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ERIC Number: ED525517
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2010
Pages: 271
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: N/A
ISBN: ISBN-978-1-1244-9887-4
Building the Community School: How School Principals Can Lead in Addressing Educational and Social Challenges in South Africa
Witten, Allistair Mark
ProQuest LLC, Ed.D. Dissertation, Harvard University
A strong body of research in South Africa focuses on the in-school aspects of school improvement and the role that school principals play in establishing organizational structures to support teaching and learning, develop teacher capacity, and build a school culture conducive to academic performance. However, researchers have paid little attention to how the broader social, economic, and political environments of schools affect their core functions, and how school leaders address the challenges that emanate from these contexts, including poverty, crime, housing affordability, and ill-health. All can negatively influence student development and learning. In this study, I focus on what school leaders can do to identify, establish, and use community networks to support the social and cognitive development of children and young people. I used case studies to examine the work of three urban township schools and the principals' leadership roles in addressing HIV/AIDS and other social and educational challenges. I found that the principals adopted an integrated approach to school improvement that supports both the core processes of teaching and learning, "and" deals with some of the external social challenges that affect the student's well being and development. The support programs brought benefits to the schools and their surrounding communities that range from improved student health to employment opportunities for parents and other community members. These findings support the thesis that many South African schools will not be able to effectively address the many socio-economic challenges to schooling unless they operate within a broader network of community partnerships that support students' social and cognitive development. This study contributes to a deeper conceptual understanding of the "community school" in South Africa. It also provides an expanded understanding and definition of school leadership that has implications for preparing, training, and supporting current and aspiring school leaders. [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:]
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Publication Type: Dissertations/Theses - Doctoral Dissertations
Education Level: Elementary Secondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: South Africa