Medium 9781475824216

Jspr Vol 32-N2

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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

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THEODORE J. KOWALSKI

T his issue is devoted to research articles conducted in districts and schools. The first should be especially relevant for university and school officials who have the responsibility of maintaining secure environments. Understandably, the public demands that school leaders take reasonable measures to ensure the safety of students, employees, and others who have direct contact with schools. Having an effective mass communication service is a pivotal facet of this responsibility. The author, communication professor Joe R. Downing, presents his findings regarding parental preferences for expanding the content and transmission alternatives used by school officials to provide them information.

The next article looks at the idea of deploying coaches to improve the performance of school principals. Coaching, much like mentoring, is considered an option for helping novice principals or principals in low-performing schools. The authors, Drs. Cheryl James-Ward and Nina Salcedo Potter, present the findings of their 6-month study conducted with 16 urban principals and their designated coaches. Their findings provide useful insights, especially about activities and relationships that evolved.

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K–12 Parents’ Attitudes About Their School District’s Mass Notification Service

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JOE R. DOWNING

ABSTRACT: The study examined K–12 parents’ attitudes about their school district’s mass notification service. Survey data were collected from 146 parents with at least one child who attended school in the district. During an emergency, most parents surveyed wanted their district to expand its mass notification service from landline phone only to also include e-mail and text-messaging notification. In addition, most parents were open to receive certain nonemergency messages through the service. The article concludes with the theoretical implications of the study for educational administration scholars, as well as practical suggestions for public relations professionals who work in educational environments.

A ccording to a study commissioned by the U.S. Government Accountability Office, K–12 school districts often have inadequate crisis response plans in place to communicate effectively with their primary stakeholders during and after a crisis (Boson, 2007). Unfortunately, few guidelines exist that help K–12 school administrators address this critical problem (Kowalski, 2002, 2005). The U.S. Department of Education, for instance, provides only rudimentary advice in this area:

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The Coaching Experience of 16 Urban Principals

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CHERYL JAMES -WARD NINA SALCEDO POTTER

ABSTRACT: This study followed 16 principals in an urban district who were assigned leadership coaches for 6 months. Coaches were provided to principals who were of low-performing schools or new to the position. The study was part of a descriptive evaluation to examine (1) what principals and coaches actually did and (2) what impact the coaching experience had on principals’ beliefs and actions. The findings indicate that coaches and principals spent most of their time together visiting classrooms and discussing feedback and support for teachers. Most principals in the study indicated that the coaching experience had a positive impact.

W ith the enactment of No Child Left Behind (2001), the reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (U.S. Department of Education, 2010), and ever-increasing global competition, the job of the principal is more challenging than ever. The complexities of the position are daunting for novice and veteran principals alike. It is becoming apparent that principals, like teachers, need on-the-job support (Bloom, Castagna, & Warren, 2003; Petzko, 2008; Young, Fuller, Brewer, Carpenter, & Mansfield, 2007). To assist principals in the demanding environment in which they work, coaching for principals is starting to attract attention and research (Kearney, 2010; Reeves & Ellison, 2009; Wise, 2010).

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Trust an Essential Ingredient in Collaborative Decision Making

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ROXANNE M. MITCHELL
JOAN RIPLEY
CURT ADAMS
DHEERAJ RAJU

ABSTRACT: The following study explored the relationship between trust and collaboration in one Northeastern suburban district. In sum, 122 teachers responded to a trust and a collaboration survey. We hypothesized that the level of trust would be correlated with the level of collaboration. Bivariate and canonical correlations were used to analyze the findings. This study confirmed that trust in the principal was correlated with collaboration with the principal and that trust in colleagues was correlated with collaboration with colleagues. However, trust in clients (students and parents) was not correlated with collaboration with parents. The set of trust variables together explained 71% of the variance in the collaboration variables, with trust in clients being the most significant variable in predicting teacher–teacher collaboration. Collaboration with colleagues was the most potent of the collaboration variables. These findings suggest the importance of establishing a culture of trust in fostering collaboration between teachers. More research is needed to understand the complexities involved with parent collaboration.

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Screening Decisions for a Middle School Assistant Principalship: Effects of Principal’s Sex, National Origin of Applicants, and Job Experience of Applicants

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I. PHILLIP YOUNG
WESLEY RICHARD SEVER

ABSTRACT: Screening decisions of female and male middle school principals were examined for applicants varying in national origin (Hispanic versus non-Hispanic) and type of job experience (direct versus indirect) for a middle school principalship. Principals’ reactions were assessed according to perceived qualifications of applicants, probability of extending an invitation to interview, and likely initial salary offer; cast into a 2 x 2 x 2 factorial design; analyzed via a stepdown analysis of variance; and interpreted from a multidimensional theoretical perspective. Results indicated that female principals use a different frame of reference than do male principals when screening applicants and have implications for staffing the assistant principal position at the middle school level.

A n important human resource activity performed by all school districts is employee selection. Among the most critical employee selection decisions made by public school districts are those involving building-level principals (Winter & Morgenthal, 2002). Indeed, the selection of principals and assistant principals is important because these persons serve as stewards of the instructional program at

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