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Thursday, November 17 • 3:00pm - 4:10pm
Contextual Issues and Challenges for Principals in High Needs Schools

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This session will focus on recent research and development activities being conducted by members of the high-need schools international project team (ISLDN). This session will focus on contextual issues and challenging that impact on principal leadership and practices that affect student performance. Four multi-perspective case studies will be presented – two case studies from the USA, one each from Sweden and NZ. This will provide a snap shot of findings to this point.

Key Leadership Practices in a Successful Turnaround Urban High-Needs K-8 Charter School in an Inner City Midwestern City (USA). Mette Lise Baran, Glady Van Harpen (Cardinal Stritch University)

The researchers will share ndings from a qualitative case study investigating key leadership practices considered to be vital in a successful turnaround of an urban high- needs K-8 charter school in a midwestern U.S. inner city. Findings reveal successful school leadership involves an unalterable commitment to the mission, vision, and goals unique
to the school. The principal and the leadership team promoted a culture of teaching and learning that placed a balanced focus on academics and character building or character development within the school and supporting community. High expectations and unwavering academic focus were demanded of everyone: Teachers, students, staff, and parents as stakeholders clearly understood the tremendous challenges in turning around a failing school. A proactive approach to “sweating the small stuff” places great emphasis on character building and fostering a sense of self-ef cacy in students and a mindset that they are responsible for chartering their own successful path.

The Role of District Level Leaders and Principals in a High Need Swedish School (Sweden). Olof Johansson, Monika Törnsén (Umeå University, Sweden)

This qualitative longitudinal study, conducted between 2013 and 2015, examines how district level leaders and principals in a suburban municipality with a diverse population confront the realities of working in a low-performing, high-need primary and secondary school, strongly affected by the dif culties in their students’ lives, and dealing with high principal and teacher turnover. We share ndings concerning district leader strategies and the leadership strategies of a new principal. The district leaders re a principal and create urgency to enforce necessary changes. The principal works actively with structural changes, to change the culture and build trust in her as the leader. The Swedish Schools Inspectorate reports severe criticism, parallel to emerging signs of increased organizational trust, teacher self-ef cacy, and a growing focus on issues concerning teaching and learning.

Leaders’ Perspectives on Sustaining Academic Success in a High-Needs School (Texas, USA). Bruce Barnett, Nathern Okilwa (University of Texas at San Antonio)

Schools situated in high-need contexts pose signi cant challenges to local educational agencies as well as the state and other stakeholders. These schools are usually majority-minority students, economically disadvantaged, and low performing with a high mobility rate and high turnover of teachers and administrators. When one such school de es the odds by transforming its culture coupled with achieving academic excellence, it attracts a great deal of interest. Often the focus turns to the school leadership—what are they doing differently? This is the case of Robbins Elementary School located in an urban setting in a major city in Texas. Robbins ES has excelled academically over the past 20 years despite all the factors that suggest it should be low performing. Therefore, the purpose of this study is to examine how Robbins ES has sustained high academic performance over the years. To achieve this goal we are particularly interested in studying the four principals who have been part of the success, dating back to 1993.

Teacher Leadership for Social Justice and Cultural Pluralism in Early Childhood Education: Three Cases From New Zealand With Implications for the U.S. (New Zealand). Stephen Louis Jacobson, University at Buffalo, SUNY; Geoffrey “Ross” Notman, University of Otago

With renewed policy interest in early childhood education (ECE) as an ef cient and effective approach to improving school success, this study explores the three case studies in New Zealand that have implications for the U.S. The study investigates teacher leadership practices in three ECE programs serving diverse communities in high needs areas in NZ. In terms of international relevance, NZ is a nation that promotes cultural pluralism with its indigenous population and growing Asian population. After exploring the national context in relation to the attainment of the Mario population, and the curriculum that is designed to enable children (and their families) to learn and grow through self-determination, the paper identi es strategies developed and implemented by ECE leaders that met the speci c needs of parent and students and built community competencies. The paper outlines policy considerations about the role of ECE teacher leadership for social justice and cultural pluralism, both in NZ and the U.S.

Thursday November 17, 2016 3:00pm - 4:10pm
Detroit Marriott at the Renaissance Center: Floor 5 - Joliet A

Attendees (9)