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Distributed Leadership in Small Learning Communities: Effect on Student Achievement - Essay Example

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The complexity and challenges of school systems today are such that no one leader can meet the demands of daily leadership responsibilities. The previously held idea of the principal as an all-knowing leader has become traditional and obsolete. …
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Distributed Leadership in Small Learning Communities: Effect on Student Achievement
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Distributed Leadership in Small Learning Communities: Effect on Student Achievement

Download file to see previous pages... Hence, the role of the principal has gone beyond managing the daily affairs of the school and supervising teachers, to include knowledge in, and management of other areas of expertise such as data analysis, professional development, development of learning organizations within the school, mentoring of staff, and political tasks. (Ritchie & Woods, 2007) Principals are constantly faced with high demands to increase student achievement in accordance with the mandate of the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001 (Jaimes, 2010).
The challenge is critical in inner city high schools where interest in learning has declined and schools have become factories for student dropouts (Canada, 2010). In such situations, a single leader–centered school cannot manage many aspects of school structures as effectively and in a timely manner as one in which leadership roles are distributed among key staff (Angelle, 2010). School administrators have three roles that include managerial, political and instructional (Spillane and Diamond, 2007). As a manager, the principal is faced with budgeting, hiring, school planning, scheduling and building maintenance. His instructional roles include teacher supervision and evaluation, facilitating of professional growth, instructional planning and the developing of the school’s vision and mission statements, power distributions, staff member negotiations, creation of alliances and building coalitions with stakeholders. (Muijs & Harris, 2007) The decline of interest in schools, the lack of motivation to learn, and the widening achievement gap in the standardized tests, have brought the need to take a closer look at ways to improve the nation’s school system. Educators and researchers of educational leadership have embraced a re-think of leadership practice as a collective effort. (Lieberman et al., 2007) The focus of educators may have increased with the increased need for accountability system, but the importance of collaboration remains paramount to school success (Angelle, 2010). Distributed leadership (DL) evolved as the need to improve student achievement increased, and the financial resources to accommodate more administrators decreased. Distributed leadership (DL) has been defined by many writers as shared leadership, capacity building, and transformational leadership (Leithwood and Jantzi, 2003). Spillane (2005) defines DL as a leadership that is built on the interaction of leaders and their followers as they execute their leadership tasks. According to Hirsh & Hord, (2008), distributed leadership is a leadership practice that allows an organization to benefit from the combined expertise and joint interaction of school leaders and their followers as they utilize material and operational artifacts to work collaboratively toward a common goal so that the outcome is greater than the sum of their individual actions (Hogan, 2007; Spillane, 2005). This type of leadership involves giving staff members, most times identified as teacher leaders, some leadership responsibilities and authority to act, while the principal assumes the role of architect of the organization. Distributing leadership is achieved by weaving teachers into the organizational structures of the school so that everyone understands his ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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