3064 Articles
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Medium 9781475844849

Looking Behind the Curtain

Rowman & Littlefield Publishers ePub

Eleanor Drago-Severson

Patricia Maslin-Ostrowski
Jessica Blum-DeStefano

Looking Behind the Curtain

Principals’ Internal Experiences of Managing Pressing Challenges

ABSTRACT: This article extends mixed-methods longitudinal research with school and district leaders (2008–present) about their most pressing leadership challenges. Here—through in-depth, qualitative interviews—we explore how a subsample of 30 principals described and understood their internal experiences of addressing pressing challenges. More specifically, using an adaptive/technical lens, social-emotional frameworks, and constructive-developmental theory, we illuminate how principals’ social-emotional and developmental capacities influenced their leadership, and highlight findings with in-depth mini-cases. By focusing on the inner workings of principals’ leadership for managing change, this article offers implications for professional practice and school-wide change locally and globally, leadership preparation, policy, and future research.

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Medium 9781475844849

Embedding Performance Assessments for Leaders into Preparation

Rowman & Littlefield Publishers ePub

Margaret Terry Orr

Liz Hollingworth

Janice Cook

Embedding Performance Assessments for Leaders into Preparation

A Comparison of Approaches, Candidates, and Assessment Evidence

ABSTRACT: This article presents pilot study results of two leadership performance assessments, designed for a California principal preparation program and embedded in preparation using two learning approaches. The pilot study had two purposes: to evaluate the assessments’ content validity and to evaluate the candidates’ leadership skills as demonstrated through their assessment products and an independent self-assessment tool. The evidence showed the tasks to be valid and useful tools for formative leadership development for different candidates and school settings. Participant feedback on the assessments’ benefits and independent self-assessment ratings provided construct validation. We concluded that these are promising assessment tools for programs’ use in candidate assessment.

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Medium 9781475844849

Urban Principal Narratives on Including Black Boys with Emotional Disabilities

Rowman & Littlefield Publishers ePub

David E. DeMatthews

Urban Principal Narratives on Including Black Boys with Emotional Disabilities

ABSTRACT: Black boys in racially segregated urban schools are vulnerable to the trappings of the school-to-prison-pipeline. In this article, I use narrative inquiry and critical race theory (CRT) to examine the stories of two elementary school principals struggling to create more inclusive schools for Black boys with emotional disabilities (ED) in a racially segregated and low-performing district. Each principal narrative describes efforts to transition a student with ED from a district-created self-contained program to a full-time or near-full-time placement in an inclusive general education classroom. Despite the principals’ overall success in creating more inclusive schools for most students with disabilities in a challenging district context, each principal narrative ends with a student being unsuccessful in an inclusive setting and returned to a segregated program. The findings highlight how principals who recognize the vulnerability of Black boys in special education are compelled to create more inclusive schools, but can confront significant institutional, organizational, and social and emotional challenges. Applying CRT to these cases provides additional insights into how principals can develop inclusive schools and challenge segregated programs. While some inclusive leadership practices aimed at improving the educational outcomes of Black boys are identified throughout these narratives, the significance of the study lies in documenting and understanding how principals experience the barriers and challenges to creating more socially just and inclusive schools.

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Medium 9781475845914

Perceptions of Elementary Principals on Compass Evaluation System

Rowman & Littlefield Publishers ePub

Eboni Brown

Krishna Bista

Perceptions of Elementary Principals on Compass Evaluation System

A Case of Louisiana Schools

ABSTRACT: This study explores the perceptions of elementary school principals on the Compass teacher evaluation system in a Southern Louisiana school district in the United States. There were seven themes that emerged from the qualitative data analysis: compliance, subjectivity, accountability, expectation, confinement, inconsistency, and helpfulness. Data analysis led to the following major findings: (a) all principals comply with the functions of Compass; (b) principals experience subjectivity when using the Compass teacher evaluation system; (c) principals believe that Compass holds teachers accountable for their performances; (d) principals would like Compass to be consistent, unambiguous, and not place limitations on teacher practices; and (e) principals experience a lack of involvement and support from the central office.

KEY WORDS: Elementary Principals, Compass, Teacher Evaluation, Accountability, Professional Development, Central Office

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Medium 9781475845914

The Evaluation Process, Administrator Feedback, and Teacher Self-Efficacy

Rowman & Littlefield Publishers ePub

Rebeca Mireles-Rios

John A. Becchio

The Evaluation Process, Administrator Feedback, and Teacher Self-Efficacy

ABSTRACT: The teacher evaluation process provides opportunity for instructional feedback and teacher improvement, but also may influence the beliefs teachers have about the quality of their own work and their confidence levels as a teacher. Self-efficacy plays a vital role in determining teacher effectiveness and the students’ academic experience, but little is known about the impact the teacher evaluation process has on teacher self-efficacy. Interview data from 28 high school teachers indicated that the pre-observation meeting has potential to significantly benefit teachers. In addition, feedback from administrators that included both strengths and weaknesses during the post-observation phase seemed to have the most influence on teachers’ self-confidence. Implications of this study’s findings were provided and may be useful for administrators to conduct teacher evaluations in a manner that serves to enhance teacher self-efficacy.

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Medium 9781475844849

Student Bullying, Teacher Protection, and Administrator Role Ambiguity

Rowman & Littlefield Publishers ePub

W. Sean Kearney

Page Smith

Student Bullying, Teacher Protection, and Administrator Role Ambiguity

A Multi-level Analysis of Elementary Schools

ABSTRACT: This investigation examines the impact teacher protection and principal role ambiguity have on elementary school student bullying. Data were collected from 1,554 teachers and 198 campus administrators from 104 elementary schools in Texas. HLM analyses are employed to identify the effect that teacher protection, administrator role ambiguity, school size, and socioeconomic status have on student bullying. The findings indicate when teachers espouse a belief in protecting students from bullying and administrators clearly understand their roles, bullying incidents decrease. Thus, enhancing teacher protection and administrator role clarity may serve as useful tools to help educators reduce incidents of school bullying.

KEY WORDS: Student bullying, Teacher protection from bullying, Administrator role clarity

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Medium 9781475845914

Academic Optimism, Enabling Structures, and Student Achievement

Rowman & Littlefield Publishers ePub

Karen Anderson

Frances Kochan

Lisa A. W. Kensler

Ellen H. Reames

Academic Optimism, Enabling Structures, and Student Achievement

Delving into Relationships

ABSTRACT: This study examined the relationships between enabling structures, academic optimism, and student achievement to determine whether academic optimism served as a mediator between the two. Student achievement was measured using both criterion-referenced and norm-referenced tests. Findings indicated a relationship between academic optimism, enabling structures, and student achievement. Also, academic optimism appeared to serve as a mediator between enabling structures and norm-referenced assessments but did not correlate with criterion-referenced tests. This study is one of only a few seeking to establish connections among enabling structures, academic optimism, and student achievement, measured at the school level, in elementary schools. The use of mediation also offers a unique perspective on the literature.

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Medium 9781475844849

(Re)constructing the Language of the Achievement Gap to an Opportunity Gap

Rowman & Littlefield Publishers ePub

Osly J. Flores

(Re)constructing the Language of the Achievement Gap to an Opportunity Gap

The Counternarratives of Three African American Women School Leaders

ABSTRACT: This article situates the counternarrative of three African American female school principals and their leadership practices toward equity using a critical race theory framework (CRT). The data come from a larger exploratory study that addressed the understanding of the so-called achievement gap by school leaders. Four prevalent themes emerged through the use of a CRT analysis: (1) Mind-set toward opportunity gap; (2) recognizing issues: race, racism, and interest convergence; (3) holistic approaches toward “Our” students; and (4) the (real) opportunity of loss. I conclude with four contexts for implication for school leadership practice.

Key Words: School Leadership, Critical Race Theory, Counternarrative, ­Opportunity Gap, Social Justice

Introduction

The persistent discourse on the achievement gaps in educational circles demonstrates the challenge in the United States of providing adequate learning opportunities for all its students. The National Center for Education Statistics (2015) refers to the use of the so-called achievement gap terminology as occurring “when one groups of students (such as, students grouped by race/ethnicity, gender) outperforms another group and the difference in average scores for the two groups in statistically significant.”
The 44th annual Phi Delta Kappa/Gallup Poll (2012) on the public’s attitudes on public schools, for example, revealed that 89% of the national participants recognized that the closing of the achievement gap was something of a milestone (Bushaw & Lopez, 2012). Indeed, during the last couple of decades, the elevated federal and state accountability policies (Fusarelli, 2004) have further underscored and communicated how our public K–12 educational institutions have struggled to improve the educational achievements of our black and Latina/o students (Diamond, 2006). The extended focus and prominence on the achievement gap, however, has brought unfavorable conditions for some students. The terminology has become so readily accepted to suggest the cause of educational disparities to be inherent in black and Latino students’ (Venzant Chambers, 2009).

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Medium 9781475845914

Journey of a Culturally Responsive, Socially Just Leader

Rowman & Littlefield Publishers ePub

Sarah N. Newcomer

Kathleen M. Cowin

Journey of a Culturally Responsive, Socially Just Leader

ABSTRACT: Principals’ beliefs and actions have powerful outcomes in the lives of the students and families they serve. In this article, we offer the portrait of a long-standing principal of a diverse urban school where the student body is 90% Latinx, 65% English learners (ELs), and 87% eligible for free or reduced-price lunch. We explore many key practices cultivated during his tenure, including creating a bilingual campus, enacting expeditionary-style learning, and building a strong sense of community. We invite readers to consider important challenges and possibilities along their own journeys toward becoming more culturally responsive, socially just leaders.

KEY WORDS: Culturally Responsive Leadership, Social Justice Leadership, Portraiture, Culturally and Linguistically Diverse Schools, Community Engagement

Introduction

Principals are faced with a multitude of challenges in today’s schools. These demands include: an ongoing achievement gap, more aptly described as an opportunity gap, for ethnically, culturally, and linguistically diverse students (Au, 2011; DeShano da Silva, Huguley, Kakli, & Rao, 2007), inequitable funding (Darling-Hammond, 2004; Kozol, 1991), increasingly segregated schools (Gándara & Contreras, 2009; Orfield & Frankenberg, 2014), high-stakes accountability measures (Booher-Jennings, 2005; Mintrop, 2012), increased rate of students living in poverty (U.S. Census Bureau, 2016), and a shortage of teachers prepared to work with today’s diverse students (Frankenberg & Siegel-Hawley, 2008; Nieto, 2010). However, principals are also uniquely positioned to address these inequities. Cambron-McCabe and McCarthy (2005) note that school leaders face “one of the most important opportunities to influence social justice” (p. 208). How can aspiring and practicing principals rise to this opportunity?

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Medium 9781475845914

Why Principals Sidestep Instructional Leadership

Rowman & Littlefield Publishers ePub

Haim Shaked

Why Principals Sidestep Instructional Leadership

The Disregarded Question of Schools’ Primary Objective

ABSTRACT: Principal educators’ and policy makers’ predominant expectation from school principals to serve as instructional leaders—who engage primarily in a wide range of activities that clearly focus on improving teaching and learning for all students—has scarcely been applied in practice by principals in today’s schools. Researchers have found several reasons for this gap between professional recommendations and actual principal behavior. The current qualitative study, based on semi-structured interviews with 41 Israeli principals, suggests one more explanation for today’s reality of principals’ limited engagement in instructional leadership: Some principals uphold a non-academic definition of schools’ major goal—focusing on students’ well-being, social skills, values, etc.—and thereby claim that improvements in teaching and learning should not be at the top of the school administrators’ priorities. This goal as a possible mechanism underlying principals’ noncompliance has not been investigated to date.

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Medium 9781538114001

Scriptural Completion in the Infancy Gospel of James

Rowman & Littlefield Publishers ePub

Scriptural Completion in the Infancy Gospel of James

Markus Bockmuehl

Every authoritative text—perhaps any significant text—involves its hearers and readers in a process of engagement that invites or even requires the filling of gaps or breaks in what is written.1

In communities committed to canons of Holy Scripture, this engagement may at times appear to outsiders as little more than rationalization—the exposition of a static document in the service of a concern for authorized meaning. Closer observation, however, tends instead to uncover a complex, historically self-renewing process of relating text to intertext; of nuancing the tensions and suspensions of law and poetry and prophecy differentially; of continually rereading multiple senses of the text in light of each other; of the interplay of memory, retrieval, and aggiornamento within an interpreter’s living community of praxis, study, and worship.

At the same time, this process sometimes gives rise to a further stage of engagement with authoritative texts, more liminal and yet in other respects more generative than the picture just described. The very genesis of the scriptural texts themselves bears witness to a dynamic process of reception, appreciation, and transmission. In so doing, the sacred page gives rise to new, epiphenomenal text that may either become an integral part of the emerging scriptural voice or alternatively attain an independent authority of its own as a metatext that nevertheless remains associated in some sense with the generative personality of a Moses or an Ezra, a Paul or a John. This process has long been of interest to students of inter-textual and inner-biblical interpretation, of reception history and effective history, in both the Jewish and Christian scriptures.

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Medium 9781538114001

Transfiguring Doubt: A Retrieval from Augustine’s Meta-Apologetic in De Trinitate

Rowman & Littlefield Publishers ePub

Transfiguring Doubt: A Retrieval from Augustine’s Meta-Apologetic in De Trinitate

Clifton Stringer

Part I. Apologetic Contexts

1.1. Necessary Uncertainty?

In 2011, the late journalist Christopher Hitchens (1949–2011) debated John Haldane at Oxford on questions related to God, faith, and public policy. Hitchens began his opening statement by describing a curious fact about the death of American President Abraham Lincoln, as Lincoln expired in a room in Petersen House not far from Pennsylvania Avenue. Hitchens:

We still don’t know, when his cabinet gathered around him and saw him die . . . either [his cabinet member Stanton or Herndon] said, “Now he’s with the angels” or “Now he’s with the ages.” We still don’t know [which was said]. And there’s no reason why we shouldn’t. There were eyewitnesses, literate men, practically contemporaries of ours. They were in the age of print, in the age of photography, and yet nobody knows which thing Stanton or Herndon said.

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Medium 9781538114001

A Spirituality of the Word: The Medieval Roots of Traditional Anglican Worship

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A Spirituality of the Word: The Medieval Roots of Traditional Anglican Worship

Jesse D. Billett

Jesse D. Billett, Trinity College, University of Toronto, 6 Hoskin Avenue, Toronto, Ontario, M5S 1H8. Email: jesse.billett@utoronto.ca

The title of this paper1 is perhaps not one that would have been chosen by the priest and scholar in whose memory it is offered. Fr. Robert Darwin Crouse (1930–2011), Professor of Classics at Dalhousie University in Halifax, Nova Scotia, and several times Visiting Professor of Patrology at the Institutum Patristicum Augustinianum of the Pontifical Lateran University in Rome, was indeed deeply learned in the history and theology of the Middle Ages, that is, the millennium following the collapse of the Roman Empire in the West (conventionally dated ca. 500–1500). But I imagine that he would be disappointed that I was not going to show how Anglican liturgical spirituality could be traced right back to the Fathers of the early Christian centuries. No doubt that could be done. But the Middle Ages made their own distinctive contribution to Anglican worship that invites our attention. This paper addresses just one aspect of Anglican worship, the Divine Office, the daily services of Mattins and Evensong. The Divine Office has arguably been more important for Anglicans than it has been for any other Christian denomination. Until very recently, the offices of Mattins and Evensong, not the Eucharist, were for Anglicans the principal act of Sunday worship. And from the time of the Reformation the daily offices were proposed not just as a clerical or monastic discipline (as, for example, in the Roman communion), but as the joint prayer of the whole worshipping community, lay and ordained.

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Medium 9781538114001

The Sacramentality of the Church in Dumitru Stăniloae’s Theology

Rowman & Littlefield Publishers ePub

The Sacramentality of the Church in Dumitru Stăniloae’s Theology

Viorel Coman

The question of the Church’s sacramental nature has received significant attention in the bilateral and multilateral ecumenical dialogues over the last six decades. As Emmanuel Clapsis noted, the question itself was raised “because for some Christian churches and ecumenists (primarily Orthodox and Roman Catholic theologians) the Church is the sacrament of God’s presence in the world, while others (especially Protestant theologians) believe that while Christ is the sacrament of God’s grace in the world, the Church must not be called a sacrament. The Church is only a privileged instrument of God’s grace that leads to the unity in the Church of the whole world with Christ.”1 As was expected, the 1982 Munich document issued by the Joint International Commission for Theological Dialogue between the Orthodox Church and the Roman Catholic Church found therefore no difficulty in affirming the Church’s sacramental role: “The Church manifests what it is, the sacrament of the Trinitarian koinonia, the ‘dwelling of God with men’ (cf. Rev. 21:4).”2 When it comes to Protestant theologians, their reluctance to adopt the language of the sacramentality of the Church springs from their conviction that such an understanding of the ekklesia leads to triumphalism, obscures the distinction between Christ and the Church, and overlooks the sinfulness of those who make up the Church. In spite of that, a certain level of consensus on the theme of the Church’s sacramentality has been reached so far in the reports of the WCC Faith and Order Commission (Uppsala 1968; Accra 1974; Bangalore 1977; Chantilly 1985),3 as well as in the bilateral dialogues between the Roman Catholic Church and the Churches issued from the Reformation: “Towards a Common Understanding of the Church” § 94–113 (Reformed–Roman Catholic Dialogue, 1984–1990);4 “Church and Justification” § 118–134 (Lutheran–Roman Catholic Dialogue, 1993).5 The 2013 Faith and Order convergence text “The Church: Towards a Common Vision” § 25–27 constitutes another important example in this regard.6 However, the topic of the Church’s sacramental role needs further reflection, for it remains still an unresolved theological issue in the ecumenical discussions.

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Medium 9781475843057

Watt

Rowman & Littlefield Publishers ePub

The African American Male AVID Initiative

A Study of Implementation and Impact on Student Aspirations and School Performance

Karen M. Watt

Jeffery Huerta

Jennifer Butcher

ABSTRACT: This is a study of five high schools awarded external funding to implement a project, the African American Male Initiative (AAMI). During the first year of implementation, interviews, focus groups, surveys, and student academic transcripts provided sources of data. Survey data showed that AAMI students exhibited high aspirations and anticipations for college. In addition, significant positive correlations were found between the number of people students communicate with about college and financial aid requirement information and their level of college knowledge. Characteristics such as African American male mentoring and advocacy, raised expectations, and forming a “brotherhood” emerged from focus group data.

Purpose of the Study

This study examined the implementation process of the African American Male Initiative (AAMI) in five selected schools across the nation. The purpose was to identify any unique and common characteristics of AAMI implementation in each of the selected schools, as well as to explain the initiative’s impact on AAMI students’ aspirations and academic performance. The following research questions are addressed in this study:

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