ERIC Number: EJ1018511
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2013
Beyond the Policy Memo: Designing to Strengthen the Practice of District Central Office Leadership for Instructional Improvement at Scale
Honig, Meredith I.
Yearbook of the National Society for the Study of Education, v112 n2 p256-273 2013
In school districts across the country, central office staff members are working to improve how they lead district-wide instructional improvement, but are finding few guides or supports for that work, what design researchers might call limited "designs" for their leadership. Superintendents frequently elevate school-based staff to district-level leadership positions on the basis of their successes in schools, but those staff often find those positions only generally defined and minimally supported. This chapter argues for the importance of design-based leadership research (DBLR) for advancing the research and practice of educational leadership, with a focus on school district central offices. DBLR, like other design-based research, calls on researchers to develop designs for practice. Unlike other such research in education that calls for designs for classrooms, DBLR focuses on designs for leaders. Researchers working in this mode develop designs for leadership practice that reflect the latest knowledge about how leaders matter for improved student results; they work alongside leaders to use that knowledge to design and engage in new forms of their own practice consistent with the knowledge and appropriate to their settings. Participants study the process to feed new knowledge into the partnership sites and the field. This chapter elaborates how such research differs from traditional scholarship on district central offices and forms of action research. Challenges to conducting DBLR include focusing practitioners on central offices (especially in tough budget times), capturing central office practice in DBLR knowledge-building activities, and growing and sustaining the work. Early experience illuminates how to address those challenges and advance DBLR partnerships that promise to significantly strengthen leadership practice in support of improved results for all students.
Descriptors: Educational Improvement, Leadership Responsibility, Instructional Leadership, Design, Educational Research, School Districts, Educational Administration, Leadership Qualities, Teacher Administrator Relationship, Partnerships in Education, Action Research, Central Office Administrators, Competence, Principals, Teacher Competencies, Instructional Effectiveness, Superintendents, Research Design
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Evaluative
Education Level: Elementary Secondary Education
Authoring Institution: N/A
Grant or Contract Numbers: N/A