In today's environment, schools are called on to educate more and more students to higher standards. With limited prospects for schools to obtain greater funding in order to achieve enhanced desirable educational outcomes like better graduation rates, higher enrollment in post-secondary education and better performance on state and national examinations, it is incumbent upon school leaders to employ current resources as effectively and efficiently as possible. This case study research project approaches its two subject schools (high-performing, suburban secondary schools) from a "new/improved" school finance perspective (Grubb & Huerta, 2001; Grubb, Huerta & Goe, 2006) that seeks to understand how resources are used effectively in order to give insight to those with responsibility for school improvement.
The case studies are informed by reference to the literature on effective schools, whole-school reform efforts, professional learning communities (PLC's) and school spending and finance. Data were gathered in a series of interviews with teachers and administrators at the two schools and observations of classroom instruction and educator meetings. Data were coded and analyzed to provide answers to the study's three research questions.
A cross-case analysis revealed that the two schools are intentionally employing a variety of "real" resources (personnel and materiel used to increase student learning) in their operation. The resource uses they share include creative staffing arrangements to provide academic support to students and guidance; job-focused staff development; collaboration and common planning time. Resource uses that are different at the two schools include the employment of students' background and ability to benefit from instruction; financial rewards programs, teachers' autonomy and sense of efficacy and the role of curriculum and assessment in the organization. At one of the schools, the activation of a coherent curriculum emerged as an important contributor to its unexpectedly high performance on achievement measures and in increasing students' opportunity to learn.
|School:||Teachers College, Columbia University|
|School Location:||United States -- New York|
|Source:||DAI-A 71/10, Dissertation Abstracts International|
|Subjects:||Education finance, Educational administration|
|Keywords:||Curriculum management, High-performing schools, Professional learning communities, Resource use|
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