Medium 9781475824155

Jspr Vol 32-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

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THEODORE J. KOWALSKI

Last year, the Journal of School Public Relations expanded its coverage to include human resources development. This decision stems from the need for administrators to build and maintain positive relationships with employees and students. The first article in this issue, written by I. Phillip Young and associates, presents research related to this theme. Their study examines facets of compensation in relation to principal satisfaction. Such research is relevant because superintendents and school boards struggle to maintain employee job satisfaction in the face of dwindling resources.

The second article, authored by George J. Petersen and associates, focuses on California superintendents. The research team analyzed the perspectives of 350 administrators regarding their ability to support student learning. The research identifies various barriers to improving instructional programs and reveals the importance of interpersonal relationships for superintendents.

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An Examination of Pay Facets and Referent Groups for Assessing Pay Satisfaction of Male Elementary School Principals

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I. PHILLIP YOUNG
KAREN HOLSEY YOUNG
IRINA OKHREMTCHOUK
JOSE MORENO CASTANEDA

ABSTRACT: Pay satisfaction was assessed according to different facets (pay level, benefits, pay structure, and pay raises) and potential referent groups (teachers and elementary school principals) for a random sample of male elementary school principals. A structural model approach was used that considers facets of the pay process, potential others as significant referent sources, and actual pay received by male elementary school principals. All facets were found to be important; significant others who were found to be important were teachers, as well as other elementary school principals within the school district. The overarching finding was that relative pay, rather than pay rate, is the better predictor of pay satisfaction.

C urrall, Towler, Judge, and Kohn, (2005) indicated that “it has been only in the past 3 decades . . . that pay satisfaction has become an intensive area of inquiry” (p. 614) as a stand-alone variable of interest within the general organizational literature. During this period, “research has unequivocally shown that pay dissatisfaction can have important and undesirable impacts on numerous employee outcomes” (H. G. Heneman & Judge, 2005, p. 85), such as tardiness, withdrawal, and turnover (for an extensive review, see Williams, McDaniel, & Nguyen, 2006). However, pay satisfaction is largely overlooked in the educational literature, and we seek to fill partially this void.

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An Investigation of District Leaders’ Perceptions of Forces That Complicate Efforts to Succeed

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GEORGE J. PETERSEN
VICTORIA L. KELLY
CATHERINE N. REIMER
DANIEL MOSUNICH
DEBRA THOMPSON

ABSTRACT: This study explored the perspectives of 350 California superintendents from various-sized school districts in relation to their ability to support student learning while addressing the numerous and complex personnel, social, and economic challenges faced by schools. Specifically, this study investigated the attitudes and opinions of district leaders regarding the numerous professional challenges with which they are confronted—declining enrollment, increases in English-learner populations, collective bargaining, reduced revenues, school board activism, high expectations of accountability and academic achievement—and the resulting influence of these factors on the professional work, attention, and leadership of district leaders. Results suggest that district leaders attribute state and federal mandates and budgetary instability as the most serious challenges to their efforts of focusing adequate attention and resources on student achievement and the professional development of faculty and administrators. Interpersonal relations were revealed as the prominent factor in the superintendent’s ability to effectively address his or her role and duties as district leader. Participants recognized the importance of interpersonal behavior and its effect on organizational development and systemic thinking.

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The Impact of Technology on Superintendent Communication

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VICTORIA L. KELLY

ABSTRACT: Technological advances have revolutionized the communication patterns and behaviors of district leaders. In this information-based society, the ability of the leader to select the form of communication most appropriate to the context and situation qualifies his or her effectiveness at communication. The findings emerging from this study highlight important considerations for superintendents when employing media to communicate and relay messages to their constituents. Superintendents are compelled to recognize the benefits and continue to utilize technology while developing the competence to understand the context that necessitates moving smoothly between communication styles and mediums.

A lthough recent reform efforts have heightened our focus and directed our attention at the school level, there is growing evidence that district leadership—the link connecting state initiatives, individual schools, and the community—plays a crucial role in setting expectations and patterns of change in the present instructional reform efforts (Fullan, 1993; Petersen, 1999, 2002; Petersen, Sayre, & Kelly, 2007; Sergiovanni, 1990). Recent scholarly work suggests that superintendents are influential in creating and sustaining educational innovation—especially, those who are involved in the instructional programs of the district (Björk, 1993; Bredeson, 1996; Carter & Cunningham, 1997; Kelly, 2009; Kowalski, 1995; Leithwood, 1994; Murphy, 1994). Every major school improvement concept requires superintendents to work collaboratively with principals, teachers, and stakeholders to create a sense of purpose and commitment to pursue a collective vision (Chrispeels, 2002; Chrispeels & González, 2006; Louis & Miles, 1990; Togneri & Anderson, 2003). It becomes apparent that the crucial agent in mobilizing the human, social, and physical capital required to create and sustain these educational innovations centers on the district leaders’ ability to build relationships among their constituents (Marsh, 2000). Building and sustaining these social arenas is accomplished by promoting a culture that works to establish a network of relationships through the leader’s clear communication and respect for interactions (Kelly, 2009).

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Kent Intermediate School District: From Invisible Agency to Power Player

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RONALD KOEHLER

ABSTRACT: Michigan’s intermediate school districts were created by constitutional convention in 1962. Between their inception and 2000, few units of government were less visible and less understood. This article chronicles the emergence of one intermediate school district as an aggressive force for change in education and a locus of activity for community organizations seeking to improve public schools. Key to this transformation is the Kent Intermediate School District’s implementation of the public relations process—research, planning, implementation, and evaluation—to create a two-way dialogue and a culture of responsiveness with stakeholders.

M ichigan’s intermediate school districts (ISDs) were created by constitutional convention in 1962. Between their inception and 2000, few units of government were less visible and less understood. This article chronicles the emergence of one intermediate school district (ISD) as an aggressive force for change in education and a locus of activity for community organizations seeking to improve public schools. Key to this transformation is the Kent ISD’s implementation of the public relations process—research, planning, implementation, and evaluation—to create a two-way dialogue and a culture of responsiveness with stakeholders.

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