district-wide implementation of a multi-component pilot project under the U.S. Department of Education’s Dropout Demonstration Assistance Program. Early consideration of this information by educators who plan and implement dropout prevention programs is essential for long-term project success.

Every school system must eventually develop a comprehensive program to keep at-risk students in school or accept an embarrassing dropout rate and responsibility for the resulting human and economic loss. In some states, statutes like South Carolina’s Target 2000 Legislation (1989) mandate implementation of dropout prevention programs and require results. Soon, it is hoped, most school systems will boast the kind of multi­component programs that Duckenfield, Hamby, and Smink (1990) stated are necessary to effectively address the dropout problem.

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Know Thyself: A Prerequisite for Educational Leaders

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KATHRYN S. WHITAKER1

CAROL McGREVIN2

ANNETTE GRANIER3

ABSTRACT: Several recent reports point to the need to create more responsive leadership preparation programs to better prepare school leaders for the 21st century. This manuscript describes a beginning learning experience within the new administrator preparation program at the University of Northern Colorado. The new component is called “Understanding Self”; it is designed to assist future leaders in gaining a greater awareness of their values and beliefs as they relate to leadership. The importance of intrapersonal development and reflective practice, as well as specific activities used in the learning experience, is addressed.

Leadership theory and the study of leaders has undergone a tremendous evolution during the last several decades. In the early 20th century, researchers focused almost solely on personal traits of leaders (Hoy and Miskel, 1987). With the Ohio State and Michigan leadership studies conducted in the 1950s, research on leadership moved beyond the trait approach toward a “one best style” approach. Two decades later the emphasis centered on contingency or situational leadership theories. Contingency theories postulated that there were various leadership styles or behaviors that worked effectively depending upon a given situation (Hersey and Blanchard, 1978).

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Reappraising Personal Experience in the Preparation of School Administrators

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PAUL V. BREDESON1

ABSTRACT: Based on the simple Deweyan thesis that individual learning and growth are based upon actual life experiences, the author proposes a model to guide curricular reform and the rethinking of pedagogy and program delivery in preparation programs for school administrators. A description of the model suggests that reflection, a critical mediating tool of individual experience, helps to link curriculum content/context and conceptions of learning and knowledge to a holistic guide to substantive reform in pedagogy and practice in the field of educational administration. The article ends with a discussion of how the inclusion of personal experience helps to bridge a critical gap between professors of school administration and practicing administrators.

After two and one-half weeks in my new position as high school principal, I was beginning to see this new administrative role as one that would be not only manageable but also personally and professionally rewarding. The secretary buzzed me on the office telephone to tell me that a parent was there to discuss a personal matter. Affably I walked to the door, greeted the woman, and asked her to sit down. Relaxed and confident, I smiled and inquired how I could help her. Not the least bit hesitant, she told me that I had a serious problem. Over the next hour she revealed in graphic detail how the varsity football coach had recently raped her fifteen year old daughter. It was now July 25 with a new football season scheduled to begin in one week. The incident and the experiences of dealing with all of the attendant administrative, personal, legal, and professional issues became part of this principal’s administrative biography.

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Administrator Competency Testing: Issues, Considerations, and Recommendations for Preparation Programs and Policymakers

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ULRICH C. REITZUG1

ABSTRACT: An increasing number of states require successful completion of an administration-specific competency examination prior to initial administrative certification (Reitzug, in press-a). Given the controversies that have surrounded student and teacher competency testing, it is imperative that programs preparing educational leaders, and policymakers recommending legislation, consider the issues involved with competency testing prior to taking actions that may not be in the best interests of those they purport to serve. This paper discusses these issues, suggests questions competency testing raises for administrator preparation programs, and makes recommendations for policymakers.

Analysts have noted that the educational reform movement has consisted of two waves with conflicting foci. The first wave was characterized by tougher standards (Passow, 1989, p. 16) and on “reducing uncertainty” by “tightening bureaucratic controls” (Bacharach and Conley, 1989, p. 311). During the second wave the reform focus shifted from standards, standardization, and control to decentralization, recognition of uncertainty, and empowerment (Bacharach and Conley, 1989; Conley, 1990; Passow, 1989).

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