Central Office Literature Organizer
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Author(s)TitleJournalYearMethodologyTheoretical framework(s)Research QuestionsNotesFurther researchSeminal Texts? / Future reading
Farley-RippleResearch Use in School District Central Office Decision Making: A Case Study
Educational Management Administration & Leadership
2012embedded case studyevidence, organizational context, decision makers
How does research evidence inform central office curricular and instructional decisions in instrumental, conceptual, political and symbolic ways?
Supovitz: The Case for District-Based Reform: Leading, Building, and Sustaining School
􏰀 What research evidence is used and valued in central office decision-making?
􏰀 What factors shape research use in central office decision-making?
Bogotch & BrooksLinking School Level Innovations with an Urban School District's Central OfficeJournal of School Leadership1994quantitiave surveys school systems vs. school unit innovation (??)
What do principals consider to be innovative educational programs? Which central office departments are most aware of these innovative programs?
typical urban CO admin has little
followed by interviewsWhich central office departments are perceived by principals to effectively support program innovation in the schools? involvement other than supervision/$ in
(mixed methods?)What is the level of involvement of central office depts in school-based innovative educational programs?school-based innovation
Are there significant differences between central office job functions in terms of involvement and support of school-based program innovation?
BoylandPrincipals' Perceptions of the Superintendency: A Five-State StudyPlanning and Changing2013quantitative, exploratory study (survey)Do principals perceive the superintendency as a stressful position? a rewarding position? wider geographic area survey
What is the level of principals' interest in pursuing the superintendency?larger sample size survey
Are there district-level programs in place for mentoring prospective superintendent candidates?
Are there district-level programs in place for providing financial support for those princpials who are interested in pursuing the superintendent's license?
What are the principals' reasons for pursuing the superintendency? avoiding the superintendency?
For principals who are interested in the superintendency, what ideas do they have for practices or programs that might support their transition to the role?
Agullard & Goughnour: Central office inquiry: Assessing organization, roles, and actions to support school improvement
Chhoun, Gilkey, Gonzalez, Daly & CrispeelsThe Little District that Could: The Process of Building District-School TrustEducational Administration Quarterly2008exploratory participant case studytrust as variable in school reform; trust influence in ?
organizational development
The purpose of this study is to explore the process through which one dis- trict engaged in the development of trust between central office and
Honig & CoburnEvidence-Based Decision Making in School District Central OfficesEducational Policy2008literature review?school site leaders, stimulated by participation in a district-university partnership.
Farley-Ripple, Raffel & WelchAdministrator careers paths and decision processesJournal of Educational Administration2012embedded multiple case studycareer choice theory, social cognitiveOne of the most common circumstances surrounding administrators’ decisions
Baker, Punswick & Belt: School leadership stability, principal moves, and departures: evidence from Missouri. EAQ 46(4)
mixed methodsapproaches to career decision making
to enter and move within school administration was being recruited by a fellow educator.
Building policy from practice: District central office administrators' roles and capacity for implementing collaborative education policy
Educational Administration Quarterly2003embedded, comparative, qual case studyorganizational learning theoryWhat are the appropriate and productive roles for central office administrators in collaborative education policy implementation?
Principals who felt they had strong district support referenced this as a positive working
(direct, sustained observations)What capacity enables central office administrators to take on these roles?condition that contributed to their decision to stay.
LamPatterns and constraints of external environments of central office administrators: A contextual analysisAdministrator's Notebook1987quantitative 40 item matrix (SECI)organization theory, contingency theorychart patterns and constraints of the external environment of central office administrators in different settingsIf superintendents and assistant superintendents experience this much externalDo lower levels experience more scrutity
constraint, what are the amount of pressures at the lower and middle levels in the sysem?
or are they sheltered from above?
Goff, Gurthrie, Goldring & BickmanChanging principals leadership through feedback and coachingJournal of Educational Administration2014multiyear randomized experimentbehavior is enhanced when feedback is combined
Does the amount of coaching, when combined with feedback from teachers, change principals’ leadership practices, relative to those principals who
Providing meaningful feedback through principal assessment, and helping principals to
understanding the frequency and intensity many good articles in references
(multilevel exploratory factor analysis)with coachingreceive feedback alone?
adequately interpret feedback through coaching, are viable tools to improve leadership practice.
of coaching and how this compares to the
intensity of the typical group professional development experience
Honig & VenkateswaranSchool-central office relationships in evidence use: Understanding evidence use as a systems problemAmerican Journal of Education2012literature review
What are some of the ways central offices matter to school-level evidence-use processes and that schools matter to evidence use in central offices?
Multiple research studies confirm that school staff tend not to scan for evidence themselves
As researchers select theories as the basis for such frameworks, they wouldHonig: Where's the up in bottom up reform? Educational Policy 18(4)
What are the implications for researche on evidence use in education?
but rely on formally or informally designated school colleagues to make evidence available
also do well to highlight those theories that may reveal how central office– school relationships
to them and that central office admin- istrators are important supporters of those school-level
play out differently in the context of particular decisions or tasks and types of evidence.
information brokers
Honig & HatchCrafting coherence: How schools strategically manage multiple, external demandsEducational Researcher2004literature review
some school principals draw on models of the principalship that they associate with school
improvement and apply those models to their new contexts regardless of whether
those models might actually lead to improvement under current circumstances
Research also fails to illuminate specifically what district central offices do when they help
schools implement productive goals and strategies.
No small thing: School district central office bureaucracies and the implementation of new small autonomous schools initiatives
American Educational Research Journal2009multiyear comparative case studyorganizational innovation/learning theoryHow do central office administrators participate in these (small school) initiatives? With what results?
explore how CO administrators manage policy and practice changes at the intersection
Agullard & Goughnour: Central Office Inquiry (WestEd book available via UWG library)
(interviews, observations and documents)What conditions seem to mediate their participation and attendant outcomes?of multiple central office systemsArgyris & Schon: Organizational Learning II (book)
Leathwood, et.al: Conditions fostering organizational learning in schools. EAQ 34(2)
Mombourquette & BedardPrincipals' perspectives on the most helpful district leadership practices in supporting school-based leadership for learning
International Studies in Educational Administration
2014collective case studyprincipals' perceptions of district leadership practices that elevate and sustain student achievementcollaboration, setting goals, alignment of purpose matter
(semi-structured interviews)
Parylo & ZepedaDescribing an 'effective' principal: perceptions of the central office leadersSchool Leadership & Management2014membership categorisation analysisethnomethodologyHow do district leaders conceptualize the notion of effective leaders? (my words)instructional leadership is a key task of principalexamine perceptions of principal effectiveness based on other groups
using interviews
Honig & RaineyCentral office leadership in principal professional learning communities: the practice beneath the policyTeachers College Record2014embedded, comparative, case studysocio-cultural learning theory
To what extent are the central office admins who run PPLCs actually doing so in ways consistent with the goals of supporting principals learning
Appendix B has sample questions asked of principalsHow can we support central office staff in promoting principal development?
6 central office admins; direct observations(communities of practice)to strengthen their instructional leadership?
interviews; document reviews
District central offices as learning organizations: How sociocultural and organizational learning theories elaborate district central office
American Journal of Education2008literature revieworganizational and sociocultural learning theories
administrators' participation in teaching and learning improvement efforts
Street-level bureaucracy revisited: Frontline district central-office administrators as boundary spanners in education policy implementation
Educational Evaluation and Policy Analysis2006embedded, comparative, case studystreet-level bureaucracysome central office admins spend more time linking schools to community entitiescomparative studies of other districts with different accountability frameworks
management & sociological research on boundary spanningand in turn miss a link to the central office
neo-institutional theories of decision making
Districe central office leadership as teaching: How central office administrators support principals' development as instructional leaders
Educational Administration Quarterly2012comparative case studysociocultural and cognitive learning theoriesWhat do central office administrators do in their work with principals to strengthen principals’ instructional leadership?
Our methods do not allow us to claim that the ILDs’ work with their prin- cipals caused
researchers conduct in-depth examinations of how central office administrators go about their
Graczewski, Knudson & Holzman: Instructional leadership in practice: What does it look like, and what influence does it have?
To what extent do their practices seem consistent with helping principals learn how to strengthen their instructional leadership?actual changes in instructional leadership practice.work day-to-day and how they engage with school principals.
What conditions seem to mediate their engagement in those practices?
By starting with the principals’ priori- ties, be they in the form of questions or problems,
the ILDs aimed to help their principals make a connection between what they already valued
and their deeper engagement in instructional leadership
time spent buffering for principals also took away time supporting them in instructional ldrship
This analysis suggests that districts should take care to assign or hire staff with a ready
orientation to the work of principal support as teaching rather than monitoring and directing
or those interested in traditional area superintendencies
PetersonSchool district central office power and student performanceSchool Psychology International1999NELS database; follow-up interviewsn/a
we specifically hypothesize that students’ performance will be adversely affected by increased central district office involvement, once these other
results indicate that ‘top-down’ management of school buildings has deleterious effects on
quantitative null/alternative hypothesisvariables are controlled for.the quality of children’s education
we hypothesize that greater central district office involvement will lead to a more negative school climate and, thus, reduce students’ achievement.
To the extent that central offices are heavily involved in building level decisions,
we hypothesize that schools with choice will have more positive educational climates as a consequence of less top- down decision-making power.
they are actually harming their students.
Johnson & CrispeelsLinking the central office and its schools for reformEducational Administration Quarterly2010embedded case study (interviews,concepts of system linkages (to balance administrative
What are the linkages between the central office and its schools that support and constrain school reform and how do perceptions differ among the
trusting relationships appear to be an essential element for successful reform
Chrispeels: An emerging conceptual and practical framework for imple- menting district-wide effective schools reform
focus groups, observations, document review)controls and professional accountability)three key stakeholders: central office leaders, principals, and SLTs?
constant comparative data analysis In what ways are SLTs serving as a resource linkage between the central office accountability demands and schools’ desire for professional
(Strauss & Corbin)discretion in the reform process?
Youngs & KingPrincipal leadership for professional development to build school capacityEducational Administration Quarterly2002What is the nature of principal leadership related to professional development?
future studies of school leadership to increase capacity should include multiple schools from the same district or state
In what ways and to what extent does principal leadership related to professional development address school capacity?
Murphy & HallingerCharacteristics of instructionally effective school districtsThe Journal of Educational Research1988interviewed 12 superintendents
noted in articles previously published of broader data collection
goals were a major vehicle used to maintain excellence and promote improvement.
School objectives and district goals were tightly coordinated.
Barnes, Camburn, Sanders & Sebastian
Developing instructional leaders: Using mixed methods to explore the black box of planned change in principals' professional practice
Education Administration Quarterly2010mixed methods: randomized experiment How do the learning experiences of principals develop over the course of the 1st year of a sustained, multi-session, district-based leadership
Our results also raise questions about whether it is reasonable to expect dramatic rather than
do more mixed methods studies!
Tucker & Codding book: The principal challenge: Leading and managing schools in an era of accountability
followed by three case studies
development program? What instructional formats and content of the leadership develop- ment program influence principals’ learning experiences? How?
incremental innovations as a result of development pro- grams or policies that target
Do the principals who attended the DPD change their practice in the direction of program goals? How do they differ from principals not assigned to or
practicing leaders who must maintain their responsibilities even as they change their practice.
participating in the program? What is the nature of change—cognitive, conceptual, or behavioral— in principals’ practice during the year of the DPD?
Principals face structural constraints that can make dramatic change an unrealistic expectation.
Blase & BlaseEffective instructional leadership: Teachers' perspectives on how principals promote teaching and learning in schools.Journal of Educational Administration1999Blumer & Mean's sybolic interaction theory
What characteristics (e.g. strategies, behaviors, attitudes, goals) of school principals positively influence classroom teaching, and what effects do
instructional leadership themes: 1) talking with teachers to promote reflectioncase studies of effective instructional leadership incorporating students, parents, etc.
questionnairesuch characteristics have on classroom instruction?2) promoting professional growth
Strauss, Glaser & Corbin comparative analysis
Supovitz, Sirinides & MayHow principals and peers influence teaching and learningEducational Administration Quarterly2010quantitative principal leadership & peer influence frameworkIs principal leadership associated with teacher change in instruction? Is principal leadership associated with teacher peer influence?The results demonstrate a positive association for both principal and peer influencethese analyses be replicated with data from high schools
What is the relative magnitude of the association of principal leadership and peer influence with teacher change in instruction?with teachers' change in instructional practice in both ELA and mathematics.
replicate these results using principal perceptions of their leadership as opposed to teacher percep- tions of principal leadership
Is there a relationship between teacher change in instruction and increases in student learning in mathematics and/or ELA?The structural path from principal leadership to peer influence was also shown to be
In light of findings from the above questions, what are the indirect relationships among principal leadership, peer influence, change insignificant in both subjects,
instruction, and student learning?
The direct relationship between tea- chers’ change in instructional practice and whole-class
change in student learning was demonstrated for ELA but not mathematics.
Rorrer, Skrla & ScheurichDistricts as institutional actors in educational reformEducational Administration Quarterly2008narrative synthesis
we chose not to use a preexisting framework that stipulated the
What roles have districts served in reform? What role could districts serve to improve achievement and advance equity systemically?Four essential roles of districts in reform: a) providing instructional leadership,the field would be well served to avoid the “single solution” nature of inquiry that has
role of districts in reform.What would be the nature of district-level change neces- sary to systemically improve achievement and advance equity?b) reorienting the organization, c) establishing policy coherence, and been characteristic of a large portion of previous inquiry on districts
d) maintaining an equity focus.future inquiry into the role of districts, particularly those that utilize longitudinal and
comparative case studies, explore explicitly the variable coupling between and among the
four essential roles of districts as institutional actors
Chrispeels, Burke, Johnson & DalyAligning mental models of district and school leadership teams for reform coherenceEducation and Urban Society2008case study design (Yin, 2003)Leithwood (2004) four primary tasks of leadership
What is the mental model held by each of the key players (central office, principal, and leadership team members) regarding tasks of school leadership
Senge (1990) mental models
teams in the process of school improvement? In what ways do similarities and differences in mental models of leadership tasks influence the potential
of SLTs to serve as a bridge between the central office and school sites engaged in the process of reform?
Daly & ChrispeelsFrom problem to possibility: Leadership for implementing and deepening the processes of effective schoolsJournal for Effective Schools2005conceptual essay
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