1191 Articles
Medium 9781475836745

Talking About Race: Overcoming Fear in the Process of Change

Rowman & Littlefield Publishers ePub

EMILY LILJA PALMER

KAREN SEASHORE LOUIS

Talking about Race

Overcoming Fear in the Process of Change

ABSTRACT: Purpose: We investigated the way in which structured, multiyear conversations about race and institutional racism occurred in suburban secondary schools with changing racial demographics. Research Framework: The study draws on interpretive research traditions, in that we assume that how teachers understand race and racism will influence how they work with colleagues and students. As such, the research examines to what extent talking about race and learning about institutional racism affects educators’ mental models and their classroom practices. Method: Secondary schools in three districts that had participated in ongoing professional development related to racial equity were selected. Grounded theory methods were used for data collection, coding, and analysis of interviews with teachers and administrators. Findings: This study revealed that principal leadership affected teachers’ engagement in this work. When this occurred, teachers made meaningful changes in classroom practices and their school communities. The primary findings of the study are: (1) fear of being considered racist was a barrier for White teachers and administrators that impeded collective focus on racial achievement gaps; (2) principals’ deep personal engagement over a period of several years encouraged a process of confronting and mitigating this fear, and helped teachers engage with the implications of race for school and classroom practices. Significance: Discomfort, a critical element in confronting racial inequities in schools, requires school leaders, particularly principals, to authentically participate and engage in order to foster teacher change.

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Medium 9781475836745

Central District Office Leadership for Diversity and Equity: Constraints and Opportunities for Policy Intermediaries

Rowman & Littlefield Publishers ePub

ALLISON MATTHEIS

Central District Office Leadership for Diversity and Equity

Constraints and Opportunities for Policy Intermediaries

ABSTRACT: This article reports the findings of a multiyear investigation of school district central office directors of diversity and equity in Minnesota, who play an important role in school desegregation/integration policy implementation. Ethnographic and survey data were collected to examine a range of leadership activities and perspectives in communities across the state that received state funding for integration programming. In this article, I present findings that illustrate the role of integration leaders as boundary-spanning policy intermediaries who navigate competing frames of meaning about the purpose and value of diversity in learning environments. Learning from these school district leaders’ focus on educational equity in the context of changing demographics offers opportunities to address local community needs more directly.

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Medium 9781475836745

“The Click-Clack of Her Heels and the Jingle of Her Keys”: Exploring the Tensions in the Leadership of a Successful Turnaround Principal

Rowman & Littlefield Publishers ePub

ULRICH C. REITZUG

KIMBERLY KAPPLER HEWITT

“The Click-Clack of Her Heels and the Jingle of Her Keys”

Exploring the Tensions in the Leadership of a Successful Turnaround Principal

ABSTRACT: This qualitative case study explores the practices and tensions of being an effective principal in a turnaround school through an in-depth analysis of one principal who has been successful in several turnaround settings. Although principals have long been cited as foundational to a school’s success, being the principal of a turnaround school is a significantly different enterprise than being a principal of a non-turnaround school. Newly appointed turnaround principals are expected not only to generate significant improvement in achievement in schools that have been low-achieving for many years, but to do so in a short period of time.

To gain insight into the leadership practices of a principal who was successful in accomplishing school turnaround, we conducted interviews with 21 of the principal’s current and past colleagues, observed her in practice, analyzed documents related to her leadership, and interviewed her three times. In this report, we describe her leadership practice and conclude that it was characterized by four dynamic tensions that resulted in the turnaround of the schools she led:

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Medium 9781475836745

Leadership Performance Model for the Effective School Principal

Rowman & Littlefield Publishers ePub

DISRAELI M. HUTTON

Leadership Performance Model for the Effective School Principal

ABSTRACT: The article presents a conceptual model of effective school leadership which is based on the experience and knowledge gained from research work done with high-performing principals in the Jamaican school system. The basic and underlying premise is that to understand how leadership works, it is essential to explore the dimensions, components, and elements which shape and inform the behavior of the leaders. The article also presents the conceptual framework for the model and elaborates on the six dimensions which are the basis for analyzing and synthesizing leadership practice. The model would be useful as a diagnostic tool, and a guide for recruiting and developing training programs for principals.

KEY WORDS: Leadership Model, Principalship, Competencies, Personal Qualities, Performance

INTRODUCTION

Both practitioners and those who study leadership have advanced numerous approaches, styles, behaviors, and models for the improvement of performance, but there is no evidence that schools have been able to solve consistently, major problems related to student learning and school performance. In fact, given the context in which each school has to operate, no one intervention type will provide such a solution. Nevertheless, it cannot be denied that over the past 80 years much has been learned about leadership. This conceptual model seeks to add to our understanding of the approaches and strategies to improve leadership performance. First, the basic theory supporting the model is that as principals recognize and actively engage their personal qualities coupled with the skills or competencies necessary for effective leadership, performance outcomes are more likely to be improved. Second, the impact of their personal qualities will become even more effective if their personal character qualities, work performance qualities, and relationship maintenance qualities are deployed in accordance with the specific needs to be satisfied. Third, the intensity and maturity applied to these personal qualities will positively impact performance outcomes. In other words, the greater the intensity and maturity that are displayed (as far as personal factors are concerned) the greater will be the impact on the performance outcomes of principals. Fourth, the performance outcomes of principals will be determined by the nature of the relationship between personal qualities (which is moderated by intensity and maturity) and their mastery of the skills or competencies displayed. Fifth, in order to improve leadership performance, the model is proposing that leadership should be approached in a different way, that is, cementing the bond between personal qualities and transferable skills or competencies which are both at the heart of the model. Finally, the model dissects the leadership practice of high-performing principals into the component parts or basic elements in order to determine the factors associated with their success and demonstrates the role personal qualities play in leadership success and effectiveness, both as a descriptive and a predictive tool.

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Medium 9781475836745

Assistant Principals’ Perceptions of Value Added to School Success

Rowman & Littlefield Publishers ePub

ANNA SUN

ALAN R. SHOHO

Assistant Principals’ Perceptions of Value Added to School Success

ABSTRACT: With the quantitative and G-theory methodologies, this study investigated the perceptions of assistant principals in the states of Pennsylvania and Texas about their evolving roles and responsibilities. The research results suggest there was consistency in terms of the importance of the 56 school activities to the success of schools in teaching and learning as rated by assistant principals. Most of the 56 activities were considered important to teaching and learning by assistant principals regardless of their gender, age, years in present position, and years of experience in education, although there was still some unexplained variability in each assistant principal’s rater group.

KEY WORDS: Assistant Principal, School Leadership, G-theory

Traditionally, principals have responsibilities that include, but not limited to, setting direction, supervising curricula, advancing improvements, and increasing student achievements (e.g., Hallinger & Heck, 1998, 1996; Jacobson & Bezzina, 2008; Leithwood & Riehl, 2005; Muijs & Harris, 2002). However, the continuing onslaught of demands and external mandates from federal and state governments has now attained such pervasive magnitudes that many of today’s principals have found themselves reaching the limits of their dedication to their jobs. Leadership in schools might thus be a better practice of the distribution of leadership from other members and various sources in the leadership team (Gronn, 2002; Jason, Stone & Clark, 2009; Kaplan & Owings, 1999; Spillane, 2006), such as from assistant principals.

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