3050 Articles
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Medium 9781475823684

Teacher Perceptions of Parent Involvement in Middle School

Rowman & Littlefield Publishers ePub

DOUGLAS W. SMITH

ABSTRACT: Three hundred thirty-three middle school teachers were surveyed about current degree of, desires for, and obstacles to parent involvement in their schools. Teachers desired parents to be involved in PTO/PTA, volunteering, and chaperoning and not with curricular or school governance matters. About 10% of teachers reported parents are actively involved in their school. Reported barriers to parent involvement were inflexible parent work schedules, negative parent attitudes toward school, and lack of parent concern for children. Teachers report the ineffectiveness at using the telephone for communication with parents. Recommendations are made for nontraditional approaches to establishing parent involvement in middle schools.

I nvolving parents in the school can be a very difficult undertaking. Most teachers can tell horror stories about uncooperative, mean, and even violent parents. As a former inner-city middle school science teacher, I can remember many times just scratching my head and saying, “there must be an easier way!” Well, as many teachers have found out, there is an easier way—don’t bother with the parents! As is usually the case, the easy way is not the most effective way. This article presents the feelings, beliefs, and practices of 333 South Carolina middle school teachers regarding parent involvement in their schools.

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Medium 9781475823707

Connecting the Learning Organization, Strategic Planning, and Public Relations

Rowman & Littlefield Publishers ePub

BILL THORNTON AND GEORGE PERREAULT

ABSTRACT: Relatively little attention has been given to the interdependent relationships among learning organizations, strategic planning, and public relations. This article examines common perceptions about barriers to effective strategies planning in local school districts. The argument is made that regularly cited problems are really symptoms and not the root causes of failure. More specifically, the failure to comprehend the paradigm appropriately is presented as the primary reason why public schools have not maximized the benefits of this process. The development of a learning organization is then discussed and proposed as an effective step for creating a climate that eradicates this basic obstacle.

During the past two decades, corporate executives have often advocated the use of rational planning and management models for improving public elementary and secondary education. Organizational reengineering, total quality management, management by objectives, and strategic planning are prime examples of these paradigms. A quick Internet search indicates a growing number of local school districts across the nation have incorporated at least the rhetoric of these approaches, especially that of strategic planning.

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Medium 9781475823813

A Step Beyond No Child Left Behind: Is Florida the Future?

Rowman & Littlefield Publishers ePub

GEORGE E. PAWLAS

ABSTRACT: Schools face major challenges today that have been created by reform initiatives and expectations from Florida and federal legislation. This article focuses on the impact of accountability mandates on student achievement through the responses of central Florida school administrators at the elementary, middle, and high school levels. They were asked: How has increased accountability impacted your daily work? How has student achievement changed over the past 3 years in your schools? What has been done to improve student achievement? The findings have implications for principals and school public relations.

Educational reform initiatives since 2001 have focused on accountability for student performance. This was a dramatic shift in the focus of federal, state, and local policy away from the distribution of money and toward improved student test scores. No Child Left Behind (NCLB) requires that all states have in place accountability systems that provide for annual testing of all students in grades 3 through 8, the disaggregation of student test scores by groups sorted for demographics, continuous oversight, sanctions for poorly performing schools, and the option for parents of children in chronically low-performing schools to move their children to other schools (Elmore, 2004). Florida’s accountability system precedes NCLB and surpasses it in rigor.

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Medium 9781475823691

Faculty Trust: A Key to Student Achievement

Rowman & Littlefield Publishers ePub

WAYNE K. HOY

ABSTRACT: This inquiry is an analysis of faculty trust. First, the complex nature and meaning of the construct is explored, including its many facets, and a comprehensive definition of trust is proposed. Then the relationship between faculty trust in students and parents and its impact on student achievement is examined in a diverse sample of 97 high schools. Finally, based on the findings of the study, a set of recommendations is proposed for boards and school leaders to build, improve, and nurture trust among students, parents, and teachers.

Trust is a little like water—we all pay little attention to it until we need it but don’t have it. Yet, it seems axiomatic that if schools are to prosper and succeed, trust is crucial. Credibility and trust, however, are perishable commodities within any organization; they must be continually nurtured and renewed if they are to survive and grow (Schulman, 1993). Unfortunately, too often trust is reduced to a slogan or empty rhetoric. Principals exhort teachers to “just trust me.” Teachers insist that parents trust them to know what is best for their children. Students have little choice than to trust their learning to teachers; they are asked to believe the statements of teachers often without much independent evidence. Moreover, students who do not trust teachers and parents often build barriers to learning as they distance themselves from schools and build an alienated, rebellious youth culture.

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Medium 9781475823691

School Public Relations and the Principalship: An Interview With Denny R. Vincent

Rowman & Littlefield Publishers ePub

BONNIE C. JOHNSON

Principals today place more importance on and are spending more time on communication, marketing, public affairs, and public relations and engagement activities than ever before (NAESP, 2000). In the past, the central office was often in charge of public relations activities, but today increased parental and public demands on schools have compelled school-level administrators to play a greater role in promoting a positive reputation for their school.

The following is an interview with Denny Vincent, president of the 35,000 member National Association of Secondary School Principals (NASSP). Vincent has been a school administrator for over 23 years. He spent 11 years as an assistant principal, and for the past 12 years he has served as principal at Muhlenberg North High School in Greenville, Kentucky. In 1997, Vincent became a member of NASSP’s board of directors, and in 2002 he was elected as the organization’s president. His term in this position began in March 2002. The following interview focuses on Vincent’s views concerning the secondary school principal’s role in school public relations.

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Medium 9781475823684

Decentralization and School Council Empowerment in Kentucky: Implications for Community Relations

Rowman & Littlefield Publishers ePub

LARS G. BJÖRK
JOHN L. KEEDY

ABSTRACT: We introduce the topic of community building as a central ingredient of systemic reform. After noting that devolution of decision making has been characteristic of many organizations in the 1990s, we contend that decentralizing schooling implies empowerment both of teachers and parents. Having described school councils in Kentucky as illustrative of the twin trends of decentralization and empowerment, we note the (largely) disappointing results on teacher job attraction to council positions and on teacher and parent empowerment. We conclude that the teacher-parent-student relationship for poor families, precisely those targeted by the Kentucky reform cycle, is problematic: Reconfiguring this crucial relationship should in part frame “community relations” for the 21st century.

T he public press for education reform during the past several decades has produced a wide array of state legislation, policies, programs, and proposals for improving schools and student outcomes. National commission and task-force reports have called for revising curricula, instituting high-stakes accountability, restructuring schools, redesigning teacher and administrator preparation programs, and altering school governance structures and decision-making processes.

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Medium 9781475823707

New Standards for the School Public Relations Profession

Rowman & Littlefield Publishers ePub

MARSHA A. CHAPPELOW

As state standards for K–12 education become more prevalent in our school systems, the National School Public Relations Association (NSPRA) has created a set of new standards for the school public relations profession to raise the bar for school public relations practitioners and programs across the nation. These were introduced to members this summer at NSPRA’s 49th annual seminar.

Standards for the profession have been a tradition for NSPRA with the first set being created in the 1970s. According to Rich Bagin, APR, executive director of NSPRA, “These new standards focus on what standards should be in today’s world. Since standards are often seen as the hallmark of a profession, we are proud of our members who helped us accomplish this important task” (personal communication, August 22, 2002).

Two leaders in this team effort of developing the new standards were staff member Ken Muir, APR, and Kathy Miller, APR, the chair of the Standards of the Public Relations Profession Committee. Muir’s initial idea 3 years ago was to create a program through which NSPRA could accredit school public relations programs. But as Muir worked with the NSPRA board to research program accreditation it was decided that new standards should be set first. Muir believes that “These New Standards will give public relations professionals some standards against which to measure their program and the district’s total PR efforts” (personal communication, August 22, 2002).

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Medium 9781475823820

Public Relations in Rapidly Growing Suburban Districts: Insights from Texas Superintendents Bonny Cain and Doug Otto

Journal of School Public Relations Rowman & Littlefield Publishers ePub

JOHN M. DECMAN

Throughout Texas, enrollments in suburban school districts have been rising, and in some instances, the increases have been substantial. Causes of this demographic trend are multifaceted, but in most instances they are an intricate mix of state population growth and urban flight. Rapidly growing suburban districts, like all Texas districts, confront the realities of reform and accountability, and, at the same time, their superintendents struggle with three distinctive variables:

Largely because of these distinguishing characteristics, school public relations practices in these districts have become ever more essential to effective practice in school administration.

In an effort to broaden understanding of school public relations in growing suburban districts, interviews were conducted with two experienced superintendents. Dr. Bonny Cain has 26 years of professional experience and has been at the helm of the Pearland Independent School District for 5 years. Enrolling nearly 15,000 students, the school system is located south of Houston. In the past 10 years, enrollment in the district has risen by 80%. Dr. Doug Otto has been a superintendent in five states. With an admirable 25 years of experience in this difficult position, he has been the top administrator in the Plano Independent School District for the last 10 years. Enrolling more than 50,000 students, the Plano school system is located just north of Dallas, and its enrollment has increased by 36% in the last 10 years.

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Medium 9781475823813

Notes From the Guest Editors

Rowman & Littlefield Publishers ePub

PAMELA S. SALAZAR

MIMI WOLVERTON

SCHOOL PUBLIC RELATIONS AND NO CHILD LEFT BEHIND

In 2001, the federal government put into place the No Child Left Behind (NCLB) legislation. During the 10 years preceding this legislation, school districts experienced heightened attention focused on student achievement, accountability, standards, and testing. Increased scrutiny from an aggressive media and relentless bashing from dissatisfied stakeholders led, in many cases, to the dissemination of disruptive misinformation and conflict that further exacerbated such misunderstandings.

Since the inception of NCLB, public scrutiny has intensified. If the number of published articles in U.S. newspapers and wire services listed in the Nexis database is any indication, references to “adequate yearly progress”—the key benchmark for school performance under NCLB—nearly quadrupled between December 2002 and December 2003. Indeed, state and local news outlets have devoted significant space to announcements of schools making the “needs improvement” list and their “failure” to make adequate yearly progress. The following headlines illustrate the extent to which public examination of schools has increased and point to the dilemmas that districts now face as they attempt to defend their actions:

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Medium 9781475823813

Playing Up—Playing Down Adequate Yearly Progress Data: Lessons From a Large School District

Rowman & Littlefield Publishers ePub

R. KARLENE MCCORMICK-LEE

ABSTRACT: In Nevada, school districts are countywide, giving the state 17 districts, the largest of which is Clark County School District (CCSD). Nearly 70% of the entire state’s population resides in this county. For the past 10 years, population growth in this county has been the fastest in the nation. Such growth brings challenges especially with NCLB, which greatly expands the federal role in public education. Strict accountability is a key piece of NCLB, and Clark County, like all districts, has begun working toward these mandated goals. However, size and growth challenge large urban school districts in terms of communicating to the public with both accuracy and understandability.

In Nevada, there are 17 countywide school districts, and Clark County School District (CCSD) is the largest. Clark County, with a population of 1.8 million people, encompasses 7,910 square miles. Nearly 70% of the entire state’s population resides here. For the past 10 years, population growth in this county has been the fastest in the nation.

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Medium 9781475823691

Notes From the Editor

Rowman & Littlefield Publishers ePub

THEODORE J. KOWALSKI

The Journal’s editorial review board welcomes seven new members:

Michael P. Benway, Ph.D., superintendent, Valparaiso Community Schools, Valparaiso, Indiana

Lars G. Björk, Ed.D., associate professor, University of Kentucky, Lexington, Kentucky

Marsha Chappelow, Ph.D., assistant superintendent for communication services, Blue Valley Unified School District 229, Overland Park, Kansas

Gerard Fowler, J.D., Ph.D., associate professor, St. Louis University, St. Louis, Missouri

John Keedy, Ed.D., professor, University of Louisville, Louisville, Kentucky

George Peterson, Ph.D., Associate professor, University of Missouri–Columbia and associate executive director, University Council for Educational Administration (UCEA)

Mimi Wolverton, Ph.D., associate professor, University of Nevada, Las Vegas

Wayne K. Hoy, the Fawcett Professor in educational administration at the Ohio State University, is the author of this issue’s feature article. An internationally known scholar, his books, research, and articles focusing on organizational behavior in schools are widely used in administrator preparation programs. In this article, Professor Hoy examines a most timely communication and school reform topic—faculty trust and its effect on student achievement.

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Medium 9781475823691

School Public Relations and the Principalship: An Interview With Darrell Rud

Rowman & Littlefield Publishers ePub

LENOAR FOSTER

JANET A. GUYDEN

What would snapshots of the characteristics, roles, expectations, perceptions, and challenges of the contemporary principalship reveal? Recent reports on the principalship paint a picture of an individual whose work and activities are becoming increasingly more complex and demanding.

A myriad of tasks and responsibilities confront the principal on a daily basis. They include the need to establish an effective and nurturing learning climate for students, the need to provide strong and focused instructional leadership, and the need to address and solve personnel issues related to parental concerns, school discipline, and school safety. These and other responsibilities require the principal to balance management and instructional leadership. Importantly, these two role expectations increasingly place the principal in the public spotlight where communication and public relations skills are essential to win the support of internal and external stakeholders.

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Medium 9781475823684

School Public Relations and the Principalship: An Interview with Steven Mulvenon

Rowman & Littlefield Publishers ePub

PATRICIA DODD FLYNN

W hat is public relations like “in the trenches”? Steve Mulvenon has served as communications director for the Washoe County (Nevada) School District since 1987. Before that, he was public information director for the Salina (Kansas) Public Schools. In Kansas, he served as president of the Kansas School Public Relations Association. He has been a presenter at the National School Public Relations Association’s (NSPRA) annual seminar and is a recipient of NSPRA’s Gold Medallion. He received his Ph.D. in educational administration from Kansas State University in 1990.

The Washoe County School District (WCSD) is Nevada’s second-largest district, serving the Reno/Sparks and Lake Tahoe regions. WCSD enrolls more than 57,000 students in 83 schools, and employs about 6,000 teachers, administrators, counselors, and support personnel. Enrollment has nearly doubled since 1970. The student population is about 64% white (not Hispanic) and 36% minority, including American Indian, Asian/Pacific Islander, African American, and Hispanic students.

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Medium 9781475823684

Hiring a Superintendent: Public Relations Challenge

Rowman & Littlefield Publishers ePub

SANDRA LOWERY
SANDRA HARRIS
RUSSELL MARSHALL

ABSTRACT: This case study describes a community faced with hiring a superintendent in a school district undergoing substantial demographic changes. Four steps school leaders followed to establish a strong sense of community based on stakeholder representation are outlined. These steps included collaborating with all stakeholders, creating a profile based on stakeholder input, communicating the profile to a broad base, and interviewing candidates with a clarity of purpose based on the profile.

When longtime superintendent Bill Whatley1 announced his retirement, the board of trustees realized that a new superintendent would bring one more change to the already rapidly changing Rolling Hills Independent School District (ISD), a district of 16,000 students. During Whatley’s 14 years as superintendent, the district had grown from a farming and ranching community with 3,500 students to a fast-growing suburban district. As the city spread into Rolling Hills, the community and the school district both experienced rapid growth and significant transformations in the dynamics of involvement, leadership, and expectations. In addition, the community’s demographic profile changed. What had once been a conservative, rural, Anglo community now looked very different. In fact, for the first time ever, the community had just elected a Hispanic, democratic state senator! Things were changing in Rolling Hills ISD.

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Medium 9781475823707

Committees and Conflict: Developing a Conflict Resolution Framework

Rowman & Littlefield Publishers ePub

ANGELA SPAULDING

ABSTRACT: Just as committee work is an undeniable and inescapable reality of life in schools, so is conflict within the life of a committee. The goal of this article is to provide suggestions and direction toward committee development of such a framework and to remind committee members how to understand, direct, guide, and support conflict to achieve the objectives and goals of committee work.

With the move toward increasing community participation in school-level governance, numerous community and school members are finding themselves thrust into new committee roles. As they strive to successfully participate in school-based decision making, they face an undeniable and inescapable reality of committee life—that of conflict. Conflict is a natural by-product of human interaction. Conflict will originate from within the committee itself, and committee members will bring conflict that originated elsewhere into the committee dynamics. But no matter where it originates, conflict has the potential to negatively or positively impact committee success, depending upon the manner in which it is dealt. Dealt with effectively, conflict becomes functional and enhances the performance of a committee. Dealt with ineffectively, conflict becomes dysfunctional and will harm the relationship between committee members as well as hinder attainment of committee goals or objectives. However, many committee members see conflict as purely negative, but that is not always true. What is always true, however, is that conflict does not manage itself. To effectively deal with conflict, committees must have a well-established and understood framework for resolving conflict.

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