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ERIC Number: ED519638
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2010
Pages: 296
Abstractor: As Provided
ISBN: ISBN-978-1-1242-2415-2
Laying the Groundwork for Distributed Instructional Leadership in Urban High Schools: How Principals Foster Department Chair Instructional Leadership Capacity
Klar, Hans W.
ProQuest LLC, Ph.D. Dissertation, The University of Wisconsin - Madison
A large corpus of literature has been compiled highlighting the essential role principals can play in effecting school improvement as instructional leaders. More recently, the growing body of literature associated with distributed forms of instructional leadership has focused on identifying its various forms, as well as its potential to enhance student achievement. Yet, specifically how the capabilities of such key leaders as high school department chairs can be fostered to allow for their participation in distributed models of instructional leadership has received considerably less attention, and, consequently, remains less well understood. In this study, a multi-site case study approach was utilized to identify the ways urban high school principals develop department chairs' leadership capacities to support the improvement of instructional practices within their departments. The qualitative research methods employed to develop the case study included interviewing, participant observations, and analyses of documents. The results of the study highlight the crucial role three urban high school principals played in fostering the capacities of their department chairs to enhance instruction within their departments. This enhancement was achieved across schools with varying degrees of success by: cultivating a shared understanding of distributed instructional leadership; providing opportunities to develop instructional leadership capacities; providing opportunities to be instructional leaders; monitoring chairs' needs, and providing support as required; and demonstrating a long-term commitment to distributed instructional leadership. A finding of particular interest was the principals' roles in transforming their schools' leadership teams into professional communities dedicated to leading instructionally focused school improvement efforts. In turn, these communities provided chairs with a model for cultivating professional communities within their own departments. The findings from this study provide researchers and practitioners with a greater understanding of the development of instructional leadership capacity. The findings also help to establish a sound basis for future research in the area of leadership development, and the building of school-wide instructional capacity. In particular, the contribute to the paucity of research focused on developing high school department chair instructional leadership capacity as a strategy for sustainable reform in urban high schools. [The dissertation citations contained here are published with the permission of ProQuest LLC. Further reproduction is prohibited without permission. Copies of dissertations may be obtained by Telephone (800) 1-800-521-0600. Web page:]
ProQuest LLC. 789 East Eisenhower Parkway, P.O. Box 1346, Ann Arbor, MI 48106. Tel: 800-521-0600; Web site:
Publication Type: Dissertations/Theses - Doctoral Dissertations
Education Level: Elementary Secondary Education; High Schools; Secondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A