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Jspr Vol 31-N3

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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: Introduction to Special Issue—The Scholarship of Barbara L. Jackson Scholars of the University Council for Educational Administration

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The Scholarship of Barbara L. Jackson Scholars of the University Council for Educational Administration

GERARDO R. LÓPEZ

 

In November 2003, the University Council for Educational Administration (UCEA) created the Barbara L. Jackson Scholars Network to increase the pipeline of scholars of color into the field of educational leadership. This initiative provides mentoring and career development opportunities for program participants while fostering a system of support across UCEA member institutions. Through this effort, UCEA hopes to facilitate the presence of minority faculty in educational leadership programs to ensure that the field reflects the diversity of our society and our schools.

This special issue is devoted to the coauthored work of UCEA Barbara L. Jackson Scholars and their mentors. As the guest editor of this special issue, I am grateful to Ted Kowalski and the entire editorial team of the Journal of School Public Relations for supporting this endeavor and for their continued support of UCEA and the Barbara L. Jackson Scholars Network. They will be pleased to know that all the manuscripts for this special issue were subjected to blind peer review and held to all the rigorous review criteria of the journal. It is important to note that, because of space limitations, the editorial team has agreed to release the articles as two separate issues of the journal. The present issue contains the first five manuscripts accepted for publication—a subsequent issue will contain the remaining four.

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No Strangers in This School: How School Principals Can Honor Community and Public Relations That Support Multicultural Students

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JOEL ONDIEKI ABAYA
ANTHONY H. NORMORE

ABSTRACT: Through the use of the ethnomethodological lens of narrative inquiry, we argue that the relationship between school and community is an important ingredient that shapes a child’s development and adaptation in any society. Our argument is based on the personal and professional experiences and observations of a Barbara L. Jackson Scholar who worked at an elementary school in the Midwestern United States. The school has a significant population of African-immigrant students. We postulate that schools are not intended to serve as isolated entities, and for that reason, community involvement in school activities is mandatory because it creates a conducive and positive school environment. Furthermore, we assert that principals ought to modify their daily routines and practices to accommodate the needs of immigrant communities by actively engaging in open and transparent communication with the communities they serve.

The number of immigrant students attending U.S. public schools is increasing at a rapid rate (Birman & Espino, 2007; Bolt & Roach, 2009). The effect of this increase is the emergence of students within the public school system in America who continue to struggle with not only comprehending the curriculum but attaining the minimum requirements for graduation. Most immigrant children and their families who arrive in the United States today come from Mexico, Central and South America (Crozier & Davies, 2006; Husskeeler, 1997; Merchant, 1999), and Asia—particularly, Vietnam, Cambodia, and Laos (Shields & Behrman, 2004). However, a large number also emigrate from Africa. Under the guidance and leadership of successful and effective school leaders and in pursuit of a better life for their children, most parents register their children in public schools and expect the best quality education possible (Brown, 2002).

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Seeing Color in School Choice

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WAYNE D. LEWIS
ARNOLD DANZIG

ABSTRACT: Research across states has consistently shown that African American parents tend to send their children to charter schools with higher concentrations of African American students as compared to the concentrations of the district-assigned schools their children would otherwise attend. However, little research has addressed why these parents choose these schools. The present case study begins to fill this void in the literature by exploring the following research question: Why have African American parents chosen to enroll their children in one predominantly African American (> 95%) charter school. Parents’ choice of this school was not a “color-blind” one. Parents were impressed with the school’s welcoming atmosphere, its small setting and classroom sizes, and its high number of African American faculty members. Parent participants reported feeling comfortable with school staff and feeling assured that their children would be loved, respected, and cared for by school personnel. Their beliefs and preferences should be contextualized with the understanding that African Americans have and continue to be victims of racial discrimination and hatred in the United States. Study participants’ preference to have their children in the charge of other African Americans, their higher degree of comfort in the presence of other African Americans, and their beliefs that White teachers are less capable of truly understanding African American children may come as a result of racism and racist interactions in predominantly White schools as well as broader American society.

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Community Cultural Wealth and Chicano/Latino Students

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TRINA M. VALDEZ
CATHERINE LUGG

ABSTRACT: This article offers a vision of how educators can better foster the various forms of knowledge and wealth that Chicano/Latino students bring to their public schools. By using LatCrit (i.e., Latino/a critical race theory) to conceptualize community cultural wealth, we hope to give educational leaders greater insights into culturally appropriate strategies in serving all public school students. Yosso (2005) defined community cultural wealth as “an array of knowledges, skills, abilities and contacts possessed and used by Communities of Color to survive and resist racism and other forms of oppression” (p. 154). Employing a LatCrit lens allows us to take an in-depth look into how schools can better relate to communities of color. We are “conceptualizing community cultural wealth as a critical race theory challenge to traditional interpretations of cultural capital and then offering suggestions on how community cultural wealth can ‘transform the process of schooling’” (Yosso, 2005, p. 70). Cultural wealth sees communities of color as “holders and creators of knowledge” (Delgado-Bernal, 2002, p. 106) in an educational system that, we believe, sees students of color as being deficient and lacking critical knowledge. Furthermore, school and community relations is a topic that has been placed at the top of many educators’ lists, and we believe rightly so. Therefore, this article reexamines how schools can better relate and communicate with communities of color—particularly, Chicana/os and Latina/os—to increase these students’ educational and academic acumen in U.S. public schools.

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Democratic Leadership for Community Schools

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VERNA D. RUFFIN
JEFFREY S. BROOKS

ABSTRACT: Because educators continue to face challenges when seeking to educate all children, there is a growing recognition that schools must work with communities to maximize their collective educational potential (Murphy, Beck, Crawford, Hodges, & McGauphy, 2001). Although community schools are still in the emergent stages of development, their emphasis on school–community relations holds great promise. However, one component conspicuously absent from the community schools model is leadership. Research suggests that school leadership has a positive influence on successful school reform because it affects student success and learning (Goertz, Floden, & O’Day, 1995; Pechman & Fiester, 1994). This article seeks to inform the work of school leaders in community schools by considering the principles of democratic leadership in the development of effective community schools leadership.

Educators have developed a great many comprehensive schoolwide reform models in the decades that followed the 1983 report A Nation at Risk (McCombs & Quiat, 2002). As Brooks, Scribner, and Eferakorho (2004) pointed out, these models variously emphasize discrete aspects of schooling but generally include some combination of common ideas related to (1) effective research-based methods and strategies, (2) harmoniously conjoined components, (3) professional development, (4) measurable goals, (5) support within the school, (6) parental and community involvement, (7) external technical support and assistance, (8) evaluation strategies, and (9) coordination of resources (p. 244). Furthermore, researchers have found that effective leadership is critical to the success of reform implementation (Brooks, 2006a, 2006b; Fullan & Hargreaves, 1996; Leithwood, Jantzi, & Steinbach, 1998; Leithwood & Louis, 1998; Sergiovanni, 1996). However, despite compelling evidence that leadership is a key component of successful school reform, one model—community schools—curiously omits leadership as an essential principle guiding reform. Yet as community schools emphasize school–community relationships (Samberg & Sheeran, 2000), one approach to leadership—democratic leadership (Woods, 2005)—seems as though it may provide guidance for leaders in community schools. The purpose of this article is to consider how principles of democratic leadership might inform the work of leaders in community schools. It begins with a discussion of community schools as a comprehensive schoolwide reform, and it reviews some key aspects of communities before explaining a theoretical perspective on democratic leadership. Given this perspective, we conclude by considering how democratic leadership is or is not conducive to the aims of the community schools model.

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Media Misrepresentations of a Mascot Controversy: Contested Constructions of Race and Gender

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CYNTHIA GERSTL-PEPIN
GUODONG LIANG

ABSTRACT: This article examines media coverage of a high school Native American mascot controversy. Discourse analysis of media documents and artifacts was utilized to explore how the issue was socially constructed for public consumption. Critical race feminism was used as a framework to examine how media discourses can oversimplify the complex interaction of racism and sexism. We found that the rich historical and cultural legacies of Cherokee women were rendered invisible. This case provides insight for educators faced with media portrayals of racism and sexism in schools; it unearths some of the processes through which oppressive discourses can be perpetuated in news media coverage; and it suggests that understanding this is critical for school leaders who seek to be media literate and multiculturally competent.

I personally feel this symbol [“squaw”] is detrimental to young people in an educational setting where the images they become accustomed to remain with them throughout their lives. As a former educator, I have witnessed, with great sadness, the images our young people must contend with while searching for their identity.

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