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ERIC Number: ED531643
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2009
Pages: 275
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: N/A
ISBN: ISBN-978-1-1094-6169-5
Superintendent Perspectives on Learning-Walks: A Study of the Perspectives of Twelve Public School Superintendents in Washington State regarding the Presence of Principals in the Classroom
Finch, Peter Dallas
ProQuest LLC, Ed.D. Dissertation, Washington State University
No Child Left Behind has increased the demand for evidence of student achievement in America's public schools. As a result, the importance of the role of superintendent as instructional leader has increased. Some superintendents have responded to this demand by mandating that principals increase their presence in classrooms; yet, research on superintendent perspectives regarding this practice is lacking. The purpose of this study was to explore the perspectives of twelve superintendents in Washington State who have mandated that principals in their district must spend a portion of each day in classrooms. This qualitative study examined what the superintendents hoped to accomplish through the mandate and it explored the superintendents' beliefs about the structures and systems that they put into place to support the principals' implementation of this practice; in addition, the study analyzed the superintendents' perspectives in relation to various theories of leadership, change, and accountability in complex systems. The study found that superintendents hoped that the implementation of learning-walks would positively impact the instructional core. The adoption of a common instructional model was a prerequisite to effective implementation of learning-walks. With a common instructional model, instructional practices could be compared to a standard for quality. In districts where learning-walks had been implemented the longest, teachers joined administrators in learning-walks. Superintendents reported that this practice supported the development of a culture of continuous improvement. Various learning-walk practices were discovered, including principal learning-walks, superintendent-principal learning-walks, administrative team learning-walks, and teacher learning-walks. Some superintendents required principals to complete logs or forms to document follow-through. Others used face-to-face accountability, emphasizing that learning-walks were a means to an end. Superintendents implemented various structures and systems to support principals in their work to improve the instructional core. Frequently noted were the use of consultants, instructional coaches, and time for teachers to collaborate. Learning-walks provided opportunities for internal accountability, team learning, and the development of a shared vision for high quality instruction. Superintendents saw their role as developing principals' knowledge and skills, managing the pressure on staff, creating a culture of continuous improvement, and providing moral leadership to keep the focus on student learning. [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
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Washington
Identifiers - Laws, Policies, & Programs: No Child Left Behind Act 2001