Planning procedures and leadership role of the principal in professional development schools

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Pritchett, Duncan N. P.
Kowalski, Theodore J.
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Thesis (D. Ed.)
Department of Educational Leadership
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This study was designed to determine (a) the nature and extent of planning and programmatic changes that occurred in Indiana schools that have incorporated the Ball State University (BSU) Professional Development School (PDS) model; (b) how the implementation of these changes had impacted the school principal's roles and responsibilities; (c) whether the principal serving as site coordinator effected the school or principal's work; and (d) whether geographic classification effected process or outcomes. Interviews were conducted with the principal, site coordinators and teachers during March 1999. Findings:1.The principals, teachers, and university faculty were continuously involved in planning.2.Although the duration of planning varied, all schools used planning committees, research and multiple planning processes.3.The most notable changes were instructional modifications and collaborative teaching.4.Half of the principals (two urban and one suburban) became more facilitative and more inclined to use shared decision making.5.Half of the schools had a change in the principalship during planning; one school had four different principals during this period.6.Site coordinators had a positive influence on shared decision making.7.More change occurred in the urban schools. Conclusions:1. Ongoing communication and shared decision making helped diminish possible negative consequences of principal turnover during planning.2.Differences in planning duration and frequency did not appear to affect outcomes.3.Transition to a PDS had more effects on the urban schools, suggesting that climates and cultures in suburban schools were initially more congruous with the PDS philosophy.4.The philosophy of the PDS requires a collaborative leadership style on the part of the principal. Those unwilling to assume this role are likely to withdraw from the principalship. Having the principal not serve as the site coordinator promotes collaboration and shared authority.5.Suburban educators were inclined to view PDS issues politically, while the urban educators were inclined to view them economically.Recommendations:1. The leadership style of a principal should be a primary consideration in selecting possible PDS sites.2.Longitudinal studies of PDSs should be conducted in the areas of student academic growth, curriculum, and faculty satisfaction.