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Thesis tl of elementary school Thesis tl of elementary school Document Transcript

  • THE VOICE OF PRINCIPAL LEADERSHIP: THE TRANSFORMATIONAL LEADERSHIP OF ELEMENTARY SCHOOL PRINCIPALS by David Amador Roman Dissertation Committee: Professor Robert Monson, Sponsor Professor James Langlois Approved by the Committee on the Degree of Doctor of Education Date MAY I 8 2009 Submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirement for the Degree of Doctor of Education in Teachers College, Columbia University 2009
  • UMI Number: 3368415 Copyright 2009 by Roman, David Amador INFORMATION TO USERS The quality of this reproduction is dependent upon the quality of the copy submitted. Broken or indistinct print, colored or poor quality illustrations and photographs, print bleed-through, substandard margins, and improper alignment can adversely affect reproduction. In the unlikely event that the author did not send a complete manuscript and there are missing pages, these will be noted. Also, if unauthorized copyright material had to be removed, a note will indicate the deletion. ® UMI UMI Microform 3368415 Copyright 2009 by ProQuest LLC All rights reserved. This microform edition is protected against unauthorized copying under Title 17, United States Code. ProQuest LLC 789 East Eisenhower Parkway P.O. Box 1346 Ann Arbor, Ml 48106-1346
  • ABSTRACT THE VOICE OF PRINCIPAL LEADERSHIP: THE TRANSFORMATIONAL LEADERSHIP OF ELEMENTARY SCHOOL PRINCIPALS David Amador Roman A qualitative case study was conducted over 6 months, from July 2008 through December 2008, to research transformational leadership within two elementary schools consisting of 2 principals and 10 teachers (5 from each principal's school) located in the Central School District in the State of New Jersey. This study was not concerned with evaluating principals; rather, its purpose was to analyze the perceived effects of a principal's transformational leadership practices, both positive and negative, on five specific school conditions to determine what is needed to lead schools effectively toward successful outcomes. Leithwood and Jantzi (2000) describe transformational leadership behaviors as having six dimensions: (1) building school vision and goals, (2) providing intellectual stimulation, (3) offering individual support, (4) symbolizing professional practices and values, (5) demonstrating high performance expectations, and (6) developing structures to foster participation in school decisions (p. 114). This study focused on two specific transformational leadership practices: (1) building school vision and goals; and (2) offering individual support. In addition, it focused on five school conditions through
  • which leadership can positively influence school improvement: (1) purpose and goals; (2) school planning; (3) organizational culture; (4) structure and organization; and (5) information and decision-making (Leithwood & Jantzi, 2000, pp. 115-116). Data collection consisted of principal and teacher interviews, archival documents, and principal observations. The analysis revealed possible similarities, emerging themes, and patterns in the perceptions of both elementary principals' leadership practices. The predominant leadership attributes found in this study can be characterized according to three major themes: (1) effective communication skills; (2) developing a culture of trust; and (3) modeling desired behavioral practices. The three themes were germane to Leithwood and Jantzi's (1995, 1999, 2000) studies conducted on transformational leadership.
  • THE VOICE OF PRINCIPAL LEADERSHIP: THE TRANSFORMATIONAL LEADERSHIP OF ELEMENTARY SCHOOL PRINCIPALS by David Amador Roman Dissertation Committee: Professor Robert Monson, Sponsor Professor James Langlois Approved by the Committee on the Degree of Doctor of Education Date MAY 1 8 20M Submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirement for the Degree of Doctor of Education in Teachers College, Columbia University 2009
  • © Copyright David Amador Roman 2009 All Rights Reserved
  • DEDICATION / dedicate this doctorate to my beautiful and gentle wife Laura, "The Love of My Life " and to our two beautiful sons, Nicolas (Bear) and Cristian (Skipper), as well as to my loving parents. in
  • ACKNOWLEDGMENTS To those that stumble upon these words, please be reminded of what individuals can come to realize if they focus their mind on creating realities from their dreams and ambitions. Clearly, the unimaginable is achievable. Dr. Monson, Dr. Langlois, and Dr. Riehl, thank you for all of your support and guidance towards the middle and end of this journey. Dr. Smith, Dr. Sobol, and Dr. Orr, thank you for all of your support and guidance at the beginning of this journey. Dr. Oldham and Dr. Keller, thank you for your support as I concluded this journey. I am grateful to each and every one of you for your generosity, support, kindness, patience, and friendship throughout the years. To my beautiful and gentle wife Laura, I thank you for the words you whisper to me in moments of happiness and triumph, as well as for the words of comfort that you have whispered to me in times of sorrow and despair. Like everything that we have achieved throughout the years, we have also accomplished this moment together. It is solely due to your efforts that our house is a home. You have continually nurtured our family with your embraces. Your warmth and love have helped to shape the best part of my life. Our love, commitment, bond, friendship, and marriage are nestled deep within my soul. The beauty of who you are as well as who you have become captivates my life. To my beautiful boys, Nicolas (Bear) and Cristian (Skipper), thank you for being my sons. Always be mindful of how much I love you both. I am truly humbled and honored to be your father. I thank you for your playfulness. I am a better man because of the both of you. I ask that as you grow into great men, you create your own destiny and happiness. I ask that you search for your purpose in life. I ask that you find your road and follow the path that leads you to inner peace, love, and joy. I ask that you contribute to iv
  • your loved ones, contribute to the world, and contribute to your own development. Accomplish many great endings, but always keep your eye on the present and on the future. The destination is of less importance than the journey. The journey is what brings you deep and rewarding happiness. This is the one true thing that I can say with complete confidence. To my mother, your strength carried me through moments of struggle. Your love and support encouraged me through my childhood hours and they continue to guide me till this day. Thank you for the gift of intellectual curiosity that you bestowed upon me. To my father, gentle soul that you are. Respect and maturity from childhood to manhood are not easily attainable in life, unless modeled by those you admire. Thank you for the gift of spirituality you have bestowed upon me. To my grandparents (Margarita, Hipolito, Dominga, and Juan Sr.), I love you and remember you from this earth to the heavens above. Anita and Joseph, I thank you for your love and for always supporting me. To my brother Walter and my sister Theresa, you are forever in my heart. Alexandra, Andres, Brian, Christopher, Deanna, Dylan, Christina, Sean, Victoria, and to any of our family's unborn children, share your dreams with the world. It is now time for me to move on to my next quest. Be well! Peace, Love, Joy, D. A. R. v
  • TABLE OF CONTENTS Chapter I INTRODUCTION 1 Defining "Transformational Leadership" 3 Purpose of the Study 4 Objectives of the Study 10 Research Questions 11 Theoretical Framework of the Study 12 Overview of Methodological Design 14 Methodological Design 15 Participant Selection 15 District Selection 16 Researcher's Role in Conducting Study 18 Data Collection 19 Data Analysis 20 Limitations of the Study 22 Significance of the Study 23 Summary 24 II REVIEW OF THE LITERATURE 26 Definition of Transformational Leadership 28 Historical Roots 30 Reviewing the Meaning of Educational Leadership 33 Leadership Impact on Student Engagement 37 Leadership Impact on Organizational Conditions 38 Leadership Impact on Teachers 43 Transactional Leadership 47 Analysis of Studies on Transformational Leadership 49 Conclusion 53 III METHODOLOGY 57 Research Design 57 Pilot Studies 58 Principal Leadership Practices 58 Leadership Theory 59 Methodological Design 61 Description of Design 61 Significance of Location in Conducting Study 62 VI
  • er III Principal Participants 63 (cont) Teacher Participants 64 Location 66 Consent Procedures/Confidentiality 67 Data Collection 69 Collection of Data: Multiple Case Field Study 69 Interview Procedures 70 Archival Data 76 Observation of Principals 78 Data Analysis 80 Analysis of Interviews 80 Analysis of Archival Documents 86 Analysis of Observations 89 Validity Threats to Research 93 Researcher's Bias and Reactivity 94 Limitations 98 Significance of Study 98 Conclusion 99 IV FINDINGS 101 Interviews 102 Archival Documents 103 Observations of Principals 104 Principal A 105 Principal A Teachers 141 Summary of Findings-Principal A School 163 Principal B 175 Principal B Teachers 207 Summary of Findings-Principal B School 225 Superintendent Interview on Principal Leadership 237 Cross-Case Findings-Principal A School and Principal B School 244 Summary 258 vn
  • Chapter V SUMMARY OF CONCLUSIONS, DISCUSSION, AND RECOMMENDATIONS 259 Introduction 259 Summary 260 Research Questions 261 Research Question # 1 261 Research Question # 2 265 Research Question # 3 269 Cross-Case Analysis and Discussion - Principal A School and Principal B School 274 Transformational Leadership—Effect on School Conditions 274 Effective Communication Skills 276 Developing a Culture of Trust 282 Modeling Desired Behavioral Practices 287 Discussion of the Results from Cross-Case Analysis 292 Conclusions 301 Recommendations for Future Research 302 Future Research 302 Reflection of Findings—Related to Professional Practices 305 Final Thoughts 308 REFERENCES 310 APPENDICES A Principal Interview Protocol 315 B Teacher Interview Protocol 322 C Preliminary List of Etic Codes 329 D Preliminary List of Emic Codes 330 E Principal Observation Protocol 331 F Preliminary List of Inductive Codes 334 G Preliminary List of Deductive Codes 335 H Invitation to Participants 336 I Protection of Human Subjects in Research—Application 337 J IRB for Interviewed Principals and Teachers 339 vm
  • Table LIST OF TABLES 1 Corresponding Characteristics—Transformational Leadership 32 2 Archival Data Storage System—Information Collected 87 IX
  • LIST OF FIGURES Figure 1 Conceptual Diagram—Purpose of Study 6 2 Conceptual Design of the Study—Transformational Leadership 60 3 Core of Transformational Leadership Practices—Influence on School Conditions 275 x
  • 1 Chapter I INTRODUCTION Schools are continually being challenged to achieve higher standards of academic excellence, and educational leaders are expected to be at the forefront of most school improvement initiatives (Leithwood & Jantzi, 2000). Therefore, it is necessary to identify the significant leadership practices and characteristics that principals display in school settings to focus on improving school conditions and increasing student achievement as ultimate goals. The goal of this study was to uncover if principals are perceived as affecting school conditions through their leadership practices. The direct involvement of the principal's leadership leads to the actualization of greater advancements in the areas of teacher engagement, student engagement, and school conditions (Bolman & Deal, 1991; Fullan, 1991; Leithwood & Jantzi, 1999, 2000; Sergiovanni, 1995; Silins et al., 2002). Additionally, state and federal regulations mandate that schools improve student test scores annually. For example, federal regulations signed into law by President George W. Bush in the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001 require all schools to make adequate yearly progress regarding students' test scores. Thus, principals need to balance both internal school responsibilities and imposed external obligations from outside the school. Leadership is complex and multifaceted (Barnett et al., 2001; Hallinger & Heck, 1996; Leithwood & Jantzi, 2000; Marks & Printy, 2003; Sergiovanni, 1995; Silins et al., 2002). A multitude of assumptions have been posed about which leadership skills are
  • 2 needed to effectively improve schools (Barnett et al., 2001; Bass & Avolio, 1994; Bums, 1978; Hallinger & Heck, 1996; Leithwood & Jantzi, 1999, 2000; Marks & Printy, 2003). Investigating what leadership looks like, through principal and teacher perceptions, is an essential component of understanding how leadership affects school conditions. Considerable research has been conducted on effective leadership practices, but little is known about how the leadership behaviors of principals in school settings are perceived by principals and teachers (Barnett et al., 2001; Hallinger & Heck, 1996; Leithwood & Jantzi, 1999, 2000; Marks & Printy, 2003; Silins et al., 2002). This study attempted to fill a gap in the research by investigating how principals' leadership practices were perceived within school settings. Specifically, the leadership practices of two elementary principals were investigated to determine if those principals displayed qualities associated with transformational leadership practices. Research has identified that transformational leaders can directly influence organizational conditions by encouraging teachers to work collaboratively and change their practices and by supporting them in making an extra effort to improve their schools (Geijsel & Sleegers, 1999; Leithwood & Jantzi, 2000, 2005; Marks & Printy, 2003). Research also indicates that principal behavior directly impacts teacher commitment, teacher engagement, and organizational changes that occur within schools (Geijsel, Leithwood, Jantzi, & Sleegers, 2003; Ingram, 1997). Exploring the behaviors that principals display in school settings offers an opportunity to understand how both teachers and principals perceive that leadership practices affect school quality. Principal and teacher perceptions can be used to substantiate if a relationship exists between leadership practices and school conditions, as well as to contrast how specific leadership
  • 3 qualities are characterized. Research into the leadership practices of principals will provide one more dimension to understanding ways to develop high-quality leaders. Chapter I gives a definition of transformational leadership as it was used in this study. The next section establishes the purpose of the study, its rationale, and the need to uncover significant attributes of transformational leadership as it relates to elementary principals. Following is a description of the objectives of this study and the three specific areas investigated. The subsequent section outlines the research questions which seek to understand the attributes ascribed to transformational leadership practices (Leithwood & Jantzi, 1996, 2000, 2005). Finally, the theoretical framework is discussed in terms of the effects of transformational leadership practices on school conditions. The chapter concludes with an overview of the methods that were used to investigate transformational leadership. Defining "Transformational Leadership " Leithwood and Jantzi's (2000) definition of transformational leadership, which guided this study, refers to leaders who are able to cultivate in followers the capacity to develop a personal commitment to accomplishing common organizational goals (p. 113). In the school setting, individuals who demonstrate transformational leadership are able to affect school conditions by their behavior practices (pp. 113-115). Leithwood and Jantzi (2000) describe transformational leadership behaviors as having six dimensions: (1) building school vision and goals; (2) providing intellectual stimulation; (3) offering individual support; (4) symbolizing professional practices and values; (5) demonstrating
  • 4 high performance expectations; and, (6) developing structures to foster participation in school decisions (p. 114). By isolating the leadership practice dimensions, associated with these, it will be possible to come to a more realistic understanding of how leadership is conveyed and implemented by principals in school settings. Although a number of different definitions of transformational leadership are available (Barnett et al., 2001; Bass & Avolio, 1994; Burns, 1978; Hallinger & Heck, 1996; Leithwood & Jantzi, 1999, 2000; Marks & Printy, 2003), Leithwood and Jantzi's (2000) definition of transformational leadership was used because it provides the clearest description of what to look for in the leadership practices of principals. Purpose of the Study More research is needed to understand how exemplary leadership is perceived in practice in order to develop high-quality leaders. These perceptions will help to identify the essential characteristics leaders demonstrate within the work setting, i.e., the school. In turn, by identifying the critical practices and characteristics that are attributed to transformational leadership, leaders can become better prepared to initiate school reform. It is important to determine how abstract theories such as transformational leadership can impact teachers in school settings through the principals' behaviors. This may guide individuals who aspire to become leaders to implement successful reform initiatives that can effect positive changes within schools. The purpose of this study was to explore what kinds of transformational leadership behaviors principals may exhibit in their daily interactions with teachers. One objective was to establish if the principals' observed behaviors can be described as
  • 5 transformational. This was enhanced by exploring how both principals and teachers perceived the leadership practices. As a result, the study could determine if the principals were consciously practicing these behaviors, if they were endeavoring to effect transformation within their schools, and if so, what levels of transformational leadership existed.
  • 6 Figure 1. Conceptual Diagram—Purpose of Study Derived from the Model of Transformational Leadership that was developed by the researcher This Study Sought to Verify If Principals and Teachers Perceive That. Building School Vision Building School Goals Offering Individual Support to Teachers Does Practicing These Two Components of Transformational Leadership Have Any Impact on the Development of Five Organizational Conditions? *This study responded to the need to understand the nature and quality of leadership by uncovering the essential attributes associated with transformational leadership practices. *The nature and strength of the relationship between teachers and leaders must be understood if one hopes to improve school conditions through transformational leadership practices. *The process of improving schools can best be strengthened by attaining a diverse conceptualization of educational leadership.
  • 7 This study also attempted to determine if the perceptions of principals and teachers can be used as a tool to identify whether the transformational leadership practices of principals impact school conditions. If the perceptions of principals and teachers align or agree with the idea of how a principal is effective, then it may be possible to link that consensus to the degree to which principals impact school conditions. Finally, this study examined whether two specific transformational leadership traits were evident in the daily practices and behaviors of two individual elementary school principals. This inquiry explored the notion of leadership using Leithwood and Jantzi's (2000) conceptual framework to define and describe those two specific transformational leadership dimensions: (1) building school vision and goals, and (2) offering individual support. Their concept of leaders as embodying specific practices and consisting of varied leadership dimensions offered a clear and practical definition of transformational leadership for this study. Only two leadership dimensions (building school vision and goals, and offering individual support) were chosen out of the six because they are most often seen as influencing school conditions (Barnett et al., 2001; Hallinger & Heck, 1996; Leithwood & Jantzi, 2000; Marks & Printy, 2003; Silins et al., 2002). Research indicates that building school vision and goals and offering support were significant leadership dimensions typifying successful transformational school leaders (Leithwood et al., 1996). The relevant literature repeatedly concludes that these two specific attributes reflect a transformational leader's practices (Barnett et al., 2001; Bass & Avolio, 1994; Burns, 1978; Hallinger & Heck, 1996; Leithwood & Jantzi, 1999, 2000; Marks & Printy, 2003).
  • 8 The traits linked to the six dimensions of transformational leadership, outlined previously, have been identified as behaviors that can positively impact school conditions when displayed by individuals in leadership roles. The five school conditions are: (1) purpose and goals; (2) school planning; (3) organizational culture; (4) structure and organization; and (5) information and decision-making (Leithwood & Jantzi, 2000). Based on these items, the intent of the study was to establish how teachers and principals perceived that the two leadership dimensions (building school vision and goals, and offering individual support) intersected with the five conditions. The terms "Principal A" and "Principal B" from a "Central School District" were used to identify the two elementary principals and the individual district and schools in which they worked. These principals were selected by the district's superintendent because he believed they best demonstrated transformational leadership practices according to the framework defined by Leithwood and Jantzi (2000). This study examined if Principal A, Principal B, and their teaching staff perceived the principal leadership practices displayed within their particular schools as attributes that supported positive school conditions to exist in the school environment. Once selected, both elementary principals granted me permission to discuss their leadership traits with the superintendent. I also discussed Leithwood and Jantzi's (2000) concept of transformational leadership with the superintendent. This was done to identify exactly what dimensions of leadership the superintendent believed both principals demonstrated within the confines of the Central School District. The superintendent asserted that he had conducted informal and formal observations of each principal throughout the past 18 months during site visits to each of the two schools, observed
  • 9 meetings conducted by each principal with their staff, and examined written minutes and staff correspondence obtained from each principal's meetings. The superintendent cited examples of why he believed these two principals best personified transformational leadership practices on a daily basis. He provided evidence to support that each principal displayed qualities which could be linked to transformational leadership practices, as described by Leithwood and Jantzi (2002). He also stated how each principal demonstrated traits in the school that offered support for the staff. Specifically, both principals established a school vision which could support the goals they sought to obtain in their schools. The superintendent also affirmed that each principal appeared to have staff which supported the implementation of quite a few initiatives. In short, the qualities ascribed to each principal by the superintendent demonstrated the possibility that transformational leadership practices may be found in the behavior of each principal. As the researcher, I wanted to determine if these two principals displayed transformational leadership behavior in action, not solely in theory. I had already observed each principal informally at district-level meetings and noted how both principals appeared to display characteristics that could be identified with transformational leadership practices. At these meetings, the principals cited examples of how their staff received opportunities to be involved in a decision-making process on the way a program in their school should function. The programs, developed with staff input, seemed to have had a direct and positive effect on the school. The rationale for conducting this field study, then, was that it offered me the advantage of observing how a principal's leadership practices were perceived within the
  • 10 setting in which the behavior was occurring. As Babbie (1995) states, "direct observation in the field lets you observe events that might not be anticipated or measured otherwise" (p. 283). A qualitative field study approach offers the opportunity to gather information from within the school setting so that a better understanding of the phenomena being investigated can be observed naturally by a researcher (Anderson et al., 1994; Babbie, 1995; Stake, 1995). Objectives of the Study Leithwood and Jantzi (2005) state that "transformational leadership may well be a productive antidote to the stifling effects of excessive organizational constraint" (p. 20). This research attempted to discover what primary leadership traits were perceived as being needed, by both principals and teachers, to successfully improve organizational conditions in schools. This study sought to determine what array of practices displayed by principals could be attributed to the qualities associated with transformational leadership practices. The objectives of this study were as follows: 1. document the observable leadership practices of sampled principals, focusing on two dimensions of transformational leadership: (1) building school vision and goals, and (2) offering individual support to teachers (Leithwood & Jantzi, 2000); 2. identify and describe principals' and teachers' perceptions of the attributes of two transformational leadership dimensions demonstrated by the leadership practices of sampled principals (Leithwood & Jantzi, 2000); and
  • 11 3. explore the relationship between perceived and observed leadership practices and the five school conditions that are components of school improvement. The five school conditions are: (1) purpose and goals, (2) school planning, (3) organizational culture, (4) structure and organization, and (5) information and decision-making (Leithwood & Jantzi, 2000). Research Questions Leithwood and Jantzi (2005) state, "While there is considerable agreement about the core meaning of transformational leadership, researchers vary on the nature and number of specific leadership dimensions or behaviors they choose to study" (p. 178). The research questions were developed to identify patterns that could contribute to the areas of interest outlined in this study. This study sought to answer the following research questions: 1. In what ways, if any, do principals perceive that they build school vision and goals and offer individual support to teachers? (Leithwood & Jantzi, 2000) 2. In what ways, if any, do teachers perceive that principals demonstrate these two transformational leadership practices within the school setting? (Leithwood & Jantzi, 2000, 2005) 3. If teachers perceive that their principals use these two transformational leadership practices, in what ways, if any, have the five school conditions (purpose and goals, school planning, organizational culture, structure and organization, and information and decision-making) been affected by the behaviors of principals? Do teachers perceive that these transformational
  • 12 leadership practices influence any of the five school conditions? (Leithwood & Jantzi, 2000, 2005; Silins et al., 2002) Theoretical Framework of the Study The following brief summary of the literature provides different perspectives relevant to transformational leadership practices. The intent of this overview is to provide a clearer definition and a richer description of how transformational leadership is generally understood. In this section, only brief summaries of the key researchers' work are provided. A fuller discussion of the literature is presented in Chapter II. Burns (1978) indicates that transformational leaders are able to inspire individuals to achieve higher goals and that a leader demonstrates behavior that encourages others to develop a common purpose. His research suggests the necessity of examining how leaders and followers interact with one another. Bass and Avolio (1994) identified four main elements of transformational leadership as follows: (1) leaders have the ability to be role models for their followers; (2) leaders are able to motivate and inspire their followers by providing meaning and challenge for them daily; (3) leaders have the ability to stimulate their followers' efforts to become more innovative and creative; and (4) leaders pay special attention to each individual's needs for achievement and growth. Barnett et al.'s (2001) description of transformational leadership was based loosely on Bass and Avolio's (1994) work. They considered that a connection between transformational leadership and transactional leadership is necessary when exploring the behaviors of school principals. Barnett et al. (2001) also identified the features of
  • 13 transformational leadership as an individual's concern and vision/inspiration. By contrast, the attributes of transactional leadership are described as a leader's active management (proactive leadership) role in conjunction with a passive management (reactive leadership) by exception role. Marks and Printy (2003) assert that transformational leaders have the ability to influence followers to develop to their greatest potential. They also indicate that transformational leaders encourage followers to value the good of the organization rather than furthering their own interest. Their description focused on two aspects of leadership, identified as transformational leadership and instructional leadership. Silins et al. (2002) explored the relationships among school leaders, organizational learning, and student outcomes. Their focus was to identify principals' transformational leadership characteristics and to review the various effects of these characteristics on organizational change in order to determine how they impact organizational learning at all levels. This inquiry into leadership traits was initiated by reviewing Leithwood and Jantzi's (2000) empirical research on transformational leadership and its impact on organizational conditions and teacher engagement. The intent was to obtain a better understanding of how transformational school leadership is perceived within schools. The major steps in Leithwood and Jantzi's (2000) study consisted of developing a framework that could identify different forms and sources of leadership (p. 114). Leithwood and Jantzi's (2000, 2005) research supports the assertion that the behaviors affixed to the six dimensions of transformational leadership practices need further investigation.
  • 14 I directly corresponded with Kenneth Leithwood, one of the prominent researchers in the field of transformational leadership. The main ideas and themes that emerged from this discourse, as well as from the review of the literature, suggest that traits linked to transformational leadership practices can be essential in instituting successful school reform initiatives. An inquiry into an individual's leadership practices may disclose how that person is perceived as a leader. As Leithwood and Jantzi (2005) state "Transformational leadership is an extremely popular image of ideal practice in schools at the present time (Hallinger, 2003)" (p. 178). Leithwood and Jantzi's (1999, 2000) research found that transformational leadership could have a direct impact on school conditions. They concluded that transformational leaders should monitor the particular aspects of school conditions that can be considerably enhanced by transformational leadership practices. In this study, it was necessary to determine how many of the five school conditions identified by Leithwood and Jantzi (1999, 2000) were present when exploring the effect of leadership on school improvement. Overview of Methodological Design This section provides the rationale for using a qualitative field study approach to investigate the leadership behaviors of two elementary principals. It describes the selection of the participants, the rationale for choosing the study site, and a clarification of my role as researcher in the study. Next presented are the purpose and method of collecting and analyzing the data. Finally, the limitations and significance of this field
  • 15 study are described. Chapter III provides a more detailed analysis of the methodological constructs of this study's research design. Methodological Design A qualitative field study approach was chosen because it offers an array of opportunities that might not otherwise be possible. Babbie (1995) states that "field research offers the advantage of probing social life in its natural habitat" (p. 283). The benefit of utilizing a qualitative field study methodology has been supported through empirical research (Anderson et al., 1994; Anderson & Jones, 2000; Babbie, 1995; Creswell, 1998; Hedrick et al., 1993; Maxwell, 1996, 2005; Stake, 1995; Strauss, 1987; Yin, 1993). A field study approach was thought to enhance this study by offering an authentic and descriptive analysis of the research under review as it occurs in its natural setting (Anderson et al., 1994; Anderson & Jones, 2000; Babbie, 1995; Maxwell, 1996; Stake, 1995; Yin, 1993). Participant Selection In this research, I studied two elementary principals, employed within two different elementary schools in one school district, in order to explore how principals' transformational leadership practices were related to school conditions. Both schools are located in the State of New Jersey. The two selected principals (Principal A and Principal B) have been employed in the Central School District for several years. I approached the superintendent for approval to allow these two principals to be participants in the study. The superintendent granted permission to conduct this study within his school district.
  • 16 Both principals agreed to allow me to speak with the superintendent about their individual leadership practices. To enhance the life histories of these principals and gather support for how a principal's leadership is believed to impact school conditions, teachers' perceptions were also captured. With approval from each principal, a random sample of teachers from each elementary school's staff was selected to be part of this research (Babbie, 1995; Maxwell, 1996, 2005; Miles & Huberman, 1994). This approach to sampling allowed every teacher an equal opportunity to be involved in this study. Selecting a sample of participants from the entire school included in the study a wide range of variation from among the staff. This ensured that the participants reflected the entire range of staff employed in each elementary school building (Maxwell, 1996, 2005). District Selection The Central School District was selected for this study because the superintendent indicated his belief that effective leadership is needed to facilitate the mandates of federal regulations of the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001, which require that schools make adequate yearly progress on students' test scores. The Central School District is involved in several statewide initiatives. This school district's student body is comprised of an ethnically-diverse population. The superintendent indicated that he remains concerned with ensuring that a skilled leadership is in place in all of the schools in this district. His goal is to address state initiatives successfully and ensure that the district attends to the needs of its growing diverse student population. The superintendent also indicated that a lack of competent leadership could result in the school district not meeting the necessary
  • 17 academic requirements currently mandated by the New Jersey State Department of Education. The selection of two elementary schools as the site of this study was also directly related to three other areas of interest. The first was that I as researcher did not clearly understand how a principal's leadership was perceived within elementary schools or, for that matter, how teachers and principals behaved in elementary schools. Second, I have never worked in an elementary school, but have spent most of my career in high school and middle school. Working at the elementary level would eliminate any biases that may interfere with the study because of my high school and middle school experiences. Finally, the superintendent and the township's board of education indicated that they believe that effective principal leadership is needed in several of the school buildings to improve school conditions. This particular school district was selected because I sought to investigate if the leadership in this district had the potential to have a positive effect on school conditions. Another intention of utilizing this location for this research was that it offered the opportunity to possibly assist this school district in understanding effective transformational leadership practices. I was particularly interested in determining what school conditions were necessary for leaders to keep students involved in the educational process so that neither teachers nor students felt disengaged from the school community. I intended to gather a holistic view of leadership by obtaining an understanding of principal leadership.
  • 18 Researcher's Role in Conducting Study While conducting research within a field setting in which I also worked, it became clear that the situation might be a possible threat to the validity of the study (Anderson et al., 1994; Babbie, 1995). However, it was also noted that conducting research within one's own district offered several advantages. Anderson et al. (1994) indicate that conducting a study from within the same setting in which one works "has great potential for challenging, conforming, and extending current theory and for identifying new dimensions of administrative practice for study" (p. 430). Babbie (1995) states that "By going directly to the social phenomenon under study and observing it as completely as possible, you can develop a deeper and fuller understanding of it" (p. 281). Anderson and Jones (2000) add that studies conducted by individuals working within a familiar setting "can contribute to a knowledge base in the field of educational administration that is not only better grounded in the complexities of administrator's work, but also better reflects the kinds of concerns and dilemmas that administrators struggle with (Lytle, 1996)" (p. 431). Any bias which might indirectly occur due to my involvement in the study needed to be planned for prior to conducting the study (Anderson et al., 1994; Babbie, 1995; Hedrick et al., 1993; Stake, 1995). Maxwell (1996) states that "what you want is a relationship that enables you to ethically learn the things you need to learn in order to validly answer your research questions" (p. 66). Chapter III describes how I prepared for any possible validity threats that might have occurred because I was the primary investigator of a qualitative field study in a
  • 19 district in which I worked. The chapter outlines concerns associated with researcher bias and reactivity, descriptive validity, interpretive validity, and theoretical validity. Data Collection This field study was oriented toward establishing multiple sources of evidence from principals and teachers working within two different school environments. The purpose of collecting these data was to describe the "real-life context" of a principal's transformational leadership practices in its "natural setting" to determine how leadership was perceived (Yin, 1994). Stake (1995) advises that when conducting a qualitative study, it is necessary to "try not to disturb the ordinary activity of the case" so that the obtained information can be inclusive of "the multiple realities, the different and even contradictory views of what is happening" (p. 12). Archival data such as minutes from meetings were collected and reviewed from each school. Information was also collected by conducting direct observations of principals in a variety of leadership scenarios throughout the day. The intent was to disclose the qualities of effective transformational leadership practices in action as well as to better understand how a principal's individual leadership role was perceived. Thus, data were also collected via interviews with the two principals and their sampled teaching staff. The purpose here was to gather different perspectives of how the leadership practices of the principals were perceived to occur within each elementary school. Conducting a field study of the two principals and their staff ensured a comfortable and natural setting from which to collect information (Creswell, 1998; Hedrick et al., 1993; Miles & Huberman, 1994; Yin, 1993, 1994).
  • 20 Data Analysis The data gathered from school documents, principal observations, and principal and teacher interviews were analyzed by comparing and contrasting them and juxtaposing these findings with the literature reviewed (Babbie, 1995; Creswell, 1998; Hedrick et al., 1993; Maxwell, 1996, 2005; Miles & Huberman, 1994; Rubin & Rubin, 2005; Seidman, 2006; Stake, 1995; Yin, 1993, 1994). These data were analyzed for frequencies pertaining to how each principal displayed leadership practices that were linked to the school's vision, goals, and support for teachers. This information was compared and contrasted to determine how a principal's behavior practices affected five school conditions. The data collected were sorted and tallied into categories to search for meanings and look for patterns which could identify the behavior practices of each principal (Stake, 1995). Babbie (1995) states that an important initial task of field research "is to create a classification of behaviors" and to also "develop theories, or generalized findings, over the course of your observations" (p. 296). Principal leadership practices were sorted by each leadership dimension to compare, describe, and define how they impacted the five school conditions. The intent was to establish a categorization of each principal's behavior practices so that Leithwood and Jantzi's (2000) theory on transformational leadership could be confirmed or denied from the findings obtained from the data collected. Collecting archival information and conducting observations and interviews are data theory-generating activities (Yin, 1994). Data were collected with the understanding that the study might need modification as the inquiry evolved (Babbie, 1995; Maxwell, 1996, 2005; Stake, 1995; Yin, 1993, 1994). Babbie (1995) indicates that field researchers
  • 21 "can continually modify the research design as indicated by the observations, the developing theoretical perspectives, or changes in what he or she is studying" (p. 297). He adds that "Introspection—examining your own thoughts and feelings—is natural and crucial process for understanding what you observe" (p. 297). Specific questions were designed to elicit descriptive responses from each participant. As Babbie (1995) states, "Although you may set out to conduct interviews with a pretty clear idea of what you want to ask, one of the special strengths of field research is its flexibility in the field" (p. 290). Accordingly, the design of this study allowed for the opportunity to reframe questions according to the respondents' answers as the study progressed. I interpreted the meaning of what was presented from the participants by asking them to recall past experiences. Probes were used to help participants reflect deeply on the questions being asked (Stake, 1995; Yin, 1994). This approach facilitated the development of a theory or generalization from the answers obtained from each participant (Creswell, 1998; Stake, 1995). Critically reflecting on each of the participants' views about the leadership practices of their principals gave me the opportunity to reflect on the interests, ideas, and theories that initiated from the field study. Creswell (1998) states that when using a critical thinking methodological approach, the researcher could "write about the assumptions behind the literary presentation of the qualitative study" (p. 82). Thus, critically reflecting on the leadership practices of the principals here provided a more robust analysis of the behaviors (leadership dimensions) that the principals demonstrated within their schools (Babbie, 1995; Creswell, 1998; Stake, 1995; Yin, 1994).
  • 22 Limitations of the Study This study was primarily concerned with investigating how principals demonstrated their ability to build school vision, establish goals, and offer individual support to teachers. As a result, I hope to contribute a more insightful and comprehensive understanding of the leadership practices of principals as they related to the five school conditions considered in the study. This study did not intend to replicate Leithwood and Jantzi's (2000) full model of transformational leadership. Additionally, this inquiry did not seek to validate or corroborate Leithwood and Jantzi's (2000) findings on transformational leadership. This study's analysis did not determine how functional Leithwood and Jantzi's (2000) model of transformational leadership was, nor did this study reference the effectiveness or ineffectiveness of their model. The number of principals involved in this study did not offer a large enough population to generalize the results to all principals. Therefore, when drawing conclusions on what was viewed as transformational leadership practices, the limitations of this field study also needed to be taken into consideration when interpreting and analyzing the results. Conducting qualitative studies involves the understanding that the research being studied continually evolves. Questions asked of participants led me to explore new areas given the answers (emic issues) that respondents offered. As Stake (1995) states, "Case study seems to provide a poor basis for generalization" (p. 7). However, the collection of data from this study offered a focal point from which to modify generalizations.
  • 23 Significance of the Study I was the sole investigator in this study. The benefit of conducting this study within the same school district in which I was employed as a principal clearly outweighed any potential threats that could have arisen. Because it is essential to understand all aspects of the case one is investigating, the best way to become familiar with the case is by being the sole investigator of that case and immersing oneself in the data (Maxwell, 1996, 2005; Stake, 1995). This school district was ideal for conducting research on transformational leadership because of the convenience of having unrestricted access to the participants selected for this study. As Anderson and Jones (2000) state, "Our data suggested that a major logistical advantage of studying one's own site was that insiders often had privileged access to data that might not have been available to outsiders" (p. 443). The nature and strength of the relationship between teachers and leaders must be understood if one hopes to improve school conditions through transformational leadership practices. To understand what is actually needed by leaders to guide schools effectively, one must first examine the various ideas and perceptions of transformational leadership. Collecting information on the practices of principals from within a school setting can assist in identifying what the attributes of transformational leadership entail, as well as how the behavior of principals are perceived to interrelate with school conditions. Leithwood and Jantzi (2000, 2005) suggest that transformational leadership mediates an influence on school conditions; therefore, one may presume that individuals who
  • 24 consciously employ transformational leadership practices may influence school conditions and teacher engagement within schools. This study responded to the need to understand the nature and quality of leadership by uncovering the essential attributes associated with transformational leadership practices. The process of improving schools can best be strengthened by attaining a diverse conceptualization of educational leadership. This study hoped to add to the field of knowledge by offering new definitions of how transformational leadership was perceived and by examining and analyzing the factors associated with effective leadership practices. Summary The challenges schools face have been essentially placed before principals to resolve through their leadership practices. If a principal's role is to be viewed as integral in effectuating positive change as well as supporting the development of positive relationships, then the leadership practices of principals within a school setting must be explored. A significant part of enhancing school development, encouraging communication between staff members, increasing learning opportunities, and improving school culture is to better understand how organizational conditions are closely linked with transformational leadership practices (Hallinger & Heck, 1996; Leithwood & Jantzi, 2000, 2005; Silins et al., 2002). This may offer a greater insight into uncovering the factors that foster and encourage leaders to improve school conditions.
  • 25 Leithwood and Jantzi (1996) indicate that not much is known about "teachers' perceptions of principals' transformational leadership" (p. 530). Identifying how a principal's transformational leadership practices are perceived in practice will add to a deeper understanding of leadership. Research (Matthews & Crow, 2003) acknowledges the gaps in determining which specific organizational conditions are directly affected by an educational leader's behavior. Conducting this research will hopefully contribute to the literature by offering a practical understanding of what a principal's leadership is perceived to be within schools. As Sergiovanni (1995) states, "reflective practice is based on the reality that professional knowledge is different from scientific knowledge" (p. 32). This present inquiry into the leadership practices of principals, as they occurred within a school setting, will hopefully lead to a more precise understanding of the "scientific knowledge" needed to accurately conceptualize how the "reflective practices" of a principal impact school communities.
  • 26 Chapter II REVIEW OF THE LITERATURE This chapter is primarily concerned with exploring the transformational leadership practices of elementary principals to determine how they impact school conditions. Leithwood and Jantzi (2005) identified that "a compelling body of empirical evidence now demonstrates the significant effects of leadership on school conditions and student learning" (p. 2). This chapter will review the relevant research surrounding the nature and quality of effective leadership that can be used to improve school reform through a principal's daily practices. This review of the literature was based upon a complex set of studies surrounding leadership. Four primary studies of transformational leadership and school and student outcomes focusing on principal leadership between 1996 and 2003 were summarized to provide insight into transformational leadership. The central purpose of reviewing these four studies was to obtain a clearer perspective of how leadership can be used to address school reform successfully. The review also identified the distinguishing attributes of transformational leadership in an effort to clarify how individuals display successful leadership traits. The main ideas and themes emerging from this research were that transformational leaders can, in fact, have positive and long-lasting effects on school
  • 27 communities. As well, transformational leadership practices can assist individuals in becoming effective leaders. Credible and verifiable data were found to substantiate why a correlation exists between transformational leadership practices and positive teacher engagement within the school culture. According to the relevant studies, individuals who displayed transformational leadership practices had a direct and positive impact on teachers that, in turn, indirectly and positively impacted school communities (Leithwood & Jantzi, 2000, 2005; Silins et al., 2002). Leithwood and Jantzi's (2000) definition served as the organizing structure for examining transformational leadership in this review. A brief historical account summarizing Bass and Avolio's (1994) and Burns's (1978) understanding of transformational leadership offers a conceptualization of how it emerged over time as a significant leadership style. An analysis of the corresponding characteristics of transformational leadership (as reviewed by Barnett et al., 2001; Leithwood & Jantzi, 1996, 1999, 2000, 2005; Marks & Printy, 2003; Silins et al., 2002) summarizes the following: (a) the meaning of educational leadership; (b) the impact of leadership on student engagement; (c) the impact of leadership on organizational conditions; (d) the impact of leadership on teachers; and (e) the impact of leadership on teacher outcomes. A comparative analysis of all the studies helps to clarify and identify the varying interpretations of transformational leadership. In addition, to offer further insights into what transformational leaders must understand to become talented leaders, this review includes a summary of studies on transformative learning for organizational change. Finally, this chapter concludes with an
  • 28 assessment of factors attributed to the specific behaviors that are considered to be effective transformational leadership. Definition of Transformational Leadership Transformational leadership has been found to contribute to organizational effectiveness within schools (Leithwood & Jantzi, 2000, 2005; Silins et al., 2002). Leithwood and Jantzi (2005) state that "transformational leadership may well be a productive antidote to the stifling effects of excessive organizational constraints" (p. 20). While many theorists and researchers (Barnett et al., 2001; Bass & Avolio, 1994; Burns, 1978; Marks & Printy, 2003) have defined transformational leadership, Leithwood and Jantzi's (2000) definition of the term was used to structure this review because their concept is considered the foundation of what many believe this type of leadership encompasses. Leithwood and Jantzi's (2000, 2005) analysis can be linked with results from other studies that examined the attributes of transformational leadership practices. For example, Burns's (1978) definition of transformational leadership included leaders displaying behaviors that motivated others to want to follow them. Bass and Avolio (1994) documented four attributes of transformational leadership that could be identified through a leader's behavior. The four attributes are: (1) leader's ability to be a role model for their followers; (2) leader's ability to motivate and inspire followers by providing meaning and challenge for them daily; (3) leader's ability to stimulate followers' efforts to become more innovative and creative; and (4) leader's special attention to each individual's needs for achievement and growth.
  • 29 Building on this definition, Barnett et al. (2001) identified the features of transformational leadership as including the ability to demonstrate a concern for individual development of a vision and to impart that sense of vision and inspiration for others to follow. Additionally, their description of transformational leadership focused on determining how leadership could specifically influence the level of additional effort that individuals exert. Marks and Printy's (2003) definition of transformational leadership expanded the concept by emphasizing how leaders had the ability to encourage individuals to develop to their greatest potential. For them, transformational leaders display characteristics that encourage individuals to value what is best for the organization rather than furthering their own individual concerns. Again, Leithwood and Jantzi's (2000) definition serves to tie these studies together. When describing transformational leadership, Leithwood and Jantzi (2000) state, "This approach to leadership fundamentally aims to foster capacity development and higher levels of personal commitment to organizational goals on the part of leaders' colleagues" (p. 113). They highlight six dimensions of this leadership style: (1) building school vision and goals; (2) providing intellectual stimulation; (3) offering individual support; (4) symbolizing professional practices and values; (5) demonstrating high performance expectations; and (6) developing structures to foster participation in school decisions (p. 114). These dimensions help to identify the behaviors that are specifically attributed to transformational leadership practices in the school setting. Leithwood and Jantzi's (2000) definition of leadership, with these six specific dimensions, contribute to a fuller picture of what effective individual leadership is believed to be. This categorization
  • 30 of leadership suggests that for leaders to become successful, they must completely embrace these six dimensions, as defined by Leithwood and Jantzi. Therefore, it is necessary to explore whether all six dimensions are equal in importance, as this will determine the need to prepare individuals to develop these related skills through professional development, school culture, preparation programs, individual personalities, and socialization experiences. Historical Roots The first description of transformational leadership was posed by Burns (1978), who drew from his work on political leadership. His ideas consisted of transforming the ideologies of leadership to include the examination of the relationships existing between leaders and followers. This interest in leadership guided Burns to the notion of how leaders and followers interact with one another, which he eventually defined as transactional and transforming. He separated these two leadership dimensions by conceptualizing them as being either "ordinary" or "extraordinary" (p. 2). Burns defined transactional as being ordinary leadership and transformational as being extraordinary leadership. Transactional (ordinary) leadership is based on a relationship between the leader and followers who conform to the leader's wishes in exchange for anticipated rewards. Transformational (extraordinary) leadership consists of a leader inspiring followers to higher levels of accomplishment by successfully motivating them to achieve in unimagined ways for the greater good. Burns viewed individuals who display transformational leadership as working with others to develop a common purpose to
  • 31 enhance and raise participants' level of commitment, as well as to inspire individuals toward advanced levels of improvement for everyone's personal enrichment. Bass and Avolio (1985) expanded Burns's original work by identifying the components of transformational leadership as follows: (1) Idealized Influence, which involves being role models for their followers; (2) Inspirational Motivation, which involves motivating and inspiring followers by providing meaning and challenge; (3) Intellectual Stimulation, which involves stimulating followers' efforts to be innovative and creative; and (4) Individualized Consideration, which involves paying special attention to each individual's needs for achievement and growth. (Geijsel & Sleegers, 1999, p. 2) According to Bass and Avolio (1994), transformational leaders who successfully motivate others to do more than what was originally intended, or that was thought possible, are critical to maintaining the goals of an organization. Bass and Avolio (1994), and their colleagues conducted a series of studies on transformational leadership. They concluded from their findings that the notion of transformational leadership is a significant and necessary attribute for improving organizations. At the same time, Leithwood and his colleagues, who focused specifically on educational leadership, pursued another line of research on transformational leadership. Their series of studies explored the relationship between transformational leadership and outcomes for schools, teachers, and students. They concluded that transformational leadership has a strong, significant effect on organizational conditions. Table 1 presents specific attributes associated with transformational leadership as depicted by various researchers, to demonstrate the similarities attributed to this particular leadership.
  • Table1.CorrespondingCharacteristics—TransformationalLeadership Leithwood&Jantzi (2000) SixDimensionsof Transformational Leadership (p.114) Buildingschool visionandgoals Providingintellectual stimulation Offeringindividual support Symbolizing professionalpractices andvalues Demonstratinghigh performance expectations Developingstructures tofosterparticipation inschooldecisions N/A Silinsetal.(2002) SixFactorsof Transformational Leadership (p.620) Visionandgoals Intellectual stimulation Individualsupport N/A Performance expectation Structure Culture Barnettetal.(2001) BehavioralComponentsof Transformational Leadership (p.3of14) N/A Intellectualstimulation Individualized consideration Idealizedinfluence (behavior) Idealizedinfluence (attributes) N/A N/A Marks&Printy(2003) NineFunctionsofTransformationalLeadershipClustering inThreeAreas (p.375) MissionCentered(developingawidelysharedvisionfortheschool, buildingconsensusaboutschoolgoalsandpriorities). PerformanceCentered(holdinghighperformanceexpectations, providingindividualizedsupport,supplyingintellectualstimulation) PerformanceCentered(holdinghighperformanceexpectations, providingindividualizedsupport,supplyingintellectualstimulation) CultureCentered(modelingorganizationalvalues,strengthening productiveschoolculture,buildingcollaborativecultures,and creatingstructuresforparticipationinschooldecisions) PerformanceCentered(holdinghighperformanceexpectations, providingindividualizedsupport,supplyingintellectualstimulation) CultureCentered(modelingorganizationalvalues,strengthening productiveschoolculture,buildingcollaborativecultures,and creatingstructuresforparticipationinschooldecisions) CultureCentered(modelingorganizationalvalues,strengthening productiveschoolculture,buildingcollaborativecultures,and creatingstructuresforparticipationinschooldecisions) to
  • 33 Reviewing the Meaning of Educational Leadership In 1996, Jantzi and Leithwood attempted to determine how a teacher's view of transformational leadership was developed. Their objective was to gain insight into how variations of a teacher's perceptions of transformational leadership were defined and to determine the changeable conditions (external and internal) found within the environments in which teachers work. Three years later, Leithwood and Jantzi examined the nature and strength of relationships between alterable school conditions and transformational leadership to determine the direct and indirect effects of principal and teacher leadership on student engagement. This was a quantitative study of 110 schools (N=l 10) with students from kindergarten through grade 9; information was obtained from 9,941 students and 1,762 teachers. Leithwood and Jantzi (1999) found that principal leadership, although not strong, had a statistically significant effect on student engagement (pp. 696-697). In 2000, Leithwood and Jantzi replicated their research. Their studies were concerned with determining the different effects of leadership on organizational change to produce positive and significant organizational outcomes to improve specific school conditions. Each of the studies included the identical independent measure of transformational leadership, mediating variables (organizational condition, school conditions, classroom conditions), and a dependent variable (student engagement). The researchers indicated that the dimensions they used to identify transformational leadership for their studies were derived from the work of Bass and Burns (1985), which looked at transactional and transformational leadership as representing opposite ends of the
  • 34 "leadership continuum" (p. 114). The intention was to identify the primary transformational leadership characteristic needed within principals to successfully improve organizational conditions and student engagement in schools. The research of Leithwood et al. (1996) identified significant attributes surrounding three dimensions of transformational school leadership: 1. Charisma/Inspiration/Vision—leaders inspire teachers to become engaged in their work by establishing a particular vision for the school; 2. Individual Consideration—leaders demonstrate concern and respect for the personal feelings and needs of teachers; and 3. Intellectual Stimulation—leaders challenge teachers in professionalizing themselves in such a manner that the organization develops into a learning environment. Leithwood and Jantzi (2005) reported that a range of experiences that individuals encounter had a meaningful influence on leaders' transformational leadership practices. Clearly, more exploration is warranted of how leadership experience in the field directly affects leaders. The clarifying points in need of review are directly related to identifying the qualities that impact leaders as well as the behaviors that are directly attributed to transformational leadership practices. Ultimately, research must be able to uncover and categorize what leaders do in addition to how and why they do it. If leaders are to be successfully prepared to initiate meaningful and purposeful school reforms, it is necessary to identify the characteristics that leaders demonstrate within the work setting. Silins et al. (2002) built on the work of Leithwood and Jantzi by looking more deeply at how transformational leadership impacted organizational learning. They used
  • 35 Leithwood and Jantzi's (1993) measure of transformational leadership and, similarly, "Finn's (1989) conceptualization of student participation in engagement with school" (p. 27) as dependent variables. Silins et al. (2002) used a "quantitative study" to examine the nature of organizational learning and the leadership practices and processes that foster organizational learning in Australian high schools. They also wanted to determine the "nature and process of organizational learning" by examining the impact that leadership has on teachers' work and the connection between "school-level factors and school outcome measures in terms of students' participation and engagement with school" (p. 613). Their goal was to explore the relationships between school leaders, organizational learning, and student outcomes. Although Silins et al. used Leithwood and Jantzi's (2000) six factors of transformational leadership; they found that they worked as one single factor rather than several. Two other studies developed different constructs of transformational leadership, building on the work of Bass and Avolio, outlined earlier in the "Historical Roots" section of this chapter. Barnett et al. (2001) examined the relationship between transformational leadership and transactional leadership to explore the behaviors of school principals. Their intention was to explore "Bass's conception of transformational and transactional leadership with teacher outcomes, and with teacher perceptions of school-learning culture" within a school setting (p. 5). Their definition of transformational leadership was based on Bass and Avolio's (1994) work. The "quantitative study" of Barnett et al. (2001) examining 12 secondary schools in Australia found that the measures they used to describe leadership were drawn from three essential
  • 36 designs. These constructs of leadership were: (1) transformational leadership, (2) transactional leadership, and (3) laissez-faire (non-leadership). Barnett et al. (2001) developed categories as an attempt to gain a greater understanding of the outcomes generated from each leadership model. The objective was to establish how leadership specifically influences the level of additional effort that individuals exert, and to determine how individuals perceive organizational efficiency and organizational satisfaction as they relate to the direct effect of leadership. Barnett et al. (2001) described the features of transformational leadership as consisting of individual concerns and vision/inspiration, while the aspects of transactional leadership included active management (proactive leadership) by exception and passive management (reactive leadership) by exception. In a separate study, Marks and Printy (2003) built on Bass and Avolio's (1994) work on how transformational leaders encourage followers to develop to their greatest potential. Their specific research centered on two notions of leadership: transformational leadership and instructional leadership. Marks and Printy (2003) conducted a "mixed methods study" of 24 elementary, middle, and high schools, in which they defined transformational leadership as having the following characteristics: idealized influence, inspirational motivation, intellectual stimulation, and individualized consideration. They concluded that transformational leaders inspire followers to value the importance of transcending their own concerns for the good of the organization. They also defined instructional leadership as being directly connected to teaching and learning, indicating that this form of leadership demonstrates both direct and indirect attributes as they relate to leadership functions. In particular, Marks and Printy (2003) identified four areas that
  • 37 interceded with instruction: (1) developing the school mission and goals; (2) coordinating, monitoring, and evaluating curriculum, instruction, and assessment; (3) promoting a climate for learning; and (4) creating a supportive learning environment (p. 373). In sum, Marks and Printy's (2003) study examined how school leadership relationships between the principal and teachers influence the quality of teaching and student performance. They found that leadership and the instructional process interface with one another, and specifically that the focus of instructional leadership is directly related to teaching and learning. Leadership Impact on Student Engagement Leithwood and Jantzi (2000) measured student participation (behavior component) and identification (affective component) as aspects of student engagement. By contrast, Silins et al. (2002) measured the influence of leadership variables on organizational learning, and the impact of leadership and organizational learning through teachers' work on student participation in school (behavioral), as well as student engagement with school (psychological). Both sets of research found no significant effects of teacher leadership on student engagement and suggested that student engagement may be more vulnerable to impact from variables occurring outside the classroom, as opposed to variables from within the classroom. Leithwood and Jantzi's (2000) findings indicate that student participation (behavior component) and identification (affective component) of student engagement are not strongly affected by transformational leadership. They specified that transformational leadership has a significant, although weak, impact on students' identification
  • 38 (affective/psychological dimension) and participation (behavioral dimension) in school. As well, student engagement is mediated by school conditions and results from the influence generated more from outside conditions rather than teachers' classroom practices. Silins et al.'s (2002) study indicates that transformational leadership does not influence students' participation in school; instead, organizational learning is a significant intermediary of principal and leadership team effects on teachers' work and students' outcomes. The authors also point out that the conditions needed to improve school and to advance student outcomes differ in that distributed leadership dimensions do not significantly contribute to student participation and engagement with school. These findings suggest that the influence of distributed leadership does not extend to student participation in school (behavioral) and engagement (psychological) with school. Student engagement can be related to teacher influence and work in the classroom. This influence is indirectly related to the principal and to the leadership team's influence on school conditions that are established to support organizational learning. Leadership Impact on Organizational Conditions As indicated in Chapter I, Leithwood and Jantzi (2000) outlined five school conditions that would demonstrate how leadership could influence organizational conditions: purpose and goals, school planning, organizational culture, structure and organization, and information and decision-making (pp. 115-116). Leithwood and Jantzi also noted that school conditions serve as a strong mediating variable in their studies; accordingly, it is an area in which transformational leadership can have a direct and
  • 39 positive impact. Therefore, transformational leaders should monitor the particular aspects of school conditions that appear significantly improved by transformational leadership. The intention of Leithwood and Jantzi's study was to discover the number of differences found in various areas of the school setting, "explained by teachers' perceptions of the extent of transformational practices exercised in their schools" (p. 120). The present study, by contrast, focused on uncovering whether specific transformational leadership dimensions could be explained by principals' behaviors, as revealed in principals' and teachers' perceptions. The goal was to reveal the number of transformational practices that were being exercised within each particular school. Information from data collected on the effects of transformational leadership, obtained from Leithwood and Jantzi's (2000) study, is presented below. Their study reported that the "means and standard deviations, aggregated to the school level, of teachers' ratings of transformational leadership and all school and classroom conditions" had produced results which indicated that "the internal reliabilities of all scales were acceptable, ranging from 0.74 to 0.95" (p. 122). Teacher ratings of school and classroom conditions, as well as of transformational leadership results, indicated "five of the conditions loaded at 0.83 or higher, whereas the relationship of structure and organization to the factor was somewhat weaker at 0.72" (p. 122). Leithwood and Jantzi's (2000) study also described that purpose and goals had a factor loading of 0.85, which resulted from teacher ratings of conditions within their school (Table II in Leithwood & Jantzi, p. 122). Their study further documented that providing individual support had a factor loading of 0.90, which resulted from teacher ratings of leadership within their schools.
  • Leithwood and Jantzi (2000) suggest that "transformational leadership has strong, significant direct effects on organizational conditions" but a moderate effect on student engagement (p. 124). Leithwood and Jantzi (2000) delineate that transformational school leadership does "explain a large proportion of the variation in organizational conditions, those features of the school to which leaders have direct access and which are, conceptually, the means through which school effects are exercised" (p. 125). Their data indicate that relationships between transformational leadership and organizational conditions were deemed to be statistically significant (Table IV of Leithwood & Jantzi, p. 123). The data from their study reveal the relevance of the relationships between transformational leadership and the attributes of leadership (building school vision and goals, and offering individual support) that have been selected as areas of further inquiry for the present study. Furthermore, these findings suggest that future studies, which investigate the attributes of transformational leadership, are warranted to further clarify and enhance how leadership is perceived and understood. Looked at from another angle, Silins et al. (2002) defined organizational conditions as: school-level factors associated with leadership, organizational learning, and student outcomes (p. 630). They described the conditions needed for organizational learning as being directly associated with the establishment of three school leadership variables: principal transformational leadership; active involvement with administrative teams; and distributed leadership. Silins et al. implemented "a nine-variable model" to investigate "the influence of leadership variables on organizational learning, and the impact of leadership and organizational learning through teachers' work on students' participation in engagement with school" (p. 627).
  • 41 Results from Silins et al.'s (2002) study specified no direct effects of the principal's approach to leadership on distributed leadership. However, they did suggest a strong indirect influence of leadership practices relating to the extent of distributed leadership found in the school. As Silins et al. state, "In our study, principals' transformational practices, directly or indirectly, influenced every school and outcome variable except students' participation in school" (p. 634). Data obtained from their study indicate the following: 1. The proportion of variance of organizational learning accounted for by leaders was 25% (.30 x .84), distributed leadership was 28% (.36 x .78), and total proportion of variance of organizational learning accounted for by the total leadership in schools was 53%. 2. Three variables emerged as direct predicators of organizational learning: leader (p=.30), active leadership (p=.36), and distributed leadership (p=.36). 3. The leader exerted a dominant total influence on organizational learning and was the direct predictor (p=.28) of teachers' work. 4. Organizational learning mediated indirect leader effects (i=.23) and, to a lesser extent, indirect active leadership effects (i=.17). 5. Teachers' work exerted a direct influence on participation (p=.41). Silins et al. (2002) believe that their findings authenticated the assumption that a principal's transformational behavior, along with the leadership team's participation in the school's core work, needs to be fostered throughout the school community. They indicate that to assist teachers in leadership roles, organizational structures must be in place within the school to support this. Their position is that once the leadership
  • 42 behaviors of the principal and the leadership team in the school are in place and distributed throughout the whole teaching staff, the influence of leadership on organizational learning will establish educational learning within the school. Silins et al. (2002) also point out that the level of leadership within a school will establish the level of organizational learning that occurs there. Similarly, the conditions that enhance student learning are directly related to the conditions and systems in place to enable staff at all levels to seek new learning experiences collaboratively and continuously. Silins et al. emphasize that organizational learning and leadership practices have equal effects on each other, and together, organizational learning and leadership can prevail over the complexities that thwart improved student learning. Additionally, Silins et al. advocate that varying levels of organizational learning impinge on teachers' work with students. They concluded that organizational learning, along with teachers' instructional work, is an essential variable that intercedes with school conditions and student outcomes. Silins et al.'s (2002) results indicate that transformational leadership does not directly or indirectly influence all school outcomes. Their study supports the critical function of encouraging leadership throughout schools, given that a leader's influence can directly impact a school's level of organizational learning. In short, transformational leadership practices are needed to support positive organizational change. According to Silins et al., once the conditions for organizational learning are established within a school, the level of organizational learning can affect teachers' work with their students in the classrooms.
  • 43 Leadership Impact on Teachers Other researchers have explored the impact of leadership directly on teachers. Barnett et al. (2001) found that positive teacher results could be obtained within the school when relationships existed between the transformational and transactional leadership behaviors of the school principal. These behaviors, however, must be related to other aspects of the school learning culture. In addition, teaching and learning may be hindered or negatively linked to students' learning outcomes because teachers' perceptions surrounding the attributes of vision/inspiration—which they relate to transformational leadership practices—are negative. Teachers did not distinguish between the transformational leadership behaviors of charisma, intellectual stimulation, and inspirational motivation, nor did they distinguish between transformational leadership behavior, individual concern, and the transactional leadership behavior of contingent reward. Clearly, these findings indicate that teachers did not distinguish between transformational and transactional leadership with respect to contingent reward. However, Barnett et al. (2001) concluded that these two practices were connected. Transformational leadership was successful when it incorporated transactional practices in a way that was receptive as well as accepted by teachers. In addition, individual concern accounted for 65% of the variance in teacher outcomes. Teachers viewed the principal as effective when the principal gave teachers individual attention; accordingly, when this occurred, teachers were more likely to feel satisfied and willingly put forth the extra effort needed. Barnett et al. (2001) also indicate that "passive management by exception" explained 11% of the variance in their study. This passive management by exception
  • 44 demonstrated the principals' failure to intervene except during problematic situations. As a result, this had a direct and negative effect on the satisfaction and extra effort of the teachers. Additionally, teachers who perceived principals as demonstrating this behavior found these principals to be ineffective leaders. Barnett et al.'s (2001) findings also indicate that teachers might perceive a principal's visionary practices as a hindrance to their classroom work. That is, a principal's visionary practices may place greater demands on teachers to do extra work outside the classroom. Results obtained from other studies indicate that other factors need to be considered when exploring the effective dimensions of transformational leadership. Marks and Printy (2003) disagreed with Leithwood and Jantzi's (1999) position that teachers who are given opportunities to act as leaders do "a disservice to teachers and leaders" (p. 393). They emphasize that schools that integrate leadership to include teachers eventually develop into organizations that learn and achieve at higher levels. Marks and Printy's results indicate that instructional leadership elicits the characteristics of transformational leadership that are necessary to increase teachers' commitment and professionalism which are required to improve schools. They suggest that transformational leadership and shared instructional leadership play critical roles in attaining commitment from teachers. Marks and Printy (2003) also stress that transformational leadership is needed because it encourages teachers to share leadership functions. Their findings suggest that teachers have both the desire and the expertise to lead. Thus, transformational leadership and instructional leadership are effective methods of improving and developing instructional leadership within teachers themselves. Marks and Printy (2003) claimed that
  • 45 leadership is shared with teachers, which in turn will enhance school performance. In a ripple effect, students were shown to perform at higher levels on authentic measures of achievement when there was "integrated leadership." Integrated leadership then directly links principals and teachers in developing a common commitment to education (Marks & Printy, 2003). However, "shared instructional leadership" does not occur unless it is deliberately sought and cultivated (Marks & Printy, 2003). Barnett et al. (2001) and Marks and Printy (2003) summarized the impact of leadership on teacher outcomes. They attribute the following characteristics to leadership: (1) leaders demonstrate both transformational and transactional leadership; (2) behaviors of the school principal connect to other characteristics of the school learning culture; (3) transformational and transactional leadership helps to develop contingent rewards for teachers; (4) leadership encourages teachers to share leadership functions; (5) transformational leadership and instructional leadership improve and develop instructional leadership within teachers; (6) shared leadership with teachers enhances school performance; (7) integrated leadership between leaders and teachers enhances student performance through teacher involvement; (8) the integration of transformational and instructional leadership improves school conditions; and (9) shared instructional leadership must be deliberately sought and cultivated if it is to be successful. Barnett et al. (2001) and Marks and Printy (2003) provide a brief overview of how specific leadership traits are believed to impact teacher outcomes. Both authors summarized that teaching and learning may be delayed if teachers are not supported and acknowledged by principals. They also believed that teachers aspire to lead and have useful knowledge to be effective leaders if given the opportunity by principals. In fact,
  • 46 teachers would become self-actualized and work harder if they view a principal giving teachers individual attention. Both researchers maintain that the principal's transformational and transactional leadership behaviors can cause positive teacher results within the school. However, the satisfaction and extra effort of teachers may also be affected if principals fail to get involved during difficult times and that a principal's visionary practices may be perceived more by teachers as an obstacle to their effectiveness in the classroom. Contrasting how principals perceive their own leadership as well as how teachers perceive the leadership practices of the principal provides an opportunity to capture a broader understanding of a principal's leadership practices in schools. The benefit in conducting this research is connected to determining how a principal's leadership practices directly affect school conditions. This is a critical element in being able to disclose the principal's role in improving school conditions. Research indicates that to successfully engage teachers in their work, educational leaders must first establish school conditions which directly or indirectly influence the environments in their schools (Leithwood & Jantzi, 1999, 2000; Sergiovanni, 1995; Silins et al., 2002). Findings such as these require further inquiries into how leadership is viewed within schools. Observing the effect of two specific transformational leadership dimensions on five specific school conditions may provide results that possibly suggest how the leadership practices of principals are perceived. Commonalities found in the reviewed studies of transformational leadership have established that a relationship between leaders and followers is a positive factor in establishing school conditions that lead to school improvement (Leithwood & Jantzi, 1999, 2000, 2005; Silins et al., 2002).
  • 47 The literature clearly identifies that a principal's leadership practices can have indirect impact on students through direct impact on teachers (Leithwood & Jantzi, 2000, 2005; Silins et al., 2002). Investigating the leadership practice of principals provides an opportunity to obtain a more thorough understanding of how principals possibly affect positive school reform initiatives to occur within schools. The research contributes to the literature by providing a greater understanding of how a principal's leadership is perceived to be practiced. Transactional Leadership The following section briefly elaborates on the differences between transactional and transformational leadership. One of the key proponents in this area is Henderson (2002), who states that transformative learning focuses on change at the individual level, while transformational change refers to the basic ways in which an individual functions within an organization. Henderson (2002) adds that "Transformational learning is the process of examining, questioning, validating, and revising our perceptions of the world (Cranton, 1994)" (p. 200). He further denotes that the learning process involves individuals making sense of their worlds from experiences to which they have been pre- exposed. Leaders must understand the difference between transformative learning and transformational change if they expect to be able to "contribute to a more holistic and effective approach to understanding change in organizations" (p. 187). Transactional leadership is dependent upon the leaders' focus on perfecting their abilities to effectively suggest tangible rewards in an effort to barter for something else in return (Burns, 1978). Transactional leaders seek to reward followers as well as to barter
  • 48 in exchange for their efforts (Burns, 1978; Sergiovanni, 2004). Sergiovanni (2004) states that "the wants and the needs of followers are traded against the wants and the needs of the leader and a bargain is struck" (p. 174). Henderson (2002) suggests that "Fundamental changes in perception lead to changes in behavior within the organization" (p. 189). First-order change (transactional: system changes) and second-order change (transformational: leadership changes) are two separate and distinct concepts. However, both ideas are critical for developing an understanding of how to improve organizations. Accordingly, it is necessary for transformational leaders to understand the concepts of transactional change and transformational change. Transactional change requires that the processes (systems, policies, procedures, management practices, structure) that individuals use to interact within the organization are connected to the "climate" of the organization. Transformational change is described as an involvement directed towards an organization's mission and policy, the leadership, and the organizational "culture" that permeates the environment of the organization. Transformational change involves varying the way people perceive their positions, responsibilities, and relationships within the organization. Henderson (2002) denotes that "Transformational change in organizations involves radical changes in how members perceive, think, and behave at work (Cummings & Worley, 1997)" (p. 186). In addition, Henderson (2002) states that "critical reflection is essential for transformational change at both the individual and organizational levels" (p. 210). Transformational change in organizations depends on a true "transformative change in the organization and move to a higher level of performance, in which the individual must
  • 49 become aligned within the new structure, the work process, and the culture of the organization" (p. 211). Thus, transformational change for the individual is the "essential outcome of the change process" (p. 206). Henderson (2002) notes that a concept critical to this idea is that transformative learning theory can balance and enhance transformational change efforts by promoting commitment rather than conformity. In considering transformational leadership, one must also consider transactional leadership. The literature poses varying views surrounding transformational and transactional leadership (Burns, 1978). The research describes how transformational leaders must engage their followers in aspiring to achieve greater results, as opposed to transactional leaders who engage their followers by offering them a pre-determined established agreement to achieve greater results (Bass & Avolio, 1988; Burns, 1978; Henderson, 2002; Sergiovanni, 2004). Although transactional and transformational leadership are different concepts, research indicates that perhaps both aspects must be present if leadership is to be effective (Bass & Avolio, 1988). Thus, the relevance of providing a description of transactional leadership is to provide information which could be utilized when reflectively comparing and contrasting transformational leadership and transactional leadership to obtain a richly descriptive depiction of what leadership traits embody. Analysis of Studies on Transformational Leadership Because varying interpretations of transformational leadership can be found in the research, it becomes possible to narrow down the current description of transformational leadership dimensions and inform this study's direction by identifying the effective
  • 50 attributes of transformational leadership. Despite the general consensus on the definition of transformational leadership, agreement on the number of specific leadership dimensions and the importance of each dimension has been found to vary (Barnett et al., 2001; Leithwood & Jantzi, 1999, 2000, 2005; Marks & Printy, 2003; Silins et al., 2002). Outlined below are several different conceptions of transformational leadership extracted from this review of the research. Leithwood and Jantzi (2000) note that in general, leaders have the ability to cultivate individuals' aspirations to achieve greater personal commitment and accomplish common organizational goals. Specifically, they delineate six dimensions of transformational leadership: (1) building school vision and goals; (2) providing intellectual stimulation; (3) offering individual support; (4) symbolizing professional practices and values; (5) demonstrating high performance expectations; and (6) developing structures to foster participation in school decisions (p. 114). Leithwood and Jantzi (2000) suggest that leadership can have a direct impact on school conditions. By contrast, Silins et al. (2002) indicate that effective leadership is more contingent upon the indirect influence of leaders on school conditions than on their direct leadership practices on teachers. As mentioned earlier, Silins et al. used Leithwood and Jantzi's same six factors, but found that they could be used as one single factor. However, Silins et al. also measured distributed leadership that exists in schools as perceived by teachers. They point out that a principal's leadership, along with distributed leadership that is shared with others, represents the total leadership in any one school. Further, distributed leadership is shared by all constituents of the school community. Their position is that
  • 51 individuals who are capable of distributing leadership throughout the school to various places and to other individuals are leaders who demonstrate active leadership. Silins et al. conclude with the suggestion that active leadership corresponds to teachers viewing and perceiving themselves as working collaboratively with the leader to improve school conditions. As indicated previously, Barnett et al's. (2001) conception of leadership involves a framework that consists of both transactional leadership and transformational leadership. As discussed before, although each is a separately defined leadership behavior, together they are also integrated ideologies that supplement and complement one another in practice. Barnett et al's. definition of transformational leadership was identified by five specific characteristics, as summarized by Bass and Avolio (1998): (1) Idealized Influence (attribute)—followers identify and imitate leaders who are trusted and seen as having an attainable mission and vision; (2) Idealized Influence (behavior)— followers identify with leaders' behavior and want to be like them; (3) Inspirational Motivation—closely related to Idealized Influence, followers are motivated and inspired when provided meaning and challenge; (4) Intellectual Stimulation—followers' efforts to be innovative and creative are encouraged and stimulated; and (5) Individualized Consideration—leaders relate to followers one-on-one to elevate goals and objectives by attending to individual needs for achievement and growth. Barnett et al.'s features of transactional leadership include: (1) Contingent Reward—exchange of rewards for meeting agreed-upon objectives; (2) Management by Exception (active)—a leader monitors followers to ensure that mistakes are not made; and (3) Management by Exception (passive)—a leader intervenes only when a problem arises.
  • 52 As mentioned previously, Marks and Printy's (2003) leadership framework resulted from the principle that leadership could be defined as being both transformational and instructional. Transformational leadership was defined here as distinguished by nine functions clustered into three areas: (1) Mission Centered— developing a widely-shared vision for the school, and building consensus about school goals and priorities; (2) Performance Centered—holding high performance expectations, providing individualized support, and supplying intellectual stimulation; and (3) Culture Centered—modeling organizational values, strengthening productive school culture, building collaborative cultures, and creating structures for participation in school decisions. The commonalities found in the varying interpretations of the studies on transformational leadership establish that a relationship between leaders and followers was a factor, which could be construed as a positive, reoccurring result (Barnett et al., 2001; Leithwood & Jantzi, 1999, 2000; Marks & Printy, 2003; Silins et al., 2002). The following are some examples of similarities and ideas established by each of the studies demonstrating a correlation between leaders and followers. Leaders empower others to become actively involved in effecting positive change. They also allow for the development of school structures to foster participation in school decision-making. Leadership is shared with all constituents of the school community. Being trusted and viewed as having an achievable mission and vision is also essential. Once individuals are involved in leadership, followers can be motivated and inspired to do their best. Meaning and challenge are provided for each goal while individuals are encouraged and stimulated to participate in school decisions. Finally, individual achievement is valued to reach one
  • 53 common goal (Barnett et al., 2001; Leithwood & Jantzi, 1999, 2000; Marks & Printy, 2003; Silinsetal., 2002). This review of the literature establishes that a correlation exists between leadership behaviors and the impact of these behaviors on school conditions. For example, leadership clearly is influential. A leader's behavior can have a positive impact on schools when transformational leadership traits are displayed (Leithwood & Jantzi, 2005). Nonetheless, Leithwood and Jantzi (2005) assert that "without minimizing the considerable progress that has been made over the past 15 years, it is safe to say that the nature of effective school leadership still remains much more of a black box than we might think" (p. 2). This review indicates that further research must be conducted in the area of transformational leadership to uncover the relevant characteristics that are needed to improve schools and reveal what still may remain within the "black box." The characteristics of leadership, especially leadership at the school level, require that leadership behavior be thoroughly reviewed to achieve a better understanding of its effectiveness (Barnett et al., 2001; Leithwood & Jantzi, 1999, 2000; Marks & Printy, 2003; Silinsetal., 2002). Conclusion This review of the literature explored the significant attributes of leadership by offering expert opinions and examining available research on particular organizational conditions. It summarized how effective educational leadership is believed to explicitly affect organizational conditions, enhance principal and teacher relationships, and influence teacher engagement within schools. In addition, it clearly identified various
  • 54 attributes of effective leadership practices—specifically, transformational leadership. However, several findings on transformational leadership and its impact on organizational conditions, as well as the connection of collaborative leadership between principals and teachers, vary in their level of significance. For example, principal and teacher sources of leadership offer diverse perspectives and statistical differences in results related to improving overall school conditions and the way leadership influences cause various levels of engagement to take place within schools (Andrews & Crowther, 2002; Leithwood & Jantzi, 1999). The research indicates that effective leadership requires that principal-teacher relationships develop to include a sense of shared purpose explicitly delineating how principal leadership influences and impacts directly on teachers. The purpose of this review of the literature was to identify what must specifically exist within schools to foster positive relationships between educational leaders and teachers. One conclusion from this review is that positive teacher relationships and positive school conditions are developed by the behavior of the principal and the leadership team of the school as well as by how the principal shares and distributes leadership throughout the school. Further inquiry into principals' transformational leadership practices within school settings might reveal what influences the level of leadership and level of organizational learning taken by teachers and students in schools. For example, studies indicate that the level of organizational learning within the school established by the principal affects both teacher and student engagement. Additionally, for educational leaders to successfully engage teachers in their work they must develop effective learning organizations; this is accomplished by establishing conditions that both directly and indirectly influence school conditions. Leithwood and Jantzi (2005) contend
  • 55 that "context determines the specific enactment of effective transformational leadership behaviors in schools" (p. 20). Clearly, the context of a transformational leader is embedded in how he or she is perceived to lead within a school setting. Future studies are needed to determine the attributes of successful leadership practices so that a greater understanding of how relationships develop between principals and teachers can be enhanced. This review also outlined how transformational leadership has a significant and positive impact on teacher engagement in schools and organizational conditions within schools. The characteristics ascribed to prevalent transformational leadership practices are directly related to the manner in which leaders support, develop, and include teachers and staff in the decision-making process (distributed leadership); intellectually stimulate teachers and staff; concurrently challenge and support them to achieve high performance expectations; and value, respect, and engage all constituents of the school community. The conclusions drawn from the literature review can be instrumental in assisting future educational leaders to provide intellectual stimulation, individual support, and high performance expectations that foster conditions enhancing school-wide involvement and teacher engagement. Thus, there is a need to explore how leadership practices can cultivate positive and thriving principal and teacher relationships in schools. Additionally, it is important to clearly identify which school conditions are directly attributed to the practices of transformational leaders. Exploring how principals lead in their natural work environment will clarify the attributes of transformational leadership and move closer to determining
  • 56 how the nature and quality of leadership can improve school reform through daily practice.
  • 57 Chapter III METHODOLOGY This chapter explains the methodology involved in conducting the research for the study. First presented are the research questions designed for the study, followed by a rationale and description of the initial four pilot studies. The following section summarizes the attributes associated with transformational leadership, as well as the guiding principles which were used to explore the transformational leadership practices of principals. A conceptual map illustrates the areas under investigation. In addition, the rationale for utilizing a qualitative field study approach as the research method to investigate the leadership practices of principals is presented. The setting, significance of the study, selection of participants, and consent procedures are described. The next section explains the process of data collection using interviews, observations, and archival documents. The last section explains data analysis, the limitations of the study, and a consideration of validity and researcher bias. Research Design The leadership practices of two elementary principals were explored within the context of a qualitative field study. Both schools involved in this study are located within the Central School District in the State of New Jersey.
  • 58 Pilot Studies Four pilot studies were conducted to gather information which helped to change and reshape the original scope of the investigation: how transformational leadership is developed and taught within educational leadership programs. These pilot studies were conducted in ethnically-diverse communities. Two pilot studies took place in the State of New Jersey and two additional pilot studies in the State of Virginia. Information gathered from the pilot studies were obtained through interviews with four individual principals. This investigation did not disclose how principals and teachers perceived the actual practice of leadership in schools. Rather, information obtained from the pilot studies suggested that a more thoughtful inquiry may result from conducting a study on how school conditions are affected by a principal's leadership practices. It also reinforced the need to conduct a qualitative field study that examines the perceived leadership practices of principals and provides useful information for designing the interview questions for the present study. Principal Leadership Practices The primary objective of this investigation was to determine if principals were perceived as displaying leadership qualities which could be linked to transformational leadership. Stake (1995) notes that "Seldom is an entirely new understanding reached but refinement of understanding is" (p. 7). Thus, the intent of conducting this inquiry was to identify the effective practices of transformational leadership and the impact of this form of leadership on school conditions. The definition of transformational leadership, derived
  • 59 from Leithwood and Jantzi (1999, 2000, 2005), included two dimensions: (1) building school vision and goals, and (2) offering individual support to teachers. According to Stake (1995), "Two strategic ways that researchers reach new meanings about cases are through direct interpretation of the individual instances and through aggregation of instances until something can be said about them as a class" (p. 74). By acquiring direct interpretations of each elementary principal's leadership practices and determining the frequencies with which these practices are perceived to occur, it was possible to obtain meaningful information related to the characteristics attributed to transformational leaders. The conceptual map in Figure 1 illustrates the relationships between each variable investigated in this study. Figure 2 outlines the scope of the research and its design to explore a principal's leadership practices. It illustrates that the objective of the study was to disclose the effects (positive and negative) of a principal's practice on school conditions for school improvement, as reported and identified by principals and teachers. Leadership Theory This qualitative field study was embedded in theoretical research surrounding the nature and quality of what is believed to be effective transformational leadership practices (Leithwood & Jantzi, 1999, 2000, 2005). As Yin (1993) states, "the case study is not to be generalized to a population but rather to some theory" (p. 34). The behavior practices of two elementary school principals were contrasted with research on transformational leadership to determine if a principal's practice could be linked to characteristics found in research surrounding transformational leadership (Leithwood & Jantzi, 1999, 2000,
  • 60 Figure 2. Conceptual Design of the Study—Transformational Leadership Transformational Leadership (Leadership Dimensions) (Leithwood & Jantzi, 2000) 1. (a) Building school vision (b) Building school goals; and 2. Offering individual support to teachers As Evident In 1. Principal Perceptions 2. Teacher Perceptions 3. Observations of Principal Actions Perceived Effects Posi Sch tive / ool Conditions (Leithwood & Jantzi, 2000) 1. purpose and goals; 2. school planning; 3. organizational culture; 4. structure and organization; and 5. information and decision- making School Improvement 1. As Identified by Principals 2. As Identified by Teachers Negative School Conditions (Leithwood & Jantzi, 2000) 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. purpose and goals; school planning; organizational culture; structure and organization; and information and decision- making
  • 61 2005). This aligns with Yin's (1994) statement, "For case studies, theory development as part of the design phase is essential, whether the ensuing case study's purpose is to develop or to test theory" (p. 27). Yin further advocates that "the use of theory, in doing case studies, not only is an immense aid in defining the appropriate research design and data collection but also becomes the main vehicle for generalizing the results of the case study" (p. 32). Contrasting and comparing information between studies on transformational leadership with data collected on principals' leadership practices permitted generalizability on how leadership possibly affects school conditions. Creswell (1998) supports the nature of qualitative studies that allow the researcher to "gather extensive material from multiple sources of information to provide an in-depth picture of the case" (p. 41). Methodological Design Description of Design This "intrinsic case study" investigated the leadership practices of two elementary principals. Stake (1995) notes that: The case is given. We are interested in it, not because by studying it we learn about other cases or about some general problem, but because we need to learn about that particular case. We have an intrinsic interest in the case, and we may call our work intrinsic case study, (p. 3) I as the researcher anticipated that the inquiry would provide insight into the effective dimensions of transformational leadership. Yin (1993) points out that "case study research should be used to expand our understanding of theoretical propositions and hypotheses in those situations where (a) the context is important and (b) events cannot be manipulated (as in an experiment)" (p. 39). The information collected was examined for
  • 62 patterns that indicated the routine practices of transformational leadership by each principal as either intentional or unintentional. One goal in initiating this research was to modify current understanding of how transformational leadership practices were perceived by both principals and teachers within a specific school setting, and not to generalize to all principals and teachers within all school settings. Yin (1993) states that "case studies are an appropriate research method when you are trying to attribute causal relationships—and not just wanting to explore or describe a situation" (p. 31). This investigation of principals' leadership practices, then, attempted to generate a working hypothesis on how transformational leadership was perceived in two distinct elementary schools. Significance of Location in Conducting Study At the time of this study, I was employed as the only high school principal in Central School District. The high school was not meeting some requirements of the federal regulations established in the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001. Central School District was undergoing several initiatives to seek alternatives for how to achieve higher levels of academic success for all schools in this district. One of my current responsibilities was to coordinate a "High School Task Force" initiative, which was designed to explore how school conditions can be improved not only at the high school, but also throughout all schools in Central School District. Given this position, I had the opportunity to explore the leadership practice of two elementary principals. The motivation to conduct this study, then, was aligned with the objective of improving school conditions within the high school and ultimately to offer pertinent
  • 63 information that can support the initiatives currently undertaken within Central School District. As well, given my position as principal, the study was also intrinsically connected to my personal and professional interests in identifying the effective dimensions of a transformational leader. Principal Participants Two elementary principals from Central School District were selected to participate in the study. As outlined in Chapter I, pseudonyms were used to identify the two principals and their individual elementary schools. Principal A held his position for over 25 years, and Principal B was currently in her ninth year as a principal. Both principals were selected because they successfully implemented various programs in their respective schools, as identified by the Central School District superintendent. The principals granted me permission to speak to the Central School District superintendent about their individual leadership practices. The superintendent noted that Principals A and B demonstrated qualities associated with transformational leadership. Leithwood and Jantzi's (2000) definition of transformational leadership provided the conceptual framework with which to identify each principal's practices. The superintendent offered several examples of why he believed Principal A and Principal B best exemplified the qualities connected with transformational leadership. He mentioned the programs that each principal effectively implemented within the school and how each principal's leadership impacted current school conditions. In particular, he indicated how both principals demonstrated transformational leadership characteristics when interacting with staff. In his view, both
  • 64 principals demonstrated an ability to invoke positive changes by developing a school vision for their staff that he believed permeated the school environment. By selecting two principals from one school district, I was able to control for several factors that might otherwise prove impractical. For example, Principals A and B were required to adhere to only one school district policy, while principals from different school districts would have to follow different district policies. This variable could lead to various interpretations of a principal's leadership practices based on these policy differences. In addition, conducting research within Central School District permitted unrestricted access to information that might not otherwise be available. Having this access to both elementary schools offered many obvious advantages when conducting qualitative field studies research (Anderson et al., 1994; Anderson & Jones, 2000; Babbie, 1995; Stake, 1995; Strauss, 1987; Yin, 1993). Teacher Participants All teacher participants for the study were currently working within Central School District. Their participation was voluntary. A "systematic sample with a random start" (Babbie, 1995, p. 208) was utilized to select participants from the teaching population of each elementary principal's school. This approach ensured that every teacher had an equal opportunity of being selected as a participant (Babbie, 1995; Hedrick et al., 1993; Maxwell, 1996; Miles & Huberman, 1994). Five teacher names were randomly selected from each principal's faculty list (approximately 35 teachers are in each elementary school). It was decided at random that the sixth staff member from each faculty list would be the first participant selected for the
  • 65 sample. Thereafter, every fifth teacher in alphabetic order was selected. The sampling interval (standard distance between participants selected) was 5 and the sampling ratio (participants who could be selected for the study) was 35 teachers (Babbie, 1995). Approximately 30 hours of teacher interview data were collected. The participants selected for interviews reflected the best sample representation of the population under studied. Seidman (2006) notes that "The range of people and sites from which the sample is selected should be fair to the larger population" (p. 52). For this study, the range of individual teachers came from the larger population in an effort "to sample purposely the widest variation and sites and people within the limits of the study" (p. 53). As a result, each participant had an equal chance of being selected, in keeping with Maxwell's (1996) statement, "to ensure that the conclusions adequately represent the entire range of variation, rather than only the typical members or some subset of this range" (p. 71). Thus, the sample selected represented the entire population, not a select portion of each principal's teaching staff. The majority of the teachers in both schools have been in the teaching profession for a considerable number of years. All teachers had opportunities to observe their principal's leadership practices on several different occasions, such as during faculty meetings, throughout the course of the school day, and during their own personal interactions with the principal. Thus, the teachers were well suited to describe how they perceive their principals' leadership practices.
  • 66 Location At the time of the study, Central School District was a small school district consisting of approximately 4,040 students from an ethnically-diverse population (9% Hispanic, 14% Asian, 17% African American, and 60% White). Both affluent and low- income student populations attended Central School District. The minority population within this district has increased annually for the past 10 years. On the South side of Central School District is a school district with mainly ethnically-diverse, low-income families, while on the North side is a more affluent, less ethnically-diverse community. Several colleges border this community. Central School District spends approximately $10,649 per pupil, which is above the state average. The seven schools in Central School District consist of the following: (1) four pre-K-3 elementary schools (1,300 students); (2) one grade 4 intermediate school and one grade 5-6 intermediate school (860 students); (4) one grade 7-8 middle school (630 students); and (5) one grade 9-12 high school (1,250 students). Elementary school setting. The following information, obtained from the State of New Jersey Department of Education, reflects the descriptions printed in each elementary school's state report card. The state report card provides data on how students are collectively achieving as a group within each school. The New Jersey Assessment of Skills and Knowledge (NJASK3) is an indicator used by the state to assess student performance in language arts and mathematics. Students have met all state-mandated benchmark requirements for academic proficiency throughout the past few years. Principal A's elementary school has a total student population of 415 students. Located in the center of the district, the school borders suburban and single-family
  • 67 homes. Principal A's elementary school minority population has increased by 16.6% and the school's economic status (low-income population) has increased by 4% since 2001. Principal B's elementary school has a total student population of 340 students. This school, located in a middle-class residential neighborhood, borders rural and farm lands, suburban and single-family homes; it is located within a culturally-diverse-community. Principal B's elementary school has increased its minority population by 12.5 % and has not had any increase in economic status (low-income population) since 2001. The length of the school day at both elementary schools is comparable. Students attend school for 6 hours and 40 minutes. The average class size at Principal A's elementary school is 18.5, while it is 15.0 at Principal B's elementary school. Given that the state average class size is 19.2, both elementary schools are below the state average. Neither school reports attendance or discipline problems. A total of 5.4% special education students are enrolled in Principal A's elementary school, compared with 6.7% special education students enrolled in Principal B's elementary school. In Principal A's elementary school, a total of 82.1% of their students list English as the first language spoken at home; at Principal B's elementary school, 95.7% of its students documented the same. Consent Procedures/Confidentiality I as researcher strictly adhered to the required ethical approach to protect human subjects, according to Teachers College, Columbia University's regulations about confidentiality. Participants did not have any confidentiality risks because their names were not used; thus, they cannot be identified.
  • 68 The Superintendent of Central School District was contacted for initial approval to conduct this research within the District. Participants received an invitation to be involved in this study (see Appendix H). Prior to conducting the research, an independent meeting with each participant was held, which offered insights into the study and allowed the participants to ask questions. None of the participants received any form of payment for their involvement. They had the opportunity to discontinue their involvement at any point during the study. The description of the risks and benefits (Protection of Human Subjects in Research—Application) was forwarded to the Office of Institutional Review Board at Teachers College, Columbia University, once the teachers reviewed and signed it (see Appendix I). Participants were also required to sign a consent protocol based on the standards established by the: Institutional Review Board of Teachers College, Columbia University (see Appendix J). The consent form indicated that the data collected would remain confidential and that the results obtained would be used exclusively for the research being conducted. The participants' signature on the consent form verified that they gave their permission to be in the study. Participants received a copy of the research conclusions to provide them with an explanation of the findings. Possible benefits to the participants included that the information they received would give them practical and applicable insight into effective leadership practices.
  • 69 Data Collection Collection of Data: Multiple Case Field Study Several different methods of gathering information on the transformational leadership practices of two elementary principals were utilized in this multiple case field study. Data were collected through: (1) principal interviews, (2) teacher interviews, (3) principal observations, and (4) archival documents. This section briefly describes how information was obtained using these methods; a more detailed description is provided in subsequent sections of this chapter. Principals and teachers were interviewed in their respective schools during the school day to determine how they perceived the principal's leadership practices. Specifically, principals were observed as they interacted with teachers at faculty and department meetings, as well as throughout the course of the school day, to verify if principal practices reflected attributes associated with transformational leadership. Archival documents such as faculty and department meeting agendas and minutes were reviewed to reveal if a principal's writings also reflected ideas connected to transformational leadership. Interviews were contrasted and compared with observations and archival documents. The data ascertained if what principals perceived to be occurring within the school was actually taking place. Collecting information from a diverse range of individuals and settings allowed multiple perspectives of the data to be compared, contrasted, and triangulated (Creswell, 1998; Hedrick et al, 1993; Maxwell, 1996, 2005; Stake, 1995; Yin, 1994).
  • 70 Information collected from the field study were transcribed, stored, and secured in the researcher's computer files. Babbie (1995) states that "As you begin to develop a sense of the different aspects of what you're observing, you'll want to establish files to deal with those different aspects" (p. 294). The data were categorized in ways to recognize and understand the patterns of each principal's leadership practices that emerged from the school setting. Identifying the contrasts and comparisons highlighted the consistencies and inconsistencies (patterns) derived from the data (Babbie, 1995; Creswell, 1998; Hedricket al., 1993; Maxwell, 1996, 2005; Stake, 1995; Yin, 1994). Interview Procedures Interviews were the primary instrument utilized to collect data. Interview data were collected to capture a thorough picture of each school. Two elementary principals and 10 teachers were interviewed. The two elementary principals were the primary focus of the study, while the 10 teachers (5 from each principal's elementary school) were the secondary focus. The purpose of conducting principal and teacher interviews was to seek evidence that could substantiate perceptions of principal leadership occurring within the school. One goal was to uncover the scope of the effect of each elementary principal's leadership on school conditions. As well, the intent was to obtain thick descriptions, multiple realities, and deeper understandings of what actually occurred within each elementary school. Interviews provided an opportunity for principals and teachers to describe in detail, using their own perspectives, which traits best defined and explained the principal's practices.
  • 71 Three different phases of interviews were conducted with principals and teachers. During the first set of interviews, participants were asked to explore their understanding of leadership. The first phase interviews were designed to develop a general understanding of each participant's notions surrounding what they perceived leadership practices entailed. Participants were given an opportunity to tell stories as well as expand on their ideas concerning leadership. This was done to allow participants to describe, in their own words, what they perceived leadership practices to involve. During the second phase of the interviews, participants were asked questions based on the responses obtained from the phase one interviews. Additionally, participants were asked probing questions that were connected to areas which elucidated a principal's school vision, school goals, and individual support for teachers. The third phase of the interviews was designed to examine how participants perceived that a principal's leadership practices affected five school conditions. Interview questions examined the roots of a principal's leadership practices and determined the connections between a conceptual understanding of leadership and perceptions of its actual occurrence in the school. Participants were directed to give explicit answers from which a clear and vivid description could be elicited. Stake (1995) states, "As the questions draw forth understanding, the researcher begins to restate the issues as assertions, tentatively at first, with greater confidence as new observations are made and old observations confirmed" (p. 20). Throughout the interviews, participants were encouraged to clarify their statements and support their conclusions with examples. Prompting follow-up questions starting with such phrases as "Say more," "Tell me more," "Give me an example," and
  • 72 "How does this relate to how you perceive the leadership of the school?" led participants into thinking more deeply about their ideas and perceptions of the principal's leadership and its impact on school conditions (Babbie, 1995; Miles & Huberman, 1994). Eight formal interview questions were constructed to elicit responses that would answer the study's three research questions. The interview questions were categorized under one of the two transformational leadership dimensions explored in the study. Rubin and Rubin (2005) denote that "part of the interviewing process requires establishing a connection that allows for an openness of exchange" (p. 13). Different principal and teacher interview questions were designed to account for the participants' varying positions and to facilitate an open exchange of ideas between interviewer and interviewee. Principals were asked questions requiring them to reflect on their own leadership practices. For the teachers, questions investigated how they perceived their principal's leadership practices. I personally conducted all 12 interviews with each individual. The interview questions are presented below, according to the different categories they addressed. A) Principal Interview Questions—Building School Vision and Goals (1) What is your vision for the school? (2) Can you give examples of what you believe the attributes of an effective leader should include? (3) How would you describe the leadership practices that take place within the school as they pertain to the goals you have established for the school building? (4) Can you give examples of an initiative you have put into place that has had both a positive impact and a negative impact on school conditions?
  • 73 B) Principal Interview Questions—Offering Individual Support to Teachers (1) What leadership strategies have you utilized that has positively or negatively impacted teachers' support for the vision of the school? (2) How does your leadership support individual teachers in wanting to follow school goals? (3) What have you done to encourage, support or facilitate teacher leadership? (4) Can you describe the kinds of experiences that have been established through your leadership practices which offer teachers support in improving school conditions? C) Teacher Interview Questions—Building School Vision and Goals (1) What is the principal's vision for the school? (2) Can you give some examples of what you believe the attributes of an effective leader should include? (3) How would you describe the principal's leadership practices that take place within the school as it pertains to the goals he/she has established for the school building? (4) Can you give me an example of an initiative that the principal put into place that has had both a positive impact and a negative impact on school conditions? D) Teacher Interview Questions—Offering Individual Support to Teachers (1) What leadership strategies of the principal have positively or negatively impacted teachers' support for the vision of the school? (2) How does your principal support individual teachers in wanting to follow school goals? (3) What has the principal done to encourage, support or facilitate teacher leadership? (4) Can you describe the kinds of experiences that have been established through the principal's leadership practices which offer teachers support in improving school conditions? To conduct these interviews, an Interview Protocol was developed. Rubin and Rubin (2005) state that protocols can "give guidance on what main questions to ask and
  • 74 of whom" (p. 147). The Interview Protocol ensured that all participants were asked the same questions in the same manner. It also helped to reframe questions as ideas emerged from each interview. Interviews were designed to explore leadership practices and other leadership-influencing experiences of principals. Participants were encouraged to tell stories and cite examples of how events shaped their ideas. The Principal Interview Protocol appears in Appendix A; the Teacher Interview Protocol appears in Appendix B. In addition to the main research questions, follow-up and probing questions for principals and for teachers were developed to glean more thoughtful responses. The follow-up and probing questions were arranged to best address each of the two transformational leadership dimensions: (1) building vision and goals, and (2) offering individual support for teachers. Although linked to the interview questions, the probing questions differed according to the participants' positions. These questions were intended to help each respondent discover the differences between what he or she believed and what he or she really knew about the principals' leadership practices (Babbie, 1995; Booth et al., 1995; Creswell, 1998; Stake, 1995). As Rubin and Rubin (2005) state, "Probes help you manage the conversation by regulating the length of answers and degree of detail, clarifying unclear sentences or phrases, filling in missing steps, and keeping the conversation on topic" (p. 164). From these insightful responses, accurate summations of what has been stated can be attained (Babbie, 1995). A detailed sample of follow-up and probing questions can be found in the Principal Interview Protocol (Appendix A) and Teacher Interview Protocol (Appendix B). The purpose of conducting the interviews was to obtain a greater understanding of how leadership was perceived and to seek evidence identifying how principal's leadership
  • 75 practices affected school conditions. Principal and teacher insights provided a thoughtful inquiry into how leadership was theoretically understood and practically employed by current leaders working in school settings. Principal interviews. The two principals (Principal A, Principal B) from two different elementary schools were interviewed after school hours at their convenience to avoid interfering with their daily schedules. One-hour interviews were conducted privately with each principal in his or her office over the course of five days, as a way of asking follow-up questions for clarification while the discussion was still fresh in the principal's mind. Notes were written during each principal's interview to uncover emerging themes and possible similarities. The two principals were asked to grant permission to interview teachers in a private office in their elementary school. Teacher interviews. For the teacher participants, the interviews addressed three objectives: (1) to determine teachers' perceptions of a principal's leadership practice; (2) to obtain information that clarifies how teachers perceive that a principal's leadership practices possibly affect school conditions; and (3) to compare and contrast teacher interviews with principal interviews. Interviews were designed to elicit rich and descriptive details from teachers. The underlying principle was to corroborate information obtained from all of the interviews. It is important to note that investigating the principal's leadership practices via teacher interviews provides an opportunity to gather information on how these practices are perceived to occur within a school setting through a different lens. Teacher interviews triangulated the information collected as well as validated the data obtained from the full set of interviews.
  • 76 A total of 10 teachers were interviewed—five teachers from each of the two elementary schools. The interviews took place at a time convenient for each teacher to avoid disrupting his or her work day. For example, interviews were scheduled after the school day or during a teacher's free period. Hour-long teacher interviews were conducted separately from the principal interviews. Formal teacher interviews were conducted over three months; an additional 10 hours was allotted if clarification of responses was needed. Superintendent interview. Principal interviews were also discussed with the Superintendent of Central School District to uncover possible differences and similarities that existed from interviews conducted of each principal. In addition, the superintendent was able to verify how principals perceived that they possibly affected school conditions. In turn, I was able to compare and contrast how the superintendent perceived each principal's leadership practices. This review with the superintendent provided a greater understanding of variations that may or may not have existed between the two principals' leadership practices. Archival Data Documents were examined to determine what message or information was being communicated through a principal's written and verbal correspondence to teachers. Stake (1995) notes, "Quite often, documents serve as substitutes or records of activity that the researcher could not observe directly" (p. 68). Two days were spent at each principal's elementary school for the sole purpose of reviewing school documents. Thus, the collection of archival documents took approximately four days.
  • 77 Various memos and policy statements from the principal were collected and reviewed. One important purpose of this analysis was to determine if a principal's written correspondence reflected how he or she was perceived to practice leadership, as well as to identify perceptions of the effect of a principal's leadership practices on school conditions. Documents were also reviewed to determine: (1) how the school vision and goals were clearly conveyed to teachers; (2) how the school vision and goals were displayed and communicated throughout the school; (3) how principals demonstrated support to teachers through their written correspondence; and (4) how the principals' written documents were connected to the five school conditions being investigated. In addition, memos distributed to staff by the principals that described the school vision and school goals were collected. The principals' strategic action plans for the school building were reviewed to determine if the school vision and goals were embedded within these documents. Teacher faculty meeting agendas, teacher department meeting agendas, and faculty and department meeting minutes were collected to determine what principals communicated to teachers and if written correspondence was reflective of transformational leadership practices. Memos were also reviewed to determine how principals communicated their intention to provide individual support to teachers, acknowledge teachers for doing a good job, support teachers in doing their work, provide professional development for teachers, and encourage teachers to become actively involved in the school. Finally, documents pertaining to how principals communicated to their teachers on school organization (i.e., attendance policies for staff and students, etc.) and on the teachers' instructional, curricular, and disciplinary procedures were collected and
  • 78 reviewed. In short, this examination determined how school conditions were affected by the principal's written policies. All archival data were documented in a data storage system to capture statements collected from each principal's written correspondence to teachers. Stake (1995) notes that "Sometimes it is useful to make a data-gathering form that not only has space for information to be recorded but that draws the attention to the issues of immediate concern" (p. 50). Placing the collected data into a storage system provided an opportunity for this information to be successfully cross-referenced (Babbie, 1995). Placing information into an Archival Data Storage System (Table 2) was one way to catalogue and document the information collected from each principal's written correspondence. According to Stake (1995), researchers should have a way of "displaying the progress of the study" and this can be accomplished by creating a "data storage system" (p. 55). Using the data storage system described in Table 2 allowed for making quick and accurate connections between diverse documents, so that I could easily reference the information when drawing conclusions. The Archival Data Storage System also offered an opportunity to accurately contrast the documents with the data obtained from both sets of interviews conducted with principals and teachers, and my observations of the two elementary principals. Observations of Principals Principal A and Principal B were observed to obtain a vivid depiction of what leadership practices looked like within a school. As Babbie (1995) states, "The greatest advantage of the field research method is the presence of an observing, thinking
  • 79 researcher on the scene of the action" (p. 291). Conducting observations of principals firsthand offered the opportunity to collect this rich description. In directly observing both principals, my role in this study could be described as "the observer-as-participant," which Babbie (1995) states "is one who identifies himself or herself as a researcher and interacts with the participants in the social process but makes no pretense of actually being a participant" (p. 284). The observations were guided by the study's three research questions as an attempt to obtain measurable interpretations from what was observed. Some points that warranted close observation of principals were: (1) if their leadership practices reflected characteristics connected to the school vision; (2) how school goals were integrated into their leadership practices; (3) how their practices appeared to provide support for teachers; (4) how their leadership practices affected the five school conditions under review in the study; and (5) if their written correspondence (artifacts) to staff reflected attributes associated with transformational leadership. Each principal was observed performing his or her job throughout five to six days in the following settings. (1) Principals were observed at the begining-of-year teacher faculty meeting (Fall 2008) to document how they articulated and summarized the past school year's (Fall 2007-Spring 2008) vision and goals and communicated their vision and goals for the upcoming school year (Fall 2008-Spring 2009). (2) Principals were observed while conducting a teacher department meeting to determine how they provided support for teachers. (3) Principals were observed throughout the course of a school day, interacting with teachers, to determine how their leadership provided support for teachers. (4) Principals were observed throughout the course of a school day to determine how their
  • 80 leadership practices affected the five school conditions under review in the study. (5) Principals were observed at the beginning of the school day as students arrived and at the end of the school day as staff was involved in dismissing students to determine if the principal exhibited practices connected to the school vision, school goals, and support for teachers. Babbie (1995) states that "Sometimes your note taking can be made easier if you prepare standardized recording forms in advance" (p. 291). The information documented in the Principal Observation Protocol (see Appendix E) was used to help capture and map out the detailed practices of each principal (Babbie, 1995). It also assisted in documenting the practices of a principal in order to draw valid conclusions (Miles & Huberman, 1994). The Principal Observation Protocol ensured that information recorded from all participants was easily retrieved, analytically and clearly documented, and accurately interpreted. Observations were placed into either descriptive or reflective groupings to categorize the patterns of leadership practice as they materialized. Miles and Huberman (1994) state that "The ultimate power of field research lies in the researcher's emerging map of what is happening and why" (p. 65). The Principal Observation Protocol assisted in explaining what occurred as well as why. Data Analysis Analysis of Interviews As Stake (1995) notes, "Interview is an alternative method, seeking through a surrogate observer what I might not have seen for myself (p. 114). Accurate and realistic episodes of a principal's practice were documented in detail so that the data could be
  • 81 assembled into easily retrievable detailed categories of information (Babbie, 1995; Creswell, 1998). The analysis of the interviews revealed evidence surrounding the practices of principals. Specifically, the goal of the analysis was to identify the presence or absence of two specific transformational leadership dimensions and their effect on schools. This was done to disclose if specific leadership practices may have occurred and if a relationship existed between a principal's leadership practices and school conditions. Thus, the analysis disclosed any patterns and themes which could be used to formulate propositions or assertions about what had occurred. Rubin and Rubin (2005) confirm this: "Analysis involves systematic coding and extracting of information from the transcripts rather than looking for confirmation of your initial ideas" (p. 202). The participants' responses were contrasted and compared with the theoretical concepts derived from Leithwood and Jantzi (2000) on transformational leadership. As Maxwell (1996) agrees, interviews should be coded to "aid in the development of theoretical concepts" (p. 79). All of the data (interviews with principals and teachers, observations of principals, and archival data from each elementary school) were clustered into categories to provide descriptive summaries of what a principal's leadership practices encompassed. Miles and Huberman (1994) indicate that clustering information into categories "sets the stage for drawing conclusions" (p. 57). The goal of this analysis, then, was to obtain a comprehensive understanding of the core concepts surrounding transformational leadership in order to draw accurate conclusions on the effect of transformational leadership practices on school conditions. The following section delineates the transcription and coding of the data.
  • 82 Rubin and Rubin (2005) state that "Coding allows you later on to quickly locate excerpts from all interviews (as well as from observations and documents if you have coded them) that refer to the same concept, theme, event, or topical marker and then examine them together" (p. 219). Data were organized into categories that provided information reflecting a principal's leadership practices and their effect on school conditions. Miles and Huberman (1994) suggest that "Pattern coding is a way of grouping those summaries into a smaller number of sets, themes, and constructs" (p. 69). In conjunction with this, Stake (1995) advises that "the researcher will need to define the variable and devise the categories" (p. 30). Information was placed into groups that reflected similar themes and constructs surrounding perceptions of a principal's leadership practices. This procedure ensured that the information collected was examined and summarized clearly. As Miles and Huberman (1994) state, "Pattern codes are explanatory or inferential codes, ones that identify an emergent theme, configuration, or explanation. They pull together a lot of material into more meaningful and parsimonious units of analysis. They are a sort of meta-code" (p. 69). Aggregating data into meaningful categories allowed collected information to surface into informative "units of analysis" so that logical interpretations could be made (Miles & Huberman, 1994). Anderson et al. (1994) state that "Coding systems enable you to see categories emerge from the data; consequently the data become more manageable" (p. 158). The data here were coded to pull together information as the research was underway to ensure that the "emergent themes" were accurately categorized and reflectively captured (Creswell, 1998; Miles & Huberman, 1994).
  • 83 Maxwell (1996) states that "the goal of coding is not to produce counts of things, but to 'fracture' (Strauss, 1987, p. 29) the data and rearrange it into categories that facilitate the comparison of data within and between these categories and that aid in the development of theoretical concepts" (pp. 78-79). Coding data and clustering information into categories served to triangulate the data so that viable conclusions could be drawn from the research (Maxwell, 2005; Stake, 1995; Yin, 1993, 1994). My personal interest in leadership and in the empirical studies reviewed here helped to establish the research design of the study. Clearly, several conceptual frameworks surrounding transformational leadership were brought in from the outside. As Stake (1995) remarks: Without the previous experience with the case, these are etic issues brought in by the researcher from the outside. Etic issues are the researcher's issue, sometime the issues of a larger research community colleagues and writers. As stated, the issue statements may not fit the case circumstances well and need repair. Issues evolve. And emic issues emerge. These are the issues of the actors, the people who belong to the case. These are issues from the inside, (p. 20) The conceptual framework surrounding transformational leadership (etic codes) may differ from the "ideas" that surface (emic issues) from the participants working in either elementary school (Stake, 1995). Principals and teachers may have developed their own ideas about what they believe a leader's practices typify, given their previous experiences in the school setting. All responses were analyzed to determine how they connected to research surrounding transformational leadership, as well as to identify what participants revealed on their own. Stake (1995) notes that "Coded data are obtained primarily from categories dividing a variable" (p. 29). Participants' responses were labeled by placing either an etic
  • 84 or emic code "word" with a "corresponding number" next to each data unit (a statement made by each participant). Etic codes were created to identify and label the statements of each participant. A preliminary list of etic code words with their corresponding numbers appears in Appendix C. Emic codes were established from issues that emerged through participant responses as the research was underway. An outline of how emic code words were categorized can be found in Appendix D. Answers were coded to distinguish between etic and emic issues. Babbie (1995) states that it is important to "jot in key code words relevant to your study" because this will provide the ability to effectively "review and reprocess them endlessly" (p. 295). Etic codes capture responses that are connected to the research questions. For example, etic codes can link participants' statements to what research describes as entailing leadership. Emic codes can categorize participants' statements that emerge during the interviews. For example, emic codes were attached to statements that reflected what individuals understood about leadership as well as their perceptions of those practices. Miles and Huberman (1994) emphasize an important aspect of analysis: "Researchers look for threads that tie bits of information together" (p. 69). Participants were asked to provide examples that clearly elucidated their answers. Probing questions helped to re-direct participants to support the most important aspects of their understanding of leadership practices with factual statements as opposed to only personal opinions or interpretations (Booth et al., 1995; Creswell, 1998). Verbatim transcripts were helpful for reviewing the statements of each participant. Booth et al. (1995) state, "When taking notes, you must clearly and consistently distinguish summary from paraphrase from direct quotation" (p. 77). Once the
  • 85 interviewed were conducted, a professional transcription service produced verbatim transcripts. I examined these transcripts to find evidence of whether the two leadership dimensions were conclusive or inconclusive (Rubin & Rubin, 2005). Seidman (2006) concurs: "A detailed and careful transcript that re-creates the verbal and nonverbal material of the interview can be of great benefit to a researcher who may be studying the transcript months after the interview occurred" (p. 116). Understandably, the final determination of what the transcripts contain for the meaning of the research questions lies with the researcher's ability to use the data wisely. As Rubin and Rubin (2005) state, "Though the analysis is based on the descriptions presented by the interviewees, the interpretations in the final reports are those of the researcher" (p. 201). Respondents' answers to each of the questions were compared and contrasted until they could be placed into categories of information that demonstrated an existing pattern. Categorizing the information also captured reflective and accurate summations from the respondents (Maxwell, 1996). Notes transcribed from audiotapes were compared and contrasted with analytic memos collected from observations and archival documents. This cross-referencing reflected Rubin and Rubin's (2005) statement: "As you refine your definitions, you need to double-check to make sure you realty understand the concept the way the interviewees use it rather than the way you define it using your own cultural lens" (p. 218). Thus, analytic memos ensured that the data collected reflected an accurate summation of the documents reviewed (Babbie, 1995; Booth et al., 1995). Or, as Miles and Huberman (1994, quoting Glaser, 1978) suggest, "[A memo is] the theorizing write-up of ideas about codes and their relationships as they strike the analyst while coding" (p. 72).
  • 86 Coding the data was useful for dividing the texts into segments or chunks of thematic information. Miles and Huberman (1994) state, "One simple rule of thumb here: Always code the previous set of field notes before the next trip to the site" (p. 65). A narrative analysis based on my interpretations of all data was constructed to document the leadership dimensions that were perceived as present in a principal's practices. When searching for meanings and patterns, Stake (1995) makes the point clearly: "We are trying to understand behavior, issues, and contexts with regard to our particular case" (p. 78). Analysis of Archival Documents One objective of the data analysis was to document what had occurred in an accurate categorization of the information collected. The data were being analyzed to determine the frequency of two transformational leadership dimensions which existed within a principal's practice. As Rubin and Rubin (2005) state, "The goal of analysis is to understand core concepts and to discover themes that describe the world you have examined" (p. 245). Insights discovered by cross-referencing documents were used to make generalizations on how principal leadership practices were perceived and how leadership practices affected school conditions.
  • 87 Table 2. Archival Data Storage System— Information Collected Reporter: Day & Date: Principal/Elementary School: Document Collected/Reviewed (i.e., Policy, Memo, Agenda, Minutes, etc.) Sample of Documents to be Collected • Vision Statement • Goals for School • Agendas from Faculty and Department Meetings • Minutes from Faculty and Department Meetings • School Policies • School Strategic Action Plan • Attendance Policies for Staff and Students • Documents that reference the following: Teacher's instructional responsibilities; Teacher's responsibilities in performing their duties; Teacher's curricular responsibilities; Teacher's responsibilities in enforcing student discipline procedures • Memos to teachers that reference the following: Correspondence from principals that provide individual support to teachers; Correspondence from principals that acknowledge teachers in doing a good job; Correspondence from principals that support teachers in doing their work; Correspondence from principals as to how they provide professional development for teachers; Correspondence from principals as to how they encourage teachers to become actively involved in the school; etc.). Leithwood & Jantzi (2000) Dimensions of Transformational Leadership l.a. Building school vision l.b. Building school goals 2. Offering individual support Leithwood & Jantzi (2000) Five School Conditions 1. Purpose and Goals 2. School Planning 3. Organizational Culture 4. Structure and Organization 5. Information and Decision-making Documents Collected Documents Collected
  • 88 Stake (1995) indicates that "The search for meaning often is a search for patterns, for consistency, for consistency within certain conditions, which we call correspondence" (p. 78). The examination of documents provided another perspective to validate the consistency of how various data corresponded to staff. Archival documents offered multiple sources of print-rich data with examples of how principals were perceived to behave in their school setting. I sought artifacts that directly connected to how each principal's behavior had an effect on any of the five school conditions investigated in this study. For example, print- rich data, such as the principal's strategic action plan, were evidence supporting how a principal articulated a vision and school goals to teachers. Documents were compared and contrasted to reveal types of leadership behavior that affected school conditions, specifically the school's organizational culture, its structure, and the manner in which principals and teachers engaged in information and decision-making processes. The collection of archival data was reviewed to uncover correlations between what principal's displayed in their practices and what they articulated to staff as being important. Patterns found in the archival data were compared to data from observations and interviews to check for overall accuracy. For example, meeting minutes were analyzed to explore principal and teacher statements to determine any relationships that were considered meaningful, especially to answer this study's three research questions. Babbie (1995) states that a researcher's "notes should include both your empirical observations and your interpretations of them" (p. 291). Notes from archival documents were transcribed by placing the data into categories that identified the frequency with which a principal's written correspondence reflects: (1) two attributes of transformational
  • 89 leadership present in a principal's document; and (2) the effect of a principal's behavior practices on any of the five school conditions investigated in the study. Data were tallied to capture the number of times such information was repeatedly found. As Creswell (1998) explains, "In the open coding phase, the researcher examines the text (e.g., transcripts, field notes, documents) for salient categories of information supported by the text" (p. 150). Transcribing and coding archival data then can reveal existing relationships so that connections can be drawn from the information (Babbie, 1995; Maxwell, 2005; Stake, 1995; Yin 1993). Analysis of Observations Observations offer the opportunity to make sense of an ongoing process under investigation within an individual's natural setting (Yin, 1994). Maxwell (1996) agrees as well: "Observations often enable you to draw inferences about someone's meaning and perspective that you couldn't obtain by relying exclusively on interview data" (p. 76). Specifically, this is true in "getting at tacit understandings and theory-in-use, as well as aspects of the participants' perspectives that they are reluctant to state directly in interviews" (p. 76). Babbie (1995) adds that "Scientific inquiry in practice typically provides a bridge between theory and research a two-way bridge" (p. 55). Observational data here assisted in providing explicit descriptions of what a principal's leadership appeared to be in practice. The observational data collected were cross-referenced with the reviewed literature to discover similarities in perceptions of leadership (Babbie, 1995).
  • 90 The Principal Observation Protocol (see Appendix E) was created to document the leadership practices of principals as they were carried out during faculty and department meetings with teachers, throughout the course of the school day in their interactions with teachers. By observing principals in different settings, the data were sorted for meaning (Babbie, 1995), providing for a "rich and robust comparison of the data" (Babbie, 1995; Maxwell, 1996; Stake, 1995; Yin, 1994). Miles and Huberman (1994) state that "The trick here is to work with loosely held chunks of meaning, to be ready to unfreeze and reconfigure them as the data shape up otherwise, to subject the most compelling themes to merciless cross-checking, and lay aside the more tenuous ones until other informants and observations give them better empirical grounding" (p. 70). Observing principals in their work setting provided an opportunity to "make sense" of what was occurring so that "inferences" could be made from the data collected about the observed behaviors of each principal (Maxwell, 1996; Yin, 1994). An important consideration of this phase of analysis was keeping in mind what Babbie (1995) states about recording "what you 'know' has happened and what you 'think' has happened" (p. 291). Descriptive (actual observed leadership practices) and reflective (reactions to, insights into, and interpretations of observations) were compiled in the Principal Observation Protocol when observing the principals' activities to provide a richer and more comprehensive view of the contextual setting. A sample of the types of descriptive and reflective notes needed is briefly delineated in the Principal Observation Protocol (see Appendix E). Miles and Huberman (1994) state that "One method of creating codes, the one we prefer, is that of creating a provisional 'start list' of codes prior to fieldwork" (p. 58). The
  • 91 intent of establishing a list of codes is to capture data that may determine what is happening, why it is happening, and whether the descriptions of the data are uncontestable (Babbie, 1995; Maxwell, 2005; Miles & Huberman, 1994; Stake, 1995). Observations were coded to discern inductive and deductive concepts. According to Babbie (1995), "During the deductive phase, we reason towards observations; during the inductive phase, we XQd&onfrom observations" (p. 55). In other words, inductive reasoning moves from particulars to general principles or from details to broad theories, while deductive represents the inverse—general to particular or a theory applied to a specific incident (Babbie, 1995). The data gathered here were used to describe and identify measurable numbers of observable transformational leadership traits. The observable transformational leadership traits being practiced by each principal were tallied to determine the number of times that an event occurred. Miles and Huberman (1994) state that "Coding, working through iterative cycles of induction and deduction to power the analysis, can accomplish these goals" (p. 65). Inductive codes (see Appendix F) were utilized to categorize information culled from observations of how a principal's leadership practices were observed to affect school conditions and how leadership influenced practices. As Babbie (1995) states, "The inductive method begins with concrete, specific observations and aims at identifying some general principles governing what is being observed" (p. 4). Generalizations can be inferred from the observations of principals, juxtaposed with theoretical research reviewed on transformational leadership. Deductive codes (see Appendix G) were utilized to code data on how a principal's practices actually occurred. The intent was to test the theory of transformational
  • 92 leadership against the actual observations of principals. The objective of deductive analysis is to determine if the principals' observed leadership practices are in fact linked to the research on transformational leadership. As Babbie (1995) states, "The deductive method, on the other hand, begins with general principles (with theory) and then turns to observations as a way of testing the validity of what is expected theoretically" (p. 4). The inductive and deductive codes are a "start list" (a preliminary list of codes) for obtaining data which can describe how a principal's leadership practices are perceived. Miles and Huberman (1994) state that when specific "codes" used to provide information for what has been observed "entail little interpretation," the researcher can attribute "a class of phenomena to a segment of the text" (p. 57). Codes were affixed to the observations made of each principal as a way of linking transformational leadership concepts to an occurrence (Miles & Huberman, 1994). Thus, observed practices could be described and conclusions generalized about what had occurred. Marginal notes "mark[ed] off segments of data" from the observations, capturing the thoughts and ideas surrounding each principal's leadership practices, and locating key concepts when interpreting the findings (Miles & Huberman, 1994). Raw field notes were rewritten and typed to be easily available for analysis (Miles & Huberman, 1994). Maxwell (1996) cautions against neglecting to pay attention to organizing notes and transcripts, as this can hinder the process of data analysis. Field notes were analyzed to reveal emerging themes and develop a clearer understanding of the observations. Handwritten notes of observations provided a self-reflective substantive approach toward documenting and reviewing the events in the school setting. This approach gave an accurate "correspondence" of the various data collected (Stake, 1995).
  • 93 Notes taken during observations documented a principal's leadership practices, a "chronological record of your observations in the project" (Babbie, 1995, p. 293). The Principal Observation Protocol provided a way to interpret and analyze the data and discover the meanings of the observations, leading to a rich, robust, and clear depiction of the transformational leadership practices of principals. Miles and Huberman (1994) state that "As coding proceeds, if you are being alert about what you are doing, ideas and reactions to the meaning of what you are seeing will well up steadily" (p. 67). Validity Threats to Research The variables associated with transformational leadership are not easily identifiable and require a detailed view of leaders in their natural setting (Barnett et al., 2001; Leithwood & Jantzi, 1999, 2000, 2005; Marks & Printy, 2003; Silins et al., 2002). What can be learned was considerably enhanced by knowledge that was obtained from the setting in which the study was conducted (Maxwell, 1996, 2005; Stake, 1995; Strauss, 1987). The most prevalent attributes of transformational leadership practices are rooted in the manner in which leaders support, value, respect, and engage all constituents of the school community (Leithwood & Jantzi, 2000). This section is organized to illustrate how relevant information obtained from a field study can concurrently account for the validity of the findings. The purpose here was to summarize how issues which threatened the validity of the study were handled. Identifying threats to the validity of the study prepared for any possible preconceptions arising during the study so that a robust, reliable, and clear depiction of each principal's behavior could be clearly documented.
  • 94 Researcher's Bias and Reactivity One possible validity threat to this study was my current employment as a principal in the same school district as the participants. Working in this district afforded me the opportunity to observe areas of the setting from a perspective that other researchers would not have (Babbie, 1995; Maxwell, 1996, 2005; Stake, 1995; Yin, 1994). However, a threat to validity was possible because of my potential biases and preconceptions. Additionally, my personal and professional values could have indirectly influenced the findings, given the perceptions that I formed over decades of what a principal's leadership practices should be. However, Maxwell (1996) states, "validity in qualitative research is not the result of indifference, but of integrity" (p. 91). Additionally, several methods were employed to collect various sources of data as a way to triangulate the data (Maxwell, 1999, 2005; Stake, 1995; Yin, 1994). In dealing with bias, I was guided not only by my integrity, but also by specific and judicious strategies that addressed the issue of validity. For example, I reviewed data from documents, observations, and interviews prior to making any generalizations about these events. At the same time, I recognized that my involvement could interfere with the selection of the data. For example, my role as the high school principal working in the same district as the individuals being interviewed may have played an important part in possibly influencing the interviewees' responses in the study. I explained to all my respondents that they would not be identified to anyone. That is, teachers were told that their responses would not be shared with their principals and that the information they provided could not be used to evaluate them. Respondents' names were kept anonymous; teachers were given pseudonyms to identify their responses. Respondents' participation
  • 95 was complete voluntary and they could quit at any time they wanted to. Results obtained from the study were not used in any way that would negatively influence their positions. Responses were used solely for the purpose of the study. I ascertained that the participants' confidentiality was attained (Babbie, 1995; Maxwell, 1996, 2005), thus helping them feel more comfortable about being involved. Empirical studies indicate that the researcher is also part of the study in qualitative research and should "not be removed from the process" of investigating issues of interest (Maxwell, 1996, 2005; Stake, 1995). Additionally, to consider the issue of working within the same district, I provided a detailed account of what each respondent stated. Rich and robust descriptions of my observations were also presented. This assisted in providing a comprehensive understanding of what was described from interviews conducted with principals and teachers. As Stake (1995) states, "Interview is an alternative method, seeking through a surrogate observer what I might not have seen for myself (p. 114). Furthermore, the purpose of the study was to obtain insight into what was taking place within each school from my own personal perspective. To this effect, Stake (1995) states: Qualitative case study is highly personal research. Persons studied are studied in depth. Researchers are encouraged to include their own personal perspectives in the interpretation. The way the case and the researcher interact is presumed unique and not necessarily reproducible for other cases and researchers. The quality and utility of the research is not based on its reproducibility but on whether or not the meanings generated, by the researcher or the reader, are valued. Thus a personal valuing of the work is expected, (p. 135) Finally, although I am the principal of the high school within this district, I am in no way responsible or do I overlook the performance of the respondents involved in the study.
  • 96 For example, while employed within this district as a high school principal, I did not interact with and had no administrative responsibilities over any of the staff members within either elementary school being studied. To ensure descriptive validity for this study, four pilot studies were conducted to ascertain that the research design and interview questions were directly connected to the three overarching research questions. Maxwell (1996) cautions qualitative researchers to "understand how you are influencing what the informant says, and how this affects the validity of the inferences you can draw from the interview" (p. 91). When conducting interviews with principals and teachers, I controlled for descriptive validity issues by asking them to critically reflect on their ideas (Maxwell, 2005; Yin, 1994) and give examples to support and clarify their answers (Rubin & Rubin, 2005; Seidman, 2006; Stake, 1995). As a result, this ensured that I did not infer any other idea or minimize any misinterpretations from the participants' responses (Maxwell, 1996, 2005; Yin, 1993, 1994). To ensure interpretive validity, I sought feedback from the two principals as well as several other principals, fellow researchers, and educators not involved in this study. The data were also shared to cross-reference findings obtained from multiple sources of data (Maxwell, 1996, 2005; Yin, 1993, 1994). This examined alternating perspectives so that emerging themes could be summarized accurately (Maxwell, 1996, 2005; Yin, 1993, 1994). Soliciting feedback from outsiders to the study was a useful strategy to identify interpretative validity threats because others could provide valuable comments about aspects that may go unnoticed if left unchecked (Creswell, 1998; Maxwell, 2005; Stake, 1995; Yin, 1993, 1994) or to challenge the researcher's conclusions. In short, as Stake
  • 97 (1995) indicates, presenting information to others is an effective method of "triangulating the data" (p. 158) and avoids what Maxwell (1996) describes as making one's research "a self-fulfilling prophecy" (p. 109). Participants were also asked to review the rough drafts of my writing to ensure that emerging themes were substantiated. Discussing the findings with them further increased validity by reviewing any variables that were overlooked or misunderstood and by identifying the accuracy of their statements. In short, the goal was to "self-reflect" (Rubin & Rubin, 2005, p. 32) by recognizing the value of others' input while minimizing one's own effect on the data. Finally, as a way to ensure theoretical validity, detailed illustrations of the theoretical frameworks used to examine leadership practices were correlated to the two dimensions of leadership, selected from Leithwood and Jantzi's (2000) six dimensions of transformational leadership. This revealed if the theories initiating this inquiry were, in fact, relevant to perceptions of how principals practiced leadership within schools. Conclusions were drawn from emerging theories which were derived from archival documents, observations, and interviews to determine how they related to the transformational leadership practices of principals. I contrasted and compared the findings from both school settings. Anderson and Jones (2000) indicate that when "research is site based," the site benefits because the "knowledge is created and used within the same setting" (p. 430). According to Anderson and Jones (2000), "insider research forces a redefinition of rigor in research (and perhaps a paradigm shift) and that it has both local and external validity in that its results can be used for the immediate transformation of practice, the building of grounded theory, and
  • 98 the transference of knowledge to other settings" (p. 430). In short, this multiple case sampling validated the findings and permitted future replication of the study. Limitations One limitation of this study was the exclusion of other leadership roles in the school district. In addition, only one researcher's perspective was used, which may not allow for a full expression of all participants' perspectives, depending on the interpretations of the researcher. This study also could not generalize its findings to a larger population beyond the chosen school district because of its small sample population. This study only addressed how transformational leadership was perceived to exist and what principals and teachers believed principal leadership practices entailed. This study did not answer how leadership was developed or what attributes were believed to be associated with transformational leadership practices. Significance of Study Improving school conditions requires an understanding of how principals demonstrate their leadership in school settings and impact school conditions. Ultimately, this study sought to provide information on how principals can use transformational leadership practices to motivate their staff and support school conditions that lead to school enhancement. Transformational leaders have been described as having the ability to inspire others to higher levels of morality and motivation (Leithwood & Jantzi, 2005). However, very few studies actually describe how principals and teachers perceive that transformational leadership practices can impact school conditions. The research reviewed indicates insufficient information as well as a difference of opinion on which
  • 99 specific leadership behaviors best exemplify transformational leadership (Barnett et al., 2001; Leithwood & Jantzi, 1999, 2000, 2005; Marks & Printy, 2003; Silins et al., 2002). Enumerating the characteristics that principal's display may clarify how and when transformational leadership practices are displayed within schools. It may also explain how teachers' experiences are influenced by their perceptions of the principal. Thus, the findings may provide a deeper understanding of how school improvement can be facilitated through a principal's transformational leadership practices. Conclusion Several methods of collecting data were used in this study to address alternative explanations for the possibly varying conclusions that were drawn. Set in two different school settings, the data were triangulated through archival documents, principal observations, and interviews with principals and teachers. My role was to allow a detailed perspective of leadership to evolve in a natural setting without intruding on the participants. As Maxwell (1996) delineates, "In qualitative studies, the researcher is the instrument of the research and the research instrument by which the research gets done" (p. 66). Prior research has shown that transformational leadership plays a significant role in establishing the patterns that ensure successful school leadership and positive school reform initiatives (Leithwood & Jantzi, 2000). Transformational leadership is recognized as inspiring followers to achieve higher levels of motivation needed to accomplish goals (Bass & Avolio, 1988; Leithwood & Jantzi, 2000; Silins et al, 2002). Transformational
  • leadership has both direct and indirect effects on teachers, students, and the school community (Barnett et al., 2001; Leithwood & Jantzi, 2000; Silins et al., 2002). These and other definitions and descriptions of transformational leadership found in the research call for a study to explore how this quintessential model of leadership is practiced and perceived. Using qualitative research, I drew from a small sample of participants and gathered a large amount of data which were categorized by theme to explain the theory under study. In a natural setting, the study may offer greater insight into how transformational leadership is perceived and practiced. The findings can enhance the existing body of literature on how leadership is perceived and practiced, and how leadership can directly improve school conditions.
  • Chapter IV FINDINGS This chapter discusses a case study conducted to determine the perceived transformational leadership practices of principals. Interviews with two elementary principals and 10 teachers were conducted in two separate elementary schools located in the Central School District in the State of New Jersey. Data analysis of principal and teacher interviews, archival documents, and principal observations revealed possible similarities, emerging themes, and patterns in the perceptions of these principals' leadership practices. The case study took place over 6 months, from July 2008 through December 2008. Interviews were conducted with 2 elementary principals and 10 teachers (5 from each principal's school). In addition, archival documents from each school were collected and analyzed. Finally, each principal was observed to obtain a comprehensive and thoughtful summary of his or her leadership practices. In this chapter, interview data were first analyzed to determine principals' and teachers' perceptions (emic issues) about leadership as well as to establish how these responses are connected to research (etic issues) on transformational leadership. Second, the archival data collected from each principal's elementary school are discussed. Third, observations of each elementary principal are summarized to illustrate both descriptive data (actual observed leadership practices) and reflective data (reactions, insights, interpretations of leadership). Fourth,
  • 102 summary sections at the end of the data for each school and both principals are presented. Fifth, an analysis of a brief discussion with the Superintendent of the Central School District is presented. Sixth, a cross-case summary of the findings between each school is presented to conclude this chapter; a full cross-case analysis of the findings for each school will be presented in Chapter V. Interviews Interviews were conducted over 6 months during the 2007-2008 school year. Participants were interviewed separately in a private office. The information was gathered through narrative descriptions. During the interviews, participants were encouraged to share their ideas by reflecting thoughtfully on their personal and professional experiences. The analyses of the interviews present the identifiable recurring patterns or themes collected from the participants' responses to the posed questions. Aggregated instances collected from the interviews were placed into categories, allowing me to contrast and compare the similarities which repeatedly surfaced from the participants' responses. Thus, I could also review the effect the leadership had on school conditions so that data could be accurately interpreted (Miles & Huberman, 1994). In each interview, each participant (principals and teachers) individually provided his or her understanding of the term "leadership" by describing the characteristics of a leader and defining the term. After they expressed their ideas of leadership, I provided the definition of transformational leadership (including three dimensions) used for the study and asked participants to give specific examples of how leadership practices reflected
  • 103 each of the three dimensions and either positively or negatively influenced school conditions. Principals were able to describe the following more easily than teachers: characteristics of what they believed leadership entailed in a principal's leadership practices, and the theoretical concept of transformational leadership which I had described to them. By contrast, teachers had difficulty describing the leadership practices of their principal using the transformational leadership definition. However, after some time, teachers could connect the specific leadership practices which they perceived their principal actually displayed to this definition of transformational leadership. Selected samples of interview data are presented throughout the following analyses to enhance the understanding of relevant themes found to connect to the study. These samples are only a relative few of the total number of responses available, given the volume of data collected. However, even these few illustrations will serve to help the reader obtain a more robust conception of each participant's responses and deepen an understanding of the emerging themes. Archival Documents Documents were collected from both schools over 6 months during the 2007-2008 school year. Print-rich data were collected to examine and analyze school records, documents, personal papers, and artifacts that already existed at each school. Multiple sources of information included email messages, notes, memoranda, school policies, agendas, minutes, various written communication to teachers and parents, and the school
  • 104 action plan. The intent of collecting and analyzing these documents was to substantiate the interviews and observations with both elementary principals. Once the data were collected, I sorted the information into categories so that the documents could be examined for how written correspondence was connected to each principal's behavioral practices. In addition, it was possible to determine whether both principals had clearly articulated the vision and goals of the school, and provided individual support for teachers through their written messages. The examination of documents offered an additional viewpoint to authenticate reliability as well as to cross- reference how principals were perceived to have practiced transformational leadership and thus influence school conditions. The analyses of archival documents are integrated at the end of both Principal A and Principal B sections, categorized as Perceptions of Leadership. The documents reviewed are germane to each principal's perceptions of: building vision, building goals or offering individual support, and serve to support their statement. Observations of Principals Observations were conducted of Principal A and Principal B over 6 months during the 2007-2008 school year. These observations provided explicit descriptions of each principal's leadership practices. The intent was to contrast and compare what was actually observed against the specific terms (three transformational leadership dimensions and five school conditions) connected with this study's area of interest. As indicated in Chapter III, I chose to be a participant-observer during the observations. By using this approach, I had the opportunity to interrelate with principals and teachers to observe how
  • 105 the principal behaved, how the principal and teachers in the school setting conversed with each other, and how teachers conversed with each other without the principal. Each principal was separately observed: (1) in faculty meetings; (2) committee and/or grade-level meetings; and (3) throughout the course of the school day, while working with teachers during student lunches or alongside teachers during students' arrival and departure from school. Throughout this process, I reflected on what was being observed as well as clarified my ideas by communicating my observations with the principals a few days later. Upon repeatedly, reviewing my notes from the observations of each principal, I discovered specific patterns and themes elicited from the data. The observations of Principal A and Principal B are presented in five sections generally categorized as: Perceptions of Leadership Influencing School Conditions. The intent was to provide a comprehensive picture of each principal's observation. The following sections reveal the primary emerging themes culled from the data: Principal A; Principal A Teachers; Principal B; and Principal B Teachers. Pseudonyms were used to ensure the anonymity the participants, as follows: Principal A = PA; Principal A Teachers = PAT1, PAT2, PAT3, PAT4, PAT5; Principal B = PB; Principal B Teachers = PBT1, PBT2, PBT3, PBT4, PBT5. Principal A Principal A 's Perceptions of Leadership. Principal A (PA) was interviewed over several months from July through December, 2008. PA indicated that he was thrown into a leadership role as a principal over 20 years ago by a superintendent for whom he had once worked. After being selected as the principal, PA indicated, "I really did not want to
  • 106 be a principal because it was my perception that leaders were dictators" since he had always observed them "telling people what to do without including anyone else." He also expressed that the leaders he had observed "were usually very unapproachable." When I asked why he believed he was selected to become the principal, he responded that the superintendent believed that "I was a good leader." PA elaborated that the superintendent felt he had "demonstrated qualities which reflected positive leadership traits." The superintendent described "positive leadership traits" to him as being able to: (1) communicate ideas clearly and effectively, and (2) get others to want to follow by including them in the decision-making process. According to Principal A, the superintendent said he witnessed him practicing these two "positive leadership traits" in various committees for which PA had volunteered throughout the district. PA characterized the experience of being "tapped" to become a principal as follows: Oh, I had my first superintendent, the very person who identified me and pulled me out of the classroom, who I thought, was an absolute fool for doing that. I thought he was crazy for giving me two schools with no experience. He turned into my mentor; he was extraordinary. (Interview #1, July 1,2008, p. 26) PA described himself as a "sequential leader," which he believed was an individual who made decisions systematically, and was very precise and detail-oriented in doing so. When he first became a leader, PA thought that the only important goal was making everyone happy, but through trial and error, he learned this was impossible to do. PA described effective leaders as having the following characteristics: (1) being a strong facilitator; (2) gaining staff trust; (3) including individuals in developing realistic goals which can be successfully accomplished; (4) communicating effectively; and (5) seeing leadership qualities in others. PA also repeatedly recounted that the role of leaders was to
  • 107 "be everything to everybody" and to "celebrate staff accomplishments daily." Principal A clarified his point about the role of the leader as follows: I think the role of the administrator is going to be to celebrate it [staff success] by bringing it, making it a part of the everyday conversations, by making it a part of the celebration of meetings, sharing the information, making people aware of it, celebrating it when you have opportunities. But most importantly, a leader has to be everything to everybody. (Interview #1, July 1,2008, p. 12) PA's statement of "a leader has to be everything to everybody" meant that "it was important for leaders to really be able to let the people that work for them to know that you will be there for them." He expanded on this point: The grade levels play—grade-level meetings and the faculty meetings that we continue to pull everybody back together with our common goals of the building and the common focus, and our hopes and our dreams for the building. And that they can do their thing, but they continually are pulled back into our goals. (Interview #1, July 1, 2008, p. 14) PA stated that one can accomplish this by "celebrating when students and teachers have successes in their classrooms together, by remaining focused on what needs to be accomplished, and by having everyone in the building view you as someone that is always there to support the." PA felt that this is best captured by "listening to everyone's ideas, and then taking it all in before you make a decision, so that everyone feels as though their voice has been heard." PA used the term "collaborative" to describe his own leadership practices. For PA, collaborative leaders are able to develop a culture within the school that allows teachers and administrators to accomplish tasks by working together. PA defined the following as being critical to a collaborative leader's success: (1) gaining teachers' trust; (2) developing successful school goals for students and teachers; (3) collaborating with staff; (4) providing opportunities for staff to succeed; (5) encouraging staff to do their
  • 108 best; (6) being visible in the building; (7) celebrating staff accomplishments; and (8) listening to constituents. Principal A recounted the following about being a collaborative leader: I think a leader has to, first of all, take a look at what is, what exists, and then determining in a collaborative manner with their staff, professional staff, all those people they're going to work with the children, where we want to go, why we want to go there, and how we're going to go about going there. Once we get to the part about how we are going to go there, then the collaborative leader has to provide all of the opportunities and open as many doors as possible for the whole group to get there. (Interview # 1, July 1, 2008, pp. 9-10) PA felt he had learned a lot about leadership from watching other leaders whom he respected: "I had great mentors along the way to help me to find my way." PA expressed that he believed it was extremely important for leaders to learn that "it's okay to fail." He shared the following sentiments, which he admitted he had learned from different leaders for whom he had worked throughout the years: They allowed me to learn, yet they helped me develop goals for myself. They allowed me to grow. They allowed me to fail. I had opportunities to fail and to learn. I don't know if people have that opportunity today, if they're given that opportunity, if society allows people to fail as much as I did and grow from it. (Interview #1, July 1, 2008, p. 26) Lastly, PA had difficulty identifying how teachers actually perceived his leadership abilities. He acknowledged that teachers probably perceived him as being the formal leader of the building, that is, someone who holds a high-ranking position within an organization. However, PA was unclear about whether or not teachers truly understood what being a leader required. Principal A 's Perceptions of Leadership Dimension—Building School Vision. PA cited two key areas as critical the school vision: (1) establishing a school community where students could succeed academically, and (2) providing students with a healthy and
  • 109 safe learning environment in which to learn. PA discussed his desire to establish a clear purpose which everyone can easily recognize and conveyed his purpose of the school vision as follows: My vision of the school is one where we are providing our kids, the kids being our main focus, we provide those children with a safe and a happy learning environment so we can accomplish and prepare those students, so when they leave at the end of third grade, they're ready to pick up and move on with the requirements and whatever those expectations are for fourth grade. That they're enthusiastic learners and that they feel confident, they are confident in themselves. (Interview #2, July 8, 2008, p. 6) For PA, the intent of the school vision was to forge a community which fostered an enthusiasm for learning while also helping students develop self confidence. He expressed the importance of ascertaining that teachers felt connected to the school vision by defining for them the purpose of that connection. PA felt it was his responsibility to keep teachers focused on the school's collective purpose: I need to have a purpose, and my purpose is to be a leader that, bottom line, is the success of kids. I think the vision for the school is to create a successful environment, learning environment for the children. I think the leader has to have a vision so you can develop clear expectations. I mean you have to have a purpose. You have to have—everyone down the line has to have a purpose as to why they're here, what they're doing, what's the value of it, because if you don't have a purpose, I think it's very easy within a school setting for each individual person to go into their room, close that door, and be in their own little world, and it would be very easy not to be connected or feel a responsibility to the guy next door. I think you then need to guide your staff in a way which is going to be beneficial to the children in the school, and at the same time, you're going to be in alignment with the purposes of the district and their goals and philosophy. (Interview #2, July 8, 2008, p. 14) PA indicated the importance of coordinating what needed to be accomplished by aligning the school vision with school goals. Having a consistent vision benefited him,
  • 110 his teachers, and the students and he remarked repeatedly made staff aware of the following: Remember the vision is to provide the students with a safe environment, a strong learning environment. The goals are the different activities; they are the action plans that we're going to carry out in order to be successful with that overall vision. It is important that we are all aware as to why we have to support the school vision. (Interview #2, July 8, 2008, p. 8) PA believed that having a consistent message for teachers provided a clearer understanding of the school's primary focus. He continually shared the "school vision statement" with teachers and readily quoted the school's "motto": "If I work hard, I will succeed." According to PA, this "motto" was a truth which he and his teachers all believed and which exemplified what they continually tried to communicate about their school. Principal A 's Collection of Archival Documents—Building School Vision. The principal's correspondence to staff reflected the school's vision. For example, the school's vision statement - "If we work hard, I will succeed" - was found on nearly every document developed by PA. His school website also provided a message to parents, students, and the community. An excerpt from the school web page titled "Principal's Welcome" implied the school's commitment to working towards achieving success for students through collaboration. The "Principal's Welcome" indicated the following: "Our students are being prepared to meet, not only the challenge of higher academic expectations, but also becoming responsible contributors to their school community." PA's letters, memos, policies, and procedures featured the same letterhead at the top of every page including the words, "Welcome to the Friendly School." Additionally, in a letter PA drafted to parents the opening statement stipulated, "As you are aware, our
  • Ill school, 'The Friendly School,' will host Back-to-School Night on Thursday, September 20, at 7:00 p.m. in the all-purpose room." Principal A 's Perceptions of Leadership Dimensions—Building School Goals. PA stated that school goals were tied to fulfilling state requirements and district goals, which he explained were all designed to "academically support the various disaggregated student groups within the school building." PA expressed that the majority of school goals are connected to meeting annual testing benchmarks in which students must become proficient. Such goals have been pre-established for the school by the State Department of Education or the Central School District. PA identified that their primary school goal focused on increasing student achievement; other school goals were as follows: Our goals tend to be quantifiable; they are primarily academic, one being the reading and writing, one being the mathematics, and one being the character education goal. Those are three big goals, those are goals that drive a lot of the programming, and they seem to be relevant goals connected to the big picture of what we're doing. We also have the goals of the character education. We spend a lot of time on the responsive classroom, character building, and super citizen. And we celebrate those on a monthly basis. (Interview #2, July 8, 2008, p. 22) PA reported that teachers assisted mostly with developing plans as to how school goals would possibly be implemented. He identified that teachers really don't have much input into the academic school goals the school will focus on. This was because many of the school's established academic goals were mandated by the school district as well as by the New Jersey State Department of Education. PA did, however, insist that teachers were part of establishing "our character education goals which are connected to climate and school conditions." For example, PA commented that teachers helped to create
  • 112 school goals which were aligned to the school vision of establishing a safe and orderly environment; as he said: "By teachers having the opportunity to help with establishing some of the rules that exist in the building, like be kind to others and no bullying, they helped to set a tone and set expectations for everyone to follow." PA's enthusiastic and committed desire to include teachers in deciding how to implement school goals has helped teachers to establish leadership roles within the building. He believed that including teachers in the decision-making process of implementing school goals has also established a forum for teachers to express their ideas about which goals must be in place to improve school conditions. PA noted that the school's action plan, which was established from the school goals, has very positively impacted the students' academic success: It [school goals] has also strengthened our—the um—it has strengthened the, the—I'm trying to give a word—it has strengthened the presentation of program to the kids. It's improved the instruction, the instructional practices of the teachers, because we have continually focused on improving that instructional practice and the interventions that we have initiated and the teachers have initiated have had very positive impact on the kids, and the data, our testing success and their growth in learning is reflected in our school scores. The data supports our results. (Interview #3, July 17, 2008, p. 8) PA's statements suggested that, by allowing teachers to become stakeholders in the development of several school goals, he has provided them with an opportunity to be involved in the school's future direction. He noted that his leadership practices "continually revolved around going back to and focusing on the school goals" and "We're constantly discussing what we need to do to support our school goals." PA concluded that he felt he had successfully facilitated the teachers' active participation in establishing school goals by reiterating the need to remain connected to the school vision.
  • 113 Principal A 's Collection of Archival Documents—Building School Goals. The school's 2008-2009 written action plan described how school goals would be addressed. For example, it outlined two school objectives as the primary goals for the school year: (1) language arts/literacy goals and (2) math goals. Specifically, the action plan indicated the following about the language arts/literacy goals: By the year 2009 all third grade students in each of the identified at risk subgroups (African American and Special Education Students) will demonstrate improved academic achievement in the area of language arts/literacy. (School Action Plan, 2008-2009) The school's action plan further delineated that approximately 15 different activities would be employed to fulfill the objective of meeting the language arts/literacy goal. Also enumerated in the action plan were the responsibilities of teachers, the principal, and the school district; the resources needed; indicators of success which would be used to assess the improvements; and dates by which different activities should be completed. An analogous action plan was also prepared to address the school's math goal. PA's documents were brief, and the tone of his correspondence was informal and direct. He did not provide long detailed memos and letters to his teachers. Rather, he provided teachers with information about the school's daily operation in quick statements; for example, the following excerpts were taken from memos distributed to teachers: • I am requesting that in the morning you are standing up by the first dot on the sidewalk to pull cars up to the area to initiate drop off; • We believe this will help with car flow;
  • 114 • As a reminder, students should not be answering our classroom phones as this presents potential problems or safety concerns; • Please find attached the field placement assignments, and thanks for your willingness to participate; and • I would suggest that you provide your students with some time to use and become familiar with the lap tops prior to NEA training. The principal's memos were intended to communicate, inform, and educate teachers about what he wanted teachers to understand and be aware of. For example, weekly written communication to teachers included an upcoming schedule of events, meeting minutes, informational packets from the State Department of Education, and current educational articles tied to improving instruction. The review of PA's documents provided evidence that he communicated in writing the school's vision and goals, and teacher support. Some of the memos which PA regularly shared with teacher included: Professional Development In-Service Training; Calendar of Upcoming Weekly Events; Safety Alerts; Attendance Procedures; and Teacher Pages Reminders—a web-based program utilized by teachers to share student grades with parents. Other documents reviewed were: teacher handbook; school procedures connected to character education; teacher professional development opportunities; fire drill procedures; bus duty procedures; student achievement data shared with teachers; extended day program policy; gifted and talented procedures; cafeteria and playground coverage and safety procedures; the school action plan; and various agendas and minutes.
  • 115 In theses written correspondences, PA's consistent message to teachers was the importance of providing information on improving instruction, guidelines for policies and procedures, and support. In short, the review of documents revealed: (1) PA's desire to ensure academic excellence from teachers; (2) the importance of teachers being aware of their responsibilities; (3) the significance of teachers meeting specific deadlines; (4) the celebration of teacher and student successes; and (5) clarity of policies and procedures that teachers needed to follow. Principal A 's Perceptions of Leadership Dimensions—Offering Individual Support. PA was asked to define how he provided individual support to teachers. He indicated that he supported teachers by encouraging them to assume leadership roles within the building. These leadership roles were connected to teachers' involvement in committees existing in the school which, focused on different school-wide issues such as academics and school climate. PA stated that he also provided support for teachers by listening to them, providing needed resources, offering professional development training for teachers to create a successful classroom environment, and establishing a sense of trust with teachers. PA gave the following example demonstrating how he had supported teachers in developing a recently-initiated program in the building: By providing the monies for them [teachers] to have professional development opportunities that they see are going to be worthwhile to them, I provided them with the support they need to be successful. For example, we just opened a new program in this building, an autistic program. I knew that I had to get the teachers on board. The only way I could do that was to make sure that I provided them with the materials that they saw they needed. Again, another important part was their training. So I provide them with the training opportunities so that they would be prepared to deal with what they thought were going to be the difficulties with that type of program and those types of children. To teach—have them learn, independent of me, that they were prepared and they did have the tools to have a successful program. And by doing those major things,
  • 116 we had great successes with the program. We've actually even moved programs around the building because we wanted to readjust the facility to better enhance the instruction as a result of the grade level's decisions. (Interview #1, July 1, 2008, p. 3) Through his support, PA indirectly assisted teachers ensuring that students had the opportunity to become "enthusiastic learners that feel confident in themselves." He believed that teachers directly affected the outcome of what takes place in the classroom instruction. Therefore, one of his primary responsibilities was to provide support and encouragement to teachers, which in turn aided students' success. As he reported: I try to encourage teachers to try different methods, different approaches, and different strategies to get to those goals. Some of them are going to work and some of them aren't. And when they don't work, they're going to try something else. And if they find something that works, then they're going to share it with their colleagues. They're going to take leadership roles, they're going to fly with it, and we're all going to benefit from it. (Interview #2, July 8, 2008, p. 32) PA indicated that it was important to let teachers know that a principal was attentively listening to them when they voiced their concerns. He believed that "you have to be a strong facilitator, and you have to show the staff that you are not only listening, but that you are going to then provide them with what they need." Thus, acknowledging their voice and valuable contributions was part of providing teachers with support: Oh, you absolutely need to make sure that teachers feel that they are contributing members of the school team. You've got to have people feel as they're contributing. If they don't feel they're contributing, they're not going to participate and give you all the value that they can possibly bring. (Interview #1, July 1, 2008, p. 7) PA concluded with how he believed he supported teachers by allowing them to fail without consequences. This demonstrated his commitment to providing support to become successful. According to PA, his teachers were actually given opportunities to fail or succeed. If they succeeded, "they would receive the accolades; if they failed we
  • 117 just realized we needed to try something else." PA emphasized that "there was no punitive action taken against anyone for failing," adding that "if teachers felt comfortable knowing that their possible failures would not wind up becoming part of their formal evaluation; then they would feel that failing was just part of their growth experience." Teachers would eventually improve if they received the opportunity to accomplish something without facing any consequences for failing. Principal A 's Collection of Archival Documents—Offering Individual Support. PA's correspondence to staff was polite and clear in his attempt to convey his support. Several of his written responses to teachers also indicated that he was proud of them, often sent as personalized notes. The following responses were obtained from assorted letters given to different teachers: • I've noticed the District has scheduled workshops on Teacher Pages on 10/17/2008 and 12/12/08 if you want to get some assistance in this area, please let me know; • Your smiling face and positive attitude certainly represented our school well and made a great first impression; • Please see me if you have any questions, and thank you for ajob well done; • We are lucky to have such a dedicated teacher, such as you, working with our students; • You did a fantastic job yesterday, keep up the great job you are doing with your students;
  • 118 • A special thank you to all staff that was willing to give their time to serve committees and councils for the 2007-2008 school year, I can't wait to work with you again during the 2008-2009 school year. PA's comments showed that he truly cared about teachers and acknowledged them in different ways. For example, he would send teachers cards, letters, and emails recognizing a positive accomplishment. He also sent birthday cards and get-well cards if they were out sick for more than two days in a row. PA also received correspondence from teachers who felt he was doing a good job. The following sentiments were taken from various memos written by teachers: • Thanks so much for all your support throughout the year, thanks for a really great year; • I truly feel that the rules of the school have had a positive influence on our kids; • The new policy which you have recently implemented, will only serve, to help students establish more healthy standards and expectations for themselves both in and out of school; • Thanks for caring about our students; • Thanks for your help in resolving the situation, with the parent, that was upset about the movie I showed in class; • I really appreciate you sending me to that workshop; • Your intervening with the parents of the student who was disrespectful towards me was extremely helpful, thanks again! Principal A 's Perceptions of Leadership Influencing School Conditions—Purpose and Goals. PA felt that teachers were aware of the established school goals. He believed
  • 119 this was a direct result of the Accreditation for Growth (AFG) committee's involvement in establishing several meaningful goals for the school. PA provided the following information about the AFG committee: What we [Principal A and teachers] did was we formed a steering committee. We call it the AFG committee, Accreditation for Growth. This is a group of professionals here in the building made up of—representing all of your classroom teachers, representing all of our specialists, be it art, music, phys ed, library, computer technology. Members sit on that council, that council meets quarterly, and they review all of our—the goals that we've established. Those goals are taken before the faculty. They are reviewed with the faculty; the faculty gives their input. AFG meet on a quarterly basis to review the successes, what our interventions are as we do assessments—all the assessment tools that we're using are—the results are brought before the AFG council quarterly. We do interventions and we will tweak that material and information. If we see we're heading—we're not getting the results, we'll reassess what we're doing in the classrooms to do a better job of meeting those goals. (Interview #2, July 8, 2008, pp. 6-7) The primary objective of the AFG committee was to act as a liaison for the teaching staff and to work directly with him to establish and monitor school goals-in short, to identify explicitly which programs were needed to ensure students success. PA felt that the AFG committee provided a valuable service by gathering teachers' collective ideas, preparing strategic action plans, and then presenting proposals for school improvement to the entire teaching faculty for further input and support. He also noted that the committee has been influential in providing a forum for faculty to review school goals. He believed that through the AFG committee, teachers have better understood the school's vision and goals by articulating how they are equally responsible for establishing and fulfilling them. As well, PA felt that the AFG committee served as a constant reminder of what needed to be accomplished. Although PA is a voting member on the committee, he
  • proudly declared that teachers are ultimately responsible for leading meetings, providing agendas and minutes, and communicating to the larger teaching staff the agreed-upon decisions. PA indicated that the AFG committee has established the school's focus by encouraging teachers to assume leadership roles. In addition, PA perceived that his collaborative leadership approach has helped teachers feel comfortable in assisting with the school's academic direction. His leadership practices have positively influenced teachers' decisions regarding student achievement, illustrated by the following point: A good example of collaborative leadership would be when we [Principal A and teachers] decided that we wanted to take a look at our assessment process. So we looked at the assessment and we found that we had some areas of weakness. We sat down and decided that we needed to change the instructional practices because they were not getting us the results we wanted. So we decided to change the materials that we used. I then moved into the arena of purchasing the new materials that we felt would help us with that change. We also changed scheduling. We altered the intervention times. We re-utilized or re-assigned support staff in order to give the professional teaching staff more opportunities to work with individual children. So we changed the whole strategy of interventions. We worked that program for about three months and saw major changes and success stories of children and their ability to rescore and score better and learn better. And we actually incorporated some of those interventions into long-term practices. (Interview #1, July 1, 2008, p. 5) To ensure that meaningful goals were infused throughout the school, PA repeatedly expressed his desire of wanting to support teachers. This was important for conveying to staff the importance of establishing a sense of school community that focused on supporting students: I think that you have to be a strong facilitator, you have to show the staff that you are not only listening, but that you are going to then provide them with what they need. A facilitator is a person who is going to take all their energy and focus, and focus it on where we're going as a school, as a group of people. Our ultimate goal has to be the same, and obviously that is the children and the success of the kids. So I'm going to do whatever I
  • 121 can in my arena to provide them the materials and the successes they need. And I'm going to do it through the budget, through materials, through the facilities, through the classrooms and through anything they need in that classroom to do—to be successful. If they need the time, I'm going to get them time. I'm going to rearrange schedules in order to support that initiative that we're all doing together. (Interview #1, July 1, 2008, p. 4) PA suggested that teachers have bought into the direction of the school, simply because "you know that you're in a healthy work environment when everyone is supporting the school initiatives." PA believed that all teachers have accepted the purpose and goals of the school. In particular, he cited the high number of teacher volunteers who repeatedly step forward to assist with different school initiatives is a clear indication of his teachers' willing commitment to the school's purpose and goals. As PA recalled: Every year when I put out the volunteers—who would like to volunteer to serve on my action and planning teams, you know, and who would like to serve on the advisory councils [the AFG committee], my indicator is I get almost a hundred percent volunteerism. I have so many people volunteering, it's hard to select and you have to start rotating them in and out. You don't have to go out and ask people, "Would you be willing to serve on this committee?" They ask to be on it. That's a true test. I have so many people volunteer. That's when I see things are healthy. (Interview #2, July 8, 2008, p. 20) Such repeated volunteerism among teachers indicated to PA that they understood their role in the school. His concluding remarks suggested that teachers implicitly understood what they needed to remain involved in the school if they were to promote student success. Principal A 's Perceptions of Leadership Influencing School Conditions—School Planning. PA stated that the AFG committee helped him establish programs which advanced student learning opportunities. The committee reviewed the validity of various instructional programs which some teachers had identified as possibly not being of benefit. As PA noted:
  • 122 We gained the ability of teachers to change the modality of instruction, change programs for the better of the kids, to be able to better identify and analyze data and to use the data more effectively in their own instructional practice. One of the practices that teachers clearly identified as needing improvement was with some of the students in the disaggregated groups that were attending certain programs. Teachers felt that the modality of instruction selected for those children were not correct. They felt that there had not been a careful enough look at that program that was being used, so we revisited the program and found that the teachers were right about the program. So we made some program changes, and it helped to make the classroom instruction more focused and it did eventually improve the level of instruction for students in that program. (Interview #1, July 1, 2008, p. 9) PA commented that teachers were receptive to needed changes because of how he collaborated with the AFG committee. As he explained, teachers were involved in decisions to develop programs which matched students' strengths and weaknesses. For example: "We [principals and teachers] matched programs that worked best for individual children, so we individualized programs, differentiated instruction for kids, and the payoff was excellent." To ensure that effective school planning occurred within the school, PA remarked, "It's important to carefully look at student data so that you can accurately analyze programs that exist within the school." The following example illustrates why it was necessary for all teachers to understand the importance of reviewing student data before establishing school plans: Yes, we actually got the data, we looked at it, and we determined where it showed the weaknesses. We determined exactly where the weaknesses were, and what programs were not giving us what we were looking for. Then we had to determine what programs we need to keep by bringing in the reading specialists, the math specialists, and people on staff. We used our own people. Don't bring them from the outside. Use the gifts you have right in your building. We took those people and had them go to work on what other programs were out there, what programs we could use. We started utilizing teachers' expertise. We assessed it as we went and we identified as a group where the success stories were and what material we
  • would now continue to use and what materials we would remove from the kids' experience. (Interview #1, July 1, 2008, p. 10) PA indicated that he has influenced school planning by demonstrating to teachers how an analysis of student data can effectively contribute to a student's successes-part of the school vision. Educating staff on how to assess student achievement data has facilitated teachers' in active support of the school vision and school goals. Likewise, involving teachers in school planning has also positively influenced the direction of the school. PA described demonstrating to teachers how their actions can contribute to the success of the entire school district: "I've influenced school planning by aligning our school vision with the goals established for us by the State Department of Education and the school district." PA felt it was important that teachers understood how improving instruction within the school was connected to the school district's vision of increasing student successes. PA reported that the AFG committee also helped to calm negative teachers who complained about following rules initiated from the top down. Negative teachers tended to avoid any involvement, yet continually complained about not being included in decision-making. The following example illustrates PA's position of involving negative teachers in school planning: There are people that don't like that system to be in place at all because they don't want that opportunity to be allowed to participate. Because if it's not allowed, then they can continue to send out that negative message: No one will listen, no one will follow, and no one wants to listen to anything I have to say. This program [AFG committee]—this avenue allows and encourages value among people. (Interview #1, July 1, 2008, p. 20)
  • Giving teachers a forum to express their ideas positively influenced them to become involved in establishing the school's purpose and goals. PA also believed that teachers' negativity had also been eliminated in the process because they could no longer proclaim a lack of input into the school's planning. Principal A 's Perceptions of Leadership Influencing School Conditions— Organizational Culture. PA believed the school's organizational culture has been shaped by his collaborative leadership style. He perceived that a "cohesive culture" existed in the school because teachers felt they were the "co-creators" of their school goals. For example, teachers assisted in shaping several current instructional programs. He also felt that teachers demonstrated their willingness to share in the development of a collaborative work environment. I think the current school condition in this building is one of willing to take risks, willing to take leadership roles, willing to be a leader, willing to express themselves, and willing to support one another, and willing to volunteer. Those would be some of the conditions that I see that exist. I think the teachers perceive these conditions as being very positive, providing them with the environment they need to be successful. I think they feel the support is there, not only financially, not only facility-wise, but also emotional support. (Interview #3, July 17, 2008, p. 23) PA also believed that staff felt this way because he continually extended himself to establish a positive school culture. The following statement supports how his leadership practices have positively affected the schools organizational culture. The collaborative leadership is that I am going to provide them with a venue of ways to sit with me, be it advisory council [AFG committee], or be it at grade-level meetings. We are going to sit and talk about what their visions are and how their visions and professional growth connects to the buildings, and how it all is intertwined together. And that I'm going to work with them to give them what they need to be successful. That they're going to find me always there rooting for them. At the same time, demanding from them the results that we all plan on. Looking at that assessment. Re-setting the goals, if necessary. Changing the interventions
  • 125 that occur. Maybe even changing the modalities of instruction. But we're going to do it together. It's not going to come down from on high. We're going to develop that modality change together. (Interview #1, July 1, 2008, p. 4) PA mentioned working diligently with teachers to establish a collaborative school community. The values, beliefs, and assumptions that permeated the school environment were connected to teachers and administrators who shared ideas about what was best for students. The AFG committee was instrumental in helping PA develop shared meanings by refocusing teachers' efforts to remain cognizant of the school vision. By collaborating with teachers, PA has given them an opportunity to shape the direction of their instructional practices. The following statement demonstrates PA's position that teachers have bought into the norms, values, and beliefs currently existing within the school's culture. I think there was a buy-in by the staff because they joined in the leadership focus of the best they can do for children, and identifying all of our children who needed the extra support and time, and that it was a legitimate focus. They bought into it and they saw it was part of their responsibility as classroom teachers and professional staff to support in meeting that goal. It was a goal that they helped establish. That's the key. They have established that goal. (Interview # 2, July 8, 2008, pp. 10-11) PA has established "shared meanings and values" with teachers because of his willingness to continually support staff and listen to their concerns. In short, PA explained that his decisions were based on what he really heard and not just on the things that he may have wanted to hear, see, or even presume. Listening to staff also helped PA shape the decisions and practices existing within the school, as the following comment illustrates: I see one common thread over and over that either makes them [leaders] or breaks them. And it's that ability to just sit back, watch and listen to your constituents, listen to the kids in the school, listen to the teachers in the
  • 126 school. Right or wrong, listen to them and take from them all that you can take to develop and build your program, and building your goals. If you don't listen, if you really sincerely don't listen, it'll kill you. It'll get you in the end. And I've seen it; I've actually seen that happen. (Interview #1, July 1,2008, p. 30) PA felt that the established norms of the school community were successfully connected to the school vision. By developing shared meanings and establishing teacher consensus, he helped to positively shape the school's direction. PA believed that the school's organizational culture was supported by the majority of teachers, although at times, teachers have challenged their colleagues to support some needed changes. However, these changes were collectively established through teachers agreeing on their benefit to students. PA also felt that his leadership practices supported teachers' feeling that they were involved in fostering the school's culture. In short, PA's collaborative approach to leadership was extremely helpful in identifying the steadfast decisions needed to shape practices occurring within the school. Principal A 's Perceptions of Leadership Influencing School Conditions— Structure and Organization. PA felt that the structure and organization of the school were deeply rooted in principal and teacher relationships. Through collaborative planning and consensus, PA believed that teachers have worked with him to establish effective school goals supporting student success: I think my leadership has influenced the structure and organization of the school by talking with the staff, talking about our goals and our program, and how we can best accomplish that program, taking that information, and then designing our building schedule, our building facility, in order to go back again to cycle back to support our goals that we're trying to accomplish. (Interview #3, July 17, 2008, p. 25)
  • 127 Specifically, he fostered collaboration within the school culture by working collegially with teachers. He also believed that the school vision helped to shape current teachers practices because it clarified its overall focus. Similarly, PA gained teachers trust by working with them to establish an academically successful learning environment for students. This principal-teacher relationship has contributed to student achievement, teacher morale, and teacher involvement. Moreover, existing relationships supported a cohesive and friendly work environment within the school, which in turn supported teachers in feeling comfortable enough to come forward and express their concerns. For PA, it was necessary to value teachers to motivate them to become involved in the school community. As he said, "If it appears as if teachers don't want to be involved in the school, they still have to be given the opportunity to be involved; if they choose not to be a participant, that's fine, but they have to be given that opportunity." PA was convinced that most people want the opportunity to contribute to the school's direct improvement if they feel certain that their ideas will be valued. Specifically, PA noted how his school letterhead with the phrase "welcome to the friendly school" reflected the relationships between himself and his teachers that existed within the school building. PA stated that "We call it our family here; everybody has to be committed to the family and it is a term that we use here a lot: We are the friendly family school." However, PA discussed the relevance of calling his school a "friendly family": I think in, in the communications that are sent out to the staff, there's always um again a focus and a reference to what we're all doing as a group. We refer to ourselves in terms—corny as it may be—the family, so
  • 128 we are always talking about us as a group, what we do together to support my vision. Any of our communications, even public communications, when you look at our letterhead—example: the friendly family! [laughs] (Interview #3, July 17, 2008, p. 13) PA stated that during his tenure as principal, he never received any grievances from his teachers. This demonstrates that teachers believed there was no reason to ask their union to resolve a problem because they only had to discuss their concerns with PA or the other teachers. As PA stated, "The lack of grievances, zero grievances, to me, that's a reflection right away of their willingness to work." PA expressed that teachers did not look or search for contract violations. PA believed that his teachers in fact displayed a willingness to work things out together: I've been there several years and I've had no grievances. And I believe it's the advisory board, because they can bring you to the table and we can rectify issues before they even get anyway. We put out a lot of—we deal with a lot of expressed positive and negative. I'm not sure that I'm—I can't figure out—I'm not—I'm trying to figure out what other vehicle has eliminated that, even in the most stressful times in the district. When the union is pushing certain items, those items would come to my advisory council for open dialogue and discussion and it never goes any further. Why? I think it's because of the open dialogue. I think teachers want to work things out. (Interview #2, July 8, 2008, p. 26) PA indicated that celebrating staff successes served to develop positive relationships within the school building. This also helped to develop consensus among individual teachers who lacked interest in getting involved in school activities: The people that don't want to be involved, what I count on over and over is that the leadership of their peers will take over. And the way that you get them to move forward is by creating a culture and a community in the school that have others wanting to be involved or having to be involved because everyone else is involved in it. Teachers know that successes will be celebrated. The people that don't want to be involved will be pulled in by the sheer momentum of the positive results being projected by other teachers. (Interview #1, July 1, 2008, p. 20)
  • 129 PA believed that all teachers worked toward the same goals based on his observation of teacher's collaborative planning. The relationships established within the school also contributed positively to the school's climate. For example, teachers have told PA that they feel they can make a difference within the school. Principal A 's Perceptions of Leadership Influencing School Conditions— Information and Decision-making. PA noted that a range of information can be obtained from several places within the school, for example, lunchroom visits, bus stops greetings for the arrival and daily classroom drop-ins. As a result, PA remained informed of school occurrences at all times. PA also indicated that being visible in the school allowed him to know his teachers personally. With this information, PA better determined what teachers believed was best for the school. To nurture positive relationships among staff members, PA formed "grade-level meetings" for teachers to have time to discuss curricular issues with each other. As a result, teachers developed trust and confidence in making decisions because they could observe firsthand exactly the various concerns of their peers. According to PA: We have obviously teacher leaders at every grade level. By having weekly grade-level meetings, the grade levels establish amongst themselves their own hierarchy and the teachers saw their peers being rewarded for good work. They wanted to get on that success wagon; they wanted to be a part of it. We took teachers and placed teachers with other teachers, not only at the grade level but across grade levels, and it developed a whole trust mechanism where I wasn't even the main focus. I was able to step back away from it and the teachers were actually leading the way. I have teacher leaders making decisions for the entire grade level. (Interview #1, July 1, 2008, p. 6) Using this information, PA was able to manage situations more effectively. For example, once he received information from several staff members about a recurring incident on the school's playground; he then informed his AFG committee and asked
  • them to investigate for possible solutions. The AFG committee shared this information with the entire teaching staff and students. Eventually, PA made informed decisions to improve school playground conditions, as he detailed below: Okay, here's an example. I started getting information in from our cafeteria aides that there seemed to be some problems on the playground with bullying and not sharing, and sharing like the swings or the equipment. So I immediately moved into and took it to my advisory council [AFG committee], and the advisory council decided we need to look at our procedures and our expectations on the playground with these children. So that information was taken back to each classroom teacher. The classroom teacher sat the kids in morning meeting, and there were discussions about "What do you like about the playground? What don't you like about the playground? What makes you happy about the playground? What makes you sad about the playground?" The kids then fed that back to their classroom teachers. The classroom teachers brought it back to our advisory council. (Interview #1, July 1, 2008, p. 17) PA described his decision-making process as collaborative. Teachers tend to positively receive this type of leadership because of his efforts to reach out and share information with them. In fact, PA firmly believed in sharing information with teachers and asking them to make decisions. "We collaborate on everything," he noted, and "we have forged a school community where decisions are shaped by the ideas we have collectively agreed upon." Gathering all the stakeholders to resolve a problem tended to lead to findings more easily. PA referred again to the playground incident to explain this collaborative process: The advisory council took the information. We decided, listening to what the children had to say, how can we make it a better experience, what rules—what things do we need to change? What things do we need to add? They came up with things such as, you know, time on swings. It's important to the kids. Maybe you—some adults may not think it's not, but we set up little regulations, little rules for the playground, things—the expectations. We then took that back to the teachers. The teachers took it back to the kids at morning meeting. The kids discussed it, again tweaked it some more. We ended up coming out with a set of expectations that will make our playground a safer place, a more fun place, a place the kids
  • 131 would enjoy more, and we instituted those activities. (Interview #1, July 1, 2008, p. 17) By sharing information with teachers to make decisions, PA established trust with his teachers and ensured that pertinent information was available to everyone. Ultimately, participation in decision-making led to student and school success. While PA credited the AFG committee for supporting positive relationships between teachers and administration, he pointed out that at times, the advisory council has negatively impacted teachers by sharing too much information all at once. PA conveyed what he did when this happened: I keep them [teachers] well-informed. I keep them organized. I keep them um ahead of what's coming, [laughs] Be it from on high or from me. Well- informed, I think they're well-informed. I see that as a positive. The down, the negative would be possibly uh too much—maybe sometimes too much information to process, and they can become overwhelmed at times. It may be a negative because they get a lot of information. I have to be very careful of that at the beginning of the year, don't overwhelm them. I have to make them understand and trust that everything is going to be okay and I remind them to take things very sequentially, one thing at a time, and don't be overwhelmed. (Interview #3, July 17, 2008, p. 27) Overall, PA believed that teachers positively viewed their collaboration to resolve problems because the ultimate decisions were proven credible and allowed them to be updated and well informed. On the negative side, however, teachers have become overwhelmed by the amount large amounts of information. To remedy this, PA offered step-by-step explanations of school process to reduce teachers' feelings of being besieged by what must be accomplished. Observations of PA—Leadership Dimensions and Leadership Influencing School Conditions. I observed PA conducting a faculty meeting at the beginning of the Fall 2008 school year. The hour-long meeting was held in a classroom with approximately 35
  • 132 teachers. The ambience for the entire meeting was extremely optimistic. For example, PA and the teachers sat around the classroom casually speaking to one another before the meeting began. This demeanor continued in the group throughout the entire meeting. In particular, PA and the teachers conversed about their summer vacations; the talking was punctuated with smiles, hugs, and much collegial respect and admiration. Despite the informal settings, the meeting had been clearly structured and planned in advance. For example, PA meticulously proceeded through his agenda upon starting the meeting. He conveyed his happiness that everyone was back at school, and eagerly and proudly summarized all facility upgrades and changes that had occurred over the summer. The meeting was lighthearted and filled with an occasional joke. PA was approachable and respectful to staff throughout the meeting, but his stance also clarified that he was the sole individual who was primarily responsible for directing the conversation. At the crux of the meeting, PA distributed to teachers a prearranged agenda. He was well-prepared and covered each agenda item one by one. The agenda consisted of: (1) the school's vision, (2) the goals describing the explicit purpose and direction for the upcoming school year, (3) school policies, (4) opening day procedures for student arrival, and (5) distribution and review of the teacher handbook which outlined PA's expectations and several school procedures. A PowerPoint presentation, which PA created, accompanied the agenda for teachers to follow. PA's leadership practices reflected characteristics connected to the school vision, as identified by his eloquently expressed hopes and dreams for the school; for example, he stated, "We must collectively establish a safe, warm and loving environment, where
  • 133 everyone is working hard to achieve a common purpose." The principal outlined that the purpose of the school was to ensure that students strove to achieve their maximum potential under the teachers' guidance. As he stated, "We need to determine in a collaborative manner where we want to go, why we want to go there, and how we're going to go about getting there." He elaborated, "Once we get to the part about how are we are going to go there, we then need to ensure that we all move in one direction that allows us to get to where we want to be." Much of the communication exchanged at this meeting focused on sharing with teachers the year's school plans. For example, PA spoke openly about how these school goals for the year were connected to the following three areas: (1) continually reviewing student data throughout the school year to develop accurate assessments of student performance; (2) continuing to focus on improving students' reading and math scores; and (3) continuing their collective work on developing students to become successful citizens of the school community. PA stated that the primary purpose and direction of the school for the new year was for teachers to collaboratively ensure the success of the kids. To accomplish this, the school needed to focus on the groups of students having the most difficulties, those not up to par academically with the rest of the students. School policies were also discussed in-depth. Policies and procedures as outlined by PA were connected with supporting school initiatives. One of the primary school policy discussed was the need for teachers to align their teaching practices with student performance. PA noted that he expected teachers to use student data, which could be obtained from the previous year's state exams, as a possible indicator of how students
  • may perform upon arriving at school. The principal modeled for teachers how student data could be used to obtain accurate information on students' abilities: he provided sample student scores from the preceding year and ways to review the data for indicators that can lead to better instructional decisions for improving students' reading levels. PA pointed out that he believed the school was exceptional, but still required a collective examination of disaggregated data for varying subpopulations of students within their building. PA noted that the schools scores fell at the 97l percentile for Language and 92nd percentile for Math. He stated, "We must immediately put into action a variety of different programs and interventions this year in order to make the changes in the instruction we need, so that we can address all of our students needs in our school before our scores start to decline." PA shared with his staff how he felt they needed to work together. He also remarked: "We not only need to exceed our goals, but we also need to exceed what is expected of us by the district and the state." PA reiterated the following sentiments throughout the meeting: "Our goals must be to focus on groups of children that we needed to get up, up to a level of where a majority of our students are." Teachers appeared to truly understand the principal's intention by attentively listening at all times. They were empowered by the principal to voice their ideas concerns and opinions throughout the meeting. Teachers were also provided with ample opportunities to discuss their ideas among themselves as well as with PA. At the meeting, PA provided a clear focus for teachers on the school's direction particularly by fostering importance of teacher collaboration to address students' needs. These needs could be identified by understanding the relevance of student data for the
  • 135 benefit of improving student success. The teachers were clearly interested in finding solutions to the problems that PA stressed was facing them collectively. For example, one teacher recounted, "I think we need to re-visit our school goals, especially since it is the beginning of the school year." She added that they really needed to identify all of the at- risk children in their school in the areas of language arts and mathematics. PA repeatedly invited teachers to become more involved in finding ways to improve instruction by reviewing student data which identified subpopulations at risk of failing. PA proposed developing a committee to look further at students with academic difficulties. He concluded by asking if any teacher was interested in helping to form this committee, and remarkably, more than three-quarters of the teachers willingly raised their hands to volunteer. PA also discussed opening day procedures for student arrival. Their focus here was to prepare students to arrive to school in a happy mood. PA elaborated on the rationale, purpose, and benefits of making students comfortable on the first day. He spent several minutes outlining the procedures he wanted teachers to utilize when greeting students as well as what he expected to see in the classroom. For example, teachers should focus on familiarizing students with routines, decorating their rooms, and developing a first-day activity for students which would allow them to know each another. PA stressed the importance of ensuring that students became acclimated and comfortable with their surroundings on the first day. Teachers responded positively by talking among themselves and expressing their individual plans for the students' arrival. PA publicly acknowledged several teachers at the meeting for taking the initiative of
  • 136 devising several first-day activities. PA's public acknowledgment of teachers was well received and encouraged others to share their own ideas. PA next reviewed policies and procedures connected with teachers' responsibilities, specifically reviewing the teacher's handbook in particular student and staff attendance procedures, students' code of conduct procedures, and lesson plan procedures. While he could review all of the procedures at this meeting, he stressed that teachers were responsible to familiarize themselves with the handbook because it clearly delineated his expectations. Teachers attentively listened to PA throughout the meeting and periodically asked question, and visibly agreeing with him. Teachers' questions were directly connected to supporting what PA wanted to accomplish. For example, teachers' inquiries were coupled with how they could obtain data on students who were entering school for the first time. PA favorably received these questions because he responded to them with interest, encouragement, and support. PA also acknowledged that he was always attentively listening to teachers and gave appropriate responses. For example, on several occasions, he began his answers to teachers' questions with such statements as: "Good question," "I wish I had thought of that," "Let me get back to you on that issue," and "Great idea." By initiating his response in this way, PA demonstrated his support of teachers by indicating he truly heard what they said. PA's demeanor positively contributed to the tone of the dialogue being exchanged. Clearly, he recognized the teacher's expertise as much as he persistently encouraged them to continue sharing their thoughts. It is important to note that PA never
  • interrupted a teacher who spoke up. This courtesy, which was modeled throughout the entire meeting, apparently was an agreed-upon norm established at previous faculty meetings as no one else ever interrupted a speaker. When the faculty meeting ended, teachers were observed speaking to PA and to one another about the goals presented at the meeting. For example, one teacher stated, "I think the first thing we need to do is to identify what teachers have these same students." Another teacher commented that they should get together as smaller subcommittees to examine some causes for student failures. These conversations demonstrated that teachers' ideas appeared to align with PA's main points at the faculty meeting on the importance of reviewing student data to improve instruction and student performance. PA was also observed at a second meeting with his Accreditation for Growth (AFG) team, approximately one month into the school year. This meeting consisted of a select group of teachers. As indicated earlier, the AFG team assisted the principal in making various school-wide decisions. Ten teachers attended this meeting, which lasted for about 30 minutes. The atmosphere was casual; the meeting was positive and upbeat, even more informal than PA's first faculty meeting. For example, teachers sat around with PA and casually spoke about professional and personal issues for about five minutes. PA attended this meeting as a member of the AFG committee, but he did not lead the conversation, nor provide the agenda as he had done previously. The agenda had been established by several teachers and contained only two items: (1) celebrating student success, and (2) reviewing the students' code of conduct. Although the meeting had a plan, the conversations periodically deviated from the two agenda items. For example,
  • 138 teachers engaged in brief private conversations about certain students they shared in their classes. When the meeting was refocused on the agenda, teachers were observed leading the direction of the conversation. For example, one teacher mentioned that the primary objective of this meeting was to find alternative ways to celebrate student success. PA expressed to the committee members that he felt it was important not only to celebrate student success, but more to celebrate staff successes. By initiating these statements, PA demonstrated explicitly that he believed the school's purpose and direction should include valuing teachers. Several teachers agreed with PA's statement to intentionally recognize and celebrate staff successes. Therefore, the focus of the meeting was redirected to how the school could establish events to celebrate both students' and teachers' successes throughout the year. PA further demonstrated his support of teachers by providing them with relevant information and giving them opportunities to join the decision-making process. This process gave teachers a voice as well as a choice in the school's direction. For example, PA and teachers worked collegially on deciding what needed to be done to celebrate everyone's successes throughout the school year. As the AFG committee meeting concluded, it became apparent that the AFG would not cover the second item on the agenda, reviewing the student code of conduct. Thus, the members agreed that this topic would be tabled for another meeting. Over the course of three different days, I also observed PA as he interacted with teachers in the hallways, during students' lunch periods, and during students' arrival and departure. At all times, PA engaged in both personal and private conversations with
  • 139 teachers. The communication between PA and teachers was clearly informal. For example, when PA communicated with teachers, he attentively listened to their statements, interacted with teachers in animated dialogue, and jested with teachers via amusing anecdotes. In short, PA was always easy-going with teachers, support staff, students, and even with me. PA never took himself too seriously. For example, he laughed gregariously and was very personable, making one feel comfortable right away. Quick to share a story with anyone, it appeared that PA was well-liked and respected by his staff. PA's school building was vibrantly decorated with student work and awards. For example, hallways and classrooms celebrated student accomplishments with print-rich student work. The atmosphere of the school building also reflected good management. For example, teachers and students were in their appropriate locations, the halls were extremely quiet, yet the classrooms exuded an active and vibrant buzz. Students were observed to be on-task and behaved while in the halls, classrooms, lunchroom, and during arrival and dismissal time. Everyone at the school knew PA because he always walked around the building and visited classrooms, the cafeteria, and the bus depots. For example, on his rounds, he was always greeted by teachers, students, and support staff with a sense of ease and abundant of smiles. Additionally, teachers easily approached PA in all of these locations. PA made it a point to introduce me to every teacher we passed. Children repeatedly came up to hug PA and said they loved him, to which he genuinely responded, "I love you too." Several teachers and students approached the principal throughout the day with different school projects in hand and asked him to look at their work, which he always did
  • 140 delightedly. He usually commented to students and teachers how wonderful their work was and how proud he was of them. On several occasions, he would stop other teachers in the hall to show them what other students and teachers were sharing with him. Throughout my observations, I continually reflected on how impressive it was that teachers so eagerly volunteered for different committees. It was also interesting to observe that several teachers were clearly eager to assist the principal in developing school plans connected to celebrating student and teacher successes. During my observations of PA, it became quite apparent that he had established a clear focus on the school's direction. Moreover, teachers demonstrated an enthusiasm to follow the PA in the direction he had outlined. For example, it appeared as though the principal's actions of sharing information with teachers influenced school conditions. PA also shaped teachers' ideas of teachers by providing them with pertinent information which they could use to make good decisions. Teachers reached consensus on PA's desire to relay to teachers his concerns as well as his objectives; this was especially evident when the teachers united to develop a plan that targeted school improvement efforts, which PA identified as important for achieving student success. PA's practices supported teachers as well. For example, when he provided teachers with both student data and a rationale for looking at student data, he identified for them how considering these data could help them achieve school goals. His approach of sharing information with teachers and including them in school planning established meaningful and purposeful goals for teachers' reflection. The relationships between teachers and principal contributed to the school's direct effectiveness, as evidenced by how teachers freely volunteered to serve on committees
  • and step up to complete tasks for the principal. By modeling the importance of respect for individuals, attentively listening to teachers and students, and communicating effectively with teachers and students, PA influenced how everyone's interactions in the building. Just as the school staff and students behaved compassionately and professionally, these attributes were clearly observed in and continually displayed by the principal. Principal A Teachers Principal A Teachers' Perceptions of Leadership. Five Principal A Teachers (PAT1, PAT2, PAT3, PAT4, and PAT5) were interviewed over four months; from September through December 2008. They provided an array of qualities that they felt individuals must exhibit before they could be identified as leaders. Although teachers were asked to describe leadership in general terms, three out of five connected their understanding of leadership to their perception that PA displayed leadership. I communicated to teachers the importance of separating ideas about their principal's leadership practices from the definition of leadership I provided to them. By doing this, I was then able to draw out what teachers perceived as the essential characteristics of leadership personified. The following is a list of attributes which continually emerged from the responses of Principal A Teachers. Overwhelmingly, all teachers replied that leaders displayed leadership qualities when they demonstrated the following traits: (1) acting as a facilitator; (2) creating a supportive environment; (3) being a good listener; and (4) communicating their expectations clearly. The predominant response from teachers was that leaders had the ability to make individuals feel valued and important. Teachers
  • also repeatedly noted that ineffective leaders were unwilling to listen to or engage in conversations about their ideas. In short, leaders who were only interested in their own point of view displayed poor leadership qualities. PAT5 reported the following: A leader is somebody that is easily accessible, somebody who is willing to, to listen to what you have to say and engage in a conversation. Somebody to lend support, (pause) And I think not only support with the teachers, but also with children. He's a colleague. He's a peer, you know. (Interview #5, October 10, 2008, p. 8) Teachers described what they perceived an individual in a leadership role should demonstrate. PAT3 believed that leaders should "clearly convey what they wanted from their staff and they should be caring and approachable, as well as somebody who can effectively communicate with people; they need to be a people person." PAT2 stated the following about leaders: "I would describe a leader as somebody who is in charge of a group of people and that can manage that group of people to get them to do what they're supposed to be doing." PAT1 felt leaders made decisions which they could support and stand behind. PAT4's response best reflected what several teachers believed effective leaders actually accomplished: I think an effective leader has to be someone that, you know, is firm to a point, like you can't just be, you know, warm and fuzzy all the time. I also think it needs to be someone that you can come to with your problems and be able to understand. And a leader has to lead. I mean, they have to be able to give direction and expect it to be followed. And to get it followed, though, they also need to be respectable, or respectful to others as well as themselves. (Interview #4, October 8, 2008, p. 15) A majority of teachers also expressed that they believed leaders were able to influence certain school conditions by establishing focused goals. For example, teachers identified that a leader's behavior could influence the school's climate. PATs also felt that leaders had the potential to influence the following school conditions through their
  • 143 leadership practices: (1) establishing an enriching and supportive environment; (2) establishing clear focus and direction for the organization; (3) managing the school effectively to successfully accomplish agreed-upon goals; and (4) establishing a positive culture within the work environment. Principal A Teachers' Perceptions of Leadership Dimensions—Building School Vision. The PATs identified two key aspects of the school vision as extremely important to what they wanted to accomplish collectively as a teaching faculty, namely: (1) students must be given an opportunity to succeed academically, and (2) students will develop good citizenship through character education activities. They expressed that all else within the school flowed from these two main concepts. PAT2 provided the following sentiment which seemed to reference what many teachers articulated: "Our school is known throughout the school district as 'The Friendly School.'" All five teachers verified that they believed this phrase clearly exemplified the objective of their school vision. PAT1 believed that a large part of Principal A's vision was to "promote excellence in education for kids, while helping students to realize their role in becoming really good citizens of the school community." PATs reiterated frequently their feeling that "the principal was successful in sharing the school vision." It was clear to teachers, students, and even parents what PA believed the school should accomplish through the school vision, as PAT1 recounted: I think, I think excellence is right up there. Like I think he has a vision of excellence within this elementary school and through his message of where we're all working to, you know, make really wonderful citizens within our building, you know, among the children, he really promotes the excellence in the educational part and, you know, working with the kids, helping them to be, be really good citizens of our community, like our community, like the kids are involved in recycling and helping one
  • 144 another, whether it is collecting food for special occasions or something else. He [Principal A] encourages this for the teachers too. The teachers, for example, will at various times throughout the year assist students with a mitten collection, a hat collection or other activities. He supports all of these efforts for the kids to work towards the greater good. So I think through all of those things, you know, it's clear that he is really striving to make a well-rounded child, and not just pushing for the grades or just teaching excellence, but also everything else that embodies a well-rounded person. (Interview #1, October 6, 2008, p. 2) All five teachers identified that Principal A also described a child's success through his or her ability to develop academic skills in reading, writing, and math. PAT3 indicated that "Part of our vision is that children can learn," and she elaborated: "we also have our motto which is, if we work hard, we will succeed. " Each teacher verified that this was the school's "catchphrase." PATs commented that this statement best reflected what the they, PA, and the students were striving to accomplish together. According to PAT1, "Our school motto exemplifies what teachers believe." To reinforce this, PAT5 stated that Principal A begins every school day by reminding teachers and students of the school vision: He [Principal A] comes on the morning announcements every morning and reminds the kids of our school vision and plan of "If I work hard, I will succeed." And I don't think there is any teacher or any student in this building that does not know that this is the vision that he sees for our school. If we all work hard, whether it's teachers or students, then we will succeed. If we try something and it doesn't work, we try it again. I think that he does a very good job at making sure that we all are aware of it. (Interview #5, October 10, 2008, p. 2) The PATs also explained that part of the school vision was to continually seek ways for their children to succeed. Several teachers felt united in this view. For example, PAT4 commented, "[PA's] vision is that teachers must find a way for all kids to succeed." PAT2 added, "I think if a leader doesn't have a strong vision, then it kind of wreaks havoc in the workplace because people don't know where to turn and they don't
  • 145 know what to do." The majority of PATs believed that P A modeled the school vision, particularly by focusing daily to convey the need to obtain success for all students. Principal A Teachers' Perceptions of Leadership Dimension—Building School Goals. Although all five PATs were able to clearly and quickly identify the school vision, two had difficulty when asked to describe what comprised the school goals. For example, PAT2, PAT4, and PAT5 felt that PA articulated the school goals very clearly at faculty meetings. However, PAT1 and PAT3 continually referred back to the school vision when attempting to describe the school goals. Thus, it appeared that PAT1 and PAT3 were not as familiar with what the school goals entailed, whereas PAT2, PAT4, and PAT5 were able to demonstrate their understanding of the goals in more detail. PAT3 felt the primary purpose of the school goals was to meet all of the State Department of Education's required mandates. Moreover, she believed that several goals had been established from the top and were brought down PA deliver to the teachers. PAT1 indicated that "the goals for the school come under the leadership of the principal." She elaborated: "I think the goals are set by the principal so that proactive things happen." PAT1 had difficulty identifying exactly the specific school goals: I hear all the talk of all the goals, and usually around testing, and he's very proactive, from what I can tell. I'm not first-hand involved in it because I teach a particular group of kids, most often preschool or kindergarten. So as he developed and as I listen in the meetings, he's very proactive. He has the teachers help to identify kids who may be struggling in certain areas, and then they are given that extra support. And you know, like I said, I'm not involved in it first-hand, but what it seems to me is that it's not something that was told to him from above. It's something that he's doing to promote that excellence within this building, to help these kids get them before, you know, before they feel the failure or the failure becomes part of the test grade or something like that. And I think—and honestly, I'm not involved in that. I teach kindergarten and preK, but I hear the teachers too talking about it. There's never complaints about that. They're [Teachers]
  • 146 really involved in helping these kids to reach success before they feel that failure. (Interview #1, October 6, 2008, pp. 3-4) PAT1 discussed her understanding of the basic focus of the school goals, namely to increase students' scores in math and language arts. However, she could not elaborate on how school programs were designed to address these issues. At times, PAT1 felt it was more difficult to identify the school goals than to describe the school vision. PAT3 felt similarly because the large number goals made it difficult to keep up with this them. PAT1 and PAT3 both believed that having so many different goals has sometimes negatively impacted the school. For example, PAT3 indicated that she overheard teachers express their concern about having to process too much information at one time. On the other end of the spectrum, PAT2 stated that "Principal A sets the goals for our building, and he makes them very clear at faculty meetings." She also said that "he always updates us with where we are in accomplishing our goals, as well as what we need to do to improve and what we're already doing well." As PAT2 reported: Well, I think he's very clear on our goals and conveys this to us at meetings, whether they are with math and language arts or something that we're just working on for a short course of time. We've been working really hard on pinpointing areas that need more academic support in order for children to be able to achieve their goals and the school's goals. And it's important for us to know what we need to be doing—it's nice. I look forward to the meetings to know what's going to be going on next in a war. (Interview #2, October 6, 2008, p. 14) PAT4 identified the school goals as being connected to the vision. The goals were "trying to develop good citizens, to improve student scores in reading and writing, and to bring each child up from where they began with us." She explained that "we understand what's expected of us, and we understand what our goals are because the goals are consistently said over and over again by the principal." Similarly, PAT5 felt the principal
  • clearly identified how the school goals were to ensure that "the academic needs of all students are met in a safe and orderly environment." For example, one goal was to "teach students basic class rules, such as treat others the way you want to be treated." In addition, another primary goal was to ensure that students recognized they were in a "bully-free school environment." The PATs quickly affirmed that the school vision was established with teachers; however, they as quickly pointed out that they were not involved in establishing several of the goals they were expected to fulfill. They could not clearly identify how every school goal was established. They believed several goals were created by the principal and the school district; as PAT2 specified: "I think part of the school goals were established by his [Principal A's] boss." She elaborated: "it's kind of unfortunate that several school goals had come down from the school district and the State Department of Education." Because the PATs concurred that several school goals were mandated by the district and the State Department of Education, they did not, blame PA for having so many goals. If anything, they were grateful for such a clear school vision because they believed it helped them to retain their focus on what needed to be accomplished, especially as only two main concepts were described in the vision. Teachers noted that once PA presented the school goals to them, teachers broke into school committees, at which point they began to help PA shape how school goals would be successfully implemented. Principal A Teachers' Perceptions of Leadership Dimensions—Offering Individual Support. The PATs repeatedly conveyed that PA had an open door policy. For
  • 148 example, all five teachers agreed that PA stated at his faculty meetings that he was willing to meet with teachers whenever they needed to see him. According to PAT4 no appointment was necessary to talk to PA. PAT2 added that PA announced at faculty meetings that teachers could just stop by his office and ask to talk to him. All five teachers cited that they had personally experienced this as true. They indicated that this policy established a sense of openness and approachability, and supported the emergence of a collegial work environment. The PATs believed that the principal demonstrated to both teachers and students that they could speak to him professionally as well as personally. For example, PAT2 stated that PA is "always there for us; he's very available for answering questions and providing support for us." PAT5 explained that the principal was someone "you can count on to help us; he has repeatedly demonstrated his ability to be a good friend to all of us, by allowing us to come in and speak to him about our concerns." The PATs remarked that PA provided support by sharing information with them, stopping by their classrooms, acknowledging their daily accomplishments, and making them aware of expectations. As PAT1 reported: He gives us the test scores at the meetings, and I always like looking at them. And he's always giving the congratulations because the teachers are doing such a fantastic job in the area, and you could tell he's so proud of all the efforts too, and he's so appreciative, he's always thanking everybody for their hard work. (Interview #1, October 6, 2008, p. 4) PAT4 felt that PA was consistently around: "Just being very consistent with what he does; it's not like he won't come one week and then not show up for a while. If he's going to come to one event, he's pretty much coming to all of them." The PATs felt that PA's leadership practices have a positive influence on the school because he recognizes
  • 149 the importance of providing teachers with moral support and academic support. PAT1 articulated that idea: I know just first-hand how, when something wonderful happens within my own classroom or a goal, we reach a personal milestone with one of the students, whether he stops you in the hall to say, Hey, that was a fantastic job, or whether it's within a meeting, you know, where I have to sit in on a meeting just one-on-one with him. He's very good about making sure he gives the feedback and also the praise on it when it's deserved. (Interview #1, October 6, 2008, p. 4) PAT4 noted that because of PA's very supportive leadership practices, teachers were able to succeed not only professionally but also personally. For example, the principal always encouraged teachers to do many wonderful activities. PAT2 similarly noted that PA was always encouraging teachers to try new ideas and take chances. She had even witnessed the principal encouraging a specific teacher in the building who lacked confidence. PA's daily encouragement helped this teacher develop the confidence she needed to become one of the most dynamic teachers in the school. In fact, just recently, according to PAT2, this teacher was "recognized as a national nominee for teacher of the year." PAT2 indicated that the entire teaching staff knew how PA encouraged this teacher for years to believe in her talents. In yet another reinforcing statement, PAT3 extolled PA's support for other teachers: He [the principal] is very, very supportive if we need him, and he also leaves us alone as professionals and by allowing us to work within the confines of the curriculum. So I like the fact that he is very supportive of us in following the curriculum and how we want to go about teaching. So in that way, I think he does a great job. (Interview #3, October 8, 2008, pp. 1-2) The PATs also articulated that PA has established a supportive learning environment through his constant and daily visibility. Everyday he can be found in classrooms, in the cafeteria, and at the bus stop greeting students at arrival or departure.
  • 150 PAT4 stated that "the principal is always on the TV monitor each morning, so the children have learned to know who he is." PAT5 expressed that "children feel that he's a safe person and that it is okay to go to him with their problems." All five teachers identified that PA's relationship with students ensured a calm and focused school climate. The PATs believed that PA constantly demonstrated his ability to positively interact with students. For example, PAT1 stated that "Children are always giving the principal hugs." She believed this demonstrates to staff that the principal has genuine connections with students and truly cares about what he does. PAT1 felt that the principal's actions reflected his desire that students feel comfortable within the school. All teachers agreed that the principal's actions supported them by demonstrating to teachers, parents, and students his good handle on who the students are as well as how they achieve in school, academically, socially, and emotionally. Principal A Teachers' Perceptions of Leadership Influencing School Conditions— Purpose and Goals. The PATs identified that the schools purpose which was connected to the school vision, was easily identifiable because the principal had emphasized to them the importance of everyone following the vision. The PATs asserted that they were overtly aware of what needed to be accomplished. They also felt that every teacher had similar aspirations: that all students would be successful in their academics and develop their characters. The PATs acknowledged that their school vision permeated the school environment because PA explicitly stated how it would assist staff and students to remain focused on what they agreed needed to be accomplished. For example, The PATs
  • 151 identified the important objectives to be implemented within their classrooms such as helping students to become good citizens. As PAT1 illustrated: This is what I'm seeing in the second and third grade, kids really reaching out to be good citizens to the greater community. And you know, whether it's letter writing to our soldiers or collecting cans for the soup kitchen, canned goods, or collecting hats and mittens, so the kids start building on that understanding of the bigger community. And he [Principal A] has been very supportive. You know, he makes the announcements and he encourages everybody to get involved, so he talks about it [school vision] constantly. (Interview #1, October 6, 2008, p. 3) PAT1 added that she felt the school vision positively influenced school conditions by helping teachers focus on improving students' character. PAT1 and PAT3 both indicated that the district and teachers had established meaningful goals within the school. PAT2 specifically felt that school goals were aligned to the Central School District's goals and that the principal had explicitly defined the direction of the school. PAT3 observed that every teacher was aware of the school vision, but some were unclear about how the goals would be addressed. The PATs generally believed that PA articulated the need for teachers to support what occurred across the district at other schools so that students could successfully transition to the next grade level and school. As PAT2 reported: I mean there's an element where we all have to teach the same thing, we know that. But I think because he's the type of leader that he is, we feel— here's that word again, comfortable—enough to come and free enough to be yourself, really. And I think there's lots of different styles of teachers, but everybody kind of feels like they're doing the right thing because he doesn't make anybody feel like they're not doing the right thing as long as they're covering what they need to cover. (Interview #2, October 6, 2008, P-13) PAT5 believed PA wanted to establish a sense of team work among teachers. She stated, "You know, it definitely feels like a team, whether it's with the faculty or whether
  • 152 it's with the students; it feels like a family." She believed that the purpose and goals for the school reflected the ideology of a team which needed to take a leadership role. Thus, PA purposefully implemented meaningful goals, as PAT5 illustrated: Well, the first goal, I would say, is that the academic needs of all of the students are met. He definitely is supporting us in that goal. Another goal is that we are a—I'm trying to think of—a faculty, that we function as a team, and that we are following guidelines and that he is—quite often comes in our room and makes sure that we are on task and doing what we're supposed to be doing. (Interview #5, October 10, 2008, p. 2) PAT1 expressed her surprise at so much faculty involvement within the school because everyone was already stretched thin. She credited this to PA's ability to clearly identify that teachers' collective purpose for the school should align with demands for excellence in all they did. PAT5 stated, "I think he had some ideas of what he thought the goal should be for the school and he certainly put them out there for discussion." Teachers repeatedly concurred that PA valued the purpose and goals of the school and that the school vision has positively influenced the school's direction, especially in demanding excellence. PAT3 proudly indicated that "the end result is under his leadership, teachers have risen to the challenge, and the result is test scores are high." PAT4 noted that the pervasive feeling at the school was that expected to be seen daily in action: not only are our school goals important, but you could actually see them as soon as you walk into the cafeteria, the school building, our classrooms, and even when you look up at the TV monitor every morning and see that the principal sitting there with students reminding everyone of what was important. (Interview #4, October 8, 2008, p. 9) Finally, the PATs confirmed hearing PA express that one of the school's purposes was for teachers to focus on developing well-rounded, happy, and academically- successful students. In fact, PA always spoke to them about staying connected to their
  • 153 activities in the school. For example, PAT3 felt one of the PA's objectives was to have teachers align themselves to the collective purpose of the school. According to PAT4, everyone in the school bent over backwards to help one another. Echoing these views, PAT2 stated that because of PA, teachers have concentrated on believing that "we are all in this together." PAT5's statement best sums up the idea: "The principal kind of guides us in a way; he is always reminding us that we are a family." Principal A Teachers' Perceptions of Leadership Influencing School Conditions— School Planning. Several PATs indicated that they generally were included in developing plans for the school. They understood school planning to focus on providing solutions to school goals, such as improving students' math abilities and so on. As PAT3 remarked: He [Principal A] gives us our handbooks in the beginning of the year. We go over all the work that's in there, and then if there are any issues throughout the year, he's supportive of that. So he, like I said, he lays the groundwork for us and then if we need him during the year, we would go to him. So it's not a kind of an in-your-face leadership. It's I trust what you're doing in the classroom, and he does come in and out at any time he wants to. He becomes a part of our classroom and a part of our school planning. (Interview #3, October 8, 2008, pp. 2-3) The PATs remarked that the PA's style of leadership was to inform them through meetings of what needed to be done. According to PAT5, there was no guessing about expectations; one simply needed to ask a colleague. PAT4 added: And school planning, we have our calendars out. Not only do we get the parent calendar, but we get a staff calendar as well, so we know what's going on. If we have an assembly coming up at the end of October, we already know in the beginning of the school year because it is planned out way in advance of the event. I actually don't know how he does it, but it is a nice feeling to know what is coming up. And if anything's added, we're given advance notice: Please add this to your calendar. You know, it's just his way of planning, I feel very prepared. I don't feel unprepared. Oh, here's a surprise assembly, or here's something that's being added in. But you know, every once in a while, you get that surprise thing that has to be added in, like a fire drill he can't tell us about. But for the most part, he's
  • 154 very good with what we're doing per day so that we can plan accordingly, so we make sure we cover everything we're supposed to cover in the day. (Interview #4, October 8, 2008, p. 25) The PATs expressed how PA clearly established his plans for the school by setting the tone for the focus of the year as well as each day. For example, PAT1 stated that "the principal sets the tone for the way things are going to run." She was adamant in stating that PA "was not going make any decisions based upon what a teacher wanted, or to accommodate whatever an individual teacher's interest may be." In fact, "decisions were going to be directly connected to supporting the school vision." PAT1 added that the principal periodically mentioned how "everybody knows what is expected of them, so there is no excuse for certain types of mistake, like forgetting to show up to a scheduled meeting because he has made it clear when meetings will be held." Consequently, PA would never support or condone missing a meeting. In terms of how the PA's school plans impacted school operations, PAT4 stated that teachers knew "you just can't go running around, whining and complaining, because that won't get you what you want." She noted that teachers were aware, for the most part, of connecting all work in the classroom with the agreed-upon goals outlined to help students succeed. PA clearly articulated that everyone needed to teach the same curriculum so that no students were left behind. On a deeper level, PAT3 explained that teachers understood how PA's intentional plans for them at faculty meetings suggested his belief that this was vital information or else he would have not wasted anyone's time. PAT3 concurred: I think that he's [Principal] very respectful of our time. He knows that we don't have much time to waste because our days are filled with helping students so he's not going to hold a meeting or call us in if we don't need
  • 155 to be there, so he's very respectful of that time. If he is going to have you attend a meeting, you can bet, it's something you need to walk away remembering, because he will check to make sure your doing whatever he asked you to do. I mean even during the school hours, during special times. And like I said with even sitting down with you, he made sure that we understood that this would be done during our own time and that it was okay if we didn't want to do that. (Interview #3, October 8, 2008, p. 11) PAT3 believed this accurately summed up PA's beliefs because at times, he actually canceled meetings when he had nothing to discuss, thus allowing teachers' additional planning time. PAT5 offered the following example of the nature of the PA's faculty meetings: I mean, when you're talking about faculty meetings, he always sets forth an agenda. He sticks to the agenda, but he always has a time where we can put things in if we need anything, or if we need to talk about anything. (Interview #5, October 10, 2008, p. 12) When PAT5 was asked how having an agenda helps school planning, she stated that "because we have the agenda, we know what is going to be discussed, so we're prepared to participate at the meetings." PAT5 felt that PA clearly identifies his goals and vision at faculty meetings: Well, I would say when we are at meetings, he talks to us about a particular goal that we are trying to meet, or that, you know, we have already met, and if we have met the goal, he'll go back and say to us, You know, now let's be reminded of what our vision is. "If I work hard, I will succeed." You know, every student, we want every student to be successful, and we've met that goal. Or here's our vision again, and we're reminded of that—which is nice because so often, sometimes as a teacher, you do, do, do, and you just don't get that feedback. And it's nice to hear him relate that feedback to us. (Interview #5, October 10, 2008, p. 6) The PATs conveyed that PA's thoroughness in developing school plans reflected his attention to detail. They also felt it demonstrated that teachers were valued because he took time to provide information necessary for their success. Although teachers felt that PA planned thoroughly, PAT3 indicated that at times PA's school planning appeared
  • 156 "predictable"; that is, PA "tends to do things the same way, year after year." As she explained: Well, I think there could be some changes made because things do change within the school building. We add more classes, we have more specialists here that the children need to see. So I think that in that way, probably we could, we could look a little bit closer at how things are run on a daily basis. Like scheduling and things like that. But it tends to happen the same way, year after year. (Interview #3, October 8, 2008, p. 14) PATs felt PA's school planning actually led him to become more organized because he always connected all activities to accomplishing the school vision. For example, PA's preparation for his faculty meetings and school events helped the school operate more effectively because the goals and results were clear. The PAT's agreed that PA's leadership practices focused on advance planning before teachers could complete their tasks; they also agreed that everyone was required to follow the school plan once it was established. Principal A Teachers' Perceptions of Leadership Influencing School Conditions— Organizational Culture. Teachers identified that PA helped to shape the decisions and practices in the school by encouraging teachers to promote school vision, support school goals, adhere to timelines, follow school policies, and attend professional development connected with classroom instruction. PAT4 stated that one established rule of the building was that everyone understood what they were to accomplish and by which date and time: "So I think part of the school culture which has been established here in school is that the principal has communicated to teachers how he wants things to be accomplished." PAT1 reported a similar belief: The organization of the culture goes to where you're supposed to be where you belong when you belong there, and I think if there's a breakdown in
  • 157 any of that, the principal will let you know about it, and he will bring it to your attention that he's aware that you were not where you're supposed to be. So I think part of that, just because knowing the way, how structured he is and how the organizational part of how he does things, it's like a science, [laughs] Like there's not a lot of room for error there. We need to know what we're supposed to be doing. If the information's been provided, then you need to know what needs to be done. I believe that that's pretty much the way people feel around here. You just need to be where you're supposed to be. And little bit ahead of time [laughs]. (Interview #1, October 6, 2008, p. 21) PAT2 discussed how PA's actions fostered a culture which supported a collaborative collegial work environment between teachers and principal. While PA was easy to get along with, he was also someone whose words were to be followed. As PAT2 reported: His personality just makes him approachable and fun and easy to talk to. He has no problem like lightening the mood and joking around, but also keeping everything in line. He just—I guess there's just another way about him that you don't want to—if he tells you to do something, you do it, you know? You don't want to cross any paths. But I think that he has a way of saying this is what needs to be done and it's going to get done, and it's not in a mean way. It's just he's a strong person. (Interview #2, October 6, 2008, pp. 10-11) When PAT2 was asked to elaborate on what she meant by the principal being a strong person, she explained that PA clearly recognized as the school leader: By strong, I mean when he says this is what you need to do, then you pretty much just do it without questioning. Like you know that he's your leader. He's clearly your leader, and you do what he expects of you. And I think that people don't have a problem with it because they respect him. (pause) And he doesn't ask you to do anything outrageous. I mean, you know that everything's within the realm of what needs to be done (Interview # 2, October 6, 2008, p. 11). The PATs commented on how PA exhibited a great attitude toward work. For example, for PAT2, the principal's positive attitude trickled down to the teaching staff. By communicating with each of them individually, PA could motivate teachers to
  • 158 accomplish tasks. PAT2 stressed that PA would "always explain why he wanted you to do something; he wouldn't just demand that you did it, without providing you with an explanation as to why he needed you to do it." Similarly, PAT3 felt that PA established a comfortable school environment by including teachers in establishing the school vision collaboratively: "there was a feeling within the school that staff shared the same ideas and values; therefore, it was easy for everyone to get along and work together with one another." PAT4's statement reflects what many teachers have suggested as the shared meanings and beliefs that PA established for the school: I knew from the start pretty much what he [Principal A] expected. You know, you could kind ofjust know from what he went over and from hearing him talk, he kind of went over what his vision for the school is basically, again we call it the Friendly School. He wants you to help the kids to get along, and to make sure they're learning, and he wants you to want to challenge them, but also make sure that the social aspect is there too for the children because you can have the smartest kid in the world that can't get along socially with the rest of the kids. So he expressed that he wanted to make sure that everyone feels comfortable and that's how I try to make my classroom, making sure that everyone is comfortable with one another, and if kids are shy, that you kind of like bring them out and get them to participate. (Interview #4, October 8, 2008, p. 7) PATs commented that the entire teaching staff was aware of how PA always reviewed different teachers' bulletin boards "to see what was new" on them. As a result, teachers always commented on how "they felt it was nice to see the principal positively observing their efforts." PAT1 expressed that PA often saw links among activities in the school and then "articulate[d] to the staff how things in the school were interconnected." Thus, the principal's attention to detail shaped school decisions and practices because, "everyone sort of felt connected to one another." Principal A Teachers' Perceptions of Leadership Influencing School Conditions— Structure and Organization. The majority of PATs responded that they believed the
  • 159 relationships established between themselves and PA contributed to creating a collaborative and collegial learning environment. PAT2 stated that "I just feel that my principal's very approachable and easy to talk to and I feel like if I have any problem at all, I can go see him, regardless of what it is." When exploring this issue further, PAT2 noted how PA had positively contributed to influencing relationships in the school by collaborating with teachers to resolve problems, develop academically-enriching programs, and collegially supporting school vision and goals. As PAT2 remarked: Being here is a nice place to be. Everybody respects each other. In this school we always work collaboratively towards accomplishing different tasks. There's not any animosity between anybody here, you could ask for anything and they'd be willing to help you if they could, so I think that the principal has helped to just make it a nice place to work. (Interview #2, October 6, 2008, pp. 5-6) The PATs identified that PA also wanted kids to see him as approachable. Several teachers noted the frequency with which PA extended himself to talk and joke with all students. PAT5 mentioned that the school culture was certainly affected by this approachability. PAT2 added that PA always elaborated on how "he didn't want students to feel that he was untouchable," but rather "to feel comfortable when they were relating to him and the teachers." PAT1 concurred: I know at least one of my other colleagues near me, she's always laughing about how he [Principal A] is always playing around with the kids. She teases him, how he comes in and then the kids all like want to run to him and stuff, so it becomes a little disruptive, so she teases him about that. But I don't think it's a negative thing. And I know I don't feel that way. I haven't heard—like I said, I mean, the big gauge around here is like, is that nobody is complaining [laughs]. (Interview #1, October 6, 2008, p. 15) The PATs felt that PA deliberately tried to establish a structure within the school building which put teachers at ease. For PAT4, this was a positive attribute of PA's
  • leadership style because "the principal's demeanor helped to establish positive relationships among the teachers." While PAT2 felt PA acted deliberately, she also felt it was simply part of his personality: I think some of it's deliberate, but I think some of it is just his personality. Like he's just—I think some people are born being good leaders and that's just how they are, and I think that part of it is that, and other times, he [Principal A] has to be more deliberate and be more direct and more firm about things than others [pause]. (Interview #2, October 6, 2008, p. 18) PAT4 conveyed that PA "was always putting us on a pedestal." Teachers considered PA's feedback from classroom visits useful and supportive. For example, because PA was always around, PAT5 never felt teachers were on their own; she added how she particularly admired PA's availability and visibility. PAT5 felt that the principal demonstrated his support of the school vision and goals by contributing his time and effort to ensure that he was "viewed as always being in close proximity to what was occurring within the school." PAT2 stated, "I think his spirit and positive attitude about most things rub off on people because he gets excited about stuff and then it makes everybody else want to jump on board." The PATs expressed how they liked knowing that PA was near all the time. For example, PAT4 explained that it was better than never seeing him because his presence helped her know she was doing her job correctly. PAT4 added: "It's nice for the kids to see him too because they know who their principal is. I mean they see him all the time, and they're comfortable going to him too, which is nice." PAT3 stated that the people she knows in other districts "don't have the same kind of positive relationship that we have with our principal." PAT5's following statement conveys what all five teachers indicated about the PA's ability to establish
  • 161 positive relationships: "I think that our principal knows how very important it is to get to know his teachers and students, because the relationships in our school are deliberately developed by the principal to help contribute to our students' overall success." Principal A Teachers' Perceptions of Leadership Influencing School Conditions— Information and Decision-making. The PATs identified that they believed PA received information from the following areas: the AFG committee, grade-level teachers, secretaries, the custodian, students, school aides, parents, and the school district. The committees meet periodically to discuss issues about academics school climate or other topics with the principal. AS PAT5 expressed, "I think that there are times when it's appropriate for a decision to be made with other members of the faculty, and then there are times when it should be done just by the principal and I think both ways work very well here." PAT4 indicated that the principal was "very big" on gathering information from reviewing student data, such as students' test scores on state exams. Other teachers indicated that PA articulated at faculty meetings his intent for sharing test data with them. For example, according to PAT2, PA stated that he wanted to provide the quality information teachers needed to make good instructional decisions. PAT1 noted that PA wanted teachers to work effectively together in making decisions about programs that may improve students' scores. PAT5 reported: And one of the things that he does do quite often is collaborate with us as teachers. He does make some decisions, some of the decisions that are his to make. But when it requires, when it directly affects us, the students and the teachers, then he will have us in on some of those decisions. (Interview #5, October 10, 2008, p. 3)
  • 162 PAT4 delineated that the PA's willingness to provide teachers with information on students' test data helped teachers make better instructional decisions. According to PAT3, PA supported teachers by providing information in the following ways: corresponding about instructional practices, providing constructive feedback on lessons he observed, clarifying school goals, clarifying expectations of teachers, offering information on policies and procedures, and reminding teachers about upcoming events. PAT1 indicated how she felt teachers perceived this information: Like there's not a lot of room for error there. We need to know what we're supposed to be doing. If the information's been provided, then you need to know what needs to be done. I believe that that's pretty much the way people feel around here. You just need to be where you're supposed to be. And little bit ahead of time [laughs]. (Interview #1, October 6, 2008, p. 21) Several PATs commented that PA enthusiastically shared information with them to be explicit about what should be accomplished within the school. According to PAT2, the principal wanted to stress that he should be notified of any academic or social struggles of students so that decisions could be made to resolve the situation. PAT1 stated that "The principal has that kind of personality where you can just go to him if you have a problem, and I think that it's really good to be able to do that because if there is a kid that's struggling, we can go to him to get them help." The PATs felt that not only was PA skillful at providing teachers with information at faculty meetings and grade-level meetings, but in placing memos and notes in their mailboxes. PAT3 reported that PA usually wrote his requests to teachers because he was not a big fan of email: He likes to put all of his requests in writing. So there's a paper trail for everything that he asks us to do, requests that we do. And so everybody hears the same thing and sees the same thing. So and it's always well put together, his letters. No typos, to the point! [laughs] He's not wordy, even
  • 163 in his meetings. His meetings run very smoothly, very quickly, and there's not a lot of fluff involved, which is good. We don't have time for that. Direct and to the point. (Interview #3, October 8, 2008, p. 9) PAT4 stated that "we give ideas to each other and I think it helps in the decision- making process." The PATs they were given the freedom to make collaborative decisions with other teachers as long as those decisions pertained to individual instruction. For example, teachers could collect information from each other about possible useful instructional strategies for their classrooms. However, that they still needed to obtain PA's approval if any decisions affected the entire school or appeared contrary to school policy. PAT5 explained when it comes to obtaining information for decision-making, the principal took the lead. In other arenas, PA made firm decisions on what needed to be done, but left certain matters to committees. The PATs added that that because PA did not like or want surprises, he announced that he wanted to know things directly from them instead of hearing it first from an outsider. Summary of Findings—Principal A School One of the overriding concepts that PA repeatedly expressed in his interviews was that he believed "leaders had to be everything to everybody." He also believed that "being everything to everybody" entailed celebrating student and teacher accomplishments, remaining focused on and communicating what needed to be achieved within the school and why, bringing people together, guiding individuals in a clear direction by effectively listening to varying viewpoints, and remaining accessible to teachers at all times. PA also felt that a leader should be a facilitator to teachers, someone who helped others to accomplish goals or tasks. By contrast, PA described ineffective leaders as being unable to provide a clear message or an effective plan for teachers to aspire to.
  • As previously delineated, PATs were not able to identify a leader's characteristics without connecting to their own principal. When teachers were questioned on their views of leaders other that their own principal, they identified, that leaders should establish a supportive working environment, listen well, communicate expectations effectively, and be easily accessible. One predominant response from the PATs was that good leaders are able to make individuals feel valued and important. The PAT's felt that ineffective leaders were viewed as individuals who did not listen to others or engage others in conversations because they were only interested in their own ideas and points of view. PA expressed that he established the school vision by working with teachers particularly to develop a healthy and safe school environment for students. He also wanted to develop "enthusiastic learners" by connecting teachers and students to the school with a clear message about the school's intent. Citing the school's motto, "If we work hard, we will succeed," PA noted how teachers collaboratively exerted much effort to achieve a desired objective, such as developing programs to help students raise test scores. PA's documents reflected the school's vision with the above-mentioned motto written at the top of many documents to teachers, parents, and the school district, as well as the school's website. Additionally, the letterhead of PA's letters, memos, policies, and procedures featured the statement, "Welcome to the Friendly School"—a sentiment that resonated throughout the district and reflected the school environment. Thus, the school vision was connected to what the school was accomplishing academically and socially with students.
  • 165 PA explained that the school vision has remained the same since he became principal and that the entire teaching staff believed it epitomized the school's philosophy. In this regard, PA's role was to "guide teachers to follow the school vision while also coordinating what needed to be accomplished," especially by making teachers constantly aware of the vision. In observations, PA clearly connected the school vision to his accomplishments, for example, by identifying his expectations and ideas, discussing the vision at faculty meetings and other interactions, and mentoring the school's vision at the close of his daily televised morning announcements. In short, the purpose of the school vision was to exemplify what PA and teachers wanted to mutually communicate about their school particularly through common principles for everyone to follow. In providing a clear focus about the school's direction, PA fostered the importance of collaboration to address students' needs. Teachers indicated their agreement to follow the school vision which they felt reflected their collective goals. Teachers continually emphasized that PA's intention for the vision was to motivate teachers to focus on ways for students to succeed and ultimately become good citizens through character education projects. All five teachers readily acknowledged that the entire teaching staff clearly knew the school vision. The PAT's explained that PA stressed the importance of the vision in accomplishing school goals. The PTs shared their thoughts on how PA raised awareness of the vision during daily announcements, various meetings, individual communications, written correspondence, and his own behavior. Teachers acknowledged that their school
  • 166 was known throughout the community as the "friendly school" which PA proudly touted on his correspondences. PA identified academic goals as improving students' abilities in the area of reading, writing, math, and character education. In turn, school goals were tied to meeting student needs, state benchmark assessments, and areas he and his teaching staff deemed important. The majority of academic goals were developed by teachers reviewing student test scores obtained from state benchmark assessments results and the district, and they developed programs that could be used for academic improvement. However, he acknowledged that academic goals were predetermined and teachers did not have much input into selecting what the school would focus on. PA noted that teachers on his AFG Committee had designed several key programs which addressed school goals. He also felt that he had successfully facilitated teachers' active participation in various school-wide committees. A review of key documents such as the school action plan and informal memos outlined school goals which he conveyed to teachers, the school district, and parents. Documents provided information on improving instruction through academics and character education projects. For example, the school's 2008-2009 written action plan described how school goals would be addressed, how certain activities would be used to meet these goals, and which responsibilities were delegated to principal, and school district. PA's typical working demeanor was to work collaboratively, collegially, respectfully, and professionally. PA was also observed at meetings discussing in great length the year's goals with his teachers. He was meticulous in directions, confident,
  • optimistic about goals, and humorous in his interactions. During observations, PA continually demonstrated what he wanted to accomplish. Specifically, articulated to teachers the need to focus on reviewing student data to improve student's reading and math scores and develop accurate assessments of student performance. At meetings, PA also modeled how student data could be used to obtain accurate information. PA and teachers shared ideas with one another on how to enhance and modify their collaboration on school goals. PA also shared his concerns about having so many school goals as he did not want his to overwhelm his teacher. Therefore, he intentionally reminded teachers of the school vision to keep teachers focused on what was necessary without worrying over details. He added it was his responsibility to do the worrying. Some PATs had difficulty differentiating between school vision and school goals. The ambiguity seemed connected to the possible grade level of these teachers (PAT3 Preschool and PAT1 for kindergarten). Both teachers felt that the academic goals for the school mostly focused on the upper grades (first through third) and that these students were required to prepare and take, state benchmark assessment exams, while pre-school and kindergarten students did not have to take any formal assessments. The PATs believed that they believed that the principal, along with the school district and the New Jersey State Department of Education, were responsible for establishing academic goals that were connected to the vision of working towards excellence in student success. Each teacher explained that the objective of the goals was to increase student scores in the areas of math, writing, and reading, and to foster character development. Although several academic goals came from the top down, other
  • 168 goals for character education were established with teacher input. All five PATs clearly identified goals connected to character education, such as, developing good citizens of the school community, through in-service oriented projects. The PATs believed PA had improved school conditions in the building by establishing school goals that provided a nurturing learning environment. While PA accomplished this by repeatedly clarifying his expectations, they also believed there were too many school goals leading to a sense of being overwhelmed. Nevertheless, the school vision focused teachers on what needed to be accomplished. Although PAT1 and PAT3 felt the number of goals impeded their understanding of them, the remaining three teachers (PAT2, PAT4, and PAT5) felt that having several goals helped them see what was required of them as they prepared students to take mandatory state exams. The PATs also discussed the work of teachers on various school committees created to establish programs designed to meet academic and character education goals. The teachers' responses reflected their awareness that several goals were mandated, and limited what they could do about what was required from them. In short, the PATs primarily focused on school vision more than school goals because the former appeared to be less overwhelming and easier to understand. PA spoke about how he encouraged and supported teachers to assume leadership roles in various committees and cited how he supported them once they became involved in the committees by giving them the resources they needed to fulfill suggested projects and arranging time for teachers to meet by covering their classes periodically. PA also encouraged that this encouragement and support also ensured that teachers had an active
  • voice in the school. PA also encouraged his teachers to take risks and not be afraid to fail, just as he had been mentored to do by other leaders throughout his own career. Much like his behavior, PA's documents clearly reflected teachers support expressing pride in their efforts and accomplishments. PA was also observed attentively listening to teachers, providing teachers with clarifying answers to their questions, celebrating their successes, and conveying respect to teachers while sharing amusing anecdotes. PA's communication with teachers was affable, supportive, congratulatory, personalized, and caring. PA also made it a point to listen to teachers, respond to their questions, and provide teachers with various professional development opportunities. By directly supporting teachers, he was indirectly supporting students. For example, by providing certain classrooms resources, he was creating a learning environment that was academically vibrant and aesthetically appealing. This was also evident in the example of the insecure teacher who eventually became teacher of the year for the district and recently received the "New Jersey Teacher of the Year award-thanks to PA's efforts. Similarly, PA's demeanor created positive dialogues shared with teachers and students in both personal and private conversations. Despite the energetic and cordial tone, it was evident that he was always thoughtfully listening to all that teachers and students told him. PA also supported the initiation of new programs within the school, such as the autistic program. Several teachers had approached him to verbalize their concerns over starting this program because they were not trained in working with students with these types of disabilities. Once he provided teachers with the needed support (i.e., explaining the autistic program), teachers began to feel more comfortable
  • 170 with the idea. He clarified what everyone would be responsible for as well. After a few months, the autistic program became a great success. Hand in hand with PA's expressed support is the PATs recognition of his open door policy which facilitates speaking about any concerns. They also acknowledged the supportive work environment within the school because of PA's visibility. His support extended to all matters involving students. For example, because students were aware of his presence, they behaved appropriately. Discipline was immediate and his resolutions were often accepted unanimously. The PATs indicated that students did not want to be "in trouble" with the principal especially as his friendliness facilitated a way to pre-empt trouble. Collaboration was enhanced by PA's many scheduling opportunities to have grade-level meetings, committee meetings, and common opportunities to have prep times. Teachers provided examples of how PA established genuine relationships with them by offering positive feedback and providing resources, time, professional development, and individual support. These qualities were repeatedly substantiated by the examples of the "Teacher of the Year" candidate and the successful autistic program which had originally met with resistance. PA identified that the large teacher involvement in his school committees could be attributed to his unwavering belief that his goals and purpose were ultimately connected to the school vision which set the tone in the building. This tone in turn highlighted to teachers their responsibility to become involved in school committees. PA stressed the importance of their involvement because such committees, (e.g., AFG Committee) allowed teachers to be heard, to understand everything in the school, and to
  • 171 share their ideas with colleagues. With teacher involvement, meaningful goals would pervade the school environment. In establishing the school purpose and goals, PA assumed that his collaborative leadership approach influenced teachers to believe that they were shaping the school's direction. The goals were improved and advanced with the support of his teacher committees, and the AFG Committee was a case and point. This Committee did an excellent job in helping teachers understand the school's collective efforts by articulating the school's direction via presenting the action plan at faculty and grade-level meetings, in meaningful ways that also shaped teacher practices. The direction of the school for the upcoming year was to collaborate toward the success of the children. At meetings PA was observed indicating his belief in their exceptional school and his gratitude for all the hard daily work teachers did. Thus, teachers were empowered to voice their ideas, concerns, and opinions, especially in the matter of student data. Through PA's clarification, the PATs believed that teachers implicitly understood the main focus and purpose of the school. They recognized that PA's leadership practices established a school community whose overarching goal was to support students to succeed academically and socially. Every teacher involved in the study reiterated the belief that teachers knew their focus on to support the school's purpose and goals because of its connection to the vision. While identifiable, the PATs felt that the school's purpose and goals were more intertwined with the school vision's philosophy of achieving the desired outcome. For example, PA emphasized the importance of following the school vision to reach school objectives, but the goals were less clear for the teachers.
  • 172 The PAT's recognized PA's ongoing correspondence with them on district-wide activities throughout the school year. One inherent understanding permeating the school was the principal's attempt to help everyone feel part of the same team. PA also positively influenced school conditions by demanding excellence and hard work to succeed as a unit or team and a family. PA's documents were brief, direct, absent ofjargon, yet still informal and friendly. For example, the school action plan detailed the school's focus and direction as well as specific timelines for meeting objectives and current goals, plus clearly demarcated responsibilities. PA also described making decisions after careful deliberation and examination of student scores and needs with teachers involved in school committees. His memos were solely intended to communicate, inform, and educate teachers about what they should be aware of to ensure academic excellence, the importance of their responsibilities, and the urgency of deadlines. The PATs felt that PA worked hard to help them match programs to students' special needs and strengths and thereby connecting back to school vision. In developing plans alongside the principal, they were all required to review student data at various meetings. This served to familiarize teachers with the various subpopulations within the school. This also worked toward providing solutions to achieve positive results. PA's actions helped keep teachers organized, by giving them a role in the school plan through specific duty or assignments or making them aware of the curriculum. This also minimized on the possibilities of making "mistakes" a there was simply "no excuse to do so."
  • By establishing "shared meanings and values" with teachers, PA demonstrated his eagerness to support them and attentively listen to teachers' concerns. He developed shared meanings, values, and beliefs with teachers by refocusing their efforts to remain cognizant of the school vision. PA felt that the relationships which existed in the building thrived because they were founded on communicating concerns through open dialogue and establishing relationships to foster their individual development. PA was observed interacting positively with teachers at meetings and in the hallways. Given that he had never received any grievances from teachers throughout his tenure at the school, he believed this clearly indicated teacher trusted him to resolve problematic issues. PA viewed himself as being a collaborative leader. As a collaborative leader, PA felt he could facilitate many accomplishments. He believed that collaborative leaders develop a positive school culture by working alongside teachers, concurrently encouraging them to develop school goals connected to student achievement. In addition to collaborative leader, PA identified himself as a sequential leader, which means being precise, systematic, and detailed-oriented. Because teachers perceived him as the formal leader of the school, PA felt that the formal leader is viewed by others as someone individuals willingly agree to follow or are required to follow. Observations clearly indicated PA was in charge of the school, as evident by the many times teachers and students approached PA to ask for permission. The PATs confirmed that PA exuded a presence within the school building which ascertained he was the only leader. The tone, however, was not intimidating, but welcoming, with no ill feelings among teachers. Because of these positive relationships, the school environment was also positively influenced. Teachers cited the high number of volunteers for
  • 174 committees, because teachers felt that PA valued their efforts and contributions. They were assured of his acknowledge and support through his actions. As a leader PA demonstrated to teachers that he sought to include them in the decision-making process. His decisions were based on what he "really heard and not just on the things that he may have wanted to hear, see, or even presume." Listening to staff has also assisted PA in making decisions and choosing practices that supported teachers because he obtained a wealth of information from different places within the school, such as the AFG committee, which was critical for sharing information with the entire teaching staff. PA described his decision-making process as collaborative. He extends himself to share information with teachers especially to resolve problems more easily and gain his teachers' trust, in the light of the sometimes overwhelming work that needs to be completed. PA believed that it was important to share information with teachers to ensure that everyone was on the same page. Teachers involved in the decision-making worked toward resolving problems, setting goals and clarifying ideas. Thus, PA used school documents and meetings to share vital information and educate his teaching staff. In turn, the PATs found that PA's leadership engaged teachers in meaningful conversations and opportunities for involvement in decision-making. All PATs felt PA was very articulate in what he wished to achieve. This understanding came from the many sources of information PA drew on which came out of committee, staff, custodians, students, parents and district. Student data was essential for informing decisions about students' strengths and weakness. This also led to informed decisions about programs that may improve scores and instruction. The ultimate goal would be to derive the kinds of
  • 175 information that would identify students' strengths and weaknesses and motivate school success. Principal B Principal B 's Perceptions of Leadership. Principal B (PB) was interviewed over several months, from July through December, 2008. When she first became a teacher, PB always knew that she wanted to become a principal: "I decided I wanted to be a principal because I thought the position had a lot of prestige." PB also elaborated how she had always been surrounded by different individuals who were really important to her development as a leader. Not until she was "mentored" by a college professor, a superintendent, and her aunt (who was a nun and a principal) did she begin to develop the confidence she felt she needed to pursue a leadership position. PB also explained that she would always ask her mentors questions about what they believed effective leadership encompassed. Thus, being exposed to her three mentors had given her the opportunity to shape her own beliefs about leadership. PB identified that her three mentors (college professor, superintendent, and aunt) always told her that she exuded "successful leadership qualities," which they described as the ability to: (1) communicate effectively with people; (2) listen carefully to what people were saying; and (3) support and motivate individuals to complete various tasks while working collaboratively. While PB also believed she had "natural leadership qualities," she felt she lacked the confidence to pursue leadership positions. She commented, "I had all the leadership qualities; it was a matter of developing them in a way that was
  • 176 comfortable." Ultimately, she felt that her mentors had given her the confidence to become a principal. PB believed that effective leaders displayed the following attributes: (1) be a mentor to a teacher; (2) communicate effectively; (3) become a visionary leader; and (4) be decisive and inclusive in decision-making. When asked to describe the qualities of a leader, PB stated: I think a leader has to be a mentor to people. A leader has to be able to communicate with others. I think a leader has to be visionary and strong in the direction they're going. I think they have to be inclusive of other people. And they have to be decisive. (Interview #1, July 2, 2008, p. 1) In the following example, PB note how she believed others viewed her as a leader: "When attending meetings with other administrators, I have sometimes been placed into groups to work alongside of them to complete a task; when this occurred, other administrators would follow my directions, or agree with my ideas." When asked to elaborate on this, PB stated: "I've found that when I interact with others in working situations, I end up being a leader, so to speak, whether it's formal or informal. Whether I'm on a jury or whether I'm in a work situation, I'm always placed into the leadership role." As a new leader, PB felt she had to be more in control; over time, however, she has learned to be more reflective instead of controlling. As a "reflective leader," she always found herself considering what she would do before making a decision. She indicated, "I actually do a lot of reflecting in my practice." Such feelings came from a role which varied during different situations, as she described: I analyze the situation that I'm faced with and decide which way I have to operate in that situation. And it's never the same. If I'm called upon to get
  • 177 involved in a child study team situation, I'm not the lead person. So I need to take a role in that environment. Like I told you, I see myself really compartmentalized. Like what role do I need to take in a child study team situation? What role do I need to take with a new teacher? What role do I need to take with a veteran teacher? [pause] What role do I need as principal of the school? I can be the number one leader, but when I'm with my leadership team, I can't, so I have to have a different role when I'm with them. (Interview #1, July 2, 2008, p. 16) PB noted that she did not separate leadership qualities from her daily actions and tasks. For her, leaders must be prepared and have clear policies and procedures managing, organizing, and operating the school. She also felt that leaders must be extremely precise when communicating their expectations to teachers. While PB defined herself as a "reflective leader," she also felt she was very sequential yet able to change her leadership practices: I have a framework, a leadership framework that works for me. And I apply it to different situations and I constantly—I mean, this is getting pretty deep. I constantly re-evaluate it to say, Okay, where are we in this? Like I take this framework and put it to this situation. Well, where are we in that framework? Like I got different things going on at different times with different people. Somebody new comes into a position, I can't keep moving ahead with the same framework. I've got to readjust for who's there. (Interview #2, July 28, 2008, p. 11) PB also indicated that part of her leadership framework was to practice "mindful leadership" because whatever a leader does will affect teachers and the school environment. For example, because the teachers in her school indirectly modeled what she did it was important to be aware of how a leader behaved in a school. As PB reported: My leadership affects everything that happens in the school, I know that. And my actions impact everything. And the way I act and the way I handle certain situations, my decision-making process, I see that in the others that are around me. So if I act a certain way with one—with a group of teachers, then they go off into their grade-level meeting, they emulate or imitate or mo—use the model that I put out there. So if I'm using effective decision-making processes, they'll use effective decision-making—you know, it's all in setting by example, [laughs] If I communicate in a certain
  • way with parents, I see them doing the same thing. What I say Back to School Night is not really even for the parents. It's about for my teachers seeing how I communicate with parents. (Interview # 3, July 30, 2008, pp. 40-41) PB adamantly added that "if you don't pay attention to mindful leadership, you run the risk of having teachers modeling the wrong behaviors." She indicated that she learned this lesson overtime. Finally, PB was unable to clearly describe what she believed teachers would identify as her leadership traits in fact, he was concerned about what teachers understood of her responsibilities. PB believed that teachers understood she was the formal leader, the principal, of the building, but was uncertain of what that really meant to teachers. Principal B 's Perceptions of Leadership Dimensions—Building School Vision. PB referred to three key areas that as part of the school vision were connected to developing an environment within the school where children could thrive: academics, socializing, and emotions. She also remarked that the school vision could be used to establish clear communication about what was important to the school. According to PB, the school vision was established with the intent of motivating individuals to remain focused on addressing various issues, which had been collectively identified as areas needing attention. The school's action plan focused philosophically on the school vision, but that the critical qualities by which teachers actually implemented the action plan came from the established school goals. PB stated that the vision for the school has been established by involving teachers, students, parents, and the community, as follows: It's a strategic planning implementation team, and what we do is we meet monthly and each grade level has a representative on that team. And specialists have representatives, and we have parent representatives. And what we do is we discuss monthly, we look at the data, student
  • 179 achievement data. We talk about the culture and the environment of the school, and then we see if we need to improve or tweak our action plans in order to move forward. (Interview #2, July 28, 2008, p. 2) PB provided examples of how the vision had been created with the whole staff. The teachers had jointly decided with PB to focus on the following question when creating the school vision: "What does the ideal school look like?" When expanding on her ideas, both PB and her teachers had collectively determined that "the ideal school involves everyone." The following comments reveal how PB and the teaching staff proceeded to design the vision: My vision for this school has to be aligned with the teachers' vision for this school, so we have to discuss our visions. And like my vision for this school is to have a place where people come and it's set up, every aspect of it is set up for success. But I have to be inclusive in that. I have to include all the people that are involved. I do discuss it, like with teachers. What does the ideal school look like? We do that—last year we did it twice. What does an ideal school look like? Okay, we don't have all these pieces yet, but we discuss how we can try and get there. (Interview #1, July 2, 2008, p. 5) PB believed that teachers have successfully aligned their understanding of what they want the school to represent and accomplish with the school vision. All teachers wished to ascertain that what they do as a school community would be linked this vision. In short, everyone was on the same page in her school, moving in one direction. The teachers had positively received, the school's vision statement, "Providing Extraordinary Learning Experiences for all Children," because they establish it together: I think it's positive—I mean, they [teachers] helped to develop it [school vision and school goals], so it's theirs. It's not like they had to receive it. It's something that they developed. So they have an interest in making sure that they're aligned with it. So I don't really think there's been a negative impact. One of the key things is when we set our goals we set them all on third grade, 'cause that's where we do the most assessment. But what I feel there is an opinion that everyone's in this together, so the kindergarten teachers are just as interested in knowing what the third grade data looks
  • 180 like, because they're the ones who started it. So everybody feels like they're part of this—I don't know what, for lack of a better word, movement to have the vision, you know, living here and have our goals met each year. (Interview #2, July 28, 2008, p. 3) PB concluded her thoughts on school vision by stating that "although it was important to have a school vision, it was not as critical as having very specific school goals." She felt that the school vision was "not as tangible as school goals; therefore, it's harder for individuals to understand the school vision." PB also believed that the school had direction and focus because of its vision and that, as a result, the school goals were easier to distinguish. As she said, "the school vision clarifies the direction that individuals must focus on when creating school goals, but that the school goals clarified what would be achieved." Essentially, the vision is a constant for PB, never changing, while the school goals "are the glue that holds the vision together." Principal B 's Collection of Archival Documents—Building School Vision. Several of PB's documents included the vision in motto form for the school year written as a heading across the top of the page. The motto "Providing Extraordinary Learning Experiences for all Children" was featured on faculty meeting agendas and meeting minutes. Several documents (faculty meeting agenda, minutes) also displayed the focus for this school year across the bottom of the page, as the saying "One moment in time... We are together for a reason!" was written on the bottom of the page. A letter distributed by PB discussing the school vision was sent to teachers at the beginning of the school year, reflecting reflected the following sentiments: We are a group of people who collectively intend to make a positive difference in the children's lives we touch. Our school is a special place because of the people within the building. Each one of you contributes daily to our greatness. You choose to be the best. You bring positive energy to the work place, you teach, you listen, you inspire, you engage,
  • 181 you care, you laugh, you believe, you nurture, you take care of one another, and you give of yourself. And so as we return to our new school year, know that what you think of as ordinary is perceived by those around you as extraordinary. It is noticed and appreciated. (Letter to Teachers, 2008-2009 School Year) Regarding some of these documents distributed to teachers, PB enunciated that "the school vision has helped to ensure that teachers don't just do their own thing or go off in their own direction." Without a school vision, no one would know what to do or how to begin the process of creating successful goals that were aligned with the school's philosophy. Principal B 's Perceptions of Leadership Dimensions—Building School Goals. PB explained the importance of establishing school goals to set the tone for future accomplishments. According to PB, school goals were plans created with teacher input for the sole purpose of meeting the academic, social, and emotional needs of students. She also stated that she wanted to "create an environment where kids can thrive." As she explained: I mean, it's a long mission statement that we've developed together, but basically it's making sure that you have this environment set up where you can practice your teaching and you can, you know, engage kids in their learning. (Interview #1, July 2, 2008, p. 5) When designing school goals, PB wanted to ensure that they goals were achievable. Her intent was to ascertain that "mediocrity amongst the school stakeholders" (teachers, students, and parents) did not occur. To expand on her ideas PB specified the following: Well, by having clear goals—by having all of us know that we have goals, by putting them out there and making them lofty, I think it establishes an expectation that [pause] mediocrity isn't an option. Like we've set these goals, we've developed them together, we know where we're going, and we need to be the best to get there. And that sounds like a lot of rhetoric, but I can see it. I don't know how to explain it. [laughs] I can see it. People perform [pause] and kids feel it. (Interview #1, July 2, 2008, p. 29)
  • 182 PB noted that school goals were connected to three primary areas of improving academics for students: (1) math goals; (2) language arts goals; and (3) character education goals. School goals were aligned to state and district goals and were placed into the school's action plan. PB indicated that teachers were responsible for different aspects of the school action plan. For example, a teacher's goal could vary according to what needed to get done. She also stated that school goals came from what the staff agreed to focus on from the school vision: The goal and the vision are one and the same. I mean, my goal—the goals then begin to break down that vision, you know. Okay, how are we going to set up the successful environment academically? And then underneath that would be, okay, what kind of school—what kind of teaching practices are we going to use? What kind of programs are we going to implement? Things like that. So you go through each one. I mean, we expect our kids to be responsible, caring citizens. So then you go through the emotional and social piece. (Interview #3, July 30, 2008, p. 12) Not only did PB believe that school goals were easier to describe than school vision, but they were also easier to assess. The vision was more abstract, making it difficult to determine if, in fact, the desired results had been accomplished. By contrast, school goals could be broken down into smaller pieces to be evaluated; goals were "data- driven" and the school's "action plan" was connected to each school goal as a way to assess student progress statistically. The following statement demonstrates how school goals are broken down and tend to be easier for teachers to understand: And they're data-driven [school goals], and they have action plans. And they have assessment mechanisms. So I find them very, you know, I find the goals much easier to assess than, I mean, when you assess—when you're looking at the vision and my impact on the vision, I have to look at a lot of variables and put them together, and it's very subjective. More subjective, I think. Like are your kids achieving? Yes. Or are they, you know, thriving emotionally, socially, and—that's stuff that's hard to define. (Interview #2, July 28, 2008, pp. 19-20)
  • 183 PB indicated that "if you don't have school goals which everyone can agree on, then you can't have consensus as to how to move forward." Because goals are attainable yet not necessarily attained, PB concluded that she has "learned that it's okay not to meet all of your school goals." However, she often discussed with teachers that it was necessary to improve one's goals, which in the long run is what matters in the process. Principal B 's Collection of Archival Documents—Building School Goals. PB's documents provided in-depth information to teachers on myriad issues. Her correspondence to teachers was friendly yet extremely professional. PB's documents communicated many informative details about what was expected of them. PB's notes or memos were in fact quite long. This example of one of PB's documents was typical: We will be meeting first thing in the morning. After meeting, greeting and eating, a staff meeting will follow. A catered lunch will be provided. There will be curriculum meetings in the afternoon. Tomorrow we will have a full day of staff development. A detailed schedule will be given to you at our first faculty meeting. Class lists are enclosed for classroom teachers. Please keep in mind that there may be some changes and/or deletions/additions to the lists. You are invited to join us for lunch tomorrow. Have a nice day! (Memo to Teachers, 2008-2009 School Year) Written information provided to teachers identified the focus of the school's direction, upcoming events, character education initiatives, meeting agendas, meeting minutes, and letters to both parents and teachers. In addition, the following documents were reviewed: faculty handbook; student handbook; school policies related to attendance and student conduct; school procedures connected to character education and staff professional development opportunities; fire drill procedures; bus duty procedures; student achievement data shared with teachers; the school's action plan; and various agendas and minutes.
  • 184 The school's action plan identified three objectives as the school goals: (1) language arts/literacy goals; (2) math goals; and (3) responsible behavior goals. The school's action plan outlined that the intention of the third school objective was for students to demonstrate various levels of improved student behavior. The action plan noted: "By the end of the year 2009, all third grade students in our school will demonstrate improved responsible behavior." It also identified seven activities be used to accomplish this goal. Detailed teacher and principal responsibilities, along with timelines, resources needed, indicators of success, and mandated completion dates, were also in the action plan. Through written correspondence, PB communicated school goals as well as support for teachers. Principal B 's Perceptions of Leadership Dimension—Offering Individual Support. PB noted that she provided individual support to teachers by creating school goals collaboratively with them: "We create our school goals together." She further explained: "I don't provide teachers with the goals; I collaborate with them by breaking down what we need to focus on so that what we agree on becomes meaningful." PB felt that it was important to clarify to teachers that she listened attentively to what teachers said in order to provide them with individual support. Through active listening, she could have meaningful conversations with teachers. For example, her individual conversations with teachers about their classroom work allowed them to become better acquainted with each other. PB also felt that privately acknowledging teachers' talents not only benefits them but also the overall school climate: I think there's a certain climate in the school, and when you have that climate and new people coming in have heard about the school or if they haven't, they're told about it by staff. They talk to them and make them
  • 185 aware of what is going on in the school. I also think my private conversations with them in assuring them that I want them to be the best they could be, that we're a team going into it, um that I saw something in them that was—I see their talent, you know, and whatever I can do for them to move them forward, I will do. And I think as you start to develop with them, you have to then do—work with them and continue to be the way you said you were going to be, like don't turn around and use anything in a negative way in any of their teaching, any of their actions, any of their conversation. So then they trust you for the next step. (Interview #1, July 2, 2008, pp. 2-3) PB commented that by providing teachers with professional development, which was directly connected to their work in the classroom, she truly supported teachers in becoming more successful with classroom instruction. In turn, teachers became aware that she recognized their contributions to the school's overall success because they took their teaching responsibilities seriously: Like if a teacher needs help, I make sure that I get them some staff development, I make sure there are other teachers—whether it be the ASI [Academic Support Instruction] teachers that can do in and model lessons for them. Sometimes it's just sitting down with them and having a conversation with them, where they feel comfortable saying, this is the problem I'm having. Sometimes they solve it themselves by talking. But I just make sure they have materials, resources, whether it's personal, whatever they need around them. (Interview #1, July 28, 2008, p. 16-17) According to PB, developing shared leadership in the teaching staff positively impacted how teachers felt supported in the school. By becoming involved in developing school goals, teachers had a sense of ownership in the school's action plan. PB believed that her ability to demonstrate teacher support raised the level of expectations for students within the school. As a result, teachers wanted to be involved in after-school extracurricular activities because they were excited—a "palpable level of excitement," according to PB—about what is happening in the school. She claimed that both teachers
  • 186 and visitors to the school have suggested feeling something "energetic when they enter the school." PB elaborated: Because it's exciting to be successful, so they want to be around, [laughs] They want to be a part of it. Um, if their colleagues are working on a certain area of a strategic plan or they're going to present at a faculty meeting and they're going to talk about our goals and how we're meeting them, the other people want to—the other staff members want to support that. So there's an exciting buzz around it, so they want to be here. (Interview #3, July 30, 2008, p. 18) PB considered it important to ensure that teachers have all the resources they need, especially in developing individual lesson plans. For example, PB regularly met with teachers who need her assistance. In addition, establishing a warm and inviting school community supported teachers by making them feel comfortable about coming to work. As PB recalled: I think I set up situations for them [teachers] so that they can be successful. I make sure they have all the resources they need. I make sure, if they're going to be presenting to colleagues, that I model one-on-one for them and they feel comfortable. I make sure that they can be successful in the classroom, whether that's by having them go to staff development, if it's by looking at another teacher, if it's by just me listening to them as they go through a planning of a lesson, then that's what I'll do. (Interview #3, July 30, 2008, p. 18) PB noted that holding teachers accountable for their instruction also reinforced her clear directions for her expectations. For example, she liked to provide non- confrontational and non-punitive feedback to teachers based on her classroom observations. PB felt that teachers were receptive to her advice because she acknowledged their accomplishments. She repeatedly made them aware of the good job they were doing, as she stated: You just need to affirm them [teachers]. I mean, I need to constantly affirm them and make sure that I tell them, you're going in the right
  • direction and what you're doing is working, and you know, keep it up— you're like a cheerleader. (Interview #3, July 30, 2008, p. 17) By extension, PB felt that holding teachers accountable while reaffirming their good work helped them develop ownership in the school building and feel comfortable about approaching her to ask questions about instruction. Her support of teachers in trying to improve their instructional practices was never judgmental and this reduced teachers' fear of being judged. Principal B 's Collection of Archival Documents—Offering Individual Support. PB's written correspondence to teachers reflected her pride in them. An excerpt from a letter distributed to all teachers by the principal, praised them well: Dear Faculty: As principal, I was filled with a great sense of pride as I took the microphone to speak last night. I literally felt that behind each good principal is a phenomenal staff! Each of you is an excellent example of a true professional. Your dedication to children is so obvious and is to be commented. Thanks for caring about one another and for doing what it takes (and I know it is a lot) to ensure that our students are given the opportunity to have a wonderful PK-3 educational experience. I meant what I said.. .1 am honored to work with all of you. Thanks for what you bring to our school. (Memo to Teachers, 2008-2009 School Year) PB's written policies and procedures also appeared to support teachers dealing with students who needed assistance. For example, PB corresponded with district personnel on behalf of several teachers who had approached her about obtaining extra assistance for a student. The correspondence noted: Dear Student Services: I have been asked to refer one of our students (1st grade) to your office due to limited progress after interventions at the school have been attempted by my teaching staff. Interventions include Reading Recovery which he is showing extremely limited progress due to language issues (see attached email from several teachers to me). Our ESL teacher has worked with him as well, and has seen no improvement. He has been flagged as needing assistance by my teachers and his report card states that he is below grade level. Accordingly, I am asking that you please speak with the teachers who are asking for assistance for this young
  • 188 boy. Thank you. (Memo to Office of Student Services, 2007-2008 School Year) PB informed teachers that she wanted to receive feedback that could improve the school. For example, she sent teachers a memo requesting the following: As we approach a new school year, it is important to me to serve you in positive ways. Therefore, I am respectfully asking for feedback and constructive criticism. I would appreciate if you would take a moment to reflect and answer a brief survey. The survey form will be emailed to you from my secretary. You may return it electronically to her or by hard copy (a collection envelope will be available in the main office) by Tuesday. It is not necessary to include your name. It is understood that your comments and recommendations are for the good of the organization. Please be honest in your answers. Your written comments will be very beneficial. Thank you! (Memo to Teachers, 2008-2009 School Year). The written communications given to teachers were connected to improving teaching and learning, clarifying expectations for the school's operations, providing teachers with support, and acknowledging teachers' accomplishments. Principal B 's Perceptions of Leadership Influencing School Conditions—Purpose and Goal. PB felt that communicating to teachers the importance of reviewing student data helped to establish meaningful and purposeful goals for the school. She required teachers to review test data to ensure that they could accurately assess students' strengths and weaknesses using purely objective, not subjective, information; therefore, she relied heavily on teachers' use of test data to identify students' academic progress. She described this as establishing "a needs assessment of the student body." PB indicated that "you must first conduct a needs assessment to figure out what you need to do prior to beginning to develop your school plan." That is, look at what one has, and determine the needs of the building, the students, and the teachers before developing a plan of action. PB added:
  • 189 I need to make sure that in my mind, I have a plan to go in there and talk to the teachers. So I've used my communication skills, you know? Where is this fitting with the vision of our school? So then I need to look at the data and I need to sift through the data and share that data with my teachers (Interview #1, July 2, 2008, p. 11) PB described gathering staff together at meetings to dialogue about changes they needed to work on collectively to establish purposeful goals. Specifically, she communicated with staff through private conversations and large faculty meetings. At such meetings, she emphasized their "team" nature, thereby explicitly establishing why the teachers were in her school. Identifying the goals with staff proved more useful in directing the purpose of their actions than solely focusing on school vision, as PB recounted: Where you do the needs assessment, and then you figure out how you're going to roll it out. I mean, you have to pick what your communication plan is going to be, what your action plan is going to be, or what personnel you need involved in this change. What do you need on board before you even start? And then what process will you use to make the change? What supports do people need in that change? Like when I came here, and I told you this before, this was a building that was in need of a lot of change. And so my first thing was, I asked them what few things they would want changed in the building and what thing they would hang on to for dear life and not going to change. So I knew which things to start off. But within five years, qU_ the changes were made, even the things they wanted to hang on to. But I needed to know that. (Interview #1, July 2, 2008, p. 12) PB noted that she had established a forum at faculty meetings where senior teachers could explain the school's purpose and goals to newer and younger teachers so that teachers understood their focus. She reported: We actually have time at faculty meetings, where the older staff who's on the implementation team will explain our strategic plan to the whole group, and then they will meet with newer teachers and talk about, here's our vision, what do you think of the vision? They have a conversation with them. This is done by, you know, one of my teachers. And then what she does is make sure that the grade-level liaisons sit down with the new people and talk about their goals, and what part that grade level has in
  • 190 attaining the goal that we've set for third grade, because all our goals are set on third grade. (Interview #2, July 28, 2008, p. 5) PB acknowledged that the teachers' constant evaluation and reassessment of the school's purpose and directions, obtained by reviewing student data, had moved the school forward in different ways: So the whole data piece, the evaluative piece. Like I realized that in the beginning, here was our vision. We looked at it in the beginning of school, and in June we looked at it again, and then we tried to figure out if we met our goal. So I have teachers receiving data frequently, and I have them doing it monthly, and I have them doing it quarterly, and I do it with them. So we constantly evaluate and frequently re-assess the direction we are going to then move forward in different ways. (Interview #2, July 28, 2008, p. 12) PB stated that everyone in the school clearly knew his or her direction, resulting in a sense of shared leadership which she had established for the success of the teachers. By constantly looking at the school's existing programs and practices, she has unequivocally established school's direction as well. According to PB, the teachers implicitly understood that the school's collective school improvement plan was to set up high expectations for students and to have teachers strive to achieve the goals they set for themselves. For PB, planning effectively for the school required teachers: to assist with school management, organization, decision-making, and communication of purpose. PB quoted a recently hired teacher to illustrate the sentiment at the school: "I know I'm here and I need to work really hard because the teachers here work really hard." For PB, this reflected the teachers' general understanding of the explicit and implicit purpose and goals of the school.
  • 191 Principal B 's Perceptions of Leadership Influencing School Conditions—School Planning. PB felt that it was necessary to develop a school plan that reflected the agreed- upon school goals. To accomplish this, she periodically reminded teachers that "everybody that is in the school is in this with us, so we are moving forward with our school plan." As PB recalled: I think because we do plan together, I think—and I'm going to jump out there and make a big assumption. I think many of my teachers can tell you where we're going and why we're doing it, and I think that comes from articulating plans to them. I mean, when I talk to them in September, I'm going to be telling them, you know, we have a year, this is what we want to do this year. So they know—the [pause] they feel that they're a part of the school plan and they have a role in it. And you have to like remind them daily [laughs], you got to remind them to think about it [school plan] so that they remember it always. (Interview #3, July 30, 2008, pp. 35-36) PB specified that the guiding principle in establishing school plans was aligned to the school's vision, which is to ensure that children succeed academically, socially, and emotionally. Planning how the school functions must be clearly connected to school goals, and this can be accomplished by giving teachers data that identify student performance. Several times, PB emphasized that reviewing student data is more important for developing school plans than merely focusing on a program needing change. PB also felt that "It's a matter of changing people's mindset, changing people's perceptions; and that's more important prior to changing the program, prior to changing the procedure." In short, one way of ensuring a change in how people view the school is by ensuring that everyone looks closely at the data, as PB noted: Because we've always at least improved the program, we got better at the process of looking, we got better at assessing, we—I mean, when I first came here, they [teachers] weren't looking at data. I wasn't really looking at a lot of data. (Interview #2, July 28, 2008, p. 30)
  • 192 PB believed that developing school plans required teachers to focus on student data. That is, "reviewing student data establishes the concepts and ideas which are needed to accomplish tasks." She also remarked that "when you develop school plans, you are really identifying the areas which you want to focus on improving." PB noted that she met regularly with teacher committees to discern the issues around how teachers can use student data to make curricular decisions leading to improved academic success. As PB recounted: I mean, when you come into this school, it's not—you don't walk in saying this looks like chaos. Everything is organized, everything has a procedure, everything—you know, people know what their role is. (Interview #3, July 30, 2008, p. 36) PB required teachers to reflect on the areas in which they believed the school needs to change. She also specifically involved teachers in planning all school initiatives to ensure that the required changes would actually occur. At PB's school, goals were data-driven and the school vision was more of a philosophical concept. She stressed her commitment to providing opportunities for teachers to join various committees which met to discuss academic, facility, and student discipline issues-work has assisted PB in establishing school plans resembling what teachers' value as significant. PB indicated that "goals selected collegially by us as a teaching staff have helped to establish the plans for the school" which make each teacher part of the solutions for success. Part of this plan is also to confirm that every teacher plays a role in the school building by "remind[ing] teachers that they were in a great school" and "should be happy that they are contributing to [its] success." PB's role in this plan was to supply teachers with the resources they need to accomplish all tasks. As PB reported:
  • 193 I want to make sure that they have every resource they need. If there's something that they're trying to teach and they need something, I'll make sure that they have that. They don't have to go out of their way. You know, when they have—whenever the district sends down that they have to share something, I try to do everything I can so they don't have to share, so they can have their own schedule and use the materials when they need to use them. I don't want them worrying about anything that they don't need to be focused on. So I make sure the schedule works for them. I make sure the building is set for them. I make sure they have the right materials and resources. I make sure parent-wise that, you know, I tell them a little bit about all the parents they're going to be working with. I sit down with their class list; I tell them things they need to know. (Interview #3, July 30, 2008, p. 33. PB claimed that she often paused to reflect on her role in designing the school plan and what actions she and her teachers need to enact the plan. Because the teachers knew the plan, they chose to be active participants in its success. She felt the need to repeat to teachers, "let's keep in mind what's good for kids, what's the best thing for the kids in the school." Likely this helped set standards against which teachers could ask, "Are we all doing our best?" In turn, focusing teachers on what needed accomplishing and why was essential for school planning. As PB made clear, "if we were not doing our best to identify what needs to be done to ensure student success, then perhaps certain teachers would not be here in the future." Principal B 's Perceptions of Leadership Influencing School Conditions— Organizational Culture. PB commented that developing trust with her colleagues was of the utmost importance in establishing a culture where teachers felt support for their ideas. For example, by intentionally celebrating teachers' accomplishments, PB had established a building culture in which teachers felt they could shape school decisions and practices. PB believed she positively influenced school conditions through her leadership by shaping school climate in small way: sharing birthdays, always smiling, and working
  • 194 collaboratively and peacefully on committees. As well, teachers understood when to treat her like the "Boss" and when to treat her as a member of the teaching team. The close- knit nature of this group of educators pervaded the school environment and maintained a positive morale, as PB enunciated: Well, it can't be about me. It, it—you know, I'm here to serve other people. I can't develop a mission, I can't develop a vision statement, and I can't develop an action plan without the people involved. I need to have the community involved. I need to have the teachers involved. I need to have the teachers develop part of it. I need to have the students involved, their parents. So that when people talk about our school and how they feel like it's their school, you know? And you can feel that. It's part of the climate of the school when you walk in, whether you're a visitor or part of the school community. (Interview #1, July 2, 2008, p. 6) PB was also willing to communicate with teachers about her concerns for the school through which they could establish practices and build mutual trust. Because of a trusting atmosphere, teachers fostered collaboration with each other when planning school activities: '"we're all in this together' is repeatedly conveyed to teachers." PB believed that teachers have established the accepted norms, values, and shared beliefs of the school: I think teachers have respond positively because I give them the—I give the attitude that we're in this all together. How are we going to get from Point A to Point B in a way that is helpful and inclusive? And so they respond positively because I see them working with me. (Interview #3, July 30, 2008, p. 5) PB observed that teachers very rarely teamed up against one another; rather, the sense of collaborative planning and consensus is tangible when entering the school building. Sharing ideas has resulted in a friendly and relaxed school culture. PB herself modeled behaviors which fostered her teachers' belief that they too were building leaders.
  • 195 Ultimately, PB's leadership practices helped teachers realize that their work benefits children to achieve academic and social success. I influence them [teachers] by demonstration. I model what I want from them. I also have to give them knowledge that they don't have or make the knowledge available to them. I also have to show them that I don't know everything that I can learn from them, so that they don't come to me like the giver of the knowledge and the giver of where we're going. (Interview #3, July 30, 2008, p. 15) PB believed that her leadership style fostered a collaborative understanding among teachers about their roles in the building. One example is how professional development effectively prepared teachers to foster collaboration and consensus. PB noted that whenever the staff went to professional development meetings, they were required to return and turnkey the information they learned, thereby, shaping the decisions and practices in the school. PB connected these professional development opportunities with their turn-keying for other teachers as a way to establish the current professional learning community in the school. Principal B 's Perceptions of Leadership Influencing School Conditions— Structure and Organization. PB stated that her leadership practices positively affected the structure and organization of the school. Through these practices, teachers felt connected to something important: "The positive climate that exists within the school supports how we go about assisting our students in their academic endeavors." PB believed that the relationships between her and the teachers have created a comfortable and professional school community that is focused on living up to its potential, as PB asserted: I had, like at the beginning of the year, we have an assembly with everyone, and I tell everybody, look around this room, this is the family, and I'm like the custodian being there, with everybody being there. This is our family. And we need to be the best we can be. We have one year to get
  • our goals for the year accomplished, and we're going to do it, and you're all here to do your job. (Interview #1, July 2, 2008, p. 29) By listening to what teachers said, PB created opportunities focusing on teachers' true interests that are directed to academic success. PB's intention was to help teachers feel they can accomplish anything. With a structured school organization, teachers were encouraged and celebrated for their success. PB was available to them, both personally and privately, to discuss their concerns as well as their hopes and dreams for the school: I think they want to do what they want to do because they know I respect and appreciate what they do. I really do feel that way. Now I could be wrong, but I don't think I'm way off base on that. I have enough interactions with people and reflect and think about the interactions I have and the reactions that I have with people and I believe that teachers want to be here because [pause] um for the most part, they feel like I want them here. (Interview #3, July 30, 2008, p. 22) Part of the school structure drew from the fact that "teachers have established agreed-upon norms" which consisted of respect for other people's ideas, support of the school vision and goals, and teachers' commitment to student success. PB herself was "constantly assessing what we're doing to ensure that our practices are meaningful"—a behavior which she clearly modeled for teachers. In turn, PB observed teachers modeling behavior for students which emulate the school's vision which was most evident in how she communicated to teachers and how teachers communicated to students. For example, PB noted that "you will never hear anyone being screamed at in our school." This respectful behavior was connected to how she communicated to all a behavior that helped to "shape the school's direction": I think if you're a good principal, your staff operates in a way that's successful and efficient with or without you being by their side every moment of the day. So [pause] my goal is to have them be the best they
  • 197 can be without needing my mentorship and my help. (Interview #3, July 30, 2008, p. 6) For PB, it was important for principals to lead by example: "it's important to behave in a way that you want your staff to conduct themselves." PB believed that her teachers wanted to work hard because they were motivated by the atmosphere within the school pulling them to one common purpose. As a model, PB conducted herself in a way inspiring others to follow her. By establishing shared leadership with teachers, PB has relinquished control of various aspects of managing the school building, thus resulting in positive relationships, as PB noted: I've learned [pause] to give up control and the more control you give up, the more successful I've become. Um, I've learned to trust that other people can do things in ways that I may not have thought of and that I could work to. I have learned to trust people, because otherwise, I would be doing everything by myself. You know, I would set up the whole system and then present it, and it didn't work as well as when I bring people in and show them the piece that they have, how they can be involved in it, and what benefit it is for them. I think the biggest thing I learned is learned to give up things. (Interview #3, July 30, 2008, p. 7) With to trust, PB has developed positive relationships with teachers who, in turn, feel supported. PB contended that if the structure and organization of the building did not support teachers, they would work against each other and eventually become negative. By contrast, relationships support a collegial environment that reinforces school vision and collaboratively implements school goals. In PB's school the shared vision, goals, and nature of relationships, established among people and groups contributed positively to the school. According to PB: People want to come to work here, and I mean, when you talk about school conditions and you talk about the climate, it's hard to explain it. There's a feeling that's here. I think that I have teachers that are receptive and open. I feel that that's because they feel that they can trust me to some degree. They've seen how I work. I let them see what I do. I don't let them
  • see—some of them—what I do because I try and buffer them from it because they have so much going on. (Interview #2, July 28, 2008, p. 33) In conclusion, PB stated that she would do anything to help teachers establish an effective learning environment which supports students. Teachers also recognized this as accurate because of PB's willingness to support them in many areas, based upon their strengths and weaknesses—a practice called "differentiated support." PB's intention was never to settle the problems for teachers, but instead help them arrive at different solutions. Principal B 's Perception of Leadership Influencing School Conditions— Information and Decision-making. PB stated that because she wanted people to feel involved in the decisions made within the school, she always included teachers in the decision-making process, although ultimately she must make the final decision. Information is shared with teachers to make them aware of what they need to accomplish, as PB indicated: I think first of all, I need to decide what kind of decision-making needs to happen in different situations. I mean, there's times when I need to have everyone involved in the decision that's being made, and there's times when I don't. And we need to know which is going to have an effect on the staff and which won't. Like if I make a decision that affects the whole staff and they take it as a top-down thing and they rebel against it, then I know that, okay, that's a decision I should have had them involved in, or at least talked to them about before I made the decision. (Interview #3, July 30, 2008, p. 38) PB indicated her caution to not unintentionally suggest that teachers are not needed to make decisions because she has the final say. In this regard, PB noted the times she must include people to inform them of their direction. PB also recognized times when she must share decision-making versus times when it was not necessary to do so of
  • course, teachers likewise needed to distinguish when they can and cannot be part of the decision-making process, as PB reported: I want the teachers in this building to be a part of the decisions that are made in the building. So for me, where I see my piece as a leader is trying to have them understand when they can be involved in the decision- making process, when they can't. Like for example, when district things come down, I get a decision that's made for all four elementary schools. I just take that decision—which has already been made—and present it to the staff. And then I have to have us sit down and talk about this decision, and decide how we can make it our own, and how we together will make this work. So that's one situation. On the other hand, if we're making a decision for our kids in our school, and we don't have to be involved in the district part, [pause] then I can sit down and say, Okay, you know, who, who do I need to have, in this decision-making process? Who do I need to have; you know, from the different aspects of this school, the different areas of this school? Who, who would best serve us? You know that kind of stuff. (Interview #1, July 2, 2008, pp. 8-9) PB claimed to operate differently when making a decision she must follow as opposed to making the decision by herself or including others in the process. She explained that information was used to navigate her procedure. PB explained that while she could not "fix" everything, it was important to know what was going on. To do this, PB's thinking involved compartmentalization to stay focused on the most needed decisions: So I need to make certain decisions, stand behind them, and be able to defend them, and be able to make sure that people think they're in the best interest of the kids in this school. Then there's times when I need to have a shared decision-making process, and I really need to work on being open when I go through that process and not say, this is the decision we made, that I made. You all have to agree. You know? It depends on the situation. (Interview #1, July 2, 2008, p. 7) PB noted her choices to discuss with teachers what a school should look like and what steps were are needed to make their school vision a workable goal. While PB needed to know daily occurrences, so too teachers needed to understand that information
  • 200 before making decisions. This depended on open communication, for which PB provided examples of how her written documents reflected practices which supported teachers in sharing information to make collaborative decisions. Through her letters and correspondence with staff, PB expressed that she could be very nurturing and supportive to teachers. Part of the communication process also involved sharing information at faculty meetings which were strictly connected to academic issues: So the whole data piece, the evaluative piece. Like I realized that in the beginning, here was our vision. We looked at it in the beginning of school, and in June we looked at it again, and then we tried and figured out if we met our goals and did things. Now the more you can review the data, so I have them doing it frequently, and I have them doing it monthly, and I have them doing it quarterly, and I do it with them. So we constantly evaluate—we frequently evaluate and we frequently re-assess and move forward in different ways. (Interview #2, July 28, 2008, p. 12) According to PB, this professional approach towards reviewing and sharing information at faculty meetings directly contributed to the overall school culture by establishing healthy professional relationships between administration and teachers. PB felt that with her staff she practiced "shared leadership," which is the ability of leaders to "intentionally include teachers in the decision-making process." Specifically, she believed that leaders should involve all stakeholders (teachers, students, and parents) in school planning. In short, shared leadership is the responsibility of the formal leader, i.e., the principal, as PB commented: People look to the leader to make the decision. I mean, you can have shared leadership, but somebody's got to make a decision. So in the end, I know I need to make that decision. But then I need to make sure that other people are involved in the decision-making process, even though I know where I want to be. So ethically, there's times when I have to say to myself, am I trying to manipulate people to go in this direction? Or am I
  • 201 going through the decision-making process being a little more open that maybe it may not come to that end? (Interview #1, July 2, 2008, pp. 6-7) PB's final thoughts on this topic reflected her belief that principals must ensure that teachers are active participants within the school environment. Her term "actively participating" means that teachers willingly choose to assume different roles throughout the building. Observations ofPB—Leadership Dimensions and Leadership Influencing School Conditions. The purpose and direction of the school was presented to52 teachers at a faculty meeting held by PB, which was held in the school's library and lasted approximately 40 minutes. The meeting was very formal; for example, teachers sat at tables with their grade level, and conversation was limited among teachers except for commenting on the agenda. Everyone sat quietly and listened intently to the presentation. PB provided an agenda outlining: (1) re-alignment of school goals, (2) reporting out of recent grade-level meetings, (3) reviewing student data for student success, and (4) future professional development opportunities for teachers. PB shared the responsibilities of conducting the faculty meeting with two of her teachers. Information was presented to the larger faculty collaboratively. The school vision was not discussed at any time, but PB began the meeting by outlining the following school goals for the upcoming school year: (1) increase language arts scores of students; (2) increase students' math scores; and (3) increase the school's focus on character education goals. She discussed how school goals were aligned to state and district goals and had been placed into the school's action plan. She reminded her teachers that they were each responsible for enacting different aspects of the plan: "So our school's focus
  • 202 for the next year is a 'moment in time.' I want us to think about why we are here together this year and what how our vision for this year will be materialized." PB next called on the two teacher presenters assisting her with the meeting to share information from some of the district meetings which they had attended at the end of the previous year as well as during the week prior to this faculty meeting. Lastly, PB asked that both teachers speak about their involvement and responsibilities in the school's action plan. One teacher presenter noted that she had met with district administrators and the superintendent. It was discussed that teachers would be required to demonstrate they were assessing student achievement by reviewing student data. The meeting also outlined that this would be a major emphasis for the entire school district. The second teacher presenter remarked that several people at the past meeting informed her that using student data was not new to developing instructional practices in the classroom. In fact, this occurred regularly in most school districts, but had not been done in their district until now. Periodically, PB interjected with support of both teachers' explanations of their meetings. She also felt it was important that to provide teachers with data to enhance their ability to improve instruction to meet students' needs. However, she clarified that she did not want to tell them what they had to do in their classrooms to achieve a particular goal: "So I don't want to provide you with every single school objective that is needed to achieve our goals, what I want to provide you with is the data you need to make a qualified decision as to what you think we may need to do to accomplish our goals." She concluded: "Ultimately I will make the final decision, but your input is greatly appreciated in helping me to make decisions, as to what the best plan of action will be to
  • 203 achieve the desired results we need to make." She indicated to teachers that she, along with district supervisors, were looking at student data to determine what was occurring in the building as it pertained to student achievement. PB identified for teachers where scores were increasing as well as decreasing. This very direct conversation with teachers clearly demonstrated that she knew what was happening in the classrooms. Although the information was presented professionally and respectfully, the climate of the meeting seemed very uneasy, as evidenced by the uncomfortable silence which suddenly overtook the room at this point. PB explicitly outlined what would be expected from teachers throughout the school year: "Our goals are what will get us to achieve what everyone else is trying to get us to accomplish, so let's just not get crazy about all of this, and let's just do what we do best, which is to work together to achieve the success we already have." This pep talk, although direct and serious, was well- received and turned the tone a bit. For example, several teachers began to ask clarifying questions about what else was said at the meetings PB had attended. The relationship between teachers and principal seemed professional and collegial and reflected positively on the climate of the grade-level meeting. The principal's willingness to share information with teachers appeared to alleviate the abrupt tension in the air, as the uncomfortable silence was replaced by the teachers' energy to learn more of what was expected of them. The principal emerged as someone who clearly supported her teachers, demonstrating a sense of shared ownership and solidarity among teachers. Her mannerism exuded to staff that they would be fine if they just "stuck" together. During the meeting, PB presented the school plan to teachers. The main purpose and direction for the school was shared by the two teacher presenters who were
  • 204 facilitating the meeting. PB had provided information to both teachers so that they could successfully explain to the rest of the faculty the information collected from the district meetings. PB relinquished some of her power to cultivate school ownership. It was quite apparent that PB had mentored these two teachers to successfully present information to the larger teaching staff. She apparently entrusted both teachers to deliver the appropriate information and both teachers appeared to trust the principal. The degree to which both teachers were involved in this meeting reflected their commitment to the principal. In presenting the majority of information at this meeting, both teachers appeared comfortable addressing their peers. They outlined pointed out that part of the school plan was to prepare teachers to effectively analyze student data. Both teacher presenters also indicated that the principal had already established some professional development opportunities for teachers to attend which would support teachers' use of student data to enhance instructional practices. Teachers responded positively upon hearing this information from their colleagues and eagerly asked follow up questions. They were collegial when interacting with both teacher presenters and gave them a generous round of applause after their presentations. It is noteworthy that when PB concluded her remarks, she was not given any such response of praise or applause from her staff. As PB concluded the meeting, she emphasized that it was important to work together as a teaching staff. She provided teachers with an opportunity to voice their concerns and discuss any issues that surfaced during the meeting. Collegiality was evident between teachers and the principal both during and after the meeting through observed
  • 205 interactions and sharing ideas even after the meeting had concluded. The comfort level of the teachers was clear. Grade-level meetings were held in different teacher classrooms at different times of the day. Teachers met during prep periods or after school, depending upon the day of the week. During each meeting, teachers discussed individual concerns related to students, instruction, and school climate. Collegiality was also fostered at these grade- level meetings. Teachers were energetic and deeply involved in conversation. The tone of the meetings was informal as teachers talked among themselves very communally, with no formal agenda; in fact, the agenda was derived from the meeting. Information raised at these meetings would be brought to the principal for possible placement on the faculty meeting agenda as teacher concerns or teacher-raised issues. The principal did not participate in the grade-level meeting discussions. She indicated in her interview that she saw that teachers were in charge of these meeting and her role was to facilitate that. She also felt that observing teachers in a setting without her direct involvement provided her with opportunities to understand more of what was going on in the building. PB's primary objective at grade-level meetings was to collect as much information as possible from different grade-levels to merge this to her decision-making process. At theses meetings, PB feverishly took notes from what teachers were stating. She was silent during the entire meeting and intentionally sat outside of the immediate meeting area to ensure she would not be asked any questions—something she said she had learned to do over time. PB elaborated that when she first began attended grade-level meetings, she sat with the teachers, but then became part of the group discussion, which
  • 206 she felt defeated the purpose of attending these meetings to collect information, not provide it. Thus to remain objective, she purposely sat outside of the group merely observing, except for the occasional "Hello. Thank you for letting me attend your meeting today" and "Have a nice day." In terms of physical facilities, PB's building was extremely well-maintained with clean and appropriately decorated hallways. Framed black-and-white pictures of students and student art work are displayed in the hallways, classrooms, and offices. The school atmosphere was likewise friendly, yet retained a formal and professional air. For example, teachers approached PB only to discuss job-related issues. They were observed discussing personal issues with PB in offices or in other private areas. In shared spaces such as the cafeteria, the bus depot, and hallways, the expected norm for teachers was to discuss only professional issues. When I observed PB in the hallways with teachers, she was always very professional in her interactions with them. She greeted teachers in the halls with "Hello, how are you?"—a pleasant yet reserved stance that would warm only upon better knowing the person. For example, when she stopped by a teacher's classroom, she paused before entering, almost as if to give the teacher an opportunity to invite her in or at least acknowledge her presence. She always addressed teachers as Mr. and Ms. and students as "young man" or "young lady." In response, the principal was always called "Ms. B," never by her first name. PB took her daily responsibilities seriously, as reflected in the way she tended to her duties. She was punctual and prompt with appointments such as the bus depot or student cafeteria and likewise ensured that teachers were also. As a result, teachers knew
  • 207 what was expected of them because PB had clearly identified where they needed to be, and indeed they were. Principal B Teachers Principal B Teachers' Perceptions of Leadership. Five Principal B Teachers (PBT1, PBT2, PBT3, PBT4, and PBT5) were interviewed over four months, from September through December, 2008. PBTs were asked to indicate what they believed the essential characteristics of leadership would include. As was the case with Principal A Teachers, several PBTs began by describing the leadership practices of their own principal. Therefore, I had to remind them to describe first how they viewed the term "leadership," separate from their own perceptions of PB. After this explanation, they were able to express what they believed the primary attributes of leadership should include. The majority responded that the following are needed to be a leader: (1) effectively communicates and listens to others; (2) is a positive role model; (3) has good social skills; (4) establishes clear policies and procedures; and (5) provides opportunities for others to become actively involved in the organization. Although not all teachers agreed on how they viewed PB's leadership, several responses indicated that they perceived leadership as a quality with which individuals were possibly born. Upon further probing, it also appeared that teachers believed leadership could be developed over time through experiences. The overwhelming response reiterated by the PBTs was that good leaders: provide safe environments, clearly articulate what is expected from them, provide resources needed to accomplish a task, and maintain a positive morale among group members.
  • 208 The PBTs felt that a leader should make people happy—a goal identified as part of the leader's ability to create a positive work environment. Many teachers believed that leaders need to create a climate that motivates people to come to work. For example, PBT4 reported: I think they [leaders] should, you know, have an environment where students, you know, aren't afraid to come to school and believe in themselves and want to achieve the goals that are set, you know, with their teacher for them. I think the goal should be to have a happy and content staff, a staff that is well-informed and knows what's expected of them, and know that they can—they can go to the principal for anything they need, positive or negative. But you know, to also be there and support us, should we have to get them involved. (Interview #4, October 3, 2008, p. 13) The PBTs collectively identified that leaders should be able to listen to others attentively as well as communicate their thoughts clearly. When describing leaders PBT5 stated: "I'm being kind of redundant, but being a good leader requires that individuals are effective listeners and communicators." PBTs felt that ineffective leaders were "unsupportive, intimidating, and unclear in articulating what they wanted or needed to achieve." They also believed that leaders could influence school conditions in the following manner: (1) bridging relationships among different people; (2) providing professional development that enhances teacher instruction in the classroom; (3) managing staff effectively to accomplish an agreed-upon goal; and (4) offering opportunities for staff to become actively involved in the decision-making process for decisions which impact them. PBT5 elaborated what several teachers felt about leaders impacting environments through their ability to involve others in the process: "When you're pushed into something, you have time to criticize it, and then you're more resistant to do things." She
  • 209 also added that "it was more important to let people dabble in things and to let people feel things out, because this gave individuals the freedom to feel comfortable and confident in becoming involved in different areas of the organization." PBTs frequently indicated that leaders who can move people to become involved in the organization by establishing a welcoming climate that focuses on future accomplishments. Principal B Teachers' Perceptions of Leadership Dimensions—Building School Vision. The majority of PBTs believed that school vision included the following five components: (1) establishing high academic standards for student achievement; (2) providing a safe environment; (3) forging positive relationships among parents, teachers, and students; (4) establishing a tight-knit and close community; and (5) ensuring that students are taught responsible behavior through good character and responsible citizenship. The PBTs cited the major focus of the school vision as improving students' academic achievement. PB had continually stressed this aspect of the vision as extremely important to the school's overall success. The PBTs felt that PB constantly modeled her leadership practices to reinforce the school vision. As PBT4 reported: At almost every faculty meeting, she [Principal B] will pull it [the school vision] out and discuss it again in relationship to where we are in fulfilling our vision. Are we falling short of this? Are we—what do we need to do to get to where we need to be? So it is constantly reinforced to us through what is expected and what the vision of our school is. (Interview #4, October 3, 2008, p. 2) PBTs believed that everyone truly understood the school vision. PBT4's statement echoed what several teachers believed about PB: "I definitely think that the school vision is described in Principal B's leadership practices."
  • PBTs acknowledged that PB repeatedly articulated her expectations to them in different forums. For example, PBT4 stated that the school vision can be found in the student handbook. According to PBT5, the vision was also referenced at various school- sponsored activities such as the annual "Back to School Night" event for parents. PBT3 noted that the vision is "something the parents know, teachers know, and students know." Teachers constantly expressed that the school vision was clearly established within the school. In addition, PB had demonstrated through words and actions that she expected teachers to focus more on pragmatic school goals than solely on the "motivational" aspects of the vision. For example, PBT2 stated, "So the vision helps to establish, I guess, the protocols of what kids should be doing and not doing. I believe we are holding on to the vision as a way to organize our school goals." Teachers indicated that they were included in designing the school vision. As PBT2 stated, "The vision was created with input from teachers and we were asked by the principal what we felt was important for the success of our school." PBT3 mentioned that the school vision was also "revisited at the beginning of every school year" to determine if it needed to be modified or left the same. Finally, PBT4 reported that "as far as the vision goes, it's always set forth in the beginning of the year to determine what we're going to collectively work towards." Principal B Teachers' Perceptions of Leadership Dimensions—Building School Goals. The PBTs expressed that the school goals were currently aligned with the school vision of improving students' academic achievement. Specifically, the goals focused on improving language arts and mathematics, areas in which students are annually tested by the State Department of Education. Teachers also identified that the school constantly
  • 211 emphasized developing its own character or, as some commented, creating the best school possible. PBTs repeatedly remarked that they felt the principal established high academic goals for students. PBT4 specifically recounted what the current school goals reflected: I feel like our goals are set very high for this school, so but she definitely communicates this, you know, to us all the time of what our goals should be. I feel like we're all on the same page all the time of, you know, what we need to do. And then I think that just goes in part with, you know the vision of what she—where she sees the school, so we know. (Interview #3, October 3, 2008, p. 3) When discussing the focus of the school, PBT4 added: As far as goals go, we always have a goal that we work on for the year academically and socially, and just like I said about the vision, I mean it's set forth, we know what we is even in the summer, going into the new school year. And we constantly assess, like did we meet that goal. Principal B has committees and stuff that literally sit with her and talk about how can we—how can we get through school, what can we do, where are we falling short? And we constantly go back to the goals. Every month or two months, we have meetings and talks about what our school goals are for the year. And again, they're social goals and academic goals. We're constantly assessing where we are with them. And she'll put together a committee of teachers, parents, students if we need, to gets lots of different perspectives about the goals. (Interview #4, October 3, 2008, p. 2) The PBTs specified that school goals were established with their input. For example, PBT2 shared that "the principal sits down with teachers and talks about what the goals for the school year should be." PB did this individually with teachers as well as collectively by subject area. PBT2 also explained that identifying these school goals with teachers has assisted her in identifying the specific goals which PB wanted her to establish in her classroom, a practice which PB carried out with all teachers. PBT3 explained that PB articulated how every teacher had to have building goals as well as
  • 212 individualized instructional goals connected to their practices. PBT2 described a similar situation: Um, we all have a pep talk with the principal. She sits down with us and we talk about what our goals for the year, individually. For me, for instance, it's differentiated instruction, and I know that when I talk to her or when she observes me, that's something that we focus on, and she supports me, whether I'm doing it or not. And if I'm not doing it, we come up with ways that I can better myself in that area. (Interview #2, October 2, 2008, p. 13) PBT3 stated that she thought that one of PB's personal goals was to "have the best school possible by having a School of Character." PB indicated to the teaching staff that she "wants to be the school in the district that other people strive to be like." While the teachers found this idea inspiring, it was also "kind of daunting." The PBTs explained that goals were constantly assessed by principal and teachers to determine if they met their goals. As PBT4 noted: Principal B has committees and stuff that literally sit with her and talk about how can we get through school, what can we do, where are we falling short? And we constantly go back to the goals. Every month or two months, we have meetings and we talk about what our school goals are for the year. And again, they're social goals and academic goals. We're constantly assessing where we are with them. And she'll put together a committee of teachers, parents, students if we need, to gets lots of different perspectives about the goals. (Interview #4, October 3, 2008, p. 2) PBT5 mentioned the different committees with which teachers could get involved. Which were designed to help teachers establish both school and classroom goals. PBT5 also indicated that PB's goal for the school was to give teachers freedom to develop programs to use in class to enhance instruction. For example, PBT1 noted that one school goal was to help children demonstrate respect and fairness to one another—a character education goal. PBT1 elaborated that because PB wanted teachers to model this behavior for students, she created committees for teachers to discuss its establishment.
  • 213 Principal B Teachers' Perceptions of Leadership Dimensions—Offering Individual Support. The PBTs agreed that PB supported them by actively listening to them, communicating effectively, taking their side on issues with parents and students, and informing them of expectations. In turn, the PBTs felt that PB was friendly and encouraging, and positively influenced school conditions by providing resolutions to problems before they worsened. PBT2 illustrated how she believed the majority of teachers perceived PB's support: The principal is good at reading needs and reading how a teacher is feeling about her day. And it seems when you might be a little negative on yourself or down on yourself, that's something she slips in there and pops a comment, a pleasant comment to get you going. She's very friendly when we see her in the office and stuff. (Interview #2, October 2, 2008, p. 3) The PBTs noted that PB positively influenced school conditions because she addressed teachers' concerns individually. PBT2 noted the opportunity to knock on PB's door whenever necessary. Teachers also pointed out how PB's constant visibility all day long in the building as well as at meetings and after-school events established a supportive work environment. PB's constant note-taking at meetings demonstrated a way she could address concerns that arose at the meetings. PBT4 stated that when PB wrote in her little notebook, "you just know that by the end of the day you will usually have your answer to any question that has come up." PBT5 also recalled: She always provides us with colleague support, for example, if it's a new teacher and the new teacher may be struggling, she'll say, Okay, I'll get you coverage, go watch another teacher teach this, and that's how she has it. She's brought a couple of teachers in my room to watch me do things, and the great thing about, you know, the way she does it, she always—I don't know how she does it, but I've told her I felt that she was a good leader. (Interview #5, October 3, 2008, p. 3)
  • 214 The PBTs felt PB supported them when parents were upset. PBT3 found PB was very reflective in her actions prior to acting on a problem and, accordingly to PBT1, was known for listening carefully to both sides of a problem before determining an answer, as she noted: I had a parent that was concerned about a video that was watched, and Principal B came to me and asked what the video was for, and what was the educational tie to it, and the problem was solved immediately because she knew exactly why the video was being seen, and before going back to the parent, she came to me first. I really appreciated that she did that. (Interview #1, October 2, 2008, p. 2) PBT1 indicated that PB was always there to support and encourage them while PBT3 stated that teachers acknowledged how PB attentively listened to them when they spoke. Despite these favorable responses, one area of concern for the PBTs was how PB handled discipline. The PBTs did not feel supported by PB because in this regard, the principal made arbitrary decisions and did not communicate her choices to discipline a student. The PBTs felt this approach negatively impacted how some teachers viewed PBs support of discipline at the school. Principal B Teachers' Perceptions of Leadership Influencing School Conditions— Purpose and Goals. The PBTs felt that the purpose and goals within the school were clearly identifiable. Several PBTs believed that the majority of teachers had stepped up to meet the challenge of having high academic expectations for all students because it was clearly part of PB's school plan. The PBTs also felt that PB wanted to ensure that meaningful goals pervaded the school environment, which she accomplished by making personal connections with every teacher. Moreover, by reminding everyone about the
  • 215 school's vision and goals, the PBTs felt PB established a positive environment enabling them to teach kids in a proactive, nurturing, and safe environment. In addition, PBTs noted that PB monitored their collective school improvement efforts in every formal meeting. PBT2 believed that all teachers had a common understanding of expectations, while PBT1 confirmed, when PB formally meets with teachers she has a clear purpose for the meeting. One example of this, according to PBT1, was in how PB collected teachers' lesson plan books every month "to ensure that she knows what we're teaching and what we're doing in our classrooms." PBT1 also expressed that "by meeting with us, she can connect the types of workshops and professional development we may need to enhance student instruction." PBT2 reinforced this idea: It might have also had a negative effect on the teachers because it's a little bit more work for us to have to sit and think outside of the box. To some it comes easy, some it doesn't, but it's become a positive for the students in the classroom, those that are gifted and those that are struggling. And we need to include them in everything. And that she definitely looks at when we hand in our lesson plans. (Interview #2, October 2, 2008, p. 16) During faculty meetings, school goals were always at the forefront of the conversation, and PB tended to break down goals into short-term and long-term types. At these meetings, PB explained how she wanted teachers to meet these goals and get involved in committees to discuss achieving certain goals. The PBTs also identified that PB deliberately encouraged teachers at the meetings to assume leadership roles within the school, according to PBT3 recalled: Yeah, she does, or sometimes she'll—if she thinks that one of us is going to do a good job on something, she'll come up to us and say, You know, I really would love you to be on this committee because I think you would be, that would be a good job. That's howl got on the AFG team. I didn't have—I was like, Oh okay. This was my first year, I had no idea. All
  • 216 right, sure I'll do it. So she'll definitely step in and say, you know, you're really doing a good job with this. Maybe you should be on this committee or something like that. (Interview #3, October 3, 2008, p. 16) PBT2 stated that PB affected school conditions positively through her collegial approach of establishing teachers' required professional development. For example, PB made sure that the professional development was connected to one's interest or an area that could enhance classroom instruction in the classroom: in short, professional development was not "busy-work." PBT3 offered that she was a member of the school's Accreditation for Growth (AFG) team, which was developed by PB and met regularly to discuss what the school should focus on: I'm a member of the AFG team, which definitely helps, you know, kind of get an idea of kind of the inside scoop of really what goes on, you know, to get—what do the scores mean? Why are we doing all these things in the action plan? What are we trying to accomplish here? And because of that team, I feel like I can answer that question, you know, saying that because of a team like that, because of different staff meetings, she'll bring in people to present information about the action plan to say, you know, I know we have to do mini-math every Friday. Why do we have to do mini- math every Friday? Well, this is the reason why we have to do it every Friday. It's kind of um—she definitely tries to be specific in explaining the reason that we have these goals, and trying to set goals for ourselves that sometimes—most of the time is realistic. (Interview #3, October 3, 2008, p. 3) The PBTs believed that PB's methods for deciding how specific school goals would be achieved were explicitly defined for them. A majority stated that a clear plan of how to proceed with several initiatives established from the goals positively influenced teachers' perceptions of PB's leadership. PBT2 admired that PB's school action plan was not only in place to support students, but also teachers. For PBT5, PB was known for following through on what she believed was in the students' best interests, thereby avoiding misunderstandings of PB's expectations. PBT4 provided this example:
  • 217 She supports the teachers, yeah, and she goes to bat for the teachers if they—if she needs to, when it comes to parents and disagreeing with your policies in the classroom. And you know, our policies in the classroom have to be aligned to what her vision is for the school is and, you know, she's very careful to make sure that they are aligned (laughs), and if they're not, then she'll tell us, you know, that doesn't go with what we do as a school, so you'll need to change this. We all very much have to be on the same page so it makes it easy for them to come at you. (Interview #4, October 3, 2008, p. 10) Principal B Teachers' Perceptions of Leadership Influencing School Conditions— School Planning. Several PBTs stated that PB deliberately focused on explicitly sharing student data when establishing tasks used to develop school plans. The PBTs believed PB did this because she wanted to provide teachers with clear directions on implementing the school plan successfully. PBT2 referred to student data as the "blueprint" used to design school programs. As PBT1 stated, "I think ninety percent of the time, our school plans are focused on staying connected with the school vision and school goals." PBT5 elaborated on this point: You know, you're hearing her [Principal A] language in our school planning. You might hear the word extraordinary learning; things like that, and do better in reading and writing, and getting along with others, and being responsible. That language, it constantly surrounds us, you know, and it just—it comes out in everybody's everyday greetings or vocabulary and I think the fact that she's constantly speaking about it helps us and other teachers to not feel like it's pushed, like we shouldn't be, you know, say to a student in the hallway, Have an extraordinary day. I don't say that [laughs], but you will see teachers say, Oh, thumbs up, and good job or smile at students when they do well, things like that, you know. It's [vision and goals] made a difference in the way we make plans; it's helped to keep us focused. (Interview #5, October 3, 2008, p. 8) The PBTs statements agreed it was important for PB to develop a school plan which everyone could believe in and support. PB understood that reviewing student data ensured the appropriate planning of what needed to be accomplished within the school.
  • 218 Teachers also believed that PB intentionally reminded them of the school vision when establishing the objectives for implementing school plans. As PBT3 remarked: Our vision for the school is that, you know we want to have a high degree of character education, where we're achieving all of our academic goals; and a school where the kids are being taught responsible behavior by working together towards a common purpose. I feel like it's all part of the three-step kind of, you know, between character, you know, academics, relationship, I feel like those are three big items that she [Principal B] has put into place as our school plan to accomplish together this year. (Interview #3, October 3, 2008, pp. 3-4) The PBTs felt that PB was very organized, which affected school conditions because such discipline kept everyone else equally organized. Several teachers also mentioned that PB had given everyone a focused school plan to follow when school events were scheduled, as PBT1 recounted: We had assemblies for school character. She'll send around like an agenda of what we're—like if we have to be in a certain spot at a certain time, she'll send around a schedule so we feel like we're all—we know what to do when we have to do it. (Interview #1, October 2, 2008, p. 22) PBT1 mentioned that PB might email teachers the day before a meeting to describe its purpose, and in general PB prepared teachers for any "unknowns" that teachers might face. PBT3 noted that PB provided manuals for teachers, review that covered different school policies. PB went through the plan, page by page, with every teacher at meetings, to ensure its comprehension. PBT3 also indicated that reviewing plans at faculty meetings allowed teachers to ask questions and suggest amendments, as PBT1 reported: As far as planning school events or school functions or making sure the teachers are on the same page, I think if a principal is not organized, it would provide or present a lot of problems, and I think that's something that Principal B is great with because she is extremely well organized. And it helps to keep us all organized. (Interview #1, October 2, 2008, pp.12-13)
  • 219 PBT5 stated that PB was "definitely organized in a way where the plans for the school are clearly marked out and we know to expect certain things." Teachers detailed how PB expected timely achievements, yet, was not very rigid. As PBT3 expressed, "it's more procedural to get things done in the building, it's not like we are the micro- managed, and it's more that she has the plan already laid out for us to follow." Principal B Teachers' Perceptions of Leadership Influencing School Conditions— Organizational Culture. The PBTs overwhelmingly responded that PB established, school culture purposefully by modeling her expectations and referring to staff as a family rather than a department. As well, PBTs felt PB impacted organizational culture by her cordial relationships with teachers, as PBT3 noted: Principal B does a lot. She does everything from creating a unified front; to keeping all of the staff on the same page and informing us of everything that we need to do to have a successful school. At the staff meetings, letting us know what the current concerns are from parents or from administrators so we're all on the same page. Giving feedback to teachers, even when we don't ask [laughs] about them. You know, most of the time in a very positive way, so she definitely keeps the culture of the school united because we have a very strong staff here. So that definitely is a reflection upon, you know, the way that she leads. (Interview #3, October 3, 2008, p. 1) As another aspect of school conditions, PBT3 noted that their school had the highest student test scores in the district, which PB considered very important. PBT3 believed that PB and the teachers loved the recognition the school has received and others felt PB's enthusiasm was contagious. In fact, PB's attitude influenced school conditions positively because she made everyone feel they were part of a team striving for positive conditions. PBT4 commented: I think it's a real community here. You find people that are good friends and have been for years, and have friends in and outside of the school, and
  • 220 I think that does a lot for your working relationship. People really trust each other, they really care about each other, and when you have that safer community, you wanna help, like you wanna be a part of it. I talk to teachers at night on the phone sometimes about things. We're very comfortable discussing things with each other and going to each other for help. And I think when you have a staff that really genuinely cares about each other, you know, you don't see that extra stuff as hardship, you know. And so many people are doing it that, you know, even as you see new staff come in, it's almost like, Oh, everyone's participating; I should too. You know, they always just jump right in and you do too. (Interview #4, October 3, 2008, p. 6) The PBTs noted that PB had hired most of the staff herself and clearly exuded pride in each hire. PBT4 stated that she overheard PB making such statements as "I'm glad I picked you" and "I'm glad I found you," genuinely demonstrating her care and interest in knowing them. As PBT1 noted: It's a reflection of her. You know, if you hire certain people to work in a building, you're usually hiring them so that they have the same vision and the same goals, and you hope that they will make you proud. Just like your own child, the child is the extension of the parent, so you want the child to make you proud. I guess it stems back to personal connections. (Interview #1, October 2, 2008, pp. 17-18) The PBTs felt that PB had successfully established norms within the building which cultivated the idea that teachers were valuable. Every year, PB would devise some activity for them to focus on as individuals and as a school; particularly to guide them in the direction she thought was most helpful. As a result, teachers wanted to do a good job because they cared about what PB thought of them. Principal B Teachers' Perceptions of Leadership Influencing School Conditions— Structure and Organization. The PBTs believed that PB had positively influenced the school's structure and organization by intentionally hiring teachers who exuded positive attitudes. They clearly felt that PB wanted to nurture relationships to evolve among
  • teachers in the building and lead them to contribute to direct school effectiveness. PBT3 expressed the following sentiment: Well, she [Principal B] hired us! [laughs] She—I mean, part of it is natural. I mean, I have to tell you we're a very young staff. We have a lot of twenties and thirties as—I would have to say most of the staff, a very high percentage. And I feel like that definitely helps foster the connections we have with each other. It doesn't mean that we're cliquey and only the young ones stick together because that's definitely not the case either. Well, not random. Principal B is picking these people who she thinks are going to be not only good teachers, you know, good interacting with each other, they have good personalities, she feels like she can um see this person and they're like a spark in the classroom. She wants a spark in the classroom. We all have like a kind of energy about us, and when we get together, we just—we have fun. (Interview #3, October 3, 2008, p. 19) PBT3 believed that PB hired teachers who would create connections among themselves and students so that the school environment would become a close-knit family. PBT4 noted that she personally "loved the school" and believed that principal- teacher relationships reflected much more than a school community: "We're friends inside and outside of work, and I do attribute that to the fact that in school we can laugh with the principal, joke around with her, and even hang out with her." However, she cautioned, "She can also be your boss because we have that respect for her." PBT5 reinforced this idea: "We know, you know, there's times when she can sit down and have a laugh with us, but then there's times when she's our leader, we have to look to her, we have to know that she's in charge, and we follow her lead." The PBTs stated that the relationships established between teachers and PB has helped everyone focus on working collaboratively to improve school structure and organization. As PBT4 reported: Well, if I'm talking about structure and organization, I think for me, I like structure and I like organization. I would say that she's [Principal] very much like me on learning how to do various things, very similar. So I
  • mean, I do not have any—I know exactly who I need to go to and I need to go for what and what the steps are to get there. It's very mapped-out, you know, even if we just refer a child, what steps we have to take. I mean, I don't think you're going to find a teacher who doesn't know what exactly the steps to do for certain things. So as far as that goes, I think that just matches her personality. She's structured, she's very organized, and she knows what she wants. She tells you what she wants; you know how to get there. Um, as far as the culture, I mean I love this school. I think, like we said, we're so much of a community. (Interview #4, October 3, 2008, p. 18) Teachers identified that because PB wanted staff members to get along, she deliberately extended herself to establish relationships among staff members that would influence teachers to share information because it would benefit the school. PBT3 indicated that teachers felt they worked in a "happy school" and shared supported her statement: When we're out at a professional development, we like all hang out together. If someone's is presenting from our school, we applaud really loud, you know what I mean? Like we have a connection to each other, which I feel like is part of the, you know, the school culture. (Interview #3, October 3, 2008, p. 18) PBT1 indicated that PB would become excited about different school happenings always complimenting other teachers for what they were accomplishing. Her excitement would project throughout the building. It influenced the school's organizational structure by establishing cohesive, respectful, and naturally emerging relationships among teachers. Several PBTs noted that because PB was determined to develop the relationships existing in the building, the school ran more effectively. According to PBT3: Honestly, and I've heard this from even other schools, that our school is known as the happy school, and I believe that that is true. I really, honestly do. I feel like everybody here genuinely loves their job and I really feel like that everybody works so, so hard. And while you might hear a little moaning about this and that or the other thing, that's definitely not the rule. It's the exception, and that's the truth. (Interview #3, October 3, 2008, p. 18)
  • 223 Principal B Teachers' Perceptions of Leadership Influencing School Conditions— Information and Decision-making. The PBTs identified that PB provided them with information through written correspondence and emails, at meetings and individually. They felt this information kept them aware of what needed to be accomplished as well as what was expected from them. PBT2 explained that PB was "well known for her email blasts": she sends anything that should be communicated to the whole school about procedures en masse to everyone in the building. PBT4 added: She'll pop in your classroom a few times a day and just see how your day's going. Is there anything that you need? You know, if she knows there are certain things going on with students in particular, she'll pop in and just, you know, she's very—always wants to know what's going on in her school in every classroom. (Interview #4, October 3, 2008, p. 4) PBT4 added: "As far as information and decision-making, I guess that I think we all know the principal is the head honcho." PBT2 felt that the information from PB was positive reinforcement that they were doing the right thing. PB was also known for writing notes and cards which conveyed such messages as "You're doing a good job" or "Keep up the good work." The PBTs felt that the documents PB distributed to them reflected her leadership style of being precise, straightforward, and to the point. For example, they agreed that while PB would alert them to something incorrect, she would also notice if they were at least trying to fix the problem. PB provided examples of documents for teachers to review to help them understand how to complete a task in a certain way, as PBT3 reported: I don't want to say business-oriented, but they're not watered-down versions of things she wants to tell us. Like she is, she is very organized and very sequential and likes things, you know, orderly. I think that she shares those documents with teachers because she wants everybody to be on the same page, like sometimes she'll photocopy a school report card comment. And I remember because it was mine that she photocopied from
  • 224 two years ago! [laughs] And she gave it to everybody and said, Here's an example of something that you should be doing for your comments because it has elements A, B, C, and D, that's something that we could relate to, that's something that was timely, and then we were getting ready to do report cards. (Interview #3, October 3, 2008, p. 13) However, the PBTs had the most difficulty understanding was how PB made decisions on student discipline. PBT1 noted that several teachers felt at times that the school's vision of providing a safe environment for all students was not being followed: Well, last year, [laughs] I had a student who was very violent in the classroom and I did not think it was a safe learning environment for my children. The kids expressed concern about being scared, being afraid of the student, being bullied by the student, and so my big, my big fight was, you know, I want to provide the vision, I want that safe, positive learning environment for my students and they don't feel safe anymore. (Interview #1, October 2, 2008, pp. 4-5) PBT1 also expressed that she felt that the student really did not receive the punishment she personally believed he should have received. As she stated, "So I think some teachers, along with me, began to feel that maybe we all had different philosophies or maybe don't share the same vision as the principal in this one area." PBT2 explained that some teachers felt PB's actions were not supportive in some cases. This negatively impacted the school's organization because teachers felt powerless when dealing with students who behaved inappropriately. This theme emerged several times from the interviews with PBTs. For example, PBT4 said she did not fully comprehend PAs approach to discipline. Other teachers appeared to agree with this statement, such as PBT1 who stated: Sometimes students that have made a poor decision and they need to learn from their bad decision, they need to learn from their mistake. Sometimes they're rewarded for it and it's—the child realizes it 'cause kids are smarter, I think, than we think sometimes. But in the school, it's looked upon as it's negative reinforcement. (Interview #1, October 2, 2008, pp.11-12)
  • 225 PBT1 clarified with this example: So a decision to have a child have lunch with the principal because he or she threw a chair in the classroom, and it turns into have a—making connections with the child, which is great, but it's not—they're not learning from their mistake. (Interview #1, October 2, 2008, p. 12) The PBTs indicated that in the area of student discipline, PB did not clearly identify which practices and policies were in place. They felt that this occasional lack of clarity in PB's inability to explain her actions as to why she chose to discipline a student in a particular way impeded the relationship between PB and certain teachers. In addition, the PBTs suggested that having different ideas on student discipline conveyed varying ideas on what could be expected if students misbehaved. They acknowledged that this lack of clear communication on discipline negatively affected how teachers felt supported in this one area. Summary of Findings—Principal B School PB felt that effective leaders were able to mentor teachers, communicate successfully, and establish clear goals for teachers, they were also visionary leaders because they included others in their decision-making process. PB also reported believing that leaders displayed qualities which demonstrated that they were prepared, organized, and clear on what they wanted to accomplish. For PB leaders must be able to communicate their expectations to teachers and to monitor how their own behavior as leader impacted situations to ensure their intended accomplishments. PB reported that ineffective leaders could not motivate others to follow them and alienated others by being aloof and vague about their goals while also keeping information to themselves.
  • 226 The PBTs originally had difficulty identifying the essential traits of a leader and connected it back to their principal. Therefore, as was the case with Principal A Teachers, the PBTs were re-directed to answer what they believed leadership entailed separate from their views of PB's leadership. Teachers eventually described that leaders displayed an array of traits associated with effectively communicating, being a positive role model, having good social skills, and providing opportunities for others to become involved in the organization. The PBTs delineated that good leaders provided a safe and orderly environment, maintained positive morale, provided resources needed to accomplish many tasks, and attempted to create a positive and happy work environment. The PBTs also expressed that good leaders attentively listened to others as well as effectively communicated their ideas to others. These responses indicated that ineffective leaders were unsupportive, intimidating, and unclear in what they wanted to accomplish. School documents included the vision for the school year in written form across the top of the page as a heading. For example, the motto "Providing Extraordinary Learning Experiences for all Children" was displayed on faculty meeting agendas and meeting minutes. A letter distributed by PB discussing the school vision was mailed home to teachers at the beginning of the school year. In the letter, PB identified that the school vision was connected to establishing a school where children flourish academically, socially, and emotionally. PB elaborated that the intent of the school vision was to motivate individuals to remain focused on school goals. She also reported that the vision served to establish clear communication about what was deemed important for the school, that is, an idealistic concept that could motivate teachers to achieve goals. The school vision also remained
  • 227 fixed year after year, and was often reflected on PB's documents in another heading featuring the above motto. While fixed, PB noted that the school vision was reviewed and modified each year to reflect new teaching staff and the current status of the school. Give new situations and teaching staff turnover, it was important to re-visit the vision to ensure that it accurately represented the teachers as well as their schools aspirations. For example, several documents featured in print the focus of the school along the bottom of the page: "One moment in time.. .We are together for a reason!" This catchphrase for the school year was added to the school vision after it was created by the collaboration of teachers, students, and parents. PB said that she would meet with committees and pose questions such as "What does the ideal school like?" From these discussions, she reflected on what a new phrase for the school year should be. PB concluded that the school vision clarified the focus of the staff, but that the goals clarified the school's direction. The PBTs response indicated that they felt the school vision was designed to establish high academic standards for student achievement in a safe learning environment, nurture positive relationships, and invoke a tight-knit community ensuring responsible behavior, good character, and responsible citizenship among students. They believed that the primary idea of the vision was to have teachers think about how to improve academic achievement. According to the PBTs, PB modeled the vision through her actions and periodically articulated her expectations to teachers. For example, they felt teachers were cognizant of the school vision because PB would review the concepts of the vision with teacher sat meetings and ask how the vision pertained to a particular goal. The PBTs indicated that the school vision could be found in the student handbook,
  • 228 teacher memos, and handouts to parents at events. However, teachers did note that the principal stressed how the vision was in place to guide school goals. The PBTs also explained that PB constantly spoke about how the goals which needed to be accomplished were very complex. PB distinguished that school goals were coupled to three crucial objectives: math, language arts, and character education. PB believed that school goals established the objectives for the current environment in the school, and that the purpose of the goals was to establish such a setting in which the academic, social, and emotional needs of students could be met. According to PB, teachers were well informed about school goals because they were derived from their input into what they agreed was their focus. However, because several of the goals were aligned with state and district goals, certain goals were directives handed down to them to follow. When discussing the goals, PB would repeatedly interconnect ideas of the vision because she saw vision and goals as one and the same. As mentioned previously, PB explained that school goals were a breakdown of the school vision and were easier to describe, while the vision was much more nonfigurative. School goals were "data-driven" concepts about how to accomplish the overall ideological message of the vision. School goals were meant to be put into practice, they were attainable and measurable. As indicated in previous sections, PB's correspondence to teachers was friendly, professional, supportive and comprehensive. However, her notes and memo to teachers were not brief and, in fact, rather extensive. For example, school documents were packet with information reflecting what teachers were required to follow stringently. The focal point of the information included directions, school and teacher expectations, and
  • 229 timelines for accomplishing tasks. As one example, the school's action plan identified language arts/literacy goals, math goals, and character education goals. PB was observed reviewing goals with teachers, reporting out-of-committee meetings and grade-level meetings and student data, and going over future professional development opportunities for teachers. PB never mentioned the school vision during the observations. However, the school goals were mentioned several times at various meetings, particularly as increasing math and language arts scores for students, and increasing the school's focus on responsible student behavior. PBTs also reported, as did PB that the goals were connected to and aligned with the school vision. They explained that PB's main focus of establishing any goal was always discussed as developed to ultimately improve students' academic achievement. All teachers believed that PB wanted to ensure that high academic goals for students were in place in the school. This was done by setting high standards for the goals and making sure everyone was on the same page. Teachers noted that PB clearly expected their school to be viewed as one of the best in the district. The PBTs explained that the goals for the year were set in place before it begins, and in fact were usually made aware of what expectations over the summer. Goals were assessed before entering the new school year to determine if they had met the previous year's goals. PB always asked for their input to establish school goals, both building goals as well as separate individual instructional goals connected to teaching practices. PB assembled different teacher committees obtain different perspectives on progress with the school goals. These committees reported out to the larger staff at meetings as a way to assist with understanding school goals and creating classroom goals.
  • 230 PB felt that she provided individual support to teachers by collaborating with them on school goals, listening attentively, communicating her expectations, acknowledging their talents, fostering leadership opportunities in the school, providing a quiet and calm learning environment, and acquiring resources needed to run effective classrooms. PB provided examples on how she periodically approached her teachers to ask for their assistance in shaping school practices. As previously noted PB also discussed how she provided non-confrontational and non-punitive feedback and support which helped teachers to be more open and less defensive about what she communicated. For example, teachers did not feel they were being judged on their actions, but instead perceived that they were all working towards achieving one collective goal. PB cited that by supporting teachers to become involved in several facets of the school, such as developing the action plan, she has impacted school conditions positively. She felt that teachers had developed ownership of the school's action plan because they demonstrated to their ongoing involvement in the school and in extracurricular activities as a result of PB's support and encouragement. For example, she highlighted the palpable buzz permeating the school environment from teachers who were eager to participate in different activities and committees. In fact, several called the school a warm and inviting community. PB made it a point to tell teachers she was proud of them. She has offered professional development which could be beneficial to them. Teachers seemed to recognize that PB valued their contributions to the school because she would let them know of her satisfaction-or even-dissatisfaction with something they may have done. Several written correspondences to teachers substantiated that PB was communicating her
  • 231 desire to improve instruction. For example, documents provided information pertaining to teachers' academic and curricular responsibilities, timelines for completing various tasks, procedures to be followed, and completion dates to submit various documents. PB's documents also revealed that she was proud of her school and her teaching staff. For example, she made statements such as "Thanks for all you do" and "I am honored to work with all of you." The PBTs acknowledged as well that they felt PB was friendly, supportive, encouraging, and helpful. She demonstrated this through active listening to what they had to say, communicating her expectations and providing direct resolutions to problems before they deteriorated. PB also positively influenced school conditions because she attended quickly to concerns of teachers. The PBTs felt PB was particularly supportive with parent complaints, when she would listen carefully to both sides of a problem and think about her ideas before providing her position or answer. The PBTs felt PB was a good leader because she extended herself to be visible, available, and accessible. This visibility enabled PB to understand what went on in the building and thus, establish a supportive work environment. In addition, PB supported teachers not only by telling them what to do, but by sharing the reasons why. For example, she described the school district and state expectations and then shared how teachers' roles fit into that context. The PBTs found this helpful because it outlined a clear sense of direction. Despite the obvious support, PBTs expressed anxiety over PB's approach to disciplining students. The PBTs commented that the lack of clarity on this has been problematic, as discussed earlier, and reflected their concerns about PB's decision-
  • making process. Interestingly, although this issue was raised by the PBTs it was never mentioned by the principal. For PB, communicating with teachers was vital for creating purposeful school goals. As an example, she identified the importance of teachers reviewing student data to accurately assess students' academic ability levels, or as PB identified it doing a "needs assessments of the student body." Conducting such needs assessments was explained prior to developing the school's purpose and goals and formulating the action plan. Reviewing student data thus helped to identify goals, which PB felt was more relevant than school vision. PB also pointed out that she met periodically with teachers throughout the school year to identify and review the specific purpose and directions of the school. By providing teachers with opportunities to lead discussions in the group, they were collectively involved in the process of creating, managing, and organizing the school's purpose and goals to promote high academic expectations for all students. The cited examples of how PB conveyed to teachers the importance of stakeholders' involvement in creating a positive, proactive, nurturing, and safe environment for students. In these meetings, PB monitors and ensures what teachers do in their classrooms to enhance student instruction in terms of short-and long-term goals. For PB, the school plan reflected the school vision and goals which she and her teachers determined needed to be accomplished by considering the expectations of the school district and the New Jersey State Department of Education mandate as well as student data; above all else, the data were the primary indicator for developing school goals and classroom instruction.
  • 233 All circulating documents replicated what PB indicated as the focus of the school plans. For example, the school plan outlined teachers' responsibilities. At meetings as well, the school plan was discussed. These meetings often brought opportunities for teachers to be involved in exploring how the school plan would directly influence teacher practices. The plan was also a standard by which teachers monitored if they were following the curriculum without fully understanding the objectives of the plan or being on board with it, teachers knew they ran the risk of not remaining in the school. The PBTs extolled PB's organizational skills as a positive influence on the school. She systematized and prioritized various goals to help them remain focused on what needed to be accomplished. As some examples, PB provided a teacher's handbook, student handbooks, parent handbooks, and policies and procedures particularly at, the beginning of the school year and spends time reviewing them page by page during faculty meetings. One outstanding trait that the PBTs mentioned was PB's ability to make sure procedures were in place within the building so that expectations were clear. PB felt that she believed teachers were comfortable with her and trusted her. In general, the culture was collegial and calm, allowing teachers to work collaboratively with one another and respected each other. Because her school was relatively small, unlike the high school, PB felt it was easier to know her teaching staff as well as develop a culture that reflected her goals. The culture she envisioned was connected to developing a school community where teachers worked together to accomplish agreed-upon goals for the benefit of students. PB noted that her leadership style has defined the current organizational culture of the school and a professional learning community within the school. When teachers
  • 234 returned from professional development meetings, she required them to report on what they learned. Her willingness to facilitate what needed to get done along with her purposeful practice of listening attentively to teachers have established practices that shape positive decisions. These include bringing in a variety of academic programs connected to assisting students improve their abilities in language arts and mathematics. The relationship between the PBT's and PB at various meetings appeared professional and collegial, as was the overall mood of the school culture and climate. PB often was open to pleasant greetings but also maintained a reserved demeanor in doing so. She served as an acknowledged model for teachers. Her ongoing concern with keeping teachers informed, striving for the highest test scores in the district, and working collaboratively ended up conveying PB's sense of pride about what was being academically accomplished in the school. Teachers cited that PB would purposely refer to the school as a family to encourage teachers to cooperate as well as buy into her plans. Although the PBTs believed PB truly cared about students and teachers, they also felt that PB's desire to help was coupled with her own private aspirations to be viewed as the principal of the best school in the district. However, one offshoot of this was that several teachers assumed the same persona as PB's in caring about the academic accomplishments of the school. PB explained that the school structures existing within the school were symbiotic of its norms and beliefs, which consisted of respect for other people's ideas, teachers supporting the vision and goals, and teachers' commitment to student success. Her responses reflected a careful and deliberate attention to ensuring that teachers and students were viewed as worthy of respect. This respectful behavior was connected to her
  • 235 communications to teachers, parents, and students which helped to "shape the school's direction." Through theses relationships, teachers want to work hard because they are motivated by an atmosphere drawing them to one common purpose. PB attributed the relationships existing within the school to her leadership practices which follow sequential thinking while teachers recognized her s the leader of the school because of her title, PB viewed herself, as more of a reflective leader who took time to make decisions and included others in the process of managing daily operations. Moreover, PB's leadership framework has assisted her in a variety of situations for which she would adopt different roles within the building according to what needed to be accomplished. PB also noted that part of her leadership framework was to practice "mindful leadership," which required her to be aware of how her actions were perceived by others who reflected on what she was doing. Reflection on leadership practices was vital for enhancing her ability to build relationships among teachers in the school by recognizing a teacher's strengths and weaknesses and providing suitable resources—a practice PB termed "differentiated support." Similarly, the friendly and trusting learning environment which PB established not only supported students but also supported teachers. The PBTs acknowledged PB's eagerness in wanting to support resolutions of problems. In fact, teachers felt that PB's intention was to not to settle problems, but rather to help teachers arrive at different solutions through thoughtful dialogue. To her credit, teachers admired that PB never took one side in resolving a disagreement. Another factor to a positive influence on the school's structure and organization was PB's intentional hiring of teachers who exuded positive attitudes. The PBT's also felt
  • that PB wanted to nurture relationships to evolve among teachers, create connections among teachers and students, and develop relationships between her and the teachers to share information that would benefit a school community which contributes to student success. Given the determination to develop positive relationships and establish cohesive and respectful relationships among teachers, PB led the school run more effectively. PB explained that although she was responsible for ultimately making final decisions, she valued the teachers, input in the decision-making process, and had even come to depend on and appreciate it because the decisions tended to be richer and more meaningful. She pointed out that at times, teachers offered different perspective than she might have. She also maneuvered differently when making a decision that was mandated as opposed to a more independent decision. In such a case, she intentionally included teachers in the decision-making process. PB voiced her concern that teachers be aware they could not be involved in every decision. Nevertheless, issues should be discussed with teachers prior to making certain decisions. Informed decision-making was a two way street: both principal and teachers needed to know the issues. Therefore, discounting teachers in the process limited PB's ability to effectively move the school in her chosen the direction. Information was shared through communicating with correspondence and at meetings. Observations at meetings confirmed the intent listening of the faculty to all PB presented to them. PB shared the responsibilities of conducting meetings with two other teacher presenters who were helping to facilitate. In turn, PB attentively listened to her teachers. She seemed to trust the presenters to deliver the appropriate information to staff.
  • 237 In sum, the PBTs felt that PB's written documents, correspondence, and meetings helped to reinforce a trusting and secure learning environment in conjunction with PB's model behavior, concern for mutual decision-making, and desire to listen to teachers and students. The one area of concern regarded student discipline, which PB did not clearly identify in terms of practices and policies, and in fact acted inconsistently. Teachers suggested that this lack of clarity and communication on discipline had a negative effect on how teachers felt supported in this one area. To exacerbate the situation, teachers felt that PB's actions did not always reflect the school vision or school goals because teachers felt helpless and vulnerable when dealing with students who behaved inappropriately, thereby having a negative impact on certain school conditions. Superintendent Interview on Principal Leadership Interviews were conducted over 2 months during the 2007-2008 school year. The superintendent was interviewed in a private office. The information was gathered through narrative descriptions. During the interviews, the superintendent was encouraged to share his ideas by reflecting carefully on his personal and professional experiences with both principals. The analyses of the interviews present the themes collected from the superintendents' responses to the posed questions. The interview was designed to allow the superintendent to accomplish the following: • to explore his understanding of leadership in an effort to develop a general understanding of each principal's leadership practices; • to describe, in his own words, what he perceived the leadership practices of both principals involved;
  • • to connect his ideas as they pertain to each principal's school vision, school goals, and individual support for teachers; and • to examine how he perceived that each principal's leadership practices have affected five school conditions. When the superintendent was asked to elaborate on the term "leadership," he itemized the following qualities to identify effective leaders: 1. Leaders establish inspiring visions for an organization. 2. Leaders develop realistic goals for an organization. 3. Leaders include others in the decision-making process when establishing goals for the organization. 4. Leaders provide support for individuals to accomplish tasks which have been identified as being needed for the organization's success. 5. Leaders establish the climate of the organization. 6. Leaders constantly assess if they are accomplishing what they set out to do. 7. Leaders make sure that everyone is headed in the same direction. 8. Leaders develop trust among their constituents. The superintendent was given the definition of transformational leadership to elicit how he felt each principal demonstrated qualities associated with transformational leadership. He provided several examples which he believed best typified the transformational leadership practices of both Principal A and Principal B. According to the superintendent, both principals "established a vision for their school, which conveyed a recognizable saying that was mutually-agreed upon by all constituents of the school." He added that "the school vision is a statement which provides a quick and clear message
  • 239 to people about what the organization wants to collectively accomplish." The superintendent felt that both principals had established clear visions for their school by intentionally identifying "catchphrases which emphasized the school's primary objectives." These catchphrases reflected the ideas and beliefs of an organization's constituents. The superintendent captured the essence of what he believed best described both principals' school visions. For example, PA's vision signified "if teachers all work together they would be able to successfully succeed as a school"; similarly, PB's vision for the school advocated that she "wanted to create a school environment where students could have an opportunity to be successful." The superintendent stated that both principals had connected their school goals with the goals. These goals established by the school district, were identified as including the following: (1) connect core curriculum content standards with the instructional practices occurring within the classroom; (2) review student data with the intent of accurately assessing student knowledge; (3) ensure that vertical articulation occurs across grade levels; and (4) provide students and staff with a safe and comfortable learning environment. According to the superintendent, both principals also established other goals reflecting their individual school's purpose. For example, PA's school goals were mostly connected with advancing students' reading and math scores and emphasized good citizenship. While PB's goals also focused on reading and math scores, she placed a greater importance on writing and developing students' character. Both principals also determined these school goals with their teachers' input. The superintendent suggested that both principals' actions reflected their support of their teachers. He itemized the following to reinforce his statement:
  • 1. Both principals established different committees within their school buildings to include teachers in decision-making and program planning. 2. Teacher leaders were established throughout each principal's school building. 3. Teachers represented their school at different meetings held within the district. 4. Professional development was aligned with areas in which teachers requested additional assistance. 5. Teachers were involved in managing certain aspects of the school's daily operations. 6. Teachers were involved in their school's budgetary process to acquire the resources needed to support student learning. The superintendent believed that both schools were successful because of each principal's ability to establish a comprehensive plan to foster collaborative work between constituents, develop shared meanings between teachers, and support school goals. Each principal expected positive changes to occur in their school by proactively assuming different tasks. For example, the superintendent explained that both principals were observed in different situations helping teachers to identify how the school would successfully implement several new initiatives. The superintendent suggested that the practices of both principals impacted current school conditions. For example, both principals were observed involving teachers as they worked through different challenges facing the school. In addition, a district initiative on implementing new math programs, which both schools were required to institute throughout the school year, had originally encountered some resistance from several teachers in both schools. However, after meeting independently with their
  • 241 teachers, both principals could convey to them the necessity of buying into the new math programs. The above example of initiating programs into a school illustrates how each principal demonstrated his or her leadership practices in different ways. For instance, PB's approach to having teachers "buy into the new math initiative" was to inform them that this was "predetermined and.. .had to be followed." The superintendent's understanding was that PA's approach was connected to "getting teachers to want to become involved in helping to develop the new math program for the building." Despite different approach, it is noteworthy that each school was successful in operating their new math programs over the past year. To the superintendent, PA's goals for the school seemed much more connected to the school's vision than were PB's goals. As mentioned earlier all written material (letterhead, website, emails, correspondence to parents, and correspondence to the superintendent) always conveyed some reference to the school's vision. It was also clear to the superintendent that teachers and students knew what the school vision epitomized and that PA's vision helped to establish a common theme unifying the school. The superintendent even noted, "When you enter PA's school building, the first thing you saw was the school's vision written in large bold letters." The superintendent explained that the vision in PA's school permeated the entire school environment and set the tone and direction for many decisions. As he stated, "The relationships which existed in PA's school building were shaped around reminding and encouraging teachers, students and the community to accomplish what was agreed upon." The superintendent concluded that "the school vision magnified the school's purpose and direction."
  • 242 By contrast with PA, however, PB's leadership practices reflected a much more practical perspective to moving school initiatives forward. She seemed much more goal- oriented when establishing the school's tone and direction. Although the superintendent believed that PB's vision was clearly identified, it was not as pervasive in her written correspondence, or throughout the school building. For example, upon entering the building, one did not see the school vision inscribed anywhere; however, the goals for the school year were clearly visible, even laminated on large pieces of paper. The superintendent felt that both principals' practices contrasted in several ways. For example, PA had established several teacher committees in his building which he utilized to make decisions on school-wide issues such as curriculum, school events, and student discipline. In addition, PA was perceived as being much more direct in decision- making. For example, PA would make decisions quickly once he consulted with his teacher committees. By contrast, while PB also had several teacher committees in the school building, she tended to be much more independent and reflective when making decisions. She asked for teacher input on curricular decisions about programs to enhance student instruction, but rarely involved these committees in making decisions on student discipline issues. PB also shared information with her teacher committees, but then would stop to think about what else was needed after obtaining their input and prior to making her final decision. When supporting teachers, the superintendent felt that both principals extended themselves to this purpose. He cited several examples of how he had personally observed both principals helping teachers and thereby contributing positively to a collegial and collaborative working environment. The superintendent identified this as one area in
  • which both principals exemplified their leadership abilities and demonstrated how their staff could count on them. As illustration, the superintendent cited that he had witnessed first-hand how both principals championed their school and teachers. As he stated, "I've observed both principals using their position to advocate for what their school and teachers needed or requested." The superintendent also reported that he felt both principals in fact displayed leadership qualities because they had successfully communicated to their teachers what needed to be accomplished. For example, teachers had clearly demonstrated by actively participating in different committees that they bought the school into a specific direction. Student scores also provided a positive indication that the principals' actions were working. The superintendent concluded his reflections by stating that being "principal" was not synonymous with being a "leader." He emphasized repeatedly that these were two different ideas. He personally took a more traditional view of what principals must accomplish to be considered leaders: "a principal's responsibility is to manage a group of professional staff." The superintendent also explained that "leaders are able to promote a sense of urgency among their constituents, which in turn causes them to want to become involved in something they feel is of value, not only to the organization, but also to them individually." In short, he believed, "You can learn to be a good manager, but you can't learn to be a great leader." For this superintendent, both principals demonstrated qualities which suggested that they could be considered good leaders.
  • 244 Cross-Case Findings-Principal A School and Principal B School Several consistent and common themes that materialized from the study are presented below. This section provides a summary of cross-case findings from each principal's elementary school more as an overview than as a detailed analysis, as will be offered in Chapter V. Ultimately, the summary discusses the overall trends found between principals and teachers and how leadership is perceived to influence school conditions. The several themes that surfaced were connected to how principals and teachers perceived that leadership practices affected school conditions, and these have been categorized under three leadership dimensions and five school conditions. Principal A and B School—Leadership. Regarding leadership, the perspectives of both principals and teachers revolved around the theme of communication. Especially significant were the open and encouraging exchanges between the principal and teachers. Some key factors continually mentioned by PA and PATs were the importance of leaders as being good listeners, leaders being accessible to teachers, and leaders effectively communicating with others. For PB and PBTs, a leader with clear expectations and goals, leaders mentoring teachers, leaders being positive role models, and leaders communicating clearly were important factors. PA identified that he felt "leaders had to be everything to everybody." He explained that leaders had to be perceived as though they were meeting everyone's needs. PB identified that she felt it was important for leaders to monitor how their behavior was perceived by others. She expressed that it was important for leaders to scrutinize how their actions influenced individuals.
  • 245 Principal A and B School-Building School Vision. PA and PB both emphasized that the most important attribute of the school vision was to have all stakeholders (teachers, parents, students) of the school community reflect on how to advance students' academic and social achievement. Teachers and both principals viewed the vision as an optimistic ideal that accentuated what the school should symbolize. PA and teachers identified the school vision a: "If we work hard, we will succeed." The term "Welcome to the Friendly School" was also acknowledged as a slogan for what PA and teachers believed their school represented. PB and teachers identified the school vision as "Providing Extraordinary Learning Experiences for all Children." PB indicated that new sayings would be added to the school vision yearly to clarify the focus for the upcoming school year. PB identified that this was done to reflect new teaching staff as well as the immediate focus of the current school year. This year's additional saying for PB's school was identified as "One moment in time... We are together for a reason!" Both school's vision catchphrases were displayed in bold on each school's letterhead and featured on different written documents. The school vision was extremely important to PA and his teachers because they all believed that the school vision symbolized what their school represented. In PA's school, the school vision was considered more important than the school goals because all that was accomplished in the school was thought to be connected to the vision. At PB's school, although the school vision established clear communication about what was important, it was clearly secondary to the school goals. Those at PB's school believed that the vision helped keep everyone focused on what was important, but following the school goals was the path to accomplishing tasks.
  • Principal A and B School-Building School Goals. A common theme found in PA's and PB's schools were connected to the following: meeting student needs, state benchmark assessments, district goals, and select areas of focus. Teachers in both schools identified that their principal was primarily responsible for establishing academic goals. However, they felt that teachers were given the opportunity to share their ideas on how to enhance and modify goals once they were established. The PATs and PBTs noted that their principal invited them to join various committees which aimed to fulfill academic goals and improve students' social and behavioral development. Both principals identified that a majority of the academic goals established for their schools were developed by reviewing student test scores. In PA's school, academic goals were described as advancing students' abilities of reading, writing, math, and character education. PB's school focused on three central school goals: math, language arts, and character education. In both schools, the overall intent of the goals was to improve students' academic achievement and social and emotional growth. The PATs felt that PA frequently clarified what was expected of them; however, they also felt there were too many school goals. Teachers in PA's school expressed that some of them felt overwhelmed by all these goals. The PA school appeared to focus mainly on the school vision to accomplish the goals. As mentioned in a previous section, teachers and principals generally viewed the school vision as less overwhelming than focusing on myriad of goals. Those at PB's school believed that goals and vision were interchangeable. However, as noted in a previous section, school goals were considered more realistic and measurable than school vision. Accordingly, PB and teachers identified that school goals
  • were more achievable than the ideological message which permeated the school vision. At PB's school, the school vision was deemed not quantifiable, although school goals were filled with measurable outcomes such as: specific strategies, numerous directions, expectations of teachers and principal, and timelines for accomplishing school-wide objectives. Principal A and B School-Offering Individual Support. Both principals identified that their personal acknowledgment, approbation, respect, encouragement, and feedback directed to teachers were their main method to emphasize that teachers were important and valuable to the school. PA and PB also indicated that they supported teachers by engaging them in both personal and professional conversations. Both principals felt they supported teachers by offering them opportunities to -take- on leadership roles in school committees, which they asserted helped them to make school-wide decisions to improve student instruction. The above-mentioned factors all contributed to teachers also feeling that their principal was accessible, and approachable, supportive, and collegial. The PATs and PBTs identified that their principals were able to influence school conditions positively by: providing a tranquil learning environment, working collectively with teachers, communicating with and attentively listening to teachers, making teachers aware that their individual abilities were recognized and nurturing leadership opportunities for teachers to work on different committees connected to improving academics and character education. In both schools, teachers also identified that their principal was neither offensive nor retaliatory. Rather, each principal helped them work towards achieving one collective goal. As well, teachers also felt that principals cared about them personally and professionally and remained available and accessible. The
  • 248 PATs and PBTs felt that the principals' visibility within the school established a supportive work environment. The PATs viewed their principal as extremely approachable and informal. When it came to the students, they also felt he supported them. PA's behavior and demeanor made it clear to students that he was in charge. Therefore, the PATs believed that they never faced any real discipline problems. The PATs noted that even with a student discipline problem, they felt the principal would handle appropriately. By contrast, although the PBTs believed that PB was supported them in different areas, they felt that PB could be unpredictable about student discipline. The PBTs identified how several teachers in the building felt as though the principal was not supportive because of her different views on how students needed to be disciplined. The PBTs suggested that her lack of clarity and communication on discipline negatively affected how teachers felt supported in this one area. This issue is further discussed in a later section titled Principal A and B School—Transformational Leadership Effect on Information and Decision- making given the associations which the PBTs made for PB decision-making. Interestingly, while the PBTs raised the discipline issue, PB never mentioned it. Principal A and B School—Transformational Leadership Effect on Purpose and Goals. Both principals believed that the purpose of their school was to make teachers feel part of the same team. An additional commonality which emerged from both schools was the way the principals utilized their teacher committees. PA and PB both worked alongside their committees to develop new programs and review school goals. Both principals also felt that teachers viewed this committee as a way to shape the purpose of the school.
  • 249 A difference between both schools related to how the purposes of the school were interpreted, because of the unique meanings they were given. Although both principals discussed that the goals were important for establishing clear messages about the school's focus different teachers may have interpreted the purpose of the school differently. In PA's school, goals were utilized to support the school vision. Therefore, teachers identified that the implicit purpose of the school was for them to link the events of their classroom with the school vision instead of connecting to the goals. In PB's school, the school vision was used to enhance school goals. Accordingly, PB and teachers met frequently throughout the school year to evaluate their specific purpose and directions. Therefore, PB assumed that teachers implicitly understood the purpose and goals of the school. This example highlights a fundamental difference of how teachers perceived the school's purpose. The purpose of PA's school was defined in terms of following the school vision this permeated what PA and teachers perceived as important. Purpose and goals were entwined with the philosophy of the vision. The meaningful goals were connected to everyone working together to follow the vision instead of focusing daily on actual smaller goals. Everyone believed that the goals would take care of themselves if they were aligned with the vision. Without minimizing their importance, goals were nonetheless accomplished by adhering to the vision. Finally, PA and teachers referred to their school as being the "friendly school" and a "family;" and if all worked hard, the school would succeed. By contrast, PB assisted teachers to make connections towards establishing meaningful goals. PB's school was specific about the focus of these goals. Teachers
  • reviewed both purpose and goals through their participation and involvement in various school committees. The school vision was not a contributing factor in establishing the pragmatic design of the purpose and goals, by was used solely as an idealistic metaphor for teachers to conceptualize as a future school achievement. At PB's school, the goals for the school were viewed as attainable and measurable descriptions of what will be accomplished as well as what had already been accomplished. Finally, at meetings, PB and teachers would attentively review the school's purpose and goals by outlining their short-term and long-term goals. Principal A and B School-Transformational Leadership Effect on School Planning. PA and PB pointed out that their school had a strategic action plan in place which had been developed to implement school goals. The school plan also assisted them in monitoring school goals. Teachers had input into developing the school's strategic action plan. Two common themes surfaced from both schools relating to school planning were: helping teachers to understand their instructional responsibilities, and helping teachers grasp how their role was connected to school goals. PA and PB identified that communication was vital to ensuring a successful school plan. Both principals felt they clarified for teachers verbally and through written correspondence what was expected from the plan. Both principals also encouraged teachers to review student data to improve instruction. Accordingly, PA and PB indicated that decisions for the school were made after careful deliberation and examination of student scores and needs and included teacher input. To ensure that meaningful goals permeated the school environment, PA and PB stated that their strategic action plans provided teachers with specific timelines and responsibilities. Additionally, the prevalent
  • 251 attributes of both principals' school plans highlighted objectives connected to school goals, school district goals, and the New Jersey State Department of Education mandates. PA and PB indicated that the intent of the school's strategic action plan was to help teachers improve student instruction and student learning. The PATs and PBTs felt that their principals clarified to teachers that the school plans were connected to designing academic programs which reflected what students needed to thrive academically and socially. Both groups of teachers explained that they were given student data with which to establish instructional plans for their classroom. Specifically, in PA's school, the documents which PA presented to teachers for review were utilized at the grade level so that teachers work together when designing their classroom objectives with other grade-level teachers. In PB's school, teachers were required to review test scores to help them establish goals and objectives for their individual classrooms, thereby working independently to establish classroom objectives. Both principals stated their belief that teachers should be allowed to make mistakes which could become valuable learning experiences. However, a theme which emerged from both schools was connected to how principals were perceived by their teachers when mistakes were made. In PA's school, the PATs expressed that there was "no excuse" for certain types of mistakes once PA professed clear expectations. As a result, teachers understood that they not only had to understand the school plan but were required to follow it without errors. In PB's school, school plans were reviewed in detail at meetings to ensure that everyone fully comprehended the building procedures; if they were not followed, teachers risked having to leave the school. It was well understood that PB would not permit any negligence in following the goals or plan.
  • 252 Principal A and B School-Transformational Leadership Effect on Organizational Culture. PA and PB identified that effective communication was a significant factor in successfully fostering a collaborative and cohesive work environment. Developing shared meanings within their school helped both principals to shape existing practices. PA and PB stated that they desired to establish norms, values, and beliefs within the school that were connected to developing a community which sought to accomplish goals focusing students' academic and social benefits. PA and PB also felt that their teachers cooperated with them to develop shared meanings for the school. Both principals cited their teachers' belief in their school vision as being an example of how teachers have established shared meanings and shared values within their respective schools. Both sets of teachers agreed that their principals shaped the decisions and practices which took place in the school. They also felt that their principals' behavior had positively influenced teachers' interactions. For example, the teachers identified that their principals encouraged them to endorse the school vision, work to accomplish school goals, and establish a culture in which teachers were encouraged to become actively involved in the school. Principals and teachers agreed that the culture was connected to doing the best for students. These findings indicate that the PATs and PBTs felt their principals fostered a collaborative work environment by working alongside teachers. Additionally, principals and teachers perceived communication as the main factor in developing shared meanings, values, and agreed-upon norms within the school. In short, by communicating with one another and listening to each other's concerns school culture has improved.
  • 253 Another common theme emerging from the teachers was that the school culture was prominently established by each principal. For example, teachers identified that their school values resembled the same prideful disposition held by their principals. The PATs and PBTs observed that their schools took on characteristics connected to the principal's leadership style and personality. Teachers perceived that principals helped to shape both good and bad practices existing in their schools. For example, the PATs and PBTs felt their principals were very pleasant; however, one the implicit norms of both schools was that everyone knew to follow the principal's directions and to obtain permission before doing anything on their own. Accordingly, teachers admitted feeling nervous about making a mistake; this anxiety sometimes hindered teachers and principals from working cooperatively. Lastly, the PATs indicated that their principal's collaborative and facilitative leadership approach enabled the norms of the school to be internalized by teachers, i.e., focusing teachers on the school vision. The PBTs viewed PB as insightful in her leadership practices, thereby helping her shape the norms of the school, i.e., focusing teachers on meeting school goals. The PBTs believed that PB's aspiration to help students and teachers was also connected to her ambition to have the best school in the district. Principal A and B School-Transformational Leadership Effect on Structure and Organization. The views of PA and PB about the relationships established within the school indicated that both recognized the importance of helping teachers see the value in promoting communication, trust, active listening, and respect, and of being attentively monitored by staff members. The findings indicate that the relationships between principals and teachers were developed through extensive dialogue about which academic
  • 254 programs should be instituted to promote student success. Equally important were the connections which principals believed were necessary to establish an inviting school environment. The culture of respect between principals and teachers, as well as the principals' ability to encourage teachers, was meaningful in how principals and teachers perceived their school environment. For example, the culture of respect for other people's ideas, teachers' support of school vision and goals, and teachers' commitment to student success were prevalent throughout the school and was reflected how both principals communicated with their teachers. Accordingly, the relationship in both schools seemed to have contributed to school culture and success. An additional theme applicable to both schools was that a very large percentage of both teaching staffs volunteered for different committees and projects. PA and PB believed this was due to their establishing positive relationships with teachers, and making it clear that teachers were valued and appreciated for their efforts and contributions. PA felt that his ability to listen to teachers helped him build genuine relationships with his staff. PB identified that her deliberate awareness and mindfulness of her actions allowed her to reflect on her leadership practices and, therefore, enhanced her ability to build relationships among teachers. In both schools, teachers appeared comfortable when they approached the principal and noted how they enjoyed working at their school. Principals and teachers appeared to get along and openly displayed fondness and respect for one another. One factor that reflected the relationships in both schools was connected to how teachers viewed their principals. Teachers in both school viewed their principal as having established a clear presence within the building. For example, the PATs and PBTs viewed
  • 255 their principals' behavior as positively influencing the relationships in the school because of their ability to effectively communicate with, listen to and support teachers. The PATs and PBTs also felt that their principals had personality traits and behavioral qualities which were connected to effective leadership characteristics. For example, teachers described the principals' actions as caring, sincere, efficient, respectful, and supportive. Although teachers clearly respected both principals, each principal was viewed uniquely. For example, the PATs viewed their relationship with PA as informal, professional, and casual. The relationship between the PBTs and PB was identified as formal, professional, and friendly. However, it must be noted that all teachers repeatedly commented on how their principals' actions appeared extremely deliberate at times. For example, the PTAs viewed PA's behavior as sincere ye, deliberate. The PBTs stated that PB's leadership was perceived as reflective and deliberate. Teachers felt the deliberate actions of their principals may have allowed relationships among staff members to thrive, because they were purposeful and established through each principal's leadership practices. Principal A and B School-Transformational Leadership Effect on Information and Decision-making. A reoccurring theme found in both schools was that both principals included teachers in the decision-making process, but emphasized they alone were ultimately responsible for making the majority of decisions. Another recurring theme in this area was that information was provided to teachers directly from teacher committees existing in the school. The principals explained that they shared information with teacher committees to hopefully receive constructive feedback from teachers. Both principals shared information with teachers at faculty meetings, and grade-level meetings, and via e-
  • mail and written memos and policies. Principals also stated that they gave teachers positive personal comments by placing cards and notes in their mailboxes. The decisions made about the school were linked to ideas obtained from different places, such as: the AFG committee, grade-level teachers, secretaries, the custodian, students, school aides, parents, and the school district. Moreover, the information shared with teachers was used to educate the teaching staff about student academic scores, school policies, and school goals. Principals identified that the decisions made in the school were used to establish trust with teachers, inform teachers, and determine the direction of the school. The principals provided information about substantive items connected to information on student's abilities in an effort to ensure that teachers could make informed classroom decisions. Principals also provided teachers with information on what they needed and wanted them to accomplish as it pertained to the following: school goals, school policies, the school's strategic action plan, and school-wide events and activities. The PATs and PBTs identified that their manner of involvement in making decisions is connected to what their principals believe is of value for them to understand. Teachers cited working with the principal to make decisions about school programs that addressed school goals and instructional practices. The PATs indicated that they received documents from the principal in an informal manner, yet the information was precise, straightforward, to the point, and brief. By contrast, PB's documents given to the PBTS was identified as formally written, very detailed, and extensive. PB's correspondence usually contained a wealth of information which needed to be reviewed carefully so that nothing would be overlooked.
  • In terms of problem-solving, PA noted that by sharing information with teachers, he was able to resolve problems with little difficulty. The PATs points of view were considered by PA before he made decisions. PA also believed that it was important to share as much information with teachers as possible because this ensured that pertinent information was available to everyone. PA also explained that including teachers in the decision-making process was extremely important to him because it helped to set goals, clarify ideas, and resolve issues before they became problems. By contrast, PB said she made teachers aware of the information they needed to know. Although PB believed that teachers should be aware of what goes on, she also stated that teachers knew they would not be involved in making every decision. An extremely divisive area for teachers was linked to PB's decisions about student discipline. The PBTs stressed that PB was not clear in explaining the practices and policies which were in place for disciplining students. The PATs by contrast did not express any concerns about how PA provided information or made decisions on student discipline. The PATs said they were extremely satisfied with how PA handled this situation. Unfortunately, the PBTs felt contrary and expressed dissatisfaction over how PB articulated her decision-making about student discipline. The PBTs indentified that they believed PB was ambiguous and did not give students the punishment they warranted. In fact, the PBTs alleged that these actions were directly opposed to what teachers believed the school vision or school goals represented.
  • 258 Summary The analysis of the preceding data provided an understanding of how a principal's leadership is perceived to have an effect on school conditions, framed with the multiple theories on leadership that contrast with what individuals exemplify to become effective leaders (Barnett et al., 2001; Hallinger & Heck, 1996; Leithwood & Jantzi, 2000; Marks & Printy, 2003; Sergiovanni, 1994; Silins et al., 2002). The investigation into two elementary principals' leadership practices provided a robust and practical analysis of how transformational leadership is perceived to affect school conditions rather than merely produce a theoretical conceptualization of this form of leadership. The data from this study suggest that at the very minimum, it is necessary to explore how a principal's leadership abilities can influence school conditions so that the concept of transformational leadership becomes less vague and uncertain. Based on the information presented in this chapter, Chapter V will discuss the overall degree to which these principals demonstrated three attributes of transformational leadership in their behavioral practices as well as how these practices were perceived to influence school conditions.
  • 259 Chapter V SUMMARY OF CONCLUSIONS, DISCUSSION, AND RECOMMENDATIONS Introduction This chapter provides the results and conclusions drawn from the research conducted. The behavioral practices of two elementary principals were analyzed to uncover the type of transformational leadership practices they displayed in their everyday interactions with teachers. Transformational leaders are those who develop within their followers the capacity for a personal commitment to accomplish common organizational goals (Leithwood & Jantzi, 2000). Additionally, individuals who demonstrate transformational leadership in the school setting are able to affect school conditions by their behavioral practices (Leithwood & Jantzi, 2000). The intent of this analysis of key findings on how principals and teachers perceive leadership is to identify whether these transformational leadership practices intersected with five specific school conditions. This chapter first summarizes the responses to the research questions. Next, a cross-case analysis and discussion of each principal's elementary school are provided to illustrate connections found in the study. Finally, recommendations and conclusions are offered, as well as possibilities for future research.
  • 260 Summary This study was conducted on the premise that schools are persistently challenged to achieve higher standards of academic excellence, and educational leaders are expected to be at the forefront of most school improvement initiatives (Leithwood & Jantzi, 2000). Thus, it was necessary to explore the significant leadership practices and characteristics that principals display in school settings to focus on improving school conditions and increasing student achievement as final goals. The objective of this study was to reveal whether or not principals were perceived as affecting school conditions through their leadership practices. Even though a number of varied descriptions of transformational leadership existed (Barnett et al., 2001; Bass & Avolio, 1994; Burns, 1978; Hallinger & Heck, 1996; Leithwood & Jantzi, 1999, 2000; Marks & Printy, 2003), Leithwood and Jantzi's (2000) definition of transformational leadership was used to frame this study because it provided the clearest depiction of what to examine in the leadership practices of principals. This study sought to verify if principals and teachers perceive that the principals engage in two specific behaviors that are derived from the model of transformational leadership that has been developed by researchers. Research indicates that building school vision and goals, in conjunction with offering support, are significant leadership dimensions typifying successful transformational school leaders (Leithwood et al., 1996). As the researcher, I attempted to ascertain if two elementary principals displayed transformational leadership behavior in action, not solely in theory.
  • 261 Research Questions Research Question #1: In what ways, if any, do principals perceive that they build school vision and goals and offer individual support to teachers? Both principals perceived that they had established an effective school vision for teachers by communicating a practical philosophical ideology which they believed identified what they wanted the school to be; this ideology also reflected what principals and teachers ultimately desired to accomplish within the school. The principals stated that the primary intention of the school vision was to foster an identity for the school. Findings indicated that the principal intentionally used the school vision as a way to inspire and motivate teachers into voluntarily becoming involved in the school to accomplish a common objective. Both principals perceived the school vision as being worthwhile and beneficial to the school's overall success. It was essentially in place to symbolize to others (teachers, students, parents, and the community) the core beliefs of the school, its intended accomplishments, its beliefs, and what it represented. Moreover, the vision was helpful in establishing a focal point to reference as everyone united, to help students succeed. Although the school vision was extremely important to the principals, a significant difference emerged about its influence on teachers to achieve school objectives. Findings indicated that for each principal, the vision had different purposes in each school. For example, PA felt that the school vision was the guiding principle in establishing the school's focus; for him, it was more important to follow the vision than to strictly adhere to the goals, which would be fulfilled if the vision were followed. In
  • 262 contrast, PB believed that the school vision was important, but primarily functioned to support school goals. It is noteworthy that both principals acknowledged how school vision encouraged teachers to work towards achieving the goals. The difference is that PA used the vision to get teachers to accomplish school objectives while PB used the vision to inspire teachers to focus on school objectives. The principals' leadership practices influenced the establishment of meaningful goals within the school, particularly by communicating to teachers how the goals were connected to improving student learning and teacher instruction. Both principals believed they had communicated their expectations clearly, identified the school's main purpose, and modeled what they expected from teachers. In short, the key function of the goals was to improve students' academic needs in math, and language arts, and build social skills through character education projects. In other ways, both principals felt they had effectively communicated school goals to teachers by working closely with and supporting them, identifying the school's primary function to them, and disseminating useful information via detailed documents. For example, the school goals on improving scores were embedded into the school's strategic action plan, along with Central School District, State Department of Education, and the principal's school initiatives and mandates. Both principals perceived that they increased teacher involvement within the school by including teachers in establishing some of the goals or ascertaining that teachers felt they had a voice. The principals also intentionally and repeatedly emphasized the need for teachers to join school committees that were responsible for reviewing student data, developing action plans, and presenting information to teachers.
  • Principals perceived that they offered individual teacher support by establishing relationships within the school which stirred a sense of commonality, collegiality, and consensus. Principals believed that these relationships were cultivated by communicating with teachers regularly, modeling behaviors the principals wanted to see, presenting personal and professional support, and establishing a positive school environment. For the principals, a significant factor in supporting teachers was connected to their ability to develop a collaborative and cohesive work environment which focused on doing the best for teachers and students. Principals felt they supported teachers by repeatedly articulating the school's vision and goals throughout the year at various meetings. Giving teachers an inspirational school vision and identifiable school goals helped to establish a productive learning environment. For example, principals found that a clear vision and goals helped teachers improve instructional practices. Principals influenced school conditions by deliberately extending themselves to provide practical resources teachers needed to improve instruction. For example, authentic professional development opportunities were connected to what teachers were expected to accomplish in their classrooms. Principals believed it was their responsibility to establish a positive working environment for teachers, particularly by encouraging teachers to assume leadership roles in committees. In addition, the supportive work environment was achieved by the principals' approachability, trustworthiness, and accessibility. In sum, principals perceived that they built school vision and goals and offered individual support to teachers within the school setting when their leadership practices:
  • 264 Build School Vision: (1) Inspired teachers to work together toward one common purpose; (2) Intentionally modeled desired behavior practices; (3) Articulated the school's high-quality standards; (4) Referenced the school vision at meetings, in documents, and through daily practices; and (5) Communicated an ideal that could motivate teachers to achieve goals and remain focused on the school's purpose and direction. Build School Goals: (1) Connected student learning to high-quality instructional practices; (2) Identified the connection between goals and school improvement efforts; (3) Provided clear expectations of how the vision was connected to the goals; (4) Clarified the school's focus and pragmatic direction by shaping practices to advance effective school planning; and (5) Provided a detailed strategic action plan to help teachers fulfill the school's purpose of ensuring students' academic and social success. Offer Individual Support to Teachers: (1) Encouraged teachers to take risks and not be afraid to fail; (2) Acknowledged, affirmed, and celebrated teachers' talents, efforts, and achievements; (3) Developed a culture of trust by ensuring that teachers had an active voice in the school by actively listening, communicating, and providing positive feedback; (4) Provided resources for teachers (such as professional development) to develop enriching academic programs connected to enhancing instruction; and (5) Collaborated on new goals and programs by involving teachers in committees and in the decision-making process.
  • 265 Research Question #2: In what ways, if any, do teachers perceive that principals demonstrate these two transformational leadership practices within the school setting? Teachers identified that the core beliefs, values, and principles representing the school were reflected in the school vision. Teachers perceived that the vision was important primarily because their principals repeatedly communicated its significance to them. For example, principals were perceived as articulating the vision at faculty meetings, in conversations, and in documents and memos. Additionally, when principals worked closely with teachers to accomplish tasks they were perceived as being successful in tying these ideas to the vision. Teachers believed principals did this to assist and motivate them to remain focused on the school's desired accomplishments and specific objectives. Teachers felt that their principals influenced school conditions by communicating their ideas and hopes for the success of the school, teachers, and students. For all teachers, the principals demonstrated effective leadership skills when they articulated and promoted the relevance of the school vision to what they were trying to accomplish. For example, principals effectively communicated the importance of the vision by linking it to developing school goals which positively influenced classroom conditions. While all teachers identified the vision's importance as the school's direction, one difference emerged in how teachers perceived the connection between vision and goals. Similar to the principals' perspective, the PATs felt that the vision was the primary focus of the school and directed several school initiatives. By contrast, the PBTs felt the vision was important, but was primarily in place to support school goals and did not direct school initiatives.
  • Teachers identified that clear goals were set when the principals clarified what was expected of the school from the State Department of Education and the school district. Teachers stated that building goals were primarily connected to math, language arts and character education. The principals supported goals and initiatives which the teachers themselves wanted to accomplish within the school and modeled behavior practices connected to their intended accomplishments. Two out of 10 teachers were concerned over feeling unclear about school goals. Five out of 10 teachers also felt that their school juggled too many goals at the same time. Contrary to this belief to too many school goals, 8 out of 10 teachers felt that school goals were extremely helpful in ensuring that the efficient functioning of the school. Additionally, 8 out of 10 teachers believed that their principals' insistence that teachers have a good grasp on school goals helped to establish effective school plans. Eight out of 10 teachers believed their principals provided clear and well-informed details about the goals. All teachers believed that the principal purposefully worked with teachers to complete tasks related to reviewing student data. For example, teachers were clear that principals communicated the school's purpose and direction as linked to improving instruction by reviewing student data which were connected to test scores. All teachers felt their principals valued data reviews as a direct influence on lesson preparation. Accordingly, teachers cited one fundamental goal as the principals' expectation that they use the data to make informed instructional practices for classroom work. Teachers repeatedly emphasized how their principals used data to develop school programs and improve instruction.
  • 267 According to teachers, Principals influenced school conditions when they established a professional working environment by providing opportunities to be involved in decision-making and creating a pleasant school climate. Teachers also perceived that the principals supported them by developing a school environment which emphasized a clear understanding of what occurred in the school. For example, teachers felt principals successfully initiated a positive school culture when they received information connected to improving classroom instruction. This support was also tied in with professional development which could assist them with their requirements in the classroom. Teachers felt that their principals' accessibility and visibility in the school and classrooms was important for demonstrating to all parties how committed the principals were to ensure high-quality work. Finally, the teachers underscored their principals' ability in reaching out to intentionally praise them for good work. All teachers found this to be valuable for feeling supported and appreciated. However, a significant difference emerged in how the teachers sometimes felt about the principals' support when it came to making mistakes. Although, both principals expressed their belief in allowing teachers to fail as a learning experience, findings indicated that teachers felt uncomfortable about making mistake for fear of not being tolerated or supported. For example, teachers stated that an implicit norm of the building was that they needed to ask permission to do anything out of the ordinary on their own, and then were obligated to follow principal's directions in detail. Teachers perceived that principals demonstrated transformational leadership practices (building school vision and goals and offering individual support to teachers) within the school setting when their leadership practices:
  • 268 Build School Vision: (1) Connected the school vision to a common purpose for the school; (2) Worked with the teachers in completing tasks to inspire them to support school objectives; (3) Displayed leadership practices which reinforced high-quality work connected to improving teacher instruction and student performance; (4) Intentionally emphasized the importance of active involvement in various projects connected to student development, i.e. Character Education Projects; and (5) Communicated the value and importance of reflecting the school vision in daily practices such as daily announcements, individual communication, written correspondence, and meeting agendas. Build School Goals: (1) Included teachers in developing several key school goals; (2) Provided clear and well-informed details about school goals; (3) Modeled behavior practices connected to high-quality instructional practices and school improvement efforts; (4) Ensured that the school strategic action plan was connected to fulfilling academic goals and improving students' behavioral development; (5) Developed detailed strategies focused on improving academic instruction by reviewing student data which teachers could use to enhance instruction. Offer Individual Support To Teachers: (1) Demonstrated a commitment to being accessible and approachable to teachers; (2) Encouraged teachers to become active leaders in the school by joining committees; (3) Provided teachers with information and professional development opportunities to improve classroom instruction; (4) Included teachers in developing key goals by effectively listening, communicating, and involving teachers in the decision-making process; and (5) Encouraged leadership opportunities for teachers to as a way to motivate their individual growth and progress.
  • 269 Research Question #3: If teachers perceive that their principals use these two transformational leadership practices, in what ways, if any, have the five school conditions (purpose and goals, school planning, organizational culture, structure and organization, and information and decision-making) been affected by the behaviors of principals? Do teachers perceive that these transformational leadership practices influence any of the five school conditions? Both principals' ability to communicate the vision and goals of the school to teachers was critical in establishing the school's clear focus and direction. For example, PA articulated the importance of using the vision as a means to establish purpose and direction. By contrast, PB felt that adhering to goals would ascertain the purpose and direction. Despite how principals presented or the teachers interpreted the school vision and goals, and notwithstanding the difficulties that teachers had in differentiating between vision and goals, teachers were overtly aware of what needed to be accomplished within the school because of their principals' effective communications. Teachers tended to believe that the purpose and goals reflected the ideology that everyone was working towards the same objectives because the principals provided pertinent information about the school's main function. The principals' leadership practices were viewed as predominately focusing teachers on helping students improve academically and socially. Through their behavior practices the principals made teachers feel part of the same team by believing in the identical school vision, and collaborating on committees to develop objectives to improve student performance, thereby directly influencing the school's purpose and goals.
  • 270 Teachers received school plans as a useful method of monitoring what took place in the school. For example, teachers perceived their principals as using student data to design school programs, make curriculum decisions, and provide support for teachers to improve instruction. Both principals' deliberate actions were seen as connected to the vision and goals. Moreover, teachers indicated that they believed the principal's planning for the school intentionally focused on providing teachers with solutions, resources, and constructive information to support the vision and achieve the goals. All teachers perceived principals as influencing the school's organizational culture by intentionally using the vision to promote teachers' beliefs about the school. For example, the school vision helped teachers to perceive that the school was united in working towards one common purpose. Similarly, principals used school goals to describe for teachers what the school needed to achieve. Accordingly, principals purposefully influenced the school culture by making sure that they supported and encouraged teachers. The principals' direct leadership practices were perceived to have fostered the beliefs, opinions, ideas, and assumptions of teachers. For example, their behavior practices led teachers to believe that their principals were individuals who acknowledged, respected, and cared about teachers. Accordingly, teachers perceived that the principal established shared meanings, values, norms, and beliefs within the school which fastened feelings of self-worth and importance to the overall mission, purpose, and direction of the school. Teachers perceived that the principals' leadership practices also influenced the organizational culture within the school by creating an environment of unity and harmony
  • 271 that permeated every relationship. Teachers felt the climate was pleasant and nurturing and that the principals purposefully modeled the behaviors they wanted to see in the school. Accordingly, several school norms were perceived to be directly linked to the principals' leadership practices. Findings indicated that the principals' ability to create a shared vision helped to energize the school by establishing a school community that fostered individual growth and collective progress. Additionally, principals were known for purposefully celebrating teachers' accomplishments, thereby establishing a culture in which teachers felt supported and reinforced for their good work. As a result, the principal shaped teachers' beliefs about their own teaching practices by validating and acknowledging their achievements. Teachers perceived their principals' ability to effectively listen and communicate with them, and convey information that drew them into the decision-making process. The principals' leadership practices influenced their closer involvement with the school. For example, teachers pointed out a large portion of the staff volunteered for school activities because they felt these were genuine opportunities to also contribute significantly to the school's progress and to the overall mood and climate. Ultimately, the school conditions were shaped by the principals' beliefs that teacher committees need to be involved in establishing school goals. Teachers often said they felt overwhelmed by the large amounts of information they received from the principal. However, when committees acted as a liaison to the teaching staff, and the principals worked closely with teachers, then principals could successfully influence practices in the school and provide teachers with calming approaches to handling the wealth of information presented to them. For example, principals utilized teachers in
  • committees to identify the explicit programs needed to communicate school goals. The committees in turn provided principals with opportunities to share pertinent information with teachers for use in strategic action plans. Committees also offered opportunities to demonstrate to their teaching staff that the school's purpose and direction were established with teacher input. Teachers believed that the transformational leadership practices of principals influenced school conditions in the following ways: Purpose and Goals: (1) Principals identified and discussed with teachers the school's primary objectives either through the vision or goals; (2) Principals communicated high academic expectations through the use of the vision or goals; (3) Principals ensured that the teachers' professional development was connected to what teachers needed to do to enhance classroom instruction; (4) Principals provided opportunities for committees to articulate school goals to the teaching staff to develop a common understanding of the school's purpose and goals; and (5) Principals deliberately encouraged teachers to assume leadership roles by asking them to join committees to share decision-making. School Planning: (1) Principals focused school planning on providing pragmatic solutions to address school objectives; (2) Principals coordinated school plans to reflect what the State Department of Education, the Central School District, and the principal and teachers wanted to focus on within the school; (3) Principals aligned school plans to support, guide, and assist teachers in improving classroom instruction; (4) Principals provided teachers with opportunities to join committees to assist in developing school
  • plans; and (5) Principals deliberately focused on sharing student data with teachers to develop school plans directed at improving student achievement. Organizational Culture: (1) Principals collaborated with teachers to help shape the meanings, values, and norms needed to improve school goals; (2) Principals developed a trusting environment for teachers by promoting the vision and establishing the shared beliefs representing the school; (3) Principals effectively communicated what they believed was significant to the school's overall success; (4) Teachers were supported in working collegially with the principal to complete tasks; and (5) Principals shaped the norms of the school by focusing teachers' attention on understanding the necessity to meet specific school goals. Structure and Organization: (1) A culture of respect permeated the relationships within the school; (2) Principals effectively communicated the school vision to teachers which established positive relationships to flourish; (3) Principals demeanor and intentional leadership practices fostered opportunities for everyone to work collaboratively in developing school plans; (4) Principals demonstrated behavior which was reliable, supportive, and essential maintaining a positive climate; and (5) Principals' approachability and availability contributed to school effectiveness because they worked collaboratively with teachers to complete tasks. Information and Decision-making: (1) Principals provided trustworthy and reliable information to teachers which kept them updated and well-informed; (2) Principals shaped teachers' perceptions of them by sharing ideas to influence positive . relationships in the school; (3) Principals provided teachers with information to guide what they wanted to accomplish within the school; (4) Principals supported teachers by
  • 274 including them in the decision-making process; and (5) Principals provided teachers with meaningful information which helped teachers make decisions, develop trust, and connect them to the school vision and goals. Cross-Case Analysis and Discussion—Principal A School and Principal B School Transformational Leadership-Effect on School Conditions The predominant attributes of transformational leadership found in this study of two elementary principals can be characterized according to three major themes: (1) effective communication skills; (2) developing a culture of trust; and (3) modeling desired behavioral practices. The three themes (effective communication, developing a culture of trust, and modeling desired behavior practices) were germane to Leithwood and Jantzi's (1995, 1999, 2000) studies. For example, when principals demonstrated the ability to communicate their ideas effectively, develop a culture of trust which supported teachers, and model the behavior practices they wanted teachers to demonstrate, they were viewed as leaders who exemplified characteristics ascribed to transformational leadership types of practices. In other words, when principals displayed these characteristics, they were perceived as establishing a school community which supported the school vision, valued school goals, and offered teachers support.
  • Figure 3. Core of Transformational Leadership Practices—Influence on School Conditions "Effective Communication" 1-providing clear expectations to teachers; 2- identifying the schools primary function. Core of Transformational Leadership Practices -Vision - Goals - Offering Individual Support "Modeling Desired Behavior Practices" 1- shared leadership practices; 2- high-quality work ethics. "Developing a Culture of Trust" 1- acknowledging teachers efforts; 2- providing useful information for effective decision-making. Influence on School Conditions 2. 3. 4. 5. Purpose and Goals School Planning Organizational Culture Structure and Organization Information and Decision-making
  • Furthermore, research indicates that a significant part of improving school conditions is connected to a leader who encourages effective communication between individuals (Fullan, 1991; Hallinger & Heck, 1996; Leithwood & Jantzi, 2000, 2005; Marzano, 2005; Senge, 1990; Silins et al., 2002; Sergiovanni, 2007). Marks and Printy (2003) noted that transformational leaders can develop trust within the organization by modeling for others organizational values, building collaboration among others, and creating structures for participation in school decisions. They also clarify that leaders do this by actively pursuing others to become involved in the school culture. Burns's (1978) definition of transformational leadership included leaders who displayed behaviors that motivated others to follow them. Bass and Avolio (1994) identified leaders who demonstrated the ability to be role models for their followers by providing meaning and challenge for them. The three themes prevalent in this study are discussed in the next section. The following analysis contrasts the two principals' behaviors with the ideal transformational behavior to identify if their leadership practices can be considered transformational. The intent is to determine how effective communication skills, developing a culture of trust, and modeling desired behavior practices were perceived to affect school conditions both positively and negatively. Effective Communication Skills Principals were identified as having effective communication skills when they displayed the following key factors: (1) providing clear expectations to teachers, and (2) identifying the school's primary function.
  • 277 Providing Clear Expectations to Teachers. Principals were viewed as demonstrating effective communication when expectations of teachers were made clear, when the principal communicated to teachers that they were important, when the principal engaged teachers in personal and professional conversations, and when the principal clearly articulated academic objectives to teachers. The communication of clear expectations to teachers cannot be understated. For example, findings indicated that the principals' ability to communicate effectively with teachers made the school vision and goals more readily understood. As a result, teachers believed they were better informed, understood the issues facing the school, and felt the school ran more efficiently. The school vision was viewed as a means of inspiring individuals within the school community to volunteer their efforts to what would benefit the school. The school vision established a school community which enabled principals and teachers to grow and progress (Fullan, 1991; Marzano, 2005; Senge, 1990; Sergiovanni, 2007; Silins et al., 2002). According to Senge (1990), this focus on sharing ideas within an organization can be reflective of the organization functioning collaboratively, what he describes as "systems thinking" (p. 7). Senge (1990) cites that creating a purposeful vision requires individuals and organizations to systemically imagine how they can unite together "around a common identity and sense of destiny" (p. 9). A theme which emerged from both schools was that principals were perceived as communicating effectively when they outlined a clear purpose for the school. Marzano et al. (2005) state that "good communication is a critical feature of any endeavor in which people work in close proximity for common purpose" (p. 46). Principals were perceived as providing effective communication when they worked together and when they
  • 278 demonstrated the ability, not only to articulate a school vision, but also to inspire teachers into believing that the school vision was important. Senge (1990) adds that "Vision becomes a living force only when people truly believe they can shape the future" (p. 231). Findings indicated that the principals believed student data needed regular review to develop specific plans for focus. Accordingly, principals and teachers met periodically throughout the school year in committees to review the specific purpose and directions of the school. The committees primarily focused on reviewing student data to establish actions which would accomplish the task of improving programs aimed at helping students. Moreover, both schools provided their teachers with a strategic action plan as a means of disseminating useful information to the teachers on student data. For example, both schools' strategic action plans incorporated students' test scores to establish appropriate instructional plans. Additionally, embedded in the strategic action plan were objectives for teachers and principals to follow. The strategic action plan thus supported teachers because it offered them a clear focus to follow. Principals were viewed as communicating effectively, when they clarified for teachers, vital information pertaining to school plans. Findings indicated that teachers felt that an effective school plan provided clear descriptions of what needed to be accomplished and improved classroom instructional practices, as well as identified the responsibilities of teachers and principals in completing tasks. Principals were also viewed as effective communicators when they shared information with teachers connected to helping them accomplish what was needed in the classroom. The teachers in this study acknowledged their appreciation that the principals communicated about student data because that information was useful for improving instruction.
  • The findings also suggested that the link between what the principals communicated as their own perception of the message and how others perceived the same message can be a factor determining the extent of clear understanding. That is, how the school vision and goals were understood depended on how teachers perceived their principals' communication of those concepts. For example, the findings revealed that the school vision was clearly understood by both principals and teachers, yet the school goals were not as clear in both schools. In this regard, the difference in understanding surfaced in how school goals were viewed. Some teachers in PA's school felt too many goals were not clearly identified, while other teachers felt that they were. In PA's school, the school vision was utilized to develop school plans and shape school practices. By contrast, in PB's school, the goal was perceived as interchangeable with the school vision and thus school plans were created around the school vision. In PB's school, goals were perceived to be more realistic and measurable, and so strategic plans were established around school goals. It was also shown that each school viewed its school vision as serving a different purpose. While the vision for both schools reflected the philosophical ideal of what everyone wanted the school to be the school vision was understood differently from school goals in each school. Although, both principals clearly communicated to teachers their desire to achieve one collective purpose, teachers may have had different interpretations of this communication as being their school's primary objective or not. That is PA communicated the importance of using the school vision to establish school purpose, while PB articulated that following school goals would ensure achieving school purpose.
  • Finally, open lines of communication between the principal and teachers were considered exceedingly important in each school, as this was the basis of establishing relationships in the school that supported teachers. Additionally, this was the explicit avenue for deciding on the focus of each school. According to Marzano et al. (2005), "One might say that effective communication is an implicit or explicit feature of most aspects of leadership" (p. 46). The findings support this statement as principals and teachers repeatedly expressed the importance of effective communication. Identifying the School's Primary Function. Another significant theme which surfaced in the study was that both principals and teachers verified the importance of the principal identifying, promoting, and communicating the school's primary function. For example, in both schools, the principals extended themselves to define school vision. Findings indicated that school vision helped to describe what principals and teachers believed the school represented. Having a shared vision helped principals express what they felt was of value. As Senge (1990) states, "Shared vision is vital for the learning organization because it provides the focus and energy for learning" (p. 206). A central component of each principal's vision was to inspire teachers to work hard and help students achieve. However, some differences surfaced in how both principals communicated what they believed to be of importance. For example, the primary function of PA's school was being connected to the school vision, expressed in the mottos: If we work hard, we will succeed" and "Welcome to the Friendly School." The intent of PA's school vision was to unite teachers, parents, students, and the principal to focus on their accomplishments, namely providing students with academic and social development. By contrast, PB was
  • 281 more pragmatic in identifying the primary function of the school. For example, although the vision was recognized as being important, its primary function was connected to school goals that met academic objectives and improved students' social development. PB's school identified three school goals as its primary focus: math, language arts, and character education. In sum, then, both Principals identified that their intent was to improve students' academic and social development, but handled this objective differently, PA with school vision and PB with school goals. PA's communication of the school vision established the implicit purpose and goals of the school, while his informality and lack of attention to detail may have unintentionally caused some teachers to believe that school goals were not as important as school vision. Similarly, PA's casual demeanor may have indirectly implied that school goals were not as a significant factor when defining school purpose as the vision was believed to be. It is important to note that PA also reiterated his belief that there were too many school goals and was concerned about protecting his teachers from feeling overwhelmed. By contrast, how PB methodically communicated school goals helped to explicitly identify for teachers, the purpose and direction of the school. For example, PB was viewed by her teachers as being an insightful leader and PB also self-identified as a reflective leader and "mindful" in daily practices. Perhaps PB's ability to deliberate about implementing school goals ensured that they were easily and clearly understood by her teachers. For example, both PB and teachers identified that she met teachers frequently to evaluate the school's purpose and direction-evidence of PB's reflective and mindful practices. Teachers described that PB viewed the school goals as the schools pragmatic
  • purpose and direction. Both PB and PBTs noted that school goals were attainable and measurable and provided descriptions of both present and past accomplishments. As part of the school's function, both principals were perceived as providing support for those initiatives which they wanted to accomplish within the school. For example, both principals wanted teachers to analyze students' test scores to improve instruction and gave time for teachers to meet and review student data and relevant materials to interpret the data. Accordingly, the principals' intentional practices clarified the schools' primary purpose, essentially what the principals wanted teachers to focus on. Marzano, et al. (2005) states: As described by Leithwood and Riehl (2003), 'Leadership involves purpose and direction. Leaders know the ends towards which they are striving. They pursue goals with clarity and tenacity, and are accountable for their accomplishments (p. 7).' (p. 50) Finally, principals were seen as demonstrating behavior practices which facilitated teachers in accomplishing different goals. For example, teachers viewed their principals as motivating them to do their very best. Teachers knew they had opportunities to voice concerns and ideas through their involvement in various committees. Teachers saw their principals' actions as often deliberate and thereby prioritizing for teachers what they believed was of most importance for the successful functioning of the school. Developing a Culture of Trust Principals were viewed as being able to develop a culture of trust when they displayed the following key factors: (1) acknowledging teachers' efforts, and (2) providing useful information for effective decision-making.
  • 283 Acknowledging Teachers' Efforts. Principals identified that they intentionally extended themselves to acknowledge teachers' efforts, and in doing so indirectly supported students. For example, teachers indicated that they felt acknowledged and supported by their principal when they received individual praise for a job well done. Teachers also felt their principal was good at sharing their accomplishments with other teachers in meetings and correspondence. Providing such affirmation helped to establish a culture which supported teachers. As Marzano et al. (2005) state, "Affirmation is the extent to which the leader recognizes and celebrates school accomplishments-and failures" (p. 41). Through purposeful and meaningful recognition and norms which maintained that teachers should be valued, principals developed trust. Findings indicated that principals gained this trust by sharing, mentoring, facilitating, and engaging teachers in personal and professional conversations. Part of the trust involved endorsing teachers' leadership abilities to become active in the school, especially through committees also contributing to a culture of trust were the structures principals provided within the school offered opportunities for teachers to become educational leaders. Teachers also expressed that the school took on several qualities of their principals'. For example, teachers believed that the principals' ability to make teachers and students feel at ease was reflected in the calmness within the school. Marzano et al. (2005) state: Youngs and King (2002) view beliefs as a subtle but powerful force used by the principal to effect change. They explained that 'one predominant way in which principals shape school conditions and teaching practices is through their beliefs' (pp. 643-644). (p. 51)
  • 284 Both principals believed that this collegial, calm, proactive culture came from the trust teachers had in them. However, teachers also tacitly feared not volunteering for committees once principals asked them to join because they were concerned about making mistakes and disappointing the principal, as the teachers mentioned repeatedly. A theme which existed in both schools was connected to teachers believing that the principal helped to shape the practices in the school. For example, an implicit norm of both schools was that everyone needed to follow the principal's directions. Teachers in both schools also expressed their concern and anxiety about making errors since both principals communicated their desire to obtain high standards of excellence. However, this may have been the teachers' perceptions that their principals would not tolerate mistakes. This was an interesting paradox, as both principals believed teachers should be given the opportunity to make mistakes without any punitive repercussions, just as they themselves were given the chances to make mistakes when they first began their careers as principals. These inconsistencies could be attributed to each principal's individual leadership practices. For example, teachers perceived PA as being informal and quick when communicating, interacting, and corresponding. In his haste, he may not have revealed the relevant and specific information teachers needed to fully comprehend the school goals. The lack of information, along with PA's generally quick communications, may have led some teachers to feel the goals were not as significant as the vision. By contrast, PB's leadership practices were detailed, clear, prescribed, and purposeful, thereby helping teachers develop a deeper understanding of school goals and allowing them to feel more assured of what was expected of them in a trusting environment.
  • 285 A key factor in knowing that teachers felt their principals trusted them was in by the way principals permitted teachers to make certain decisions. Teachers recognized many opportunities to be involved in making decisions by joining different committees. Principals felt that they had gained the trust of teachers because they had supported teachers in developing several school plans connected to improving instruction and by acceding to allow teacher committees to present pertinent information at meetings. The stratum of trust given to teachers identified that principals respected them as professionals. Providing Useful Information for Effective Decision-making. The decision- making process within both schools provided teachers with the opportunity to be included in the development of school plans as well as the direction of the school. When referencing the importance of involving teachers in the decision-making process, Marzano et al. (2005) cited the following: Silins, Mulford, and Zarins (2002) attest to the importance of this responsibility by noting that a school's effectiveness is proportional to 'the extent to which teachers participate in all aspects of the schools functioning-including school policy decisions and review-share a coherent sense of direction, and acknowledged the wider school community' (p. 618). They further explain that effective leadership is a function of 'the extent to which the principal works towards whole-staff consensus in establishing school priorities and communicates these priorities and goals to students and staff, giving a sense of overall purpose' (p. 620). (p. 52) Principals provided teachers with information about how they could take on leadership roles within the school. For example, PA identified that he felt he had provided teachers with a set of core beliefs, such as the school vision, which assisted in guiding teachers in initiating several projects. PB believed she had provided teachers with a set of clear goals to follow and teachers trusted her to make them aware of what was
  • required. PB then allowed her teachers to develop plans for their classrooms based on the information they received from her. These findings demonstrated that teachers were made to feel supported in both schools because principals viewed them as contributing to making decisions and being trustworthy. Accordingly, principals influenced the organizational structure of the school by providing teachers with shared meanings, established norms, and a set of core beliefs that valued teachers input into the decision-making process and helped them determine what needed to be accomplished in the school. Both principals believed they indirectly influenced students by directly influencing teachers. Marzano et al. (2005) state that "An effective leader builds a culture that positively influences teachers, who in turn, positively influence students" (p. 47). However, a strong negative influence emerged from School B on how teachers felt about PB's lack of support in the area of student discipline. Teachers indicated that PB did not provide clear or supportive information on this subject. Perhaps, in essence PB was being "reflective" in her leadership practices when reviewing student discipline, just as the Superintendent of the Central School District and teachers agreed PB was before making any decisions. Additionally, it may have been possible that teachers did not recognize the reflective leadership practices that PB demonstrated in hearing students' perspectives on a situation, thereby leading teachers to think the principal was not supportive. PB may have been reflecting on all aspects, and not solely a teacher's perspective, when disciplining students. Moreover, perhaps, students' points of views were also considered before disciplining them. Whether this was communicated
  • 287 effectively to every teacher needs to be determined. Some PBTs felt that PB did not provide enough information, while others felt she provided clear directions. By contrast, PA was perceived as providing clear information to teachers about disciplining students in his school. Perhaps teachers felt PA's demeanor served as a significant presence within the building and students may have been less inclined to misbehave. One theme emerging from School A was that students did not want to go to PA if they were in trouble and teachers did not want to make mistakes because PA would not look kindly on repeated errors. Perhaps PA had established a belief, norm, and culture within his building that he was approachable and friendly, yet someone whom teachers and students did not want to disappoint. Modeling Desired Behavioral Practices Principals were identified as having modeled behavioral practices which they hoped would pervade the school environment when they exhibited the following key factors: (1) shared leadership practices, and (2) high-quality work. Shared Leadership Practices. Principals were seen as modeling their expectations for the school by actively displaying the practices they hoped to see in the school community. Teachers considered the principals' high visibility as being a positive undertone of the principals' leadership practices. Visibility made the principal more approachable, supportive, and accessible to them and the students. In addition, because of high visibility, principals were felt to interact with teachers in a setting which fostered and encouraged them to share their ideas with the principal. As Marzano et al. (2005) state:
  • 288 The proposed effective visibility is twofold; first, it communicates the message that the principal is interested and engaged in the daily operations of the school; second, it provides opportunities for the principal to interact with teachers and students regarding substantive issues, (p. 61) Findings indicated that the principals' accessibility and visibility established an environment of support, respect, and determination to accomplish goals. Even with some commonalities, the shared leadership practices between principals and teachers differed in each school. For example, PA's mannerisms established a school culture which fostered collegiality between PA and teachers in group settings. In PB's school, teachers were required to work together in groups and individually to improve instructional practices. This difference may be connected to individual leadership style. For example, PA was perceived as extremely informal, approachable, friendly, and collaborative when working with teachers, whereas PB was far more formal, detailed and professional. A theme which emerged from the study was that PATs were split on how they understood school goals; in PB's school, everyone was familiar with them. It may be that PB's insistence that teachers work individually on reviewing how school goals can enhance classroom instruction helped teachers to better understand goals. PATs may have been less familiar with school goals because they were not required to review them individually, but only in groups. This lack of individual ownership may have accounted for ambiguity around goals in PA's school. By contrast, PB's attention to detail and reflective leadership practices helped her foster practices which made teachers feel more accountable. It is important to note that in both schools, teachers were evaluated on their progress in achieving school goals.
  • 289 It was commonly believed that the decisions and practices which took place in the school were shaped by the principals' behavior. For example, several decisions were intended to improve instructional practices for teachers. All teachers perceived their principals as establishing shared meanings, values, and agreed-upon norms, whenever principals demonstrated that teachers would be included in shaping the practices connected to improving student performance. Marzano et al. (2005) state: "our study defined the responsibility of Culture as the extent to which the leader fosters shared beliefs and a sense of community and cooperation among staff (p. 48). It was evident in both schools that a culture of respect between principals and teachers helped to establish the meaningful goals intentionally shaped by the principals. The organizational culture which existed within the school also reflected how teachers interacted with the principal. Teachers acknowledged that the principals primarily established school culture, and that the values of the school resembled the dispositions, style, and personality of their principals. Teachers appeared genuinely appreciative of the principals' practice of giving them notes to show appreciation. With PA, his caring response to teachers established a very warm, informal, and collegial working environment. PB's reflective leadership practices provided the school with structured goals and the explicit purposes. She worked deliberately, perhaps especially to enact her desire to make her school one of the best in the district. PA's statements usually reflected that his school should prepare students to meet the needs of the next grade level. High-quality Work. A theme surfacing in both schools was connected to the work practices behind principals establishing shared meanings, values, and agreed-upon norms within the schools. Principals believed that shared meanings could be set by shaping
  • 290 coherent practices, which were connected to goals focused on benefiting students. In discussing the origin of leadership and the influence that leaders have on the work of an organization, Sergiovanni (2007) stated: At root, school leadership is about connecting people morally to each other and to their work. The work of leadership involves developing shared purposes, beliefs, values, and conceptions themed to teaching and learning, community building, collegiality, character development, and other school issues and concerns, (p. 83) Both principals modeled high-quality work when they demonstrated an ability to provide teachers with support for curriculum, instruction, and assessment. This was a significant factor for successfully focusing on a collaborative and cohesive work environment that did what was best for students. Teachers believed their principals fostered a collaborative work environment, articulated a level of expertise in teaching and instruction, and gave teachers the support they needed to be successful. Findings indicated that principals were viewed as ultimately being responsible to ensure academics presented to students were of the highest quality. When reviewing the involvement of the principal in the areas of curriculum, instruction, and assessment, Marzano et al. (2005) stated: Fullan (2001) attests to the importance of this responsibility by explaining their principal's knowledge of effective practices in curriculum, instruction, and assessment is necessary to provide guidance for teachers on the day-to-day task of teaching and learning, (p. 54) Principals provided teachers with opportunities that fostered professional and intellectual development to help teachers improve instructional practices. Fullan (1991) cited that the principal is instrumental "in creating the conditions for the continuous professional development of teachers" (p. 168). In addition, the principal's ability to provide opportunities for professional development demonstrated their care about teacher
  • 291 growth and classroom work. An abundance of information (student data, academic enrichment programs, school goals, and school plans) was given to teachers to help them focus on sharing ideas towards one common purpose. AS Marzano et al. (2005) states: Intellectual Stimulation refers to the extent to which the school leader ensures that faculty and staff are aware of the most current theories and practices regarding effective schooling and make decisions of those theories and practices a regular aspect of the school's culture, (p. 52) Findings indicated that both principals and teachers viewed high-quality work as connected to the principals' demonstration of high-levels of expertise in academics and school management. Principals and teachers understood that the ultimate goal of the school was to provide students with an exemplary education. The involvement of teachers in various decision-making processes not only improved instruction, but also, established trust between principals and teachers. Interestingly, principals noted that sharing information with teachers helped them clarify their own ideas and resolve issues before they became problems, thus established stronger work practices in the school. When discussing the importance of developing shared values and common purposes between all stakeholders of the school community, Sergiovanni (2007) stated: The bonding together of people in special ways and the binding of them to shared values and ideas are the defining characteristics of schools as communities. Communities are defined by their centers of values, sentiments, and beliefs that provide the needed conditions for creating a sense of 'we' from 'I.'" (p. 103) High-quality work was described as the primary factor in how both principals and teachers perceived the principals' daily practices. For example, teachers felt principals were constantly making decisions about school programs, with the intent of improving instructional practices. Findings from Leithwood and Jantzi's (1995) study state: "doing good work on behalf on one's school, and being seen to do such work, is likely to be the
  • 292 most powerful strategy for positively influencing teachers' perceptions of one's leadership" (p. 23). The principals' direct actions of supporting teachers, gathering teachers to work towards one common purpose, actively modeling desired behaviors, attentively listening and communicating effectively all contributed to high-quality work and high ethical standards. Discussion of the Results from Cross-Case Analysis The leadership practices of the two elementary principals were found to be linked to the transformational leadership dimensions (vision, goals, offering teachers support) examined here. The behavior of the principals supported teachers in accomplishing several different tasks, such as volunteering to become active participants within the school. Teachers verified that the principals' strategies and behaviors were supportive and reflective of their leadership practices. The principals worked hard with teachers, respected their ideas, and developed a culture of trust. According to Leithwood and Jantzi's (2000) definition of transformational leadership, individuals who display an ability to build school vision and goals are perceived as fostering a sense of purpose in individuals by encouraging them to work together to achieve a common goal. The findings suggest that the principals' leadership practices did help to motivate teachers to support the school's primary purpose through a clear communication of the vision as the school's philosophical ideology. However, the degree to which principals described how they utilized the vision to establish the school's primary purpose varied.
  • 293 A distinction surfaced in how principals communicated the school's vision and goals. The findings suggest that the ideologies connected to vision and goals were two separate and distinct ideas within each school, as opposed to being defined primarily as one concept (Leithwood & Jantzi, 2000). Other studies also suggest that vision and goals are two distinct attributes, and thus should not be considered one factor of an individual's leadership ability. In essence, despite the general consensus on the definition of transformational leadership, agreement varies on the number of specific leadership dimensions and the importance of each dimension (Barnett et al., 2001; Leithwood & Jantzi, 1999, 2000, 2005; Marks & Printy, 2003; Silins et al, 2002). In PA's school, the vision was perceived as much easier to follow than goals, which were viewed as added tasks that overburdened staff. Accordingly, the vision became the primary focus of the school to meet school objectives, clarify the school's direction, and articulate what it attempted to accomplish. In PB's school, the primary function of the vision was to support school goals, which were pragmatic, versus abstract like the vision. The results here thus suggest that Leithwood and Jantzi's (2000) definition of building school vision and goals needs to be modified: vision and goals need to be viewed as two separate and distinct definitions of an individual's ability to display transformational leadership traits because as they were perceived to influence school conditions from different vantage points within each school. The findings indicated that the principals' behaviors supported teachers, particularly by listening to and communicating with teachers, providing them with information and professional development, including them in decision-making and other leadership roles, and involving them in school planning. Additionally, principals
  • established a school community which fostered teamwork by reinforcing that teachers were valued and instrumental in the school's work, direction, and plan. Burns's (1978) view of transformational leaders who worked with others to develop a common purpose by increasing their level of commitment and inspiring them to ascend to greater levels of personal growth. Principals modeled practices which reflected transformational leadership, such as being friendly, gracious, approachable, and affable (Bass & Avolio, 1988; Burns, 1978; Leithwood & Jantzi, 2000). They also influenced school conditions by purposefully contributing to the school's primary focus, demonstrating support, engendering a pleasant demeanor, and by sharing vision which embodied high standards of excellence. Their goals exemplified characteristics which could transform the school's organization. Teachers responded positively to the principals' ongoing interest in them. Teachers described how principals influenced school conditions by providing meaning and challenge their teamwork to create a friendly and family-oriented school environment. The findings substantiated the connection between what principals did and how that was theoretically understood to be connected to transformational leadership practices, (Leithwood & Jantzi, 1995, 2000, 2005). Research indicates that principals must aspire to lead teachers in becoming self- actualized by providing them with individual attention (Barnett et al., 2001; Marks & Printy, 2003). These two principals provided individual support and attention to teachers in numerous ways including helping teachers be leaders, demonstrating a commitment to professional development, celebrating teacher accomplishments, and displaying enthusiasm in their interactions with teachers.
  • 295 The principals' leadership behaviors were found to influence school conditions and shape the practices existing in the school. For example, by encouraging teachers to join committees, they were able to review student data and thus see the value of its use as a way to increase student achievement. Ultimately, the principals' leadership practices was the primary factor influencing how teachers felt about becoming involved in developing school plans. Accordingly, the principals' leadership practices influenced the tasks that were to be accomplished in the school and positively impacted on cultivating teacher's aspirations and personal commitments. Research indicates that school conditions improved from principals whose leadership practices encourage teachers to assume on leadership roles because teacher involvement both enhances school performance and improves school culture (Barnett et al., 2001; Leithwood & Jantzi, 2000, 2005; Marks & Printy, 2003; Silins et al., 2002). In line with this, the behaviors supported the research that suggests how individual achievement needs to be valued when attempting to reach a common goal (Barnett et al., 2001; Leithwood & Jantzi, 1999, 2000; Marks & Printy, 2003; Silins et al., 2002). The principals here established shared meanings by developing common goals connected to accomplishing tasks collegially and collaboratively with teachers. The principals also influenced organizational conditions by encouraging effective communication between staff members while working on committees. Research indicates that a better understanding of how organizational conditions are closely linked with transformational leadership practices is developed when effective communication is initiated by the leader and reaches out to all stakeholders of the school community (Hallinger & Heck, 1996; Leithwood & Jantzi, 2000, 2005; Silins et al., 2002).
  • 296 Transformational leaders model leadership practices that inspire others to not only support the leader but also want to become leaders themselves. The transformational leader seeks to impart the idea that we are all collectively working together to achieve one common goal (Barnett et al., 2001; Bass & Avolio, 1988; Burns, 1978; Anderson, 2003; Leithwood & Jantzi, 2000). This was a key finding found in the leadership practices of both elementary principals, who empowered teachers to assume different leadership roles in the school. Principals empowered teachers to actively effect positive change; principal- teacher trust was viewed as an important factor contributing to the school's purpose and goals; and the organizational culture and meaningful goals encouraged teachers to become active by volunteering for different activities. Developing shared meanings and values, fostering collaborative work, and building consensus helped to shape and encourage a nurturing learning environment that are qualities of successful transformational leaders (Leithwood & Jantzi, 2000). Research points out that teachers are more likely to feel satisfied and are willing to make extra effort for school success when principals demonstrated personal attention to them (Barnett et al., 2001). Additionally, with the supportive and accommodating behavior practices of the principals, teachers felt they could trust their principal to make sense of what needed to be accomplished. In this regard, according to Henderson (2002) the learning process involves individuals who make sense of their worlds from all of their experiences. The principals' determination in requiring and accommodating teachers to take on leadership roles helped establish how well the school functioned. Research indicates that
  • 297 when leadership is mutually shared with all constituents of the school community, trust forms and the vision and goals of the school can become essential to others (Barnett et al., 2001; Burns, 1978; Leithwood & Jantzi, 1995, 1999, 2000, 2005; Marks & Printy, 2003; Silins et al., 2002). Negative Influence-Transformational Leadership on School Conditions. Findings indicated that principals had some negative influence on school conditions when their behavior practices impeded the school's vision and goals, and when their leadership practices were perceived to not support teachers in the following ways: goals were not clearly articulated; teachers felt fearful about making mistakes or overwhelmed by large amounts of information; and teachers perceived no clear communication about decisions on student discipline. Perhaps an explanation of the two elementary principals' behaviors can be found in other studies conducted on leadership, as there was a connection between how principals were perceived to practice leadership and other types of leadership practices, such as transactional leadership (Barnett et al., 2001; Bass & Avolio, 1988; Burns, 1978; Henderson, 2002; Leithwood & Jantzi, 1999). Thus, when considering transformational leadership one must also consider other forms of research conducted on leadership such as transactional leadership. Such literature describes how transformational leaders must engage their followers in aspiring to greater results, in contrast with transactional leaders who connect with their followers by offering them a pre-determined established agreement to achieve results (Bass & Avolio, 1988; Burns, 1978; Henderson, 2002; Sergiovanni, 2004). Although transactional and transformational leadership are viewed as
  • 298 different concepts, research indicates that both aspects must be present if leadership is to be effective (Bass & Avolio, 1988). Transactional leaders try to get individuals to perform by offering them something in exchange for what they are seeking to accomplish. Even thanking, acknowledging or supporting individuals are perceived as attempts to "barter" from individuals something the leader wants to occur (Bass & Avolio, 1988; Burns, 1978; Sergiovanni, 2004). Accordingly, individuals feel if they work hard, they will receive an award or reward for their efforts. A key premise of understanding transactional leadership is that once a goal is reached, the leader must recognize that the exchange of "service" for the goods (reward) will end these underlying obligations and the relationships will no longer exist. Research indicates that relationships in these circumstances do not become long-lasting or reciprocally-shared (Bass & Avolio, 1988; Burns, 1978; Leithwood & Jantzi, 1997; 1999). The relevance of considering transactional leadership as an alternative to each elementary principal's leadership practices comes in providing a contrasting view of what was found in their perceived leadership traits. It is reasonable to link their behaviors to certain types of transactional behaviors given the striking similarities which surfaced when looking at the effectiveness of the leadership practices, for example the large number of teachers who volunteered for committees. Components of transactional leadership were found in each elementary principal's practices, but not enough to consider them transactional leaders. For example, both principals were both perceived as being very clear and matter-of-fact in their interactions with teachers-a quality connected with transactional leadership. Although both
  • 299 principals' approaches were different when accomplishing objectives and establishing goals, they were perceived as visionary types of leaders who inspired their staff to become involved in the building, the extreme opposite of transactional leaders. Transactional leaders focus their attention on providing rewards to their followers, as opposed to transformational leaders who attempt to recognize the potential of others and inspire them to reach higher levels of morality and achievement (Barnett et al., 2001; Bass & Avolio, 1988; Burns, 1978; Henderson, 2002; Leithwood & Jantzi, 1999). A central component of transactional leadership involves the leader's purposeful attempts to establish a mutually agreeable exchange with others to accomplish something (Barnett et al., 2001; Bass & Avolio, 1988; Burns, 1978; Henderson, 2002; Leithwood & Jantzi, 1999). However, this was not the case with both elementary principals who were perceived as wanting to inspire teachers into accomplishing tasks in the best interest of the school. The principals' leadership tied in with research conducted by Leithwood and Jantzi, (2000), in which leaders established goals to enhance the school culture, supported followers to engage in continuous learning, and encouraged shared learning in the school community. One of the most prominent factors of transactional leadership is that leaders seek to reward followers by bartering and trading against the leader's to strike a bargain in exchange for teachers' efforts (Burns, 1978; Sergiovanni, 2004). Findings indicated that both principals did not focus their efforts on rewarding teachers to become more involved. Research indicates that despite their differences, transactional leaders and transformative leaders are linked because transformational leadership does not encompass
  • 300 the idea that effective leaders must also be effective managers (Bass & Avolio; 1988; Burns, 1978; Leithwood & Jantzi, 1997, 1999; Leithwood et al, 1999). This was relevant for this study as well. Findings concluded that both principals were perceived as managing their schools most efficiently. The lack of any definition of principal as effective manager was in fact under-represented in the literature on transformational leaders (Burns, 1978; Leithwood & Jantzi, 1997; 1999; Leithwood et al., 1999), although this factor was prevalent in both principals' leadership practices. A final analysis turns to Bass and Avolio (1998) who identified four primary traits which they felt were connected to transformational leadership practices: idealized influence, inspirational motivation, intellectual stimulation, and individualized consideration. These traits were evident in the leadership behaviors of the two elementary principals, as they were connected to Leithwood and Jantzi's (2000) descriptions of a transformational leader. The following information reflects how these principals' behavior practices were connected to Bass and Avolio's (1998) definition: Idealized Influence-principals were perceived as being trusted and a source of information and guidance; Inspirational Mo/fra/vcw-principals helped teachers make meaning, challenged and motivated them, positively reinforced them, emphasized the value of reviewing student data to improve instruction; Intellectual Stimulation-principals included teachers in the decision-making process and invited them to join in committees as an intellectual discourse about school plans to positive school changes; and Individualized Consideration-principals met with teachers, listened attentively, and communicated their desire for them to assume leadership roles.
  • 301 In short, the findings clearly show that principals greatly influenced the perceptions of teacher experiences. This study expanded the understanding of how leadership has a direct and positive effect on school conditions in the areas of communication, trust, modeling practices, and school improvement. The findings suggest that a principal's inability to effectively communicate, establish cultures based on trust, or successfully model effective leadership practices in fact have a negative effect on the principal-teacher relationship and subsequently on school conditions. Conclusions Further research must be conducted in the area of transformational leadership to uncover additional relevant characteristics connected to leaders' practices. The current research indicates that the characteristics of leadership, especially leadership at the school level, requires that the behavior be thoroughly reviewed to achieve a better understanding of its effectiveness (Barnett et al., 2001; Leithwood & Jantzi, 1999, 2000; Marks & Printy, 2003; Silins et al., 2002). This study accomplished that by having unrestricted access to the principals to identify the attributes of transformational leadership and how their behaviors were perceived to interrelate with school conditions. This study has enhanced the existing body of literature on how leadership is perceived and practiced, and how leadership can directly improve school conditions. Transformational leadership had both a direct and indirect effect on school conditions. Prior research demonstrates that transformational leadership plays a significant role in establishing the patterns that ensure successful school leadership and positive school reform initiatives (Leithwood & Jantzi, 2000).
  • 302 Research also indicates the need to clarify how leadership practices can nurture positive and thriving principal-teacher relationships (Barnett et al., 2001; Leithwood & Jantzi, 1996, 1999, 2000, 2005; Marks & Printy, 2003; Silins et al., 2002). The nature and strength of the relationship between teachers and leaders must be understood if one hopes to improve school conditions through effective leadership practices. Continuing to explore the transformational leadership practices of principals may offer greater insights into which factors foster and encourage leaders to improve school conditions. Principals must remain cognizant of how they are perceived to communicate to teachers, establish cultures, and model leadership practices so that they can move closer to improving school reform through daily practices. Recommendations for Future Research Future Research The findings suggested a distinction in how the principals communicated their schools' vision and goals. An exploration of the concepts connected to how vision and goals are perceived should be conducted to distinguish if in fact they are two separate ideas, as opposed to being defined primarily as one concept (Leithwood & Jantzi, 2000). As previously noted, opposing studies indicate that vision and goals are two distinct attributes, and should therefore not be considered as one factor of an individual's leadership ability (Barnett et al., 2001; Leithwood & Jantzi, 1999, 2000, 2005; Marks & Printy, 2003; Silins et al., 2002). Accordingly, the results of this study support the further exploration of the specifics of how vision and goals are perceived to influence school
  • 303 conditions - a primary area of interest when exploring the transformational leadership practices of principals. Additional qualitative field studies should be conducted to gather information from within school settings so that a better understanding of the phenomena surrounding the perceptions of a principal's leadership practices can be investigated within its natural setting. Only two leadership dimensions (building school vision and goals, and offering individual support) were chosen out of the six to determine how transformational leadership influences school conditions. Future research should explore the remaining four dimensions of transformational leadership to see how they intersect with school conditions and reflect a transformational leader's practices. The findings also pointed out aspects of transactional leadership within the transformational leadership practices of both elementary principals. Therefore, additional research is needed on the connection between transactional and transformational leadership as it pertains to how principals truly transform schools through their leadership practices. Investigating the degree to which transformational leadership and transactional leadership are linked can deepen the understanding of leadership and identify the essential characteristics that leaders demonstrate within the school setting. When drawing conclusions on what was viewed as transformational leadership practices, the limitations of this field study need to be considered. The study was limited to only two elementary schools. Future studies must include an understanding of how principals are perceived to affect school conditions in intermediate schools, middle schools, and high schools. Further research is needed at different grade levels to determine if leaders are perceived differently by grade level. Only 2 principals and 10
  • teachers were included in this study. Accordingly, the number of principals here did not offer a large enough population to generalize the results to all principals. Additionally, future studies should also include larger samples of teachers to obtain a more reflective and accurate summation of how teachers perceive a principal's leadership practice. More research is needed to understand how exemplary leadership is perceived in practice in order to develop high-quality leaders. Gathering these perceptions will help to identify the essential characteristics leaders demonstrate within the work setting, i.e., the school. In turn, by identifying the critical practices and characteristics attributed to transformational leadership, leaders can become better prepared to initiate school reform. If a principal's role is viewed as integral to effectuating positive change and supporting the development of positive relationships, then the leadership practices of principals within a school setting must continue to be explored to discover how exemplary leadership is perceived in practice. Recommendations for future research should be extended to include additional studies on transformational leadership as follows: 1. investigating vision and goals as possibly two distinct attributes of an individual's leadership practices; 2. conducting quantitative analysis to contrast and compare the findings with this study's results with those of other sources of research; 3. conducting an analysis of how students view a principal's transformational leadership practices to offer an alternative perspective on how transformational leadership perceived influences school conditions;
  • 4. performing an action research study to develop a more comprehensive understanding of a principal's transformational leadership influence on school conditions within a single school; and 5. conducting multiple case studies of principals to compare transformational leadership practices with transactional leadership practices and clarify the essential characteristics, differences, and similarities of these two leadership styles. Reflection of Findings-Related to Professional Practices The school environment of both Principal A and Principal B reflected teaching staffs that worked collegially with one another. Both schools are located within middle- class residential neighborhoods that contain suburban and single-family homes. At the time of the study, the State of New Jersey Department of Education report card indicated that the students who took the New Jersey Assessment of Skills and Knowledge (NJASK3) assessment in language arts and mathematics met all state-mandated benchmark requirements for academic proficiency throughout the past few years. The majority of the teachers in both schools have been in the teaching profession within their respective schools from 5 to 10 years. Principal A has been a principal for 25 years and Principal B has been a Principal for 9 years. Teachers reported that, for the most part, their schools were happy places to work within. Teachers also indicated that staff liked each other and got along well with one another. Additionally, teachers reported that they felt they were well-suited to describe how they perceived their principals' leadership practices. Teachers specifically reported that the positive school environment which
  • 306 existed within the school made it possible for them to feel as though they really knew their principal. Conducting this study within the context of the Central School District was particularly helpful for me to develop a clearer perspective of the possible leadership practices which could be used to address the myriad statewide initiatives that this district is currently focusing on to improve school conditions. For example, conducting this research offered me the opportunity to assist the Central School District in understanding how effective leadership practices could be utilized to develop strategic action plans aimed at developing programs that may improve test scores, school climate, and staff relationships. This study clearly provided information which can be utilized to assist the superintendent in developing the necessary leadership practices needed to improve school conditions within the district. Research indicates that no large-scale reform initiatives can happen nor remain constant unless the leadership capacity of individuals and organizations are first clearly identified and understood (Fullan, 1997; Leithwood & Jantzi, 2005; Marzano, 2005; Senge, 1990; Silins et al, 2002; Sergiovanni, 2007). This study has assisted me in developing a different perspective on leadership, as well as helped me to improve my own personal practices. For example, when I first began this study, I was under the impression that the definition of transformational leadership provided a very thorough conceptual framework with which to identify a leader's practices. This study provided me with alternate perspectives as to what qualities are specifically connected to effective leadership. For example, both principals demonstrated an ability to invoke positive changes by developing a school vision for their staff and
  • supporting staff, yet both principals went about implementing school goals from a different perspective. The study also revealed that leadership influences school conditions using varying attributes of an individual's leadership and that it is not solely limited to one specific leadership design. For example, traits connected to transactional leadership were found to be embedded within the practices of both principals. The selection of the Central School District and the two elementary schools utilized as the site of this study was connected to my own personal and professional interest in obtaining an in-depth understanding of how teachers and principals perceive leadership. My intent was to identify the skills needed by leaders in order to positively influence school conditions. This research can be utilized to uncover and categorize what leaders do in addition to how and why they do it. The study contributes to the field of knowledge by helping leaders to better understand how they can prepare to initiate meaningful and purposeful school reforms by identifying the characteristics that leaders need to personify if they desire to influence school conditions positively. Lastly, this study helped me to explore the traits of leaders and the conditions which are influenced by leadership to explore if leadership is situational, as well as to determine any common activities leaders do to accomplish specific objectives. This study has particularly assisted me in determining what school conditions are necessary for leaders within my own school as well as for the school district at large. Additionally, the hope is that the Central School District can develop the leadership capacity needed to influence positive school conditions within the district so that teachers and students do not feel disengaged from the school community.
  • 308 Final Thoughts When he was still a senator, President Barack Obama delivered a speech in Philadelphia, on March 18, 2008, titled "A more Perfect Union." In this speech, he passionately used words which were meant to inspire a nation in several different critical areas. One aspect of this speech can be linked to this study's area of interest concerning the search for a leader's voice that clearly articulates what is needed to improve schools and initiate positive school reform. President Obama spoke of how America must begin the process of looking at how it views future leaders. Several of his ideas were connected to how leadership is a critical component of informing ways to look towards the future of this country. Embedded in his speech were ideas that educators must take to heart - ideas that were meant to inspire America to move forward in education and use effective leadership to move schools forward. President Obama stated, "It requires all Americans to realize that your dreams do not have to come at the expense of my dreams." He asked that everyone "find that common stake we all have in one another." These words express ideas which leaders must transform into action by inspiring others to improve school conditions and "find that common stake we all have in one another" as a way of ensuring student success. The premise of this study was to engage educators in thoughtful inquiry into what leaders must do to guide others for the benefit of students. Transformational leadership may be one way to address school reform issues for the academic betterment of future generations. The connection between transformational leadership practices and school conditions is obvious. Although transformational leadership is clearly not the only form of leadership that can address a multitude of dilemmas, it is also a worthy guiding
  • 309 principle of what leaders need to consider when looking to communicate effectively, build trusting cultures, and model inspirational practices in the school community. Principal and teacher perceptions of leadership can substantiate the relationship between leadership practices and school conditions. These findings confirm what research has often suggested: that the direct involvement of the principal can lead to greater advancements in teacher engagement and improved school conditions (Bolman & Deal, 1991; Fullan, 1991; Leithwood & Jantzi, 1999, 2000; Sergiovanni, 1995; Silins et al., 2002). The challenges schools face have been squarely placed before principals to resolve through their leadership practices. This study responded to the need to understand the nature and quality of leadership by uncovering the essential attributes associated with transformational leadership practices. It is necessary to continue investigating how leaders can become better prepared to initiate school reform by separating the dimensions directly associated with transformational leadership practices. It is hoped that by understanding how leadership is perceived to affect school conditions, leaders can develop the voice to convey the changes which are required to improve and reform schools. Transformational leadership can help to perfect the idea that the principal's vision for the school is what teachers wish to accomplish for their students.
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  • 315 APPENDIX A Principal Interview Protocol Summer/Fall 2008 Interviewer: David Roman School: Interviewee: Start Time: End Time: Position of Interviewee: | Day: Date: Location of Interview: Interview #: (1) ; Interview #: (2) , Interview #: (3) Leithwood & Jantzi (2000)—Dimensions of Transformational Leadership 1. a. Building school vision; Lb. Building school goals; 2. Offering individual support. Leithwood & Jantzi (2000)—Five School Conditions 1. Purpose and Goals; 2. School Planning; 3. Organizational Culture; 4. Structure and Organization; 5. Information and Decision-making. Objective of Study 1. document the observable leadership practices of sampled principals, focusing on two dimensions of transformational leadership: (1) building school vision and goals, and (2) offering individual support to teachers (Leithwood & Jantzi, 2000); 2. identify and describe principals' and teachers' perceptions of the attributes of two transformational leadership dimensions demonstrated by the leadership practices of sampled principals (Leithwood & Jantzi, 2000); and 3. explore the relationship between perceived and observed leadership practices using five school conditions that are components of school improvement. The five school conditions are: (1) purpose and goals, (2) school planning, (3) organizational culture, (4) structure and organization, and (5) information and decision-making (Leithwood & Jantzi, 2000). Research Questions 1. In what ways, if any, do principals perceive that they build school vision and goals and offer individual support to teachers? (Leithwood & Jantzi, 2000) 2. In what ways, if any, do teachers perceive that principals demonstrate these two transformational leadership practices within the school setting? (Leithwood & Jantzi, 2000, 2005) 3. If teachers perceive that their principals use these two transformational leadership practices, in what ways, if any, have the five school conditions (purpose and goals, school planning, organizational culture, structure and organization, and information and decision-making) been affected by the behaviors of principals? Do teachers perceive that these transformational leadership practices influence any of the five school conditions? (Leithwood & Jantzi, 2000, 2005; Silins et al., 2002)
  • 316 Principal Questions—Building School Vision and Goals Research Question # 1: In what ways, if any, do principals perceive that they build school vision and goals and offer individual support to teachers? (Leithwood & Jantzi, 2000) Interview Question: What is your vision for the school? Follow-up Questions How was the vision for the school established? Can you provide some evidence as to how your vision was shaped within the school? How did you accomplish this? How do you know that the vision you have established for the school is actually occurring? How do you know that teachers feel the same way you do about the school vision? Why do you believe that it is important for a leader to have a vision? Can you give some examples as to how you believe that your vision has been positively or negatively received by teachers? Probing Questions What was the vision that you wanted to establish for the school when you first became a principal? What did you originally think it was going to entail? Do you believe that it is important for a principal to maintain the vision for the school? Has your vision for the school changed or remained the same? If so, has it changed? If not, why has it remained the same? Can you provide some examples of times when your vision for the school was well received and when it was not well received? Can you describe how you define "well received"? Principal Questions—Building School Vision and Goals Research Question # 1: In what ways, if any, do principals perceive that they build school vision and goals and offer individual support to teachers? (Leithwood & Jantzi, 2000) Interview Question: How would you describe the leadership practices that take place within the school as they pertain to the goals you have established for the school building? Follow-up Questions How do you know that the goal for the school is actually occurring? How do you know
  • 317 that teachers are following school goals? What specific goals have you established within the school? Can you describe how the goals that you have established support the school vision? In what ways do you believe that your documents (i.e., written correspondence and policies) are reflective of your goals? Probing Questions Why do you believe it is important for a leader to have goals? How have the goals that you have established had a positive or negative impact on the school? Can you provide some examples of times when your goal for the school was well received and when it was not well received? Can you describe how you define "well received"? Have your goals for the school changed or remained the same? If so, why have they changed? If not, why have they remained the same? Principal Questions—Building School Vision and Goals Research Question # 2: In what ways, if any, do teachers perceive that principals demonstrate these two transformational leadership practices within the school setting? (Leithwood & Jantzi, 2000, 2005) Interview Question: Can you give examples of what you believe the attributes of an effective leader should include? Follow-up Questions Can you describe the leadership practices that you believe leaders should display within the school? What leadership traits do you believe that you demonstrate within the school? How is your leadership perceived by teachers within the school? Can you give me some examples of how you think teachers respond to your leadership? Probing Questions What do you believe that principals should accomplish as a leader? Tell me how your leadership has grown or changed over the years? Please describe a particular experience (i.e., a defining moment when you were
  • 318 engaged in a leadership activity) that shaped your perception of how you viewed your own leadership. Can you cite some examples that support you in concluding this? Principal Questions—Building School Vision and Goals Research Question # 3: If teachers perceive that their principals use these two transformational leadership practices, in what ways, if any, have the five school conditions (purpose and goals, school planning, organizational culture, structure and organization, and information and decision-making) been affected by the behaviors of principals? Do teachers perceive that these transformational leadership practices influence any of the five school conditions? (Leithwood & Jantzi, 2000, 2005; Silins et al., 2002) Interview Question: Can you give examples of an initiative you have put into place that has had both a positive impact and a negative impact on school conditions? Follow-up Questions Can you describe the school improvement work currently occurring within the school? Can you identify what led you to make this conclusion? Do you believe your documents (written correspondence and policies) are reflective of your leadership practices? How do you believe that your documents affect school conditions? In what ways do you believe that the vision and goals that you have established have impacted current school conditions? Probing Questions Can you describe how the vision that you have established for the school has influenced school conditions which currently exist? Can you describe how you define the term "influence"? In what ways do you perceive that your leadership practices have positively affected school conditions? How do you believe that your goals may have negatively affected school conditions? Principal Questions—Offering Individual Support to Teachers Research Question # 1: In what ways, if any, do principals perceive that they build school vision and goals and offer individual support to teachers? (Leithwood & Jantzi, 2000) Interview Question: What leadership strategies have you utilized that have positively or negatively impacted teacher's support for the vision of the school?
  • 3 Follow-up Questions How does your leadership support teachers in endorsing the school vision? What is it about your leadership that makes teachers want to support the school vision? Can you cite examples as to how your leadership strategies have provided direct support for teachers to follow the school vision? Probing Questions In what ways do your daily leadership practices demonstrate to teachers that the vision for the school is important? Can you describe an event that has recently occurred that leads you to believe that teachers are following the school vision? How has your leadership provided opportunities for teachers to incorporate the school vision into their daily practices? What do you perceive is being communicated through your written and verbal correspondence to teachers as it pertains to the vision you have established for the school? Principal Questions—Offering Individual Support to Teachers Research Question # 1: In what ways, if any, do principals perceive that they build school vision and goals and offer individual support to teachers? (Leithwood & Jantzi, 2000) Interview Question: How does your leadership support individual teachers in wanting to follow school goals? Follow-up Questions How does your leadership encourage teachers to want to follow the school goals? Can you cite examples as to how your leadership strategies have provided direct support for teachers to follow school goals? What is it about your leadership that offers teachers opportunities to want to support school goals? Probing Questions How do you believe that your leadership practices influence teachers to adhere to the goals which you have established for the school?
  • In what ways do your daily leadership practices demonstrate to teachers that the school goals are important? Can you describe an event that has recently occurred that leads you to believe that teachers are following school goals? What do you perceive is being communicated through your written and verbal correspondence to teachers as it pertains to the goals you have established for the school? Principal Questions—Offering Individual Support to Teachers Research Question # 2: In what ways, if any, do teachers perceive that principals demonstrate these two transformational leadership practices within the school setting? (Leithwood & Jantzi, 2000, 2005) Interview Question: What have you done to encourage, support or facilitate teacher leadership? Follow-up Questions What leadership practices do you intentionally utilize to encourage teachers towards becoming leaders within the school? What leadership practices do you intentionally use to support teachers in becoming leaders? What leadership practices have you intentionally demonstrated in hopes of facilitating teacher involvement within the school? Probing Questions What interactions have you personally experienced that you believe have influenced your leadership practices (i.e., working collaboratively with others, leading change initiatives, addressing accountability, meeting multiple demands)? How has this experience assisted you in supporting teachers? What do you believe encourages you to offer individual support to teachers? Can you describe a particular experience (i.e., a defining moment when you were engaged in a leadership practice) that shaped how you provided individual support for teachers? How do you provide encouragement and support for teachers? Can you describe what led you to make this conclusion? Can you cite some examples that support your conclusion? Principal Questions—Offering Individual Support to Teachers Research Question # 3: If teachers perceive that their principals use these two
  • 321 transformational leadership practices, in what ways, if any, have the five school conditions (purpose and goals, school planning, organizational culture, structure and organization, and information and decision-making) been affected by the behaviors of principals? Do teachers perceive that these transformational leadership practices influence any of the five school conditions? (Leithwood & Jantzi, 2000, 2005; Silins et al., 2002) Interview Question: Can you describe the kinds of experiences that have been established through your leadership practices which offer teachers support in improving school conditions? Follow-up Questions What are some of the ways that your leadership has supported teachers towards influencing current school conditions? Can you give some examples of how your support for teachers has positively or negatively affected specific school conditions to exist in the school building? In what ways has your leadership provided opportunities which supported teachers in being directly involved in improving school conditions? Probing Questions How have the five school conditions (purpose and goals, school planning, organizational culture, structure and organization, and information and decision- making) been influenced by your leadership practices? What aspects of your leadership do you feel influence teachers in viewing school conditions positively or negatively? Can you describe some examples of some things that you have recently accomplished that you believe has influenced school conditions to dramatically improve?
  • APPENDIX B Teacher Interview Protocol Summer/Fall 2008 Interviewer: David Roman School: Interviewee: Start Time: End Time: Position of Interviewee: Day: Date: Location of Interview: Interview #: (1) ; Interview #: (2) , Interview #: (3) Leithwood & Jantzi (2000)—Dimensions of Transformational Leadership 1. a. Building school vision; l.b. Building school goals; 2. Offering individual support. Leithwood & Jantzi (2000)—Five School Conditions 1. Purpose and Goals; 2. School Planning; 3. Organizational Culture; 4. Structure and Organization; 5. Information and Decision-making. Objective of Study 1. document the observable leadership practices of sampled principals, focusing on two dimensions of transformational leadership: (1) building school vision and goals, and (2) offering individual support to teachers (Leithwood & Jantzi, 2000); 2. identify and describe principals' and teachers' perceptions of the attributes of two transformational leadership dimensions demonstrated by the leadership practices of sampled principals (Leithwood & Jantzi, 2000); and 3. explore the relationship between perceived and observed leadership practices using five school conditions that are components of school improvement. The five school conditions are: (1) purpose and goals, (2) school planning, (3) organizational culture, (4) structure and organization, and (5) information and decision-making (Leithwood & Jantzi, 2000). Research Questions 1. In what ways, if any, do principals perceive that they build school vision and goals and offer individual support to teachers? (Leithwood & Jantzi, 2000) 2. In what ways, if any, do teachers perceive that principals demonstrate these two transformational leadership practices within the school setting? (Leithwood & Jantzi, 2000, 2005) 3. If teachers perceive that their principals use these two transformational leadership practices, in what ways, if any, have the five school conditions (purpose and goals, school planning, organizational culture, structure and organization, and information and decision-making) been affected by the behaviors of principals? Do teachers perceive that these transformational leadership practices influence any of the five school conditions? (Leithwood & Jantzi, 2000, 2005; Silins et al, 2002)
  • 323 Teacher Questions—Building School Vision and Goals Research Question # 1: In what ways, if any, do principals perceive that they build school vision and goals and offer individual support to teachers? (Leithwood & Jantzi, 2000) Interview Question: What is the principal's vision for the school? Follow-up Questions How did the principal establish the vision for the school? Can you provide some evidence as to how the principal's vision has impacted the school? How do you know that the vision the principal established for the school is actually occurring? What do you think about the school vision? Why do you believe that it is important for a leader to have a vision? Can you give some examples as to how you believe that the principal's vision has been positively or negatively received by teachers? Probing Questions Can you explain what the principal has established as the vision for the school? Do you believe that it is important for a principal to maintain the vision for the school? Has the vision of the school changed or remained the same? If so, why do you believe that it changed? If not, why do you believe that it remained the same? Can you provide some examples of times when the principal's vision for the school was well received and when it was not well received? Can you describe how you define "well received"? Teacher Questions—Building School Vision and Goals Research Question # 1: In what ways, if any, do principals perceive that they build school vision and goals and offer individual support to teachers? (Leithwood & Jantzi, 2000) Interview Question: How would you describe the principal's leadership practices that take place within the school as it pertains to the goals he/she has established for the school building? Follow-up Questions What specific goals has the principal established within the school? Can you describe how the goals that they have established support the school vision?
  • 324 How do feel about the school goals that have been established? How do you know that teachers are following school goals? How does the principal ensure that school goals are followed? In what ways does the principal's document (i.e., written correspondence and policies) reflect school goals? Probing Questions Why do you believe it is important for a leader to have goals? How have the goals established by the principal had a positive or negative impact on the school? Can you provide some examples of times when the principal's goal for the school was well received and when it was not well received? Can you describe how you define "well received"? Have the principal's goals for the school changed or remained the same? If so, why have they changed? If not, why have they remained the same? Teacher Questions—Building School Vision and Goals Research Question # 2: In what ways, if any, do teachers perceive that principals demonstrate these two transformational leadership practices within the school setting? (Leithwood & Jantzi, 2000, 2005) Interview Question: Can you give some examples of what you believe the attributes of an effective leader should include? Follow-up Questions What do you believe that principals should accomplish as a leader? How do you believe the principal feels that teachers perceive their leadership practices? Tell me how you perceive that the principal's leadership has grown or changed over the time that you have known them? Probing Questions Can you describe the leadership practices that you believe leaders should display? Does the principal display these leadership traits? If so, what leadership traits do you believe the principal demonstrates within the school? Can you give me some examples of how you think teachers respond to the principal's leadership?
  • 325 Please describe a particular experience (i.e., a defining moment when you witnessed the principal engaged in a leadership activity) that shaped your perception of how you viewed their leadership. Can you cite some examples that support you in concluding this? Teacher Questions—Building School Vision and Goals Research Question # 3: If teachers perceive that their principals use these two transformational leadership practices, in what ways, if any, have the five school conditions (purpose and goals, school planning, organizational culture, structure and organization, and information and decision-making) been affected by the behaviors of principals? Do teachers perceive that these transformational leadership practices influence any of the five school conditions? (Leithwood & Jantzi, 2000, 2005; Silins et al., 2002) Interview Question: Can you give me an example of an initiative that the principal put into place that has had both a positive impact and a negative impact on school conditions? Follow-up Questions Can you describe the principal's school improvement work currently occurring within the school? Can you identify what led you to make this conclusion? In what ways do you believe that the vision and goals that the principal has established have impacted current school conditions? Do you believe that the principal's documents (written correspondence and policies) are reflective of their leadership practices? How do you believe that their documents affect school conditions? Probing Questions Can you describe how the vision the principal established for the school has influenced school conditions which currently exist? Can you describe how you define the term "influence"? Can you provide some specific examples as to how teachers perceive that the principal's leadership practices positively affected school conditions? Can you provide some specific examples as to how teachers perceive that the principal's leadership practices negatively affected school conditions? Teacher Questions—Offering Individual Support to Teachers Research Question # 1: In what ways, if any, do principals perceive that they build school vision and goals and offer individual support to teachers? (Leithwood & Jantzi,
  • 2000) Interview Question: What leadership strategies of the principal have positively or negatively impacted teachers' support for the vision of the school? Follow-up Questions How has the principal's leadership provided support to teachers in endorsing the school vision? What is it about the principal's leadership that makes teachers want to support the school vision? Can you cite examples as to how the principal's leadership has influenced teachers to follow the school vision? Probing Questions In what ways does the principal's daily leadership practice demonstrate to teachers that the vision for the school is important? Can you describe an event that has recently occurred that leads you to believe other teachers are positively or negatively affected by the school vision? How has the principal provided opportunities for teachers to incorporate the school vision into their daily practices? What do you perceive is being communicated through the principal's written and verbal correspondence to teachers as it pertains to the vision they have established for the school? Teacher Questions—Offering Individual Support to Teachers Research Question # 1: In what ways, if any, do principals perceive that they build school vision and goals and offer individual support to teachers? (Leithwood & Jantzi, 2000) Interview Question: How does your principal support individual teachers in endorsing school goals? Follow-up Questions Can you cite examples as to how the principal's leadership has influenced teachers to follow the school goals? What is it about the principal's leadership that makes teachers want to support school goals?
  • 327 How does the principal encourage teachers to follow the school goals? Probing Questions In what ways does the principal's daily leadership practice demonstrate to teachers that the school goals are important? Can you describe an event that has recently occurred that leads you to believe other teachers are positively or negatively affected by the school goals? How do you believe that the principal's leadership practices have influenced teachers to adhere to the goals which have been established for the school? What do you perceive is being communicated through the principal's written and verbal correspondence to teachers as it pertains to the goals that they have established for the school? Teacher Questions—Offering Individual Support to Teachers Research Question # 2: In what ways, if any, do teachers perceive that principals demonstrate these two transformational leadership practices within the school setting? (Leithwood & Jantzi, 2000, 2005) Interview Question: What has the principal done to encourage, support or facilitate teacher leadership? Follow-up Questions What leadership practices do you believe the principal intentionally makes use of to encourage teachers towards becoming leaders within the school? What leadership practices do you believe the principal deliberately uses to support teachers towards becoming leaders within the school? What leadership practices do you believe the principal purposely demonstrates in an effort to facilitate teacher involvement within the school? Probing Questions What interactions have you personally witnessed that you believe has influenced the principal's leadership practices (i.e., working collaboratively with others, leading change initiatives, addressing accountability, meeting multiple demands)? How do you believe that this experience has assisted the principal in being able to provide support to teachers? How do you believe that the principal provides encouragement and support for
  • teachers? Can you describe what led you to make this conclusion? Can you cite some examples that support your conclusion? What do you believe encourages the principal to want to offer individual support to teachers? Can you describe a particular experience (i.e., a defining moment when you witnessed the principal engaged in a leadership practice) that shaped how you viewed them being able to provide individual support for teachers? Teacher Questions—Offering Individual Support to Teachers Research Question # 3: If teachers perceive that their principals use these two transformational leadership practices, in what ways, if any, have the five school conditions (purpose and goals, school planning, organizational culture, structure and organization, and information and decision-making) been affected by the behaviors of principals? Do teachers perceive that these transformational leadership practices influence any of the five school conditions? (Leithwood & Jantzi, 2000, 2005; Silins et al., 2002) Interview Question: Can you describe the kinds of experiences that have been established through the principal's leadership practices which offer teachers support in improving school conditions? Follow-up Questions What are some of the ways that the principal has supported teachers in influencing current school conditions? Can you give some examples of how the principal's support for teachers has positively or negatively affected specific school conditions to exist in the school building? In what ways has the principal's leadership provided opportunities for teachers to be directly involved in improving school conditions? Probing Questions How have the five school conditions (purpose and goals, school planning, organizational culture, structure and organization, and information and decision- making) been influenced by the principal's leadership practices? What aspects of the principal's leadership do you feel influences teachers in viewing school conditions positively or negatively? Can you describe some examples of some things that the principal has recently accomplished that you believe influenced school conditions to dramatically improve?
  • APPENDIX C Preliminary List of Etic Codes Summer/Fall 2008 Etic issues: "the researcher's issue, sometime the issues of a larger research community colleagues and writers" (Stake, 1995, p. 20). (Below is a list of sample etic codes) I. Principal Perception (Etic Codes) 1.1. Principal's Transformational Leadership Practice 1.1.1. Principal Affect 1.1.2. Building School Vision 1.1.3. Building School Goals 1.1.4. Offering Teacher Support 1.1.5. School Improvement Initiative 1.1.6. Supporting Data 1.2. Principal's Effect on School Conditions 1.2.1. Purpose and Goals 1.2.2. School Planning 1.2.3. Organizational Culture 1.2.4. Structure and Organization 1.2.5. Information and Decision-making 1.2.6. School Improvement Initiative 1.2.7. Supporting Data II. Teacher Perception (Etic Codes) 1.3. Principal's Transformational Leadership Practice 1.3.1. Principal Affect 1.3.2. Building Vision 1.3.3. Building School Goals 1.3.4. Offering Teacher Support 1.3.5. School Improvement Initiative 1.3.6. Supporting Data 1.4. Principal's Effect on School Conditions 1.4.1. Purpose and Goals 1.4.2. School Planning 1.4.3. Organizational Culture 1.4.4. Structure and Organization 1.4.5. Information and Decision-making 1.4.6. School Improvement Initiative 1.4.7. Supporting Data
  • 330 APPENDIX D Preliminary List of Emic Codes Summer/Fall 2008 Emic issues: "These are the issues of the actors, the people who belong to the case. These are issues from the inside" (Stake, 1995, p. 20/ (Below is a list of sample emic codes establishedfrom issues that emerged through participant responses as the research was underway) I. Principal Perception (Emic Codes) 2.1. Principal's Transformational Leadership Practice 2.1.1. Collaborative Leadership 2.1.2. Sequential Leader 2.1.3. Instructional Leader 2.1.4. Facilitator 2.1.5. Academic Leader 2.1.6. Collegial 2.2. Principal's Effect on School Conditions 2.2.1. School Community 2.2.2. Teacher Leaders 2.2.3. Improved Instruction 2.2.4. Relationships 2.2.5. Culture 2.2.6. Visibility II. Teacher Perception (Emic Codes) 2.3. Principal's Transformational Leadership Practice 2.3.1. Collegial 2.3.2. Confident 2.3.3. Facilitator 2.3.4. Attentive 2.3.5. Collaborative 2.3.6. Informative 2.4. Principal's Effect on School Conditions 2.4.1. Supportive Environment 2.4.2. Climate 2.4.3. Visibility 2.4.4. Professional 2.4.5. Connections 2.4.6. School Community
  • 331 APPENDIX E Principal Observational Protocol Summer/Fall 2008 Observer: David Roman School: Individual Being Observed: Start Time: End Time: Position of Individual Observed: Day & Dated: Location of Observation: Observation #: (1) ; Observation #: (2) ; Observation #: (3) ; Leithwood & Jantzi (2000)—Dimensions of Transformational Leadership 1 .a. Building school vision; 1 .b. Building school goals; 2. Offering individual support. Leithwood & Jantzi (2000)—Five School Conditions 1. Purpose and Goals; 2. School Planning; 3. Organizational Culture; 4. Structure and Organization; 5. Information and Decision-making. Objective of Study 1. document the observable leadership practices of sampled principals, focusing on two dimensions of transformational leadership: (1) building school vision and goals, and (2) offering individual support to teachers (Leithwood & Jantzi, 2000); 2. identify and describe principals' and teachers' perceptions of the attributes of two transformational leadership dimensions demonstrated by the leadership practices of sampled principals (Leithwood & Jantzi, 2000); and 3. explore the relationship between perceived and observed leadership practices using five school conditions that are components of school improvement. The five school conditions are: (1) purpose and goals, (2) school planning, (3) organizational culture, (4) structure and organization, and (5) information and decision-making (Leithwood & Jantzi, 2000). Research Questions 1. In what ways, if any, do principals perceive that they build school vision and goals and offer individual support to teachers? (Leithwood & Jantzi, 2000) 2. In what ways, if any, do teachers perceive that principals demonstrate these two transformational leadership practices within the school setting? (Leithwood & Jantzi, 2000, 2005) 3. If teachers perceive that their principals use these two transformational leadership practices, in what ways, if any, have the five school conditions (purpose and goals, school planning, organizational culture, structure and organization, and information and decision-making) been affected by the behaviors of principals? Do teachers perceive that these transformational leadership practices influence any of the five school conditions? (Leithwood & Jantzi, 2000, 2005; Silins et al., 2002)
  • Observable Conditions (l.a.) Observed at the beginning-of-year teacher faculty meeting (Fall, 2008) to document how they articulate and summarize the past school year's (Fall 2007-Spring 2008) vision and goals. Descriptive Notes (Empirical Observations) Example of Descriptive Notes: Observe if two dimensions of transformational leadership are present in the principal's behavior. Observe if principal practices affect school conditions. Example of Descriptive Notes: Observe if two dimensions of transformational leadership are present in the principal's behavior. Observe if principal practices affect school conditions. Example of Descriptive Notes: Observe if two dimensions of transformational leadership are present in the principal's behavior. Observe if principal practices affect school conditions. Example of Descriptive Notes: Observe if two dimensions of transformational leadership are present in the principal's behavior. Observe if principal practices affect school conditions. Reflective Notes (Interpretation of Observations) Example of Reflective Notes: What is being, observed, and inferred from each principal. Analyze and interpret the meanings of what occurs. Investigate more deeply what is actually being observed. Example of Reflective Notes: What is being, observed, and inferred from each principal. Analyze and interpret the meanings of what occurs. Investigate more deeply what is actually being observed. Example of Reflective Notes: What is being, observed, and inferred from each principal. Analyze and interpret the meanings of what occurs. Investigate more deeply what is actually being observed. Example of Reflective Notes: What is being, observed, and inferred from each principal. Analyze and interpret the meanings of what occurs. Investigate more (1 .b.) Observed at the beginning-of- year faculty meeting communicating their vision and goals for the future upcoming school year (2008-2009). (2) Observed while conducting a teacher department meeting to determine how principals provide support for teachers (3) Observed throughout the course of a school day, interacting with teachers, to determine how their leadership provides support for teachers.
  • (4) Observed throughout the course of a school day to determine how their leadership practices affect the five school conditions under review in this study. (5) Principals will be observed at the end of the school day as staff is involved in dismissing students to determine if the principal exhibits practices connected to the school vision, school goals and support for teachers. Example of Descriptive Notes: Observe if two dimensions of transformational leadership are present in the principal's behavior. Observe if principal practices affect school conditions. Example of Descriptive Notes: Observe if two dimensions of transformational leadership are present in the principal's behavior. Observe if principal practices affect school conditions. deeply what is actually being observed. Example of Reflective Notes: What is being, observed, and inferred from each principal. Analyze and interpret the meanings of what occurs. Investigate more deeply what is actually being observed. Example of Reflective Notes: What is being, observed, and inferred from each principal. Analyze and interpret the meanings of what occurs. Investigate more deeply what is actually being observed.
  • 334 APPENDIX F Preliminary List of Inductive Codes Summer/Fall 2008 I. Principal Leadership Practices (Observed) Inductive Reasoning: "from particular instances to general principles, from facts to theories" (Babbie, 1995, p. 52) (Below is a sample of inductive codes usedfor the study) 3.1. Effect on School Conditions 3.1.1. Purpose and Goals 3.1.2. School Planning 3.1.3. Organizational Culture 3.1.4. Structure and Organization 3.1.5. Information and Decision-Making 3.1.6. School Improvement 3.2.7 Policies and Procedures 3.2.8 School Climate 3.2.9. Relationships 3.2. Leadership Influence 3.2.1. Teachers 3.2.2. School Conditions 3.2.3. School Culture 3.2.4. School Vision 3.2.5. School Goals 3.2.6. Positive Impact 3.2.7. Negative Impact 3.2.8. Issues Identified by Teachers 3.2.9. Issues Identified by Principals
  • APPENDIX G Preliminary List of Deductive Codes Summer/Fall 2008 I. Principal Leadership Practices (Observed) Deductive Reasoning: "general to the particular, applying a theory to aparticular case " (Babbie, 1995, p. 52). (Below is a sample of deductive codes usedfor the study) 4.1. Effect of Principal Leadership 4.1.1. Building School Vision 4.1.2. Building School Goal 4.1.3. Offering Individual Support to Teachers 4.1.4. School Conditions 4.1.5. Presence in Building 4.1.6. Facilitator 4.1.7. School Culture 4.1.8. School Improvement 4.2. Attributes of Effective Leader 4.2.1. Support 4.2.2. Purpose 4.2.3. Encourage 4.2.4. Facilitate 4.2.5. Caring 4.2.6. Visible to Teachers 4.2.7. Shared Ownership 4.2.8. Collaborative Leadership
  • APPENDIX H Invitation to Participants Summer/Fall 2008 Name: Title: School: Date: Dear: Hello, my name is David A. Roman. As many of you may already know, I am the Principal for the High School within our School District. I'm also currently a doctoral candidate at Teachers College, Columbia University. I'm conducting an investigation on how the leadership practices of principals are perceived. I conducted a random sampling of your school's staff list, with your principal's permission, to select participants to be involved in the study. You were selected to be part of the study. I'm writing to ask that you consider being a participant in this qualitative field study which I am conducting on transformational leadership. The purpose of my study is to determine how a principal's leadership practices affect specific school conditions. The study is also concerned with identifying whether principals demonstrate attributes connected to transformational leadership. Attached to this letter is a complete description of the research that I will conduct within your school. Your answers will be kept confidential and will not be released to anyone. While your involvement in this study is voluntary, your assistance will help to provide a complete and accurate understanding of how a principal's leadership can have an effect on school conditions. If you have any questions and/or concerns about this study, please contact me at 609-671-5510. EXT. 2602, or feel free to email me at dromanfSjltps.org. Thank you for your time regarding this request. Have a pleasant day! Sincerely, David A. Roman
  • 337 APPENDIX I Protection of Human Subjects in Research—Application To: Teachers College, Columbia University From: David A. Roman, Doctoral Candidate Re: Protection of Human Subjects in Research—Application Date: Summer/Fall 2008 Study Description and Methodology This dissertation is a qualitative field study, designed to examine the roots of transformational leadership practices. The objective is to determine how principal leadership is perceived by both principals and teachers. The intent is to understand how and in what ways transformational leadership is perceived and practiced by principals in school settings. This study draws upon several theoretical traditions of leadership theories to obtain an in-depth understanding of the relevant attributes associated with leadership. A field study inquiry of two principals working in separate schools, located within one school district, in the State of New Jersey will be undertaken during the spring, summer, and fall months of 2008. This study seeks to clarify the constructs associated with effective leadership practices. I do not have personal relationships with any of the subjects participating in this study. My involvement with all participants is strictly professional. The school district selected for this study varies in socioeconomic status. The objective of this research is to measure and document each principal's leadership traits to gain a clearer depiction of transformational leadership. Interview questions will probe a total of 2 principals and 10 teachers in examining the impact of transformational leadership practices on schools. Each participant will be asked the same questions. The focus of the interviews will be to gain an in-depth analysis of what transformational leadership looks like. All interviews, which will be audio taped, will be conducted face-to-face. Participants will be asked to describe school improvement
  • work, leadership practices, and other leadership-influencing experiences of two principals. There are a total of 3 research questions and 8 interview questions. The 8 interview questions are grouped separately into two areas of transformational leadership: 1) Building School Vision and Goals, and 2) Offering Individual Support for Teachers. Twenty probing questions have also been designed to assist participants in thinking through their answers. Participants will be asked to clarify terms, provide examples, and make connections and applications between leadership experiences and leadership practices. Phrases such as "Say more," "Tell me more," "Give me an example," and "How does that relate to how you lead now?" will be used. An Interview Protocol has been developed to take notes of the responses from each participant. Each subject will be interviewed using a standardized interview protocol. The notes will be analyzed to uncover emerging themes and possible similarities. The interviews will be conducted in an informal manner. The interviews should last approximately 60 minutes. An Observation Protocol has also been developed with which to take notes of the information gathered from each setting. Archival documents will be collected and reviewed from each school. This study is not concerned with the evaluation of principals, but is an effort to understand the complexities of how leadership is perceived to determine how it may impact school conditions. I am conducting this independent study to complete my doctoral dissertation.
  • APPENDIX J TEACHERS COLLEGE COLUMBIA UNIVERSITY IRB for Interviewed Principals and Teachers and Participant's Rights Summer/Fall 2008 INFORMED CONSENT DESCRIPTION OF THE RESEARCH: You are invited to participate in a research study on the nature of educational leadership practices. The purpose of this work is to examine the impact of transformational leadership practices and the impact on school conditions. Principals are being asked to describe their school improvement work, leadership practices, and other leadership-influencing experiences. Teachers are being asked to provide information on how they perceive the leadership practices of principals. The intent is to determine how leadership practices have an effect on school conditions. This is not an evaluation of principals, but an effort to understand the complex relationships between leadership practices and school improvement work. This is an independent study which I am conducting to complete my dissertation within the Department of Organizational Leadership at Teachers College Columbia University. RISKS AND BENEFITS: The risks and benefits associated with this study are similar to those experienced in thinking about your work. Your participation in the study has the added benefit of contributing to the field's understanding of how leadership is perceived and how leadership is practiced by principals, hopefully indicating areas in which various dimensions of transformational leadership can begin to be understood for the betterment of school improvement. PAYMENT: There will be no payment involved in this research. DATA STORAGE TO PROTECT CONFIDENTIALITY: Appropriate steps will be taken to protect the confidentiality of your interview answers. Your audiotape recording will not include your name. Interview tapes and their transcriptions will be kept in a locked file. Only I will have access to the transcripts to be analyzed for professional analysis purposes. Your interview comments will be combined with others to look at relationships between leadership practices, how they are perceived, and school improvement practices and outcomes. No individual results will be shared with district officials or anyone else. Only combined results will be used in reports and publications. No individual will be identifiable by name or description. TIME INVOLVEMENT: Your participation will take approximately 60 minutes to complete the interview. You may be asked to be interviewed again, in person or by phone for 10-20 minutes for further clarification. HOW WILL RESULTS BE USED: The results of the study will be used to inform the educational leadership field about the relationship between: leadership practices, the perceptions that are associated with effective leadership practices, and the leadership
  • 340 dimensions associated with transformational leadership. The results may also be used for other interview findings to be analyzed qualitatively for possible conference presentations and for possible articles published in journals or other publications. PARTICIPANT'S RIGHTS: Your participation in the study is completely voluntary and you can choose not to answer any question. You have the right to withdraw your consent or discontinue participation at any time. Teachers College, Columbia University PARTICIPANT'S RIGHTS Principal Investigator: David A. Roman Research Title: The Voice of Principal Leadership: The Transformational Leadership of Elementary School Principals I have read and discussed the Research Description with the researcher. I have had the opportunity to ask questions about the purposes and procedures regarding this study. • My participation in research is voluntary. I may refuse to participate or withdraw from participation at any time without jeopardy to future medical care, employment, student status or other entitlements. • The researcher may withdraw me from the research at his/her professional discretion. • If, during the course of the study, significant new information that has been developed becomes available which may relate to my willingness to continue to participate, the investigator will provide this information to me. • Any information derived from the research project that personally identifies me will not be voluntarily released or disclosed without my separate consent, except as specifically required by law. • If at any time I have any questions regarding the research or my participation, I can contact the investigator, who will answer my questions. The investigator's phone number is (609) 671-5512. • If at any time I have comments or concerns regarding the conduct of the research or questions about my rights as a research subject, I should contact the Teachers College, Columbia University Institutional Review Board/IRB. The phone number for the IRB is (212) 678-4105. Or, I can write to the IRB at Teachers College, Columbia University, 525 W. 120th Street, New York, NY, 10027, Box 151.
  • • I should receive a copy of the Research Description and this Participant's Rights document. • If video and/or audiotaping is part of this research, I () consent to be audio/videotaped. I () do NOT consent to being video/audiotaped. The written, video and/or audiotaped materials will be viewed only by the principal investigator and members of the research team. • Written, video and/or audiotaped materials () may be viewed in an educational setting outside the research. () may NOT be viewed in an educational setting outside the research. • My signature means that I agree to participate in this study. Participant's signature: Date: / / Teachers College, Columbia University Assent Form for Minors (8-17 years-old) IN/A (child's name) agree to participate in the study entitled: N/A. The purpose and nature of the study has been fully explained to me by N/A (investigator's name). I understand what is being asked of me, and should I have any questions, I know that I can contact N/A (investigator) at any time. I also understand that I can to quit the study any time I want to. Name of Participant: N/A Signature of Participant: N/A Witness: N/A - Date: N/A Investigator's Verification of Explanation I certify that I have carefully explained the purpose and nature of this research to N/A (participant's name) in age-appropriate language. He/She has had the opportunity to discuss it with me in detail. I have answered all his/her questions and he/she provided the affirmative agreement (i.e. assent) to participate in this research. Investigator's Signature: N/A Date: N/A