Urban school district central office leadership processes and structures sustain school reform





Degree Name



This qualitative research studied the role of an urban school district central office in sustaining school reform. Four elite interviews, with district central office administrators who had also been principals of schools successful in reform, and surveys, completed by principals of 10 schools currently engaged in reform, were data sources for this study. The data were analyzed using grounded theory methodology. The substantive theory that emerged from the grounded theory analysis showed that urban school district central office leadership occupies a key position in successful school reform. District leaders who develop a team of leaders that collaborate, build relationships yielding trust, and problem solve issues are most effective in supporting school reform. Facilitative and reciprocal processes of questioning, listening, reflecting, and engaging in conversation define progressive interactions that lead to successful collaboration. District leaders oversee structures that include establishing and communicating the district vision, holding district- and school-staff accountable for working toward that vision, and ensuring the vision drives resource allocation. The structure of the urban school district central office plays an important role in the helpful service to reforming schools. School district central office departments need to understand how the district vision drives their work and how schools operate. Communication among district departments and collaboration about their work and service to schools lessens their bureaucratic stance toward schools. Specific district central office processes that school principals and central office administrators identified as important to support reform included curriculum support instructional leadership ongoing professional development timely and strategic staff hiring and easily understood., well-timed student data.

This document is currently not available here.