ERIC Number: ED380887
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 1995-Jan
Reference Count: N/A
Discovering the Meaning of Unity of Purpose: A Case Study of Fourteen Accelerated Schools.
Davidson, Betty M.; Dell, Geralyn L.
This paper presents findings of a study that examined how teachers restructuring schools came to understand the meaning of the term "unity of purpose." Fourteen Louisiana schools, comprised primarily of high-risk student populations, implemented the accelerated-schools model of restructuring. The accelerated school model is based on three principles: unity of purpose, empowerment coupled with responsibility, and building on strengths. Data were gathered from observations of and interviews with 70 teachers from 14 first-year accelerated schools, both rural and urban, across Louisiana. Teachers in the schools' taking-stock process exhibited similar behavior patterns. First, "doubting Thomases" imperiled the development of group unity and program success. Second, the process created opportunities for school staff to communicate and reflect. Committee meetings, surveys, networks, and reflective practices helped teachers gain information, share ideas, express concerns, and develop trust. Third, internal and external divisions threatened group unity. Some of the divisions arose from perceptions of core teachers as elitist, lack of understanding about the project, confusion about the term "empowerment," indifference, pressures for gains in student achievement scores, differences of opinion about curriculum and instruction, isolation, racial misunderstandings, and concerns of teacher autonomy. Finally, reflection was a key factor in healing and reducing conflict. One table is included. (Contains 19 references.) (LMI)
Descriptors: Acceleration (Education), Adoption (Ideas), Educational Change, Elementary Secondary Education, Group Unity, Interprofessional Relationship, Participative Decision Making, Resistance to Change, School Based Management, School Community Relationship, School Restructuring, Teacher Attitudes, Teacher Behavior
Publication Type: Speeches/Meeting Papers; Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Louisiana