This study was designed to answer the questions: What do practicing alternative school leaders believe are the essential roles and responsibilities of an effective alternative school leader and what do they believe are essential courses that should be included in an administrative preparation program so that alternative school leaders are adequately prepared to do their work?
A mixed-methods design—survey, interviews, and a Q-Sort—was used to answer the questions. The survey was developed to gather data on the strategic, cultural and instructional leadership practices essential to alternative school leaders. The survey also included questions about the usefulness of the leaders' administration preparation program in relation to their work. A factor analysis of the data identified seven scales. A one-way analysis of variance (ANOVA) was conducted on five of the scales to examine differences in ratings among groups of respondents.
An interview protocol was administered to seven licensed alternative school leaders. The interview was designed to explore how leaders used their role to create culture, curriculum, and instructional practices in their school. The interview also included a Q-Sort where interviewees engaged in two activities: ranking typical courses required for an administrative license based on their relative importance to alternative school leadership and identifying courses they felt should be part of future preparation programs.
Five elements essential to effective alternative school leadership emerged from analyses of the data: (a) build the capacity of staff, (b) advocate for the school, (c) develop a shared vision and collective responsibility for student success, (d) establish a climate for academic success, and (e) design relevant programs that connect students to school and the community. Analysis of the interview activities on coursework resulted in two leadership styles: philosophers and structuralists. Each group recommended different courses they felt were important to the role of alternative leaders.
The study concluded with a set of recommendations for the practice of alternative school leadership, professional development for prospective and veteran alternative school leaders, and future research.
It is hoped by the author, that the results of this study provide insight into the complex work of alternative school leadership.
|Commitee:||Ruhl, Thomas, Tannenbaum, Michael|
|School:||Lewis and Clark College|
|School Location:||United States -- Oregon|
|Source:||DAI-A 68/11, Dissertation Abstracts International|
|Subjects:||School administration, Secondary education|
|Keywords:||Alternative education, Effective schools, Leadership|
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