Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Information, training and tools for educational leadership in Delaware school boards
by Sechler, David, D.Ed., University of Delaware, 2015, 393; 3730275
Abstract (Summary)

School boards have the power to provide instructional leadership, but few school boards exercise that power and fewer still do so effectively.

The leadership power of school boards derives from their legal authority to set expectations, monitor progress and provide support. School boards that provide effective instructional leadership set district-wide expectations for student academic performance and then those boards monitor the district’s progress toward meeting those goals and provide support, generally in the form of policies and funding.

Most school boards, however, tend to focus on management rather than instruction, and restrict their involvement in instructional issues either to continuing practices of the past or to implementing the agenda of the superintendent.

The goal of this Educational Leadership Portfolio was to encourage and facilitate education leadership by Delaware school boards. The portfolio contains nine artifacts designed to help Delaware school boards to understand and to exercise their leadership power.

The artifacts are divided into three categories: Information, Training and Tools. Three of the four Information artifacts are booklets written for publication by the Delaware School Boards Association (DSBA). School Boards in Law and Regulation describes the legal and historical basis on which Delaware school boards exist and derive their power. Key Points in Research summarizes the literature on effective school boards. The Survey Analysis provides the results of a survey of Delaware school board members. The fourth Information artifact is an article, “When we understand the data, we are equipped to lead,” which was published in the National School Boards Association journal, American School.

The three Training artifacts were developed in workshop formats. Standard Setting for DCAS first presented the work of the Standard Setting Panels Delaware Comprehensive Assessment System (DCAS) and then provided guidance on how to understand and interpret the panels’ recommendations in the context of local Delaware school districts. Data 101 for School Board Members introduced participants to the student assessment data available on the Delaware Department of Education’s public web pages, and Data 201 is a follow-up workshop providing updates on the state’s student assessment system and extending participants’ data location and assessment skills.

Of the two Tools artifacts, the Discussion Protocol provides school boards with a structured way to examine and evaluate their work as school boards, and Effective Communication with Legislators is a manual of techniques for successful advocacy with Delaware’s elected officials. Effective Communication with Legislators also is the fourth booklet written to for publication by the DSBA.

Response to seven of the nine artifacts has been universally positive. Participants in Standard Setting for DCAS and Data 101 for School Board Members report increased skills and understanding, and multiple invitations to repeat the sessions indicate that they were valued. The four DSBA publications were well received when presented to the DSBA Board of Directors, and the American School article received positive comments from the journal’s editor. The remaining two artifacts are available to Delaware school boards, but have yet to be implemented.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Farley-Ripple, Elizabeth N.
Commitee: Francis, Susan, Hampel, Robert, Loftus, Dennis
School: University of Delaware
Department: Education
School Location: United States -- Delaware
Source: DAI-A 77/02(E), Dissertation Abstracts International
Source Type: DISSERTATION
Subjects: Educational leadership, School administration
Keywords: Delaware, Leadership, School boards, Tools, Training
Publication Number: 3730275
ISBN: 9781339164786
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