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Jsl Vol 4-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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5 Articles

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The Unspecial Place of Special Education in Programs That Prepare School Administrators

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KENNETH A. SIROTNIK1

KATHY KIMBALL2

ABSTRACT: What is the place of special education in programs that prepare school administrators? In this article, we explore this question by: (1) reviewing selected contemporary literature including recent recommendations for improving educational administration programs; (2) reanalyzing relevant data from a national study; and (3) reporting the results of recent interviews with selected high school principals. The conclusion reached is that special education is treated inadequately (if at all) in programs designed to prepare school administrators. Based upon this body of information collected and our experience with our own principal preparation program, recommendations are discussed concerning why and how special education should have a place in these programs.

Like death and taxes, school administrators can always count on dealing with the demands of competing educational interests. Two such notorious interests are general and special education. Unfortunately, educators within the school are not always prepared with the knowledge, attitudes or skills to deal with these interests. In particular, school principals are often faced not only with the demands of general education programs, but also with the legal and moral responsibilities to provide appropriate education for special education students and their families.1 Are they prepared to do so?

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Effect of Family Structure on Parental Involvement: Perspectives of Principals and Traditional, Dual-Income, and Single Parents

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CAROLYN L. WANAT1

ABSTRACT: This study examined children’s school needs, the school’s response to those needs, and present and desirable forms of parental involvement from the perspectives of traditional, dual-income, and single parents. Parents from each family type and principals shared their opinions in 48 in-depth interviews. Respondents agreed that children from all families need a quality education in a safe environment. While respondents disagreed on specific forms that parental involvement should take, they agreed that it is the principal’s responsibility to provide an open climate and interactive communication for meaningful involvement to occur.

Changes in family composition appear to discourage parental involvement in education. Assuming that non-traditional parents lack time, skill and interest to prepare children for school, schools feel that contemporary family structures have a negative effect on children’s success in school (Cochran and Dean, 1991; Comer, 1986; Edwards and Young, 1992; Santrock and Tracy, 1978). Ironically, to compensate for perceived limitations, schools expect greater involvement in academic activities at school and at home from non-traditional than traditional parents (Epstein and Dauber, 1991; Cohn and Kottkamp, 1993; Crowson, 1992; Epstein, 1990b; Hargreaves, 1991; Marburger, 1990; Seefeldt, 1985; Walberg and Wallace, 1992).

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School-Based Community Services: A Study of Public Agency Partnerships

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GARY ARTHUR*1

PAUL BAUMAN2

ABSTRACT: This article describes the dynamics of establishing school-based community services through interagency partnerships. It is based on a case study of the creation of an intergenerational learning center in Colorado Springs, Colorado, where a public middle school, faced with closure and neighborhood decline, became the focus of a managerial and programmatic agreement between the city, a community action agency, and the school district. A case synopsis describes the (developmental) sequence of partnership development and the school restructuring process. Findings indicate that interagency partnerships can result in school restructuring which encourages school-based community services as service delivery options for students.

After ten years of attention to educational issues such as teacher competence, the utility and validity of testing, and other pedagogical questions, a second wave of school reform has taken shape. Reforms in the mid-1990s are now focusing on the political issues of school management, community involvement, and local control. These topics are new targets for reformers and are generally in the domain of school governance. They involve a different group of stake-holders from the first wave efforts which were directed primarily at teachers. New program designs and organizational agreements focus on establishing partnerships between schools, businesses and other public agencies. Through the 1980s and early 1990s, the number of these partnerships has steadily increased (Doyle, 1987). In particular, governance changes designed to improve the historical weak links between schools and communities are being viewed as mechanisms for school improvement. With other public agencies also finding it difficult to adequately support their programs because of tax limitations and a lack of confidence in government as a whole, there is currently a political and economic environment conducive to the development of more efficient partnerships between other public agencies and schools. Public agency partnerships provide a method of uniting schools and communities by offering the services of other agencies within the school, which reduces duplication of services and reduces competition for tax dollars by enlisting the community as a component in the process (Arthur, 1993)

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Women Principals as Leaders: A Case Study

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HOPE-ARLENE FENNEL1

ABSTRACT: Discussed in this paper are experiences with leadership and power from the points of view of four women elementary school principals and the teachers with whom they work. Focused on the concepts of leadership, communication, decision-making, and conflict resolution, data were collected through semi-structured and unstructured interviews with principals, and surveys and structured interviews with teachers. Interview data were analyzed by transcription to determine emergent themes; survey data were analyzed statistically. Findings included descriptions of principals’ uses of facilitative power from their self reports and the reports of those teachers with whom they worked. The paper also provides examples of power as both a multi-dimensional and multi-directional concept.

Leadership continues to be one of the most important concepts in educational administration. In current recessionary times, characterized by limited school budgets and the demand that teachers and administrators do more with less, unique and creative forms of leadership are being encouraged throughout the education system. School principals are more frequently being expected to lead teachers and community members in school improvement and site-based management projects. Changes in the roles and expectations of principals make the study of leadership a timely and important activity (Immegart, 1988).

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Conflict Management: A Review of the Literature for School Leaders

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PATAY E. JOHNSON1

ABSTRACT: School leaders who realize that conflict is not necessarily negative or positive can learn to manage conflict by understanding the five steps of the conflict process. They are the antecedent conditions, perception and conceptualization, behaviors, resolution and management, and the aftermath or outcome. A review of the literature indicates that successful management of conflict can result in desired coordination and efficiency of the school as well as innovation and adaptation.

The amount of time devoted to the management of conflict that occurs in our schools can be expected to increase as societal problems impinge more and more upon our nation’s educational system. Principals often find it necessary to manage conflict that occurs between and among the various constituencies of public education: students, parents, teachers, administrators, and the general public. “The greatest problem that it [conflict] presents, however, is interference with the establishment and maintenance of other priorities within the organization” (Fairman & Clark, 1983, pp. 93–94).

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