A comparison of the leadership teams in two urban elementary schools
State mandates have provided schools with the opportunity to adopt shared decision making at the local school site as a reform strategy that provides students with more meaningful instruction while permitting their parents to have a strong voice in the process. In shared decision making, teachers and parents join administrators to implement initiatives that will help schools achieve their goals.
In New York State, legislative mandate sanctioned shared decision making with the creation of the leadership teams at the local school sites. This type of leadership has placed parents, teachers, and principals in the forefront to collectively debate and decide the quality of instruction in their schools.
The focus of this study is the school leadership team as it relates to school governance. This study seeks to understand how the leadership team functions in the school, what roles and responsibilities the team members assume, and the impact of the principal's style on this process.
The subjects in this study were teachers, parents, and principals who served as members of the leadership team in two public elementary schools. Data were derived from document analysis, observation, and interviews with principals, teachers, and parent team members.
Four distinct domains emerged from the data: parent involvement, leadership, teacher participation, and trust. (1) Parent Involvement: In one school and to a minor extent in the other school, parent leadership and activism made the implementation of team initiatives a success. (2) Leadership: The principal's leadership style was crucial in determining what roles, if any, the members on the team would assume. (3) Teacher Participation: In at least one school and to a minor extent in the other school, teacher leadership and activism bridged the gap among parents, teachers, and principals and improved communication. (4) Trust: Establishing a trusting relationship between the team members and the principal was essential to the success of the team.
The findings of this study strongly suggest that the leadership team members can assume many roles and that the principal's style and role as a team member can have a strong impact on how the other team members perceive their roles and responsibilities.
0524: Elementary education