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Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Building the Leadership Capacity to Achieve Instructional Focus and Increase Student Achievement
by Reynolds, Shanta, D.Ed., University of Delaware, 2018, 294; 10932380
Abstract (Summary)

New Castle County Vocational Technical School District (NCCVT) is a vocational school district in Delaware consisting of four high schools. NCCVT’s vision “is to deliver world-class Career and Technical programs combined with rigorous academic curricula to equip students with the 21st century skills that will best serve the State of Delaware and the global community” (NCCVT, 2018, para. 1). I have served as the principal of St. Georges Technical High School (St. Georges) since 2012. As the principal, I have recognized the value of distributive leadership.

Distributive leadership involves working with several people to help inform decision-making that will improve the performance of educators and increase student achievement. The shared responsibility and experiences that teachers encounter through distributive leadership affect teacher capacities and motivation. The portfolio focuses on building the necessary leadership capacity to both achieve our instructional focus and reach our student achievement goals. Specifically, the ELP (Building the leadership capacity to achieve instructional focus and increase student achievement) centers on developing three school-based teams of teachers and administrators working together to improve teacher practices focused on literacy. The three leadership teams developed are the Powerful Development Team (PDT), Instructional Leadership Team (ILT), and the Instructional Coaches. Particular attention is given to the PDT because they exemplified an effective model of how distributive leadership can be operationalized at the building level. The improvement strategies centered on achieving the instructional focus goals, increasing capacity and distributing leadership. Teachers and administrators worked collaboratively to complete the following: a) select leaders and establish the PDT, b) build leadership capacity, and c) teach leadership skills and literacy strategies. The improvement strategies resulted in the development of: a) a qualified team of teachers working collaboratively to accomplish the school-wide instructional goals, b) two teams of teachers (ILT and coaches) supporting instructors with implementation of the school-wide instructional focus, c) a PDT team learning leadership skills and literacy strategies; d) three teams (PDT, ILT, and coaches) enhancing the instruction of teachers. These developments led to an increase in student achievement, including an increase in scores on the PSAT and SAT. On both assessments the school scored above the district and state average. The PDT believes that our instructional focus on research-based literacy strategies that is aligned with the Common Core Standards played a major factor in the students’ increased achievement on the PSAT and SAT. Recommendations for the future include providing specific feedback and resources for candidates who are not selected to participate on the PDT, collecting and analyzing data to determine goals for the instructional leadership groups, reevaluating the administrative walkthrough tool, creating a coaches’ walkthrough tool, and providing additional training on the four disciplines that will help build a cohesive team and healthy organization.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Farley-Ripple, Elizabeth
Commitee: Farley-Ripple, Elizabeth, Hofstetter, Fred, Rouser, Shelley, Wilson, Jacquelyn
School: University of Delaware
Department: Education
School Location: United States -- Delaware
Source: DAI-A 80/03(E), Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Educational leadership, Educational administration, Secondary education
Keywords: Distributive leadership, Healthy organization, Instructional leadership team, Shared responsibility
Publication Number: 10932380
ISBN: 978-0-438-59619-1
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