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Jspr Vol 36-N1

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The Journal of School Public Relations is a quarterly publication providing research, analysis, case studies and descriptions of best practices in six critical areas of school administration: public relations, school and community relations, community education, communication, conflict management/resolution, and human resources management. Practitioners, policymakers, consultants and professors rely on the Journal for cutting-edge ideas and current knowledge. Articles are a blend of research and practice addressing contemporary issues ranging from passing bond referenda to building support for school programs to integrating modern information.

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Notes From the Editor

ePub

Notes From the Editor

Susan C. Bon

Reflected in this issue is a variety of articles. For those who are either new to this journal or are existing readers, please be apprised that the journal has expanded the scope of articles considered and did so to be better competitive in the changing market for scholarly articles having important information for public school public relations personnel. Specifically, to quote our expanded focus as published on the web (see https://rowman.com/Page/JSPR) as well as on the first page of each journal, articles are solicited that address six critical areas in public school and higher education administration: public relations, school and community relations, community education, communication, conflict management/resolution, and human resources management.

Contained in this edition is an article titled “Elevating the Conversation: Relationships, Systems, and Schools,” by Kelly Wachel, a public information officer, that describes how low-performing urban schools can improve student achievement by following a systematic plan of action designed to negate negative perceptions. According to the systematic plan, school public relations officers should focus initially on the perceptions of students and on their values relative to their accountability for learning. To either reinforce or alter these values toward academic achievement, she advocates the involvement of other stakeholders, including parents, other high-achieving school districts, community leaders, and future employers. Specific attention is given to how to create a safe environment as well as an appealing environment where attention is focused on the school’s physical facility because most people judge a book by its cover.

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Changing School Times to Combat Adolescent Sleep Deprivation

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Changing School Times to Combat Adolescent Sleep Deprivation

Perceptions of School Stakeholders

Lori Boyland

Michael W. Harvey

William Riggs

Barbara Campbell

ABSTRACT: Many adolescents are chronically sleep deprived, placing them at risk for academic and other issues (Malone, 2011; Owens, 2010; Wolfson & Carskadon, 2003). Experts recommend that schools delay morning start times to allow teenagers more sleep, but communities often resist time change proposals (American Academy of Pediatrics, 2014; National Sleep Foundation, 2012). The purpose of this study was to examine school stakeholders’ perceptions of a time change initiative, before and after enactment. Parents and teachers (n = 1,905) were surveyed over 3 years. After implementation, participants reported higher levels of agreement with the initiative in several key areas, as compared to respondents before implementation. Practical suggestions for school communities considering later start times for adolescents are provided.

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Elevating the Conversation

ePub

Elevating the Conversation

Relationships, Systems, and Schools

Kelly Wachel

ABSTRACT: This article conveys the importance of perception and reality in public schools and in urban public schools. Adapted from the book Parents and Schools Together: Blueprint for Success With Urban Youth, by Kelly Wachel, the article sheds light on the necessary components of relationships and systems within schools and how they contribute to learning. School public relations professionals can have an impact on student learning, and it starts with building a system around what students value.

The Setting

Imagine this setting: an urban school district. A school district on the south side of a big city. Minorities make up 80 percent of the student population. Seventy-five percent of the students receive free or reduced-price lunches (the most accurate statistic we have for indicating poverty). An urban school district with high minority students and high poverty. We’ve all heard the statistics that these urban schools are failing. That these schools are full of scary kids and kids who don’t know how to be in school. Their teachers are terrible and afraid and don’t have the resources that they need to teach kids. Rundown buildings with weeds growing around the sidewalks. History crumbling from the inside out. A history that contains a stellar past, full of glory and achievement, left behind by families moving out of the urban core to the suburbs and minority families staying in the place that remains.

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Understanding How Schools of Education Have Redesigned the Doctorate of Education

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Understanding How Schools of Education Have Redesigned the Doctorate of Education

Jill Alexa Perry

Debby Zambo

Susan Wunder

ABSTRACT: In this article, we reveal results of a multiple-case study supported by the Fund for the Improvement of Postsecondary Education that examined how schools of education reformed their EdD programs as a result of membership in the Carnegie Project on the Education Doctorate. The cross-case analysis was conducted on 21 cases written by 38 researchers who visited institutions across the United States. Results indicate that changes in EdD programs have taken place at institutional, programmatic, and individual levels as a result of incorporating the Carnegie project’s principles and design concepts into program reform.

The Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching conceptualized the Carnegie Project on the Education Doctorate (CPED) to “reclaim” the education doctorate (EdD) and make it a stronger and more relevant degree for the advanced preparation of practitioners (Perry, 2010, 2012; Perry & Imig, 2008). Shulman, Golde, Bueschel, and Garabedian (2006) envisioned the CPED as a grassroots movement of individuals from various colleges of education who would work together to change the status and purpose of the EdD. Through these grassroots efforts, members draw on their experiences, values, and visions about what doctoral programs should entail and then use these to design distinct programs. This enables the accomplishment of a key goal of the redesign movement: communicating and being responsive to the leadership needs of schools and education communities.

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Superintendents as Political Operatives

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Superintendents as Political Operatives

A View From the Front Lines

Kelly Morman

Robert Alexander

ABSTRACT: Surprisingly little is known about the preparation of education administrators to handle their inevitable involvement in school levy campaigns. This study investigates the preparation, knowledge, and use of campaign strategies by superintendents. We do this through a survey of school superintendents in three Ohio counties. We find that training relative to political campaigning is severely lacking among superintendents. Instead, most find themselves learning “on the job.” We suggest that greater preparation should be devoted to this unstated requirement that many superintendents ultimately face. Regardless, respondents rely on myriad strategies and show great reliance on professional organizations for assistance in levy campaigns.

Equity in education is a national focus, and a significant part of attaining educational equity is the equitable funding of education. The state of Ohio is a place where the struggle over education funding has taken center stage. Since the 1997 DeRolph v. State of Ohio Supreme Court case declared the state’s education finance system unconstitutional, unsuccessful efforts to address school funding have been attempted by elected officials at the behest of the Supreme Court. In spite of the court’s mandate, no workable solutions have taken root. Instead, school administrators have continued to go to voters for basic levels of operational funding. From 1994 to 2006, 3,433 operating levies were placed on the ballot at local levels (Fleeter, 2007). Put another way, nearly half of all school districts placed tax levy referenda on the ballot during this period. This school referendum reality means that school administrators must become political operatives in addition to education officials as they rely on successful political campaigns to secure the necessary funding to maintain pace with rising costs of operation.

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The Impact of Poverty, School Enrollment, and Ninth-Grade Transition Programs on Promotion

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The Impact of Poverty, School Enrollment, and Ninth-Grade Transition Programs on Promotion

Edward Cox

Mark Hopkins

David G. Buckman

ABSTRACT: This study investigated the impact of poverty, enrollment, and the presence of a 9th-grade transition program on students’ promotion to 10th grade. Promotion to 10th grade is the essential first step toward graduation and is an immediate measure among strategies used to support 9th-grade students. Thirty South Carolina high schools were selected on the basis of their poverty indices. Schools were analyzed in terms of their poverty levels, enrollments, and 10th-grade promotion rate. None of the independent variables were shown to be statistically significant in terms of their impact on promotion to 10th grade, but when poverty was excluded, the results were found to be significant.

An important piece of educational legislation was passed in 2002 by President George Bush: the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, also known as No Child Left Behind. This legislation required a level of accountability. For example, new federal guidelines were adopted to ensure that at-risk populations were progressing. Adequate yearly progress was introduced to track subgroups of students based on race, ethnicity, poverty, and special needs. No Child Left Behind also required each state to set graduation rate targets, with 100% by the year 2014 (Patterson, Beltyukova, Berman, & Francis, 2007). Each state subsequently designed and implemented a system of accountability, through which schools and educators are measured against the achievement of their students. These achievement data are used to rate schools through annual school report cards. The annual school report card information—select items such as graduation rates—have become common conversation topics for parents as well as other community stakeholders. Public schools, while slowly improving, still fall short in the primary measures of success and the goals set forth by No Child Left Behind. A primary goal set by the legislation was a 100% graduation rate by 2014. With only 74.1% of high school students graduating with a diploma within 4 years (National Center for Education Statistics, 2010), additional research has been conducted to further address the reasons why students are not graduating from high school.

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