Bissonnette D1


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  • Welcome.
    I’m Dan Bissonnette. This is my D-1, the defense of my study proposal in partial completion of the requirements for the Doctor of Education degree in Educational Leadership at Washington State University.
    I want to acknowledge and welcome my laudable dissertation committee: Dr. Michele Acker-Hocevar from the Tri-Cities who serves as chair, Dr. Danny Talbott, also from the Tri-Cities, and Dr. Gay Selby from Vancouver. Acknowledge others.
    This presentation will take about 20 minutes.
    There will be time for questions and discussion at the end. I will pause and check several times during my presentation to make sure everyone is able to track what I am saying.
    The title is:
  • Three primary elements interact to create the contact of my study, including
    Prevalence and impact of ATOD
    School discipline policy
    Challenges for principals
    From SAMHSA National Survey on Drug Use and Health (2010), of the U.S. population aged 12+
    27.4% used tobacco, 23.1% engaged in binge drinking, and 8.9% used an illicit drug in the past month, and
    8.7 were classified with substance dependence or abuse in the past year
    The National Center on Addictions and Substance Abuse at Columbia University [CASA] (2011) reported that
    45.4% or 33.9 million children under age 18 live with a parent who participates in risky substance use
    The educational leader’s responses to these student issues range from doing nothing to disciplinary action with long-term suspension and expulsion (Califano, 2007).
    Almost 80 percent of schools nationwide had adopted zero tolerance policies for violations such as drug and alcohol use by 1997 (Child Trends, 2011).
    Students who have access to discipline and support do better in school than those who do not (Fertman, Tarasevich, & Hepler, 2003, Executive Summary).
    These are times of standardized measures of student progress, teacher and principal evaluation, dropout prevention, closing the achievement/opportunity gap, and recessionary economics.
    Alcohol, tobacco, and other drugs impact students and schools in irrefutable ways. Consequences are devastating to students, schools, and communities.
    Elementary and Secondary Education Act
    Para 11 of NCLB refers to “coordinating services under all parts of this title with each other, with other educational services, and, to the extent feasible, with other agencies providing services to youth, children, and families.”
    Whether school leader has the preparation, wherewithal, or inclination to adequately address student ATOD issues as they impact academic outcomes is encouraged but presently not a priority under the law.
  • In 2007, Califano noted
    The greatest percentage of twelve- to seventeen-year-olds surveyed each year since 1997 by the Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse at Columbia University consistently listed drugs as their number one concern.
    Yet, only a quarter of high school principals think drugs are used, kept, or sold on their school grounds.
    Existing literature provides little insight into how principals effectively understand and deal with these problems while providing opportunities for all students to succeed.
    More needs to be learned.
  • Theoharis (2004) said
    Social justice supports a process built upon respect, care, recognition and empathy.
    Social justice leadership is a calling, not a position for which you apply.
    Social justice principals are those that advocate, lead and keep at the center of their practice and vision issues of race, class, gender, disability, sexual orientation, and other historically marginalizing factors in the United States.
    With this study I will build on Theoharis’ work by adding the concept of culture to the definition of social justice leadership.
  • Positionality means beliefs I have identified that I take as truths, shaped by my own unique identity and experiences in the world.
    In a study of tenured university professors, Neumann (2006) described passionate thought as what people may come to who have “lived enough of life to be able to see, think, and talk about it”
    I started my career working with at-risk youths in juvenile detention in 1975; from there I worked in juvenile court as a probation officer. About 25 years ago I transitioned to the clinical setting where I was an addictions counselor and family therapist; at the same time I worked as a consultant to schools and districts around ATOD issues. I have always worked with troubled youths yet have been struck at what ‘good kids’ they are or want to be.
    Turner (2010) said “Think of culture like the water fish swim in.” It gives them life, it’s where they live.
    Being accustomed to the water, as a student might be to life with ATOD, suggests they are used to it in ways that may be different and not make sense to others.
    Over the years I have seen troubled kids marginalized for reasons that could be avoided if we understood them better.
    This led me to doing the literature review to find out what studies others have found …
  • Culture
    Culture has mainly been used in the literature to explain racial and ethnic group differences (Sue & Okazaki, 1990) and encompasses the traditions, beliefs, values, and attitudes shared by a group (Amodeo & Jones, 1998).
    Berger (2009) said that “Parents teach children their culture’s world view. This world view is like a filter, it defines what is real and what is not, it proscribes what is appropriate behavior and what is not, it dictates how we should be and what we should feel.”
    Whether parents are aware or oblivious of their child’s drug and alcohol use (Green et al., 2011), or whether they participate with their children in learning positive values and decision-making skills about alcohol, tobacco, and other drugs or, as the CASA (2011) study noted, send mixed messages, wink and look the other way, or blatantly condone or promote the use of ATOD has significant bearing on family structure.
    Youth culture is explained by factors in the experience of adolescence (Marshall, 1998). Understanding youth culture is an important aspect of this study because of the context in which this study takes place which is the secondary (middle, and junior, and senior high) school.
    As with any subculture, there are positive aspects which can enrich individual lives and the dominant culture, and there are negative facets to be countered (Latysheva, 2011). From a public education perspective, it is imperative for leaders to understand both aspects and to educate their faculties about them.
    Howard Adelman and Linda Taylor at the Center for Mental Health in Schools (2010a): Youth subcultures allow and encourage members to have a special identity that separates them from those they are assigned by institutions such as the family and school. An understanding of youth culture is the basis for promoting healthy development, preventing problems, intervening as soon as problems are identified, and providing effective ways to respond to pervasive, chronic, and serious problems.
    School culture refers to the set of values, attitudes and behaviors, and characteristics of a school (Scheerens, 2000).
    Kruger, Witziers, and Sleegers (2007) found that “school leaders appear to have a great impact on the quality of the school organization and—indirectly—on the quality of the school culture” and “has a substantial impact on the behavior and strategies used by [others] in the school”.
    There is evidence that school culture may influence students' health behavior. For example, West, Sweeting and Leyland (2004) found significant unexplained inter-school variation in the prevalence of drinking, smoking, and drug use.
    DiPaola and Guy (2009) found a strong relationship between social justice and school climate.
    Prevalence and impact
    Drug use can be measured in terms of prevalence, the proportion of a defined population or subpopulation that has used a drug once or more in a particular time interval (Johnston, O’Malley, Bachman, & Schulenberg, 2011).
    As I stated earlier, SAMHSA’s National Survey on Drug Use and Health (2010), of the U.S. population aged 12+ showed
    27.4% used tobacco, 23.1% engaged in binge drinking, and 8.9% used an illicit drug in the past month, and
    8.7 were classified with substance dependence or abuse in the past year
    The National Center on Addictions and Substance Abuse at Columbia University [CASA] (2011) reported that
    45.4% or 33.9 million children under age 18 live with a parent who participates in risky substance use
    The Washington State Healthy Youth Survey (2004-2010) showed that for every student in sixth grade using tobacco, alcohol and marijuana, there were 10 students by 12th grade.
    In 2010 in Washington State, almost one in twelve 8th grade students, 17% of 10th grade students, and about one in five 12th grade students reported being drunk or high at school in the past year
    A study reported by Reardon and Buka (2002) showed few racial or ethnic differences in the prevalence of alcohol and marijuana abuse and dependence at age 15.
    Mensch and Kandel (1988) showed that adolescents who use drugs tend to have poorer relationships with their parents, stronger ties to their peers, poorer grades, and more negative attitudes about school; in addition they are more often absent from school.
    The impact of drug trends on students and school is portentous of worsening outcomes. Aloise-Young & Chavez (2002) concluded that each year in the United States, approximately half a million adolescents drop out of school and those who fail to complete school are more likely to use drugs than those who graduate.
    What schools can do:
    School leaders must take a comprehensive, coordinated approach to addressing these issues (Adelman & Taylor; 2009; Dilley, 2009).
    Key stakeholders need to be involved (Anderson, 1993).
    Thaker et al., (2008) provided a description of program characteristics (relative advantage, complexity, and compatibility) and organizational characteristics (school capacity, school turbulence, and leadership) to inform and guide decisions of adoption and implementation of evidence-based practices in schools
    The What Works Clearinghouse is an initiative of the U. S. Department of Education’s Institute of Education Sciences and is a major source of carefully reviewed scientific evidence for what works in education (Child Trends, 2011).
    The National Registry of Evidence-based Programs and Practices [NREPP] is an online registry of substance abuse interventions reviewed and rated to assist schools in identifying scientifically based approaches to preventing substance use disorders (SAMHSA, 2012).
  • The principal’s job is complex and complicated. The impact of ATOD in schools undermines the school environment, academic success, and graduation rates. To look at student ATOD issues principals face everyday, one major theme dominates the theoretical framework of this study: social justice leadership theory.
    Social justice leadership theory will provide an understanding of the perspectives of principals who are successful in their work with these students. By gathering data from principal participants, I will gain insights on these issues and make recommendations from the theoretical framework concepts of social justice.
    This study builds on Social justice leadership theory and the research of George Theoharis in 2004 and will help to examine and describe the perspectives of principals working with compassion and empathy to help students impacted by ATOD to experience academic success through their leadership.
    Theoharis (2004) developed a theory about social justice leadership and what social justice oriented principals accomplish, the pressures they face and how they deal with the conflict between their drive to enact justice and the barriers they encountered.
    Building this theory required Theoharis to examine and understand the very essence and core aspects of his principal participants, how they work, what makes their accomplishment possible, and how they were impacted.
    Theoharis did not argue that all passionate leaders who work extremely long hours are social justice leaders. This was not the one defining characteristic of social justice principals. There are many principals who have a zest for their position, their school, and improving their educational environment who also work day and night. However, the personal, passionate, and visionary nature of his principal participants was the key to their success.
    Theoharis found SJ principals see a better way. They focus their efforts and the work of their staff in achieving equity and social justice for the marginalized students. This passion comes across as sincerity and while these principals encounter tremendous resistance, their sincerity and personal connection to the school and their students is recognized and respected by allies and resistors. The issues and problems feel personal, and when they cannot change things or cannot change things fast enough, that feeling of dissatisfaction becomes their inner turmoil.
    SJ principals’ personal nature and passion makes them a vital part of their school community. They play active roles and maintain highly visible profiles with the students, staff, and families. This visibility is not unique to social justice leaders, but in combination with the passion, vision, and personal nature of their work it takes on different meaning and aids in accomplishing particular justice goals.
    SJ leadership theory underpins my interests and is the basis of this research about SJ principals’ perspectives on students with ATOD issues.
  • Review research questions.
  • I propose doing a series of two interviews with principals within the Puget Sound region of WA state who are ‘positioned subjects’ in that they actively interpret and make sense of their everyday worlds (Conrad et al., 1993) and are in unique positions to provide the data I am seeking. By gathering data from these principals, I can describe their perspectives, preparation, and practices working with these students.
    The first interview will be from a script; the second more informal for clarification and discussion. The interview protocol are adapted with permission from Theoharis.
    Snowball or chain sampling (Merriam, 2009; Gall et al., 2005) for recruitment; all participants will be identified prior to the start of the study.
    Coding (Creswell, 2009; Merriam, 2009) of data from interview transcriptions, archived documents and artifacts, and field notes.
    For trustworthiness and reliability I will triangulate (Merriam, 2009) data sources for comparing and cross-checking.
  • Review anticipated outcomes.
  • Questions?
  • Bissonnette D1

    2. 2. • Prevalence and impact of alcohol, tobacco, and other drug [ATOD] issues in schools • School discipline policy • Challenges for Principals 7/16/12 2Bissonnette Dissertation Proposal CONTEXT
    3. 3. • ATOD use in our communities is pervasive and it has a deleterious impact on public education. • Students who use drugs are characterized by many of the same attributes as are school dropouts, have poorer grades and worse attitudes about academics, are more absent from school, more rebellious, and take on more risky behaviors (Mensch & Kandell, 1988). • Inconsistent, inappropriate, or inadequate responses by school leaders marginalize students with these issues which can lead to academic failure and dropout. 7/16/12 3Bissonnette Dissertation Proposal PROBLEM
    4. 4. To explore the role and perspectives of social justice principals in their work with students who are impacted by alcohol, tobacco, and other drug issues 7/16/12 4Bissonnette Dissertation Proposal PURPOSE
    5. 5. • Passionate thought (Neumann, 2006). • Clinician, educator, consultant. • Students are predisposed by their culture—peer, family and social influences—to be accustomed to life with ATOD issues. • Two students with similar ATOD needs, who attend different schools, perhaps even within the same district, and sometimes even attending the same school, may not get positive leadership support to succeed. 7/16/12 5Bissonnette Dissertation Proposal POSITIONALITY
    6. 6. • Family, youth and school culture, and culture as it relates to research on social justice. • The prevalence and impact of ATOD on youths and schools. • What schools and social justice leaders can do when the two matters intersect. 7/16/12 6Bissonnette Dissertation Proposal REVIEW OF THE LITERATURE
    7. 7. • Social justice leadership (Theoharis, 2004) 7/16/12 7Bissonnette Dissertation Proposal THEORETICAL FRAMEWORK
    8. 8. • What has enabled principals who have compassion and empathy toward students to work with students with alcohol, tobacco, and other drug issues? • How do they convey their leadership to others and sustain themselves as they face leadership pressures with regards to these issues? • What resistance do they face and what are leadership consequences for their actions? 7/16/12 8Bissonnette Dissertation Proposal ANTICIPATED RESEARCH QUESTIONS
    9. 9. • Basic qualitative research design with participant interviews. • Interviews will be supplemented by archived documents and artifacts gathered from participants and from field notes I write during interviews. • A positioned subject approach is a key element. 7/16/12 9Bissonnette Dissertation Proposal METHODOLOGY
    10. 10. • Inform approaches to improve leadership preparation programs beyond academics and school management. • Contribute to the research on closing the student opportunity/achievement gap. • Improve discipline policy, strengthen dropout prevention efforts, and increase academic success rates. 7/16/12 10Bissonnette Dissertation Proposal ANTICIPATED OUTCOMES
    11. 11. 7/16/12 11Bissonnette Dissertation Proposal QUESTIONS?
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