Creating Communities in
Districts and Schools: The
Organizational Aspects of
Here we examine the general literature on organizational leadership and look at the cases of two school principals, one effective as a leader of staff development and one not so effective, due to important differences in cognitions—frames of reference—about schooling and the culture of school faculties. Chapter 10 is a companion of this one. In it we look at a study that compares staff development in districts containing very high- and very low-achieving schools, consider the results of leadership cognitions by school board/superintendent teams in districts with extremely high- and low-achieving schools, and finally look at teachers' perceptions of individual-, school faculty–, and district-governed staff development.
A caveat relates to our experience. We are optimistic about the potential for good leadership in our field. In the cases in Chapter 2 that represent our work we have watched leadership development that is heartwarming. Leadership in the sense that we emphasize— creating inquiring learning communities—is best developed by learning to lead school improvement efforts, which means learning to generate the kinds of staff development that lead to student learning.
The literature on leadership is enormous and contains considerable wise advice and well-developed procedures for creating vital organizations where attention is paid to improvement as well as to maintenance of current procedures.
That literature can be conveniently seen in terms of seven strands of inquiry that have a good deal in common. In addition to the common effort of trying to help leaders (and all personnel) balance maintenance with renewal, we can see within each strand the effort to move the ethos of the organization from an individualistic to a collaborative mode.