Contents

Learning-Focused Leadership and Leadership Support: Meaning and Practice in Urban Systems

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 Learning-Focused Leadership and Leadership Support: Meaning and Practice in Urban Systems

1. From Payne, C. M. (2008). So much reform: So little change: The persistence of failure in urban schools. Cambridge, MA: Harvard Education Press. The quoted passage as a whole is found on pages 33–34. The principal’s reflections cited in this passage come from: Marshall, K. (2003). A principal looks back: Standards matter. Phi Delta Kappan 85, 104–113, and are found on pages 107 and 109.

2. Portin, B. S., Knapp, M. S., Dareff, S., Feldman, S., Russell, F. A., Samuelson, C., & Yeh, T. L. (2009). Leadership for learning improvement in urban schools. Seattle, WA: Center for the Study of Teaching and Policy, University of Washington. Details of this case on this page and the next come from a school case portrait developed for this research.

3. These ideas build on others’ work using similar terms, for example, writing that has directed attention to “learningcentered leadership”—Murphy, J., Elliott, S. N., Goldring, E., & Porter, A. C. (2006). Learning-centered leadership: A conceptual foundation. New York: The Wallace Foundation—and “leadership for learning”—Resnick, L., & Glennan, T. (2002). Leadership for learning: A theory of action for urban school districts, in A. Hightower, M. S. Knapp, J. Marsh, & M. W. McLaughlin (Eds.), School districts and instructional renewal (pp. 160–172). New York: Teachers College Press; Stoll, L., Fink, D., & Earl, L. (2003). It’s about learning [and it’s about time]: What’s in it for schools? London & New York: Routledge Falmer; and Swaffield, S., & MacBeath , J. (2009). Leadership for learning, in Macbeath, J., & Dempster, N. (Eds.), Connecting leadership and learning: Principles for practice (pp. 32–52). London and New York: Routledge). We note also that others use similar terms, though not necessarily in all the ways that we do—for example, C. Glickman’s Leadership for learning (Alexandria VA: Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development, 2002) focuses primarily on the direct guidance that school principals (or others) offer their teaching staff; P. Schlechty’s Leading for learning (San Francisco: Jossey-Bass, 2009) concentrates instead on how schools can be transformed into learning organizations; and Learner-centered leadership (an edited volume by A. B. Danzig, K.M. Borman, B. A. Jones, and W. F. Wright, Mahway NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum, 2009) emphasizes leadership training approaches that foster learning communities. Although these latter works do share some resemblances with our own, they were not central to the development of our thinking.

4. For a fuller discussion of these ideas, see Knapp, M. S., Copland, M. A., & Talbert, J. E. (2003). Leading for learning: Reflective tools for school and district leaders. Seattle, WA: Center for the Study of Teaching and Policy, University of Washington; Copland, M. A., & Knapp, M. S. (2006). Connecting leadership with learning: A framework for reflection, planning, and action. Alexandria, VA: Association for Supervision & Curriculum Development.

5. See Plecki, M., Knapp, M. S., Castañeda, T., Halverson, T., LaSota, R., & Lochmiller, C. (2009). How leaders invest staffing resources for learning improvement. Seattle WA: Center for the Study of Teaching and Policy, University of Washington.

6. See Portin, B. S., Knapp, M. S., Dareff, S., Feldman, S., Russell, F. A., Samuelson, C., & Yeh, T. L. (2009). Leadership for learning improvement in urban schools. Seattle, WA: Center for the Study of Teaching and Policy, University of Washington.

7. See Honig, M. I., Copland, M. A., Rainey, L., Lorton, J. A., & Newton, M. (2010). Central office transformation for district-wide teaching and learning improvement. Seattle WA: Center for the Study of Teaching and Policy, University of Washington.

8. At the time of our study, all schools within the New York City Department of Education chose to be part of 1 of 14 “School Support Organizations” (SSOs), the segment of the district central office that offered the most direct support to the school. Our research concentrated on the largest of these SSOs, then called the “Empowerment Schools Organization” (ESO), which subsumed approximately 500 of the City’s 1,500 schools. Our data came primarily from ESO schools and central office units, although some data from sources outside this SSO provided background to our analyses. Thus we were not studying the whole of the Department of Education reform; NYC/ESO comprised the relevant “district” for most of our analyses.

9. This investment pattern may have slowed somewhat under the current tight budget constraints that many districts operate under these days. Nonetheless, the commitment to investing in instructional leadership can still be maintained, albeit at reduced levels, under fiscally adverse conditions.

10. For a more detailed discussion of the Instructional Leadership Directors’ work, see Honig, M. I., Copland, M. A., Rainey, L., Lorton, J. A., & Newton, M. (2010). Central office transformation for districtwide teaching and learning improvement (pp. 25–55). Seattle WA: Center for the Study of Teaching and Policy, University of Washington.

11. The research base for the notion of “high-quality assistance relationship” is fully described in: Honig, M. I. (2008). District central offices as learning organizations: How sociocultural and organizational learning theories elaborate district central office administrators’ participation in teaching and learning improvement efforts. American Journal of Education, 114, 627–664.

12. See Leithwood, K. A., & Riehl, C. (2005). What do we already know about educational leadership? In Firestone, W. A., & Riehl, C. (Eds.), A new agenda for research in educational leadership (pp. 12–27). New York city: Teachers College Press.

13. While there is not yet an extensive research base on the topic, converging lines of theory and empirical work suggest the potential power of appropriately differentiating instruction. For a summary of this work see: Tomlinson, C. A., & McTighe, J. (2006). Integrating differentiated instruction and understanding by design: Connecting content and kids (pp. 179–184). Alexandria VA: Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development.

14. Results of the state-level analysis are reported in an occasional paper: Hood, B., Knapp, M. S., & Plecki, M. L. (2010). Blending accountability and support: Reorienting state leadership for learning improvement—an occasional paper. Seattle, WA: Center for the Study of Teaching and Policy, University of Washington.

15. See The Nation’s Report Card. http://nationsreportcard.gov/tuda.asp, accessed July 25, 2010.

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