Loading...
Thumbnail Image
Publication

Systems theory approach to the district central office's role in school improvement

Singer, Jackie Mania
Abstract
The purpose of this qualitative case study was to explore the relationships between the district central office and higher and lower performing elementary schools and to identify what influence, if any, these relationships have on the ability of schools to implement and sustain reform efforts to improve student outcomes. Participants included staff members at a district central office and elementary school principals from an urban school district. Data were collected through Social Network Analysis surveys, interviews, observations, and document review. UCINET and Netdraw were used to analyze Social Network Analysis surveys, and content analysis was used to analyze data obtained through interviews, observations, and document review. For the district involved in the study, findings revealed: (1) there are few relationships between members of the district central office and elementary schools, and of those that do exist, they are professional, not cohesive, and unreciprocated; (2) there are differences in the relationships between members of the district central office and principals of higher and lower performing schools; and (3) the relationships between the members of the district central office and principals affect the input and influence the school receives and the school's ability to provide feedback. The researcher concluded, in this district, the relationships between the district central office and elementary school principals are integral for system change and sustainability of reforms, the types of relationships that exist are important factors in improvement and sustainability of reforms, and in order for all schools to succeed, high and low performing schools need differentiated supports and services based on feedback. These conclusions led to recommendations for school districts for the implementation of reform efforts and suggestions for future research in this area.
Date
2014-12