Medium 9781475823929

Jspr Vol 29-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 Guest Editors

ePub

MICHELLE D. YOUNG

EDWARD J. FULLER

ABSTRACT: This introduction to the special issue on the role of trust in school relations provides a clear message: Developing trust and trusting relationships within the school community is more important now than ever. It argues that trust and trusting relationships are a necessary component to effective schooling in today’s diverse society, regardless of the school community or the level of schooling considered. After providing a brief overview of each article included in the special issue, the introduction concludes by situating the issue of trusting relationships within the realm of school public relations.

The study of relationships and schools has never been of greater importance than it is today. The magnitude and rapidness of change in today’s world are without precedent in human history. New discoveries, new knowledge, and technological advancements continually affect curriculum and instruction. Communities are no longer isolated from global change, and prevailing economic conditions add further pressure to families and communities. Technology has revolutionized the way that individuals and communities communicate. The diversity of schools and the transiency of student populations are at an all time high in increasing numbers of communities. Teacher attrition and turnover continue to increase as fewer individuals stay in one career over an extended period. Changes in state and federal policies, harsh criticisms of public education, and dwindling resource bases compound pressure on local schools. All these changes pose tremendous challenges to educational leaders and their school staffs who wish to create strong and supportive school communities.

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Conflict or Congruence? The Intersection of Faculty, Parent, and Student Trust in the Principal

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EDWARD J. FULLER

MEREDITH RICHARDS

REBECCA COHEN

ABSTRACT: A growing body of research has examined trust and trusting relationships between and among various members of the school community. This research includes teacher trust in the principal, parent trust in the principal, and student trust in the principal. In this article, we review the existing literature in these three areas and then identify how the literature in each has failed to fully explore how differences in power, race/ethnicity, and gender affect the principal’s ability to engender a sense of trust in each constituency. Furthermore, we contend that to completely understand the role of the principal, researchers should examine how principals must attempt to concomitantly effect a sense of trust in all three constituent groups and the various subgroups configured by gender and race/ethnicity.

More than two decades ago, philosopher Annette Baier (1986) incisively observed, “We inhabit a climate of trust as we inhabit an atmosphere and notice it as we notice air, only when it becomes scarce or polluted” (p. 234). Baier’s insight seems acute in light of the concomitant decline of public trust in many institutions and the increase in the level of interest in trust that have characterized the intervening decades. As public trust in government, journalism, universities, military, private companies, and medical institutions has continued to decline throughout the past 40 years (Keele, 2005; Kramer, 1999; Nye, Zelikow, & King, 1997), there has been increasing theoretical and empirical attention to the issue (Burke, Sims, Lazzara, & Salas, 2007; Gambetta, 1988; Kramer, 1999; Tarter, Bliss, & Hoy, 1989). Although much of this scholarship emerged out of other disciplines, the field of education has witnessed a dramatic increase in the attention to the importance and ubiquity of trust and trusting relationships.

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Cultivating Trust Among Urban Youth at Risk

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MICHAEL A. OWENS

BOB L. JOHNSON JR.

ABSTRACT: By examining data from interviews with students in the Upward Bound program (a federally sponsored program that provides academic support to students at risk who are preparing for college entrance), this study seeks to strengthen an understanding of the role of trust among urban youth at risk in the educational organizations that serve them. This work makes a unique contribution to the work of school public relations by highlighting the perspectives of urban students at risk on the role of trust in their educational organization. This qualitative piece uses data from a study of student participation in leadership, and it uses interviews, observations, and document analysis of participants and informants to build an understanding of the role of trust among urban youth at risk in educational organizations. Participants included 20 recent high school graduates enrolled in the summer Bridge Program of Upward Bound at a university in a midsize city. Students provided important insights into the role of trust. Some facets of trust (e.g., benevolence, honesty, openness, reliability, and competence) emerged from the interviews providing empirical support for recent theoretical work on the concept. For students, establishing and maintaining trust with each other, with faculty, and especially with staff members contributed to their decisions to help the Upward Bound program meet its purpose of motivating students to graduate from high school and enter college. Educational administrators in academic support programs and schools whose students benefit from these programs serving urban youth at risk will benefit from making efforts to forge trusting personal relationships with the students, parents, and other community members within students’ spheres of influence. Findings from this study suggest that urban students at risk may already view themselves as being capable of working with educational organizations that are willing to share power and flatten hierarchies. By understanding how urban students contribute to trusting relationships, urban school administrators may build their personal capacity to effectively communicate with this group of young people and develop strong ties with the communities whom these youth represent. Finally, the results of this study suggest that building trust among students may serve as a key component in successful school community relations if, as suggested in this work, students actively support and advocate for educational organizations with which they form trusting bonds.

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The Role of Trust in Strengthening Relationships Between Schools and Latino Parents

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MICHELLE D. YOUNG

CRISTÓBAL RODRÍGUEZ

PEI-LING LEE

ABSTRACT: The concept of trust has become commonplace in discussions of school culture, with increasing numbers of researchers arguing that trust is an essential component of positive school communities. In this article, we explore the role of trust and distrust in the involvement of Latino parents in the educational process. After providing a theoretical conceptualization of trust, we examine several critical examples of how an absence of, or a breakdown in, mutual trust had negative consequences for home–school relations, as well as for the people who were involved in those relationships. Findings indicate that (a) the existence or absence of trust between the home and the school affects the development and sustenance of meaningful parental involvement and (b) traditional notions of parental involvement are inadequate for some school communities.

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Principal Leadership: Building Trust to Support School Improvement

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PAMELA R. HALLAM

JOSEPH L. MATHEWS

ABSTRACT: To develop trust, leaders must understand the determinants of a trusting organization. This study examined how an elementary school principal, new to a school that had been designated “in need of improvement,” reacted to this status and worked to develop trust in a climate of low trust and increasing public accountability. Hoy and Tschannen-Moran (1999), after having tested five facets of trust in their research of schools, present trust as a multidimensional construct. Using their model, this study examined how trust emerged between the principal and the teachers and between the principal and the parents. Specifically, this article describes and analyzes 10 practices that illuminate each of the five facets of trust. Ultimately, trust was found to be a powerful support for school improvement in this setting.

The adequate yearly progress (AYP) provisions of the No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB) are complex and multi-faceted. For example, under NCLB a school must meet AYP benchmarks established by both state and federal governments. Moreover, 10 different subgroup populations in a school (e.g., students with disabilities, Hispanic students, economically disadvantaged students) must meet the goals established as targets for a school. If any one of the 10 subgroups does not meet the target goals, the school will not meet AYP. If this were to occur for more than two consecutive years, schools receiving federal Title I funding (aid for schools in economic need) could face sanctions, such as being required to notify parents of the school’s status, allowing students to transfer to a school that made AYP within the same district, setting aside up to 5% of their Title I funds for transporting students, and/or implementing a 2-year school improvement plan. Furthermore, these sanctions increase in severity every year that a Title I school does not make AYP; thus, Title I schools are under increasing pressure from policy makers to close the achievement gap and to improve the education for all students.

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Trust and School Reform Implementation

ePub

PEDRO REYES

CELESTE ALEXANDER

SARAH DIEM

ABSTRACT: This article presents an analysis of data collected during an evaluation of a Carnegie initiative, Schools for a New Society, implemented in a large urban district in the South. Findings suggest that the initiative’s four strategic assumptions have been addressed at least partially: First, school and community representatives have jointly redesigned high schools; second, factory model high schools are transforming into small learning communities; third, changes are being systemically addressed across the district; and, fourth, public–private partnerships are helping raise dollars for public schools. As such, this article analyzes the transformation of a school into a small learning community and the importance of trust in creating a school climate conducive to school change.

In the last 50 years, the percentage of schools enrolling more than 1,000 students has grown from 7% to 25%. Between 1988–1989 and 1998–1999, the number of high schools with more than 1,500 students doubled (Klonsky, 2002). In addition, the number of schools in America has decreased by 70%, and the average school size has increased by 5 times (Klonsky, 2000). Figures reported by the Texas Education Agency (1998, 1999, 2007) indicated a statewide increase in enrollment of 1,352,017 students between 1987 and 2007.

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Preparing Educational Leaders to Build Transformative Communities of Involvement: The Importance of Trust

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MICHELLE D. YOUNG

BRADLEY C. CARPENTER

ABSTRACT: This article is drawn from a qualitative study of the role that school building leaders play in building parent and community involvement in their schools. The article focuses on four of the principals involved in the study who—with their students, staff, parents, and community members—developed inclusive, meaningful, and transformative communities of involvement. The article delineates the contours of transformative communities of involvement within a discussion of five models of involvement. Subsequently, the beliefs that appeared to support the leaders work to develop and sustain such communities are examined, along with a rich discussion of the role that trust played in their efforts and success.

Research and practice over the past two decades have provided compelling evidence that community involvement in schools can substantially improve the quality of students’ educational and developmental experiences. As a result, requirements for involvement—particularly, parental involvement—have been woven into educational policy (e.g., No Child Left Behind) and national leadership standards (e.g., Interstate School Leaders Licensure Consortium standards). To capitalize on the accumulation of evidence and increased emphasis, it is important that we unpack our understandings of involvement within the school setting (López & Vázquez, 2006; Young, 1997). We must determine which forms of involvement have the most beneficial impact on students and their school communities; we must also understand under what conditions (i.e., environments where there is mutual trust) beneficial forms of involvement thrive and we must seek to understand how best to prepare educators to build and support such involvement.

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