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ERIC Number: ED501559
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2008
Pages: 20
Abstractor: ERIC
A Mission of the Heart: What Does It Take to Transform a School? Insights Based on Interviews and Focus Groups with Principals and Superintendents from High-Needs Districts, Spring 2008
Public Agenda
In summer and fall of 2007, Public Agenda completed five focus groups with principals in high-needs districts and sixteen one-on-one interviews with superintendents and other high-ranking education officials including a state superintendent of education. Interviews followed a systematic interview guide revolving around two broad questions: (1) What makes an effective leader in a high-needs school? and (2) How can we attract, train, retain and support more effective leaders of this kind? Based on this qualitative research, twelve insights are outlined as a way to promote discussion about how to define, advance and find more effective leadership for high-needs schools: (1) Transformers versus Copers; (2) Instructional Leadership--Talk versus Action; (3) "Walking the Halls"; (4) Drinking in the Data--Not Drowning in It; (5) Parent Involvement; (6) Shaking Things Up versus Consensus-Building; (7) Recruiting from the Farm Team; (8) What Money Can Buy--and What It Can't; (9) Most Current Training? Irrelevant; (10) Mentors--What They Can Teach and What They Can't; (11) Want to Help Me Out? Cut the Red Tape; and (12) Just Let Me Focus on my Job. Acknowledged limitations of the study include its small-scale exploratory nature, a lack of independent analysis of student achievement in the schools and districts where leaders were interviewed, and under-representation of middle schools and high schools. Interviewee and Focus Group information and related publications are included.
Public Agenda. 6 East 39th Street, New York, NY 10016. Tel: 212-686-6610; Fax: 212-889-3461; Web site:
Publication Type: Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: Elementary Secondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: Wallace Foundation
Authoring Institution: Public Agenda