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Jsl Vol 20-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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Editorial: Exploring, Refining, and Extending Our Understanding of School Leadership

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Jeffrey S. Brooks

Editorial: Exploring, Refining, and Extending Our Understanding of School Leadership

Volume 20, issue 3, of the Journal for School Leadership contains five articles, each of which touches on classic themes in the literature while refining and extending our understanding of seemingly familiar concepts. Considered as a whole, the research contains conceptual and empirical work that highlights the importance of considering leaders as both individuals and members of organizations in which they have the capacity to exert a high level of legitimized agency. At times, educational leadership scholars obscure the basic idea that leadership is both collaborative and lonely by focusing on only its collective or isolating aspects. These articles push our thinking with regard to this dynamic and ask us to consider the ways that school leaders act, think, influence, and become influenced by their environments.

“The Place of Autonomy in School Community: Taking a Closer Look at Teacher Collaboration,” by Gordon S. Gates and Millie Watkins, examines teachers as they conduct their work during school reform. My colleagues and I have written about this a bit (Brooks, 2006a, 2006b; Brooks, Hughes, & Brooks, 2008; Brooks, Scribner, & Eferakorho, 2004), and I became excited as I learned about this new work. Although some of what Gates and Watkins found reinforces implementation tensions, I was intrigued by what they observed—namely, the “typology of teacher practices and interpretation about the paradoxical value and role of autonomy in community.” This heuristic may prove fruitful in helping make sense of the way that teachers participate in educational change.

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The Place of Autonomy in School Community: Taking a Closer Look at Teacher Collaboration

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Gordon S. Gates

Millie Watkins

The Place of Autonomy in School Community: Taking a Closer Look at Teacher Collaboration

ABSTRACT: Teachers hold the key to school reform. Professional learning communities—as well as other related strategies, including collaborative and distributive models of leadership—offer much that is promising. Yet, weaknesses documented in research require attention. We conducted a study of teachers in two elementary schools identified as exemplary professional learning communities to explore the ways that teachers’ collaboration, shared decision making, and leadership were resources for development and innovation. For this study, we coded and organized transcribed interviews and field notes, forming a typology of teachers’ practices and interpretation about the paradoxical value and role of autonomy in community. We conclude this article by discussing the importance of teacher inquiry and research on student learning as mechanisms for aligning autonomy and heteronomy in school community.

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The Relationship Between Adequate Yearly Progress and the Quality of Professional Development

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Lori A. Wolff

Susan S. McClelland

Stephanie E. Stewart

The Relationship Between Adequate Yearly Progress and the Quality of Professional Development

ABSTRACT: Based on publicly available data, the study examined the relationship between adequate yearly progress status and teachers’ perceptions of the quality of their professional development. The sample included responses of 5,558 teachers who completed the questionnaire in the 2005–2006 school year. Results of the statistical analysis show a significant relationship between adequate yearly progress status and teachers’ agreement that professional development activities (1) advance teachers’ understanding of effective instructional strategies derived from scientifically based research; (2) forward teachers’ understanding of effective instructional strategies for improving student academic achievement; (3) are developed with extensive participation of teachers, administrators, and parents in the school of district; and (4) provide training to help teachers effectively use technology in the classroom to improve instruction and learning.

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Wisdom and Compassion in Democratic Leadership: Perceptions of the Bodhisattva Ideal

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Leslie McClain

Rose Ylimaki

Michael P. Ford

Wisdom and Compassion in Democratic Leadership: Perceptions of the Bodhisattva Ideal

ABSTRACT: At the heart of democratic leadership rests a deep respect for what it means to be human, the cultivation of the common good, and the need to act according to one’s own direction. If democratic leadership aims to create an environment in which people are encouraged and supported in “aspiring to truths about the world” (Woods, 2005, p. xvi), then wisdom and compassion must be critical components of such leadership. Through qualitative study, we interviewed administrators and teachers for their perceptions about wisdom and compassion as related to democratic leadership in schools. Such expressions have not been characterized and discussed in the mainstream educational leadership literature; however, they have been documented for centuries across philosophies and religions, including the Mahayana Buddhist teachings of the six virtues of the Bodhisattva, the awakened spiritual leader. The purpose of this article is to explore, through extant literature and empirical research findings, administrators’ and teacher leaders’ perceptions of wisdom and compassion as being relevant and essential to democratic educational leadership.

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Identifying Attributes of Teacher Leaders Within the Advancement via Individual Determination Program: A Survey of School Principals

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Karen M. Watt

Shirley J. Mills

Jeffery Huerta

Identifying Attributes of Teacher Leaders Within the Advancement via Individual Determination Program: A Survey of School Principals

ABSTRACT: This study identified what attributes principals believe best exemplify a teacher leader in schools implementing the Advancement via Individual Determination (AVID) program and what attributes they take into consideration when selecting an AVID elective teacher. After surveying more than 1,100 principals, we found that principals tended to rate teacher leadership attributes high in all areas, although they were not in agreement in the areas of professional growth and school/district environments. Respondents also did not consider all teacher leader attributes when selecting their AVID elective teachers. Principals may therefore see an immediate need for a high-quality teacher to teach the AVID elective class yet initially underestimate the importance of the teacher’s role in AVID as a catalyst for schoolwide reform.

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Taking It to the Streets: A New Line of Inquiry for School Communities

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Christa A. Boske

Lillian Benavente-McEnery

Taking It to the Streets: A New Line of Inquiry for School Communities

ABSTRACT: Educators must develop effective ways of interacting and working with students of diverse backgrounds. In this 2-year study, home visits were utilized to build a stronger, more impactful learning community for all stakeholders. Participants included 2 school leaders, 1 school social worker, 9 teachers, 2 parents, and 4 elementary children. The theoretical framework involved the funds of knowledge stance and investigated how school leaders and teachers redefined their roles to engage with their school community. Findings indicate the critical influence of people’s backgrounds, educational philosophies, and dispositions in building bridges between school and home and establishing meaningful relationships with students and families.

Our children came from Vietnam, Philippines, Mexico, Columbia, and Guatemala. They come for a better way of life. [She starts to cry.] I didn’t know this poverty exists. One child was diligently chewing on his pencil. He told me he didn’t have enough money for a pencil sharpener. He sharpens like this at home. How can things like this happen in this country? I can go one mile north and be in a school that doesn’t have children who live like this. Here we have children who go hungry, don’t have soap at home, and come to school wearing the same uniform with holes and stains. What will become of our children and their families if we don’t begin to show them we love them, that we are human?

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