Volume 20 Issue 2

Planning University- Urban District Partnerships: Implications for Principal Preparation Programs

by Mark A. Gooden, Christian M. Bell, Richard M. Gonzales, and Amy P. Lippa

ABSTRACT: Urban school districts continue to face increased demands for improving student learning in PK12 settings. As a result, universities are faced with increased accountability, requiring their leadership preparation programs to be more effective and profi cient at monitoring and measuring the impact their graduates have on student achievement. Recent research supports creating university-district partnerships as part of a complex solution to address some of the demands by improving the effectiveness of principal preparation programs and thereby increasing the number of effective leaders prepared to work in urban schools. Findings from this work present some pitfalls to avoid and some recommendations for those interested in exploring university-district partnerships.

Planning Successful Mentoring
by Whitney Sherman Newcomb

ABSTRACT: Collaborative approaches to leadership through district/university partnerships and through mentoring relationships have the potential for developing collaborative leaders. One way to facilitate experiences and relationships with practicing school leaders is through focused and planned mentoring processes. The purpose of this essay is to provide a conceptual rationale for the importance of mentoring as a part of leadership development and to propose a planned process of mentoring for leadership programs.

The Tension Between Accountability Formatively: for Educational Planning
by Steve Myran and Jennifer K. Clayton

ABSTRACT: Today, educators fi nd themselves at the nexus of accountability and improvement (Earl & Fullan, 2003), contending with competing pressures to chase accountability measures and obtain short term gains, while at the same time embracing the principles of formatively (Erickson, 2007) that can promote sustained growth. While the pressures of accountability are often experienced as a push to meet standards without consideration for investments in the instructional core, the use of formative tools such as data-based decision making and formative program evaluation are geared toward iterative growth informed by ongoing data collection, analysis, and action. In our experience, working on both sides of these questions, we have found that the academy and the public schools lack much of the institutional knowledge needed to overcome these tensions.  We assert that if these competing pressures are allowed to go unresolved, they will undermine educators’ ability to focus on deep, substantive learning and to use assessment information to formatively point the way to program improvements. In order to better understand the sources of these tensions, we provide a synopsis of the history of program evaluation and databased decision making in education as well as a review of our own experience with these pressures in our work with the US Doe School Leadership Program grant. Lastly, we draw a number of conclusions about the importance of these issues for educational planners and the need to understand and carefully consider these competing pressures in order to avoid potential unintended consequences.

Authentic Planning for Leadership Preparation and Development
by Jennifer Mast, Jay Scribner, and Karen Sanzo

ABSTRACT: There has been a call for change in leadership preparation programs. The current revisioning of the landscape of leadership preparation is due in part to the rising accountability demands and the focus on the quality and purpose of preparation programs. One manifestation of this recognition is the funding of the School Leadership Program (SLP) beginning in 2002 by the United States Department of Education (USDE). The SLP grants are partnership efforts between school districts and other preparation organizations, which include institutes of higher education and not-for-profi t providers.  This paper presents a framework for partnership development from a planning perspective that looks at collaborative planning, the use of evidence-based decision making, and sense-making in developing future grants around the School Leadership Program effort.  A brief overview of leadership preparation is presented followed by a review of salient planning literature that provides the framework for planning an effective leadership preparation program involving a variety of partners.