Volume 16 Issue 2

Organizational Learning Mechanisms and Leadership Succession: Key Elements of Planned School Change

By: Chen Schechter and Ilana Tishler

ABSTRACT: The growing complexity of schoolwork in the current turbulent and unstable environment requires schools to plan for both structural and pedagogical changes. Planning for school change, however, has been increasingly hindered by leadership succession that dramatically affects organizational stability. Although a common phenomenon in our competitive educational realm, leadership succession during school change process has been under-explored. This article illuminates both processes of leadership succession and Organizational Learning Mechanisms (OLMs) as key elements in planned school change. It is argued that institutionalizing OLMs (arenas where knowledge can be analyzed and shared by individual members and then become the property of the entire organization through dissemination and changes in standard routines and procedures) can support the development and retention of a school’s memory; thus sustaining the change efforts subsequent to the departure of the original reformer(s).

Planning for School Improvement: Closing the Gap of Culture with Democratic Principles

By: Barbara J. Mallory and Charles A. Reavis

ABSTRACT: The gap of school culture is the first gap that principals need to address before and during implementation of school improvement strategies. The authors posit that building a school culture of democracycenteredness is a means to close the culture gap. The democracy-centered school is equipped to deal with external realities internally in a way that is perceived as engaging and participative. Applying Friedman’s analysis of context, narratives, and imagination to schools, this paper presents correlates of democracy-centered schools. The overlooked gap of school culture can be filled by democracy-centered leaders, who build capacity for school improvement using democratic principles. Although barriers are identified, including challenges for university principal preparation programs, the potential for sustained school improvement within schools is dependent on a democracy-centered school culture.

The Role of Planning in the School Improvement Program

By: Robert H. Beach and Ronald A. Lindahl

ABSTRACT: Henri Fayol is generally regarded as a foundational author on classical management theory. He enumerated five basic functions of management: planning, organizing, commanding, coordinating, and controlling. Consistent with Fayol’s model, over the past half-century, planning has generally been recognized by administrative theorists as one of the major functions expected of administrators, including school administrators. This article examines various approaches to educational planning, including the rational, incremental, mixed-scanning, and developmental models, and discusses how they can be used to guide large-scale school improvement processes.

No Leader Left Behind: Planning to Prepare Effective Educational Leaders in this Era of Accountability

By: Peter Litchka

ABSTRACT: The release of A Nation at Risk (NCEE, 1983) was a most significant event in creating a movement of reform in education across America. This report was very critical of the status of education in America and helped to spawn the standards and accountability movement in education, which is in existence today, including standards and increased accountability for educational leaders. While there is much research available on educational leadership and its evolution since A Nation at Risk was published, there also appears to be a growing body of research that suggests a shortage of educational leaders is occurring throughout the nation, both at the building and district level, in urban, suburban, and rural districts, and in each geographic section of the nation. It is essential, therefore, that current and future educational leaders have the knowledge, skills, and dispositions to lead our schools and school districts in a manner so that all children can achieve and be successful. It also means that the educational community must be willing and able to provide the appropriate amount of support and resources, so that there will be an adequate supply of excellent educational leaders now and in the future, and that such leaders will not be left behind as victims of the stress and politics of the contemporary landscape of educational leadership in America. This paper examines the depth of the shortage of educational leaders, the reasons for this shortage, and offers a recommendation that reflective leadership be an integral part of training, preparation, and support for present and future educational leaders.