How School Leaders Utilize Leadership Teams to Improve Schools Research Proposal

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Collaborative Leadership in Schools

Leadership Development and School Improvement

Effective schools are the key to America's future and the ability to maintain a competitive advantage. The future of America depends on the ability to maximize the student's ability to learn. Improving schools is an important goal that concerns everyone. School administration plays an important role in the ability to provide a learning environment that maximizes the learning potential of every student. The principal of the school is often viewed as the most important entity in achieving this goal.

When a school succeeds, the principal is often credited with leading the school to a successful outcome. However, when a school fails, they are often the one to blame. One cannot underestimate the importance of the principal in school outcomes. They set the policies and the tone that drives the staff in their daily routines. They set school vision and objectives. They oversee the implementation of plans to help schools achieve their goals. They are the one who is seen as shouldering the responsibility of school success or failure. Older learning models placed emphasis on the school principal as the key to driving success in the school environment.

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Recent research diverges from traditional thoughts about the principals and their role as the one who is singularly responsible for success or failure of the school. New paradigms recognize that although one cannot minimize the role of the principal in building an effective school system, they are not the only members of the team. Recent studies focus on the role of the principal as a facilitator of leadership among all members of the staff. They recognize the importance of the teacher and their role as a leader in the classroom. The effective principal uses the talents of their staff to reach their maximum potential.

Research Proposal on How School Leaders Utilize Leadership Teams to Improve Schools Assignment

The following will explore current research into the ability of the principal to build effective school leadership by utilizing the talents of other staff members to their full potential. It will examine the most recent studies in this changing paradigm about principals and their roles in developing the leadership skills of other staff members. It will support the thesis that effective leadership entails more than one's own leadership skill and that it involves the ability to make the most of other's talents as well. It will examine ways in which principals and other school administrators can improve the leadership abilities of other staff members by focusing on a team approach to leadership, rather than only focusing on the leadership potential of administrative staff.

Building School Capacity for Learning

The purpose of this study is to help find ways to help build schools that are more effective by increasing the learning potential of the students. It will focus on how principals can help to create an environment that will maximize the potential of the school for helping students to achieve their learning goals. The following research will explore the key elements in achieving the maximum learning goals of the school.

Leadership is the key to building effective schools. Research focuses on the role of the principal as the key leader in the school. However, there are others whose leadership ability determines the effectiveness of the school system (Spillane, 2004). Leadership in the schools goes beyond theory and is represented in the daily practice of the school setting (Spillane, 2004). Leadership is an active, rather than a passive force in the schools.

Teachers interact with the students more than the principals and administrators. They play an active leadership role in curriculum development. Often it is the principal, or administrator that sets the curriculum. However, teacher interaction can enhance the perspective of the principals, so that the lessons become meaningful to the student (Spillman, 2004). Listening to the ideas and perspectives of teachers is an important leadership task for principals. This type of interaction highlights the importance of other staff members besides the principals in terms of leadership duties. Often the principal and other administrators forms the vision, the teachers can provide practical feedback that makes the vision a reality in the classroom setting (Spillman, 2004). In practice, leadership is distributed among various levels of the staff.

Many principals are defined by their managerial abilities, rather than their work in instructional improvement (Supovitz, 2000). The principal does more than merely manage the budget. During the course of their day, they serve as a servant-leader, an organizational and social architect, an educator, a morale officer, moral advocate, child advocate, social worker, community activist, and crisis negotiator (Spillman, 2000). They must do all this while striving to raise student test scores and enhance the effectiveness of the school in academic achievement (Spillman, 2000).

This is a lot for one person to handle in one day. Schools are beginning to adopt the idea of team leadership. Under this model, leadership responsibilities and tasks are divided among staff. Each person is responsible for their little portion of the task, all under the guidance of administration to make certain that they are consistent with the goals and visions of the school. This approach makes teachers and other staff members a part of the team. It gives them ownership in the overall functioning of the school. Under this model, the principal acts as a shepherd to make certain that everyone stays on track (Spillman, 2000).

Competent teachers are necessary for effective classroom settings (Youngs & King, 2002). Every teacher adds to the capacity of the school to produce an effective learning environment. This learning capacity contains several different aspects. The first aspect consists of the teachers' individual knowledge, skills, and personalities that they bring to the classroom (Youngs & King, 2002). Teaching staff must be competent and current on their skills in order to provide the maximum learning environment.

Teachers must be able to perform in an organized school atmosphere in order to achieve maximum effectiveness. The school must have adequate resources for them to perform their job. The third component of school capacity involves the existence of coherent learning goals and a program that is directed towards achievement of those goals. School learning capacity is reduced when there is a lack of coherence among staff (Youngs & King, 2002). Everyone must be working toward the same goals in a consistent manner in order to achieve maximum school capacity. Youngs & King emphasize the importance of staff development in helping to achieve these goals.

Role Definition in Team Building

Within any social organization, every member must seek to define his or her own roles and place within the structure of the organization. In the school setting, many view roles as predefined by long-standing traditions within the educational system. These roles are based on a hierarchical, authoritarian model where the teacher is subordinate to the principal and the principal is subordinate to superintendent, etc. Under this model, each level of the organizational hierarchy must submit to the whims of the level above them. They have little chance for self-determination and can add little to the overall structure of the organization. Mandates and changes are passed from the top down. This model of school leadership survived well into the 1990s (Clabaugh & Rozycki, 1990). Sometimes, by the time a new policy makes its way into the classroom, it barely resembles the original concept. This structure makes for an inefficient system and makes for poor use of school resources and talent. Yet, this is the structure that has survived in the school system almost since its inception.

Until the 1990s, research focused on how to improve the leadership schools of principals and other school administrators. During the 1990s, the shift began to move away from the individual to focus on the school as an organizational system. It began to focus on social interactions and hierarchical relationships within the school system. During this time, it became accepted that the school system was not different from any other organization that produced a product. Researchers began to apply corporate leadership principals to the school system, leading to the idea that the school is not unique and that the same principals apply to this setting that apply to any other organization that exists for a common goal.

It is now recognized that school culture in which learning potential is maximized consists of several key elements. They include an inspired school vision that is clear, limited, and challenging (Brown, 2004). Instruction, learning opportunities, and assessments must be linked to the vision and mission of the school (Brown, 2004). Teachers and students must have enough time to do their work well (Brown, 2004). Close relationships between the teacher and student, student peers and other staff members must be promoted and maintained (Brown, 2004). Data-driven decision making systems also form a necessary portion of the learning environment (Brown, 2004). Finally, the district must offer flexibility and support for the school system (Brown, 2004). These elements are recognized as the most important for building strong schools that provide an excellent learning environment for youth.

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