• School Leadership and the Experience of Education Under Oppression
    Vol. 17 No. 12 (2021)

    Background: This qualitative study examined apartheid-era South Africa, from 1948 to 1994, which established social and administrative policies that deliberately curtailed the education of Indigenous and other South Africans as a means of op- pressing non-European ethnic groups.

    Analysis: In lieu of face-to-face interviews, the experience of education under apart- heid is examined through stories and interviews submitted to the Apartheid Archives Project, curated by the University of the Witwatersrand, in Johannesburg, South Africa. The central question asks how the personal experiences of an oppressive school system, as interpreted through the framework of Freirean education, informs school leaders.

    Conclusion: Oppression infiltrates school systems, impinges on the educational process, and robs students of learning opportunities. In recognizing this, educators engage their responsibility as school leaders, and embrace the pivotal role education plays in social reconstruction, liberation, and humanization.

  • Ministerial Education Councils’ Capacity for Policy Decision-Making in Canada, Germany, and Switzerland: Finding a Balanced Perspective
    Vol. 17 No. 11 (2021)

    Scholars have become increasingly vigilant about leaders, the role of government and wider governance bodies, and their influence on education policy. Councils in Europe and North America, generally, and education councils, specifically, are good examples of influential bodies whose decision-making processes have rightfully come under scrutiny; however, many scholarly assessments have been characterized by rhetorical claims that focus on these bodies’ limited ability to make decisions and address social challenges. This article details a qualitative, comparative case study conducted in 2018 that investigated how Councils of Ministers of Education in Canada, Germany, and Switzerland address national educational issues of collective interest. The resulting dataset is comprehensive, and this research invites colleagues to refine or rethink some of their limiting rhetorical tools and underlying assumptions.

  • The Needs of the Virtual Principal Amid the Pandemic
    Vol. 17 No. 10 (2021)

    This mixed-method study evaluates P–12 principals’ and district officials’ experiences during the COVID-19 pandemic amid the abrupt change to virtual leadership. Professional learning needs are identified in relation to the three domains of leadership as seen in literature: school management, instructional leadership, and program administration. The quantitative study instrument, which included an online survey given to 270 principals and district officials in South Carolina, allowed principals and superintendents to rank order their professional development needs to be better prepared for the virtual principalship. The top need expressed across all races, genders, and school settings was virtual instructional leadership. The qualitative measure includes interviews of 10 principals/district officials, and five major themes were identified as administrative struggles/priorities in the virtual principalship during the pandemic: increased presence and communication; projecting calm during uncertainty; displaying flexibility, empathy, and patience; knowledge of technological capabilities; and a systems approach to sustained instructional leadership. The study showed a heightened need for soft skills development.

  • Women's Leadership in Higher Education: Barriers and Opportunities in Indonesia
    Vol. 17 No. 9 (2021)

    This review analyzes and describes the factors that women in Indonesia consider obstacles to achieving top leadership positions, especially at the college level, by looking at the various obstacles and opportunities women experience in other countries. This research was conducted using a qualitative design with a descriptive approach. The data analysis comprised data collection, data reduction, data presentation, and drawing conclusions. The results showed that women in Indonesia, especially in tertiary institutions, still face obstacles in reaching top leadership positions, even though there is a growing recognition of gender equality. Women do not report experiencing obstacles from institutions but rather from family responsibilities, a patriarchal culture, and a lack of support.

  • Understanding the Application and Use of Indigenous Research Methodologies in the Social Sciences by Indigenous and Non-Indigenous Scholars
    Vol. 17 No. 8 (2021)

    This study explores how principles of Indigenous research methodologies informed research relationships with Indigenous communities, particularly through the dissemination phase of research. We conducted an Indigenous qualitative content analysis of 79 peer-reviewed articles published from January 1996 to June 2018, predominantly in the fields of social sciences. The findings show that most articles were written by Indigenous researchers or a research team composed of Indigenous and non-Indigenous researchers. Such collaborations most clearly articulated how they enacted the principles of Indigenous research. The findings further support ensuring research partnerships with Indigenous communities uphold Indigenous research principles to create sustained meaningful change.

  • A Psychometric Look at Principal Professional Development
    Vol. 17 No. 7 (2021)

    This study evaluates aspects related to P12 principals’ professional development needs in South Carolina regarding the three domains of school leadership: management, instructional leadership, and program administration. A survey to rate principals’ current leadership knowledge, rank order their professional development needs, and provide a confidence rating regarding their abilities was given to over 1,100
    principals and 85 superintendents. Through examining relationships with a psychometric model, results derived latent leadership ability scores and self-reported confidence ratings of principals as well as the superintendents’ leadership scores and confidence ratings of their principals. This study found a significant discrepancy between principals’ and superintendents’ confidence ratings and their corresponding leadership ability scores, respectively. A further analysis of the rank-ordered professional development needs highlighted instructional leadership to be the most needed topic for professional development. Finally, atypical response patterns regarding principal’s current leadership knowledge are also identified through person-fit analysis to provide additional information regarding P-12 principals’ professional development needs.

  • Homeward Bound: Educational Leaders’ Perceptions of Hiring Repatriating International Teachers
    Vol. 17 No. 6 (2021)

    The purpose of this study was to determine how educational leaders interpret job applications from international teachers who are planning to repatriate. Ten rural and urban educational leaders from the Canadian province of Manitoba were presented with three different fictitious cases to screen and analyze for shortlisting purposes. The findings suggest that international teachers need to clearly communicate their work experiences and explain how acquired intercultural and linguistic competencies would be advantageous for the school community. Educational leaders should apply an international awareness when screening job applications. Recommendations for both leadership development and global teaching careers are offered.

  • Louisiana School Counselors’ Daily Activities and the American School Counselor Association National Model: A Complex History and a Hopeful Future
    Vol. 17 No. 5 (2021)

    This mixed-methods, concurrent nested study was designed to explore the extent to which one state’s school counselors reported daily activities that align with the American School Counselor Association (ASCA) National Model. Despite federal and state legislation, state policies, and a state model supporting school counseling practices, a significant number of school counselors in this study (approximately 25%) reported barriers to the implementation of comprehensive models. Barriers included a disproportionate amount of duty, testing, and the coordination of specialized services. Yet, three out of four school counselors in this sample reported knowing about and implementing elements of the ASCA National Model. Thus, there is hope that school counseling in Louisiana will eventually meet national and state standards.

  • Exploratory Data Analysis in Schools: A Logic Model to Guide Implementation
    Vol. 17 No. 4 (2021)

    Exploratory data analysis (EDA) is an iterative, open-ended data analysis procedure that allows practitioners to examine data without pre-conceived notions to advise improvement processes and make informed decisions. Education is a data-rich field that is primed for a transition into a deeper, more purposeful use of data. This article introduces the concept of EDA as a necessary structure to be embedded in school
    activities by situating it within the literature related to data-driven decision-making, continuous school improvement systems, and action research methodologies. It also provides a succinct six-part framework to guide practitioners in establishing EDA procedures.

  • Operationalizing and Measuring Personalized Learning in K–12 Schools: The Development and Implementation of an Innovation Configuration Map
    Vol. 17 No. 3 (2021)

    In 2012, the United States Department of Education announced the Race to the Top-District grants. One joint award was made to two large educational cooperatives in the same state that together represented 111 mostly rural schools in 22 districts. One of the grant’s identified four essential projects was the implementation of personalized learning. This article describes how the grant’s external evaluation team worked with grantee leadership and school districts to operationalize personalized learning and then develop and implement Innovation Configuration Maps to measure school-level personalized learning environments. Developmental steps, adoption processes, and preliminary school-level results are reported.

  • Self-Determination and Inclusion: The Role of Canadian Principals in Catalyzing Inclusive-Positive Practices
    Vol. 17 No. 2 (2021)

    While the placement of students with complex learning needs in Canadian classrooms may be mandated in policy, the development of inclusive-positive practices requires direct, and at times delicate, support and encouragement from principals. Without genuine engagement and buy-in from school staff, students in inclusive classrooms may not find meaningful opportunities in those spaces. The framework
    of self-determination theory provides a path by which principals can catalyze attitudinal changes (autonomy), best practices (competences), and enriched community relationships (relatedness). This study includes interviews with 21 principals. The findings of this study suggest that affecting attitudinal changes requires specific and comprehensive practices.

  • Adapting to Leadership in Offshore Schools: A Case Study of Sino-Nova Scotian Schools
    Vol. 17 No. 1 (2021)

    A mixed-methods study including 22 Sino-Nova Scotian school principals in China has established that preparation for leadership in that context requires the consideration of many salient factors. While many North American standards of leadership are an important foundation, effective communication within the multidimensional system is of paramount importance. It was also found that, in order to administer a successful program, principals needed to build stronger social support systems for their teachers and further create a community of practice that included cultural sensitivity and understanding.

  • Loc’d and Faded, Yoga Pants, and Spaghetti Straps: Discrimination in Dress Codes and School Pushout
    Vol. 16 No. 19 (2020)

    This article reviews dress code violations that have made national news in the United States and globally that spotlight racist and sexist issues embedded in common K–12 dress codes. It also analyzes all the school dress codes in one county in a Midwestern American state to examine the associated racist and sexist implications. The article ends with an assessment tool to help readers determine the levels of racism and sexism in their own K–12 district dress codes.
  • School Administrator Engagement in Teacher Induction and Mentoring: Findings from Statewide and District-Wide Programs
    Vol. 16 No. 18 (2020)

    Research shows that school administrators’ engagement is vital in creating a structure supportive of induction and mentoring for early career teachers. This article details a mixed-method research study that examined the role and impact of school administrators’ engagement in four teacher induction programs in the United States (two statewide and two district-wide) supported by the New Teacher Center. The results identify administrator role expectations and participants’ perceptions of the programs, and they indicate how vital school administrators’ leadership and commitment are to a successful program. The article concludes with implications for theory, practice, policy, and further research.
  • An Inquiry into the Influence of Stress on New School Leaders within a Unique Mentorship Experience
    Vol. 16 No. 17 (2020)

    This study aimed to identify the sources of stress new school leaders encounter that may influence their mental health. This study used semi-structured focus groupsn to elicit thick, rich descriptions of participants’ experiences. The extensive data sets were collected over two years from 16 focus group interviews conducted during Colorado State University School Leadership Institute retreats. Narrative analysis of participants’ responses provided findings on the stress they experienced, including fear of failure or insecurity, pressure to perform, isolation, work-life balance, time constraints, and compassion fatigue. The participants identified that this unique mentorship opportunity allowed for self-reflection, self-care, and reconnecting with their purpose; furthermore, participants shared that the School Leadership Institute offered support and connectedness in a safe, non-evaluative environment. They shared the importance of strong building-level team support, the cathartic nature of the focus group interviews, and the positive progression from year to year in their roles.
  • Deal or No Deal? The Effects of Deregulation on Public School Leaders’ Support for Private School Choice in California
    Vol. 16 No. 16 (2020)

    This article uses a survey experiment to examine the effects of public school deregulations on public school leaders’ support for a hypothetical private school voucher program in California. There is no evidence to suggest that public school deregulations affect public school leaders’ support for private school vouchers overall. However, deregulations related to teacher certification and the administration of standardized tests were found to further decrease support for private school choice for leaders of large public schools. This result may be explained by expected adjustment costs or regulatory capture.
  • Education Leaders’ Perspectives on Special Education Research: A Priority Setting Study
    Vol. 16 No. 15 (2020)

    Research priority setting makes knowledge users integral to the development of research agendas. The purpose of this study was to explore educational leaders’ perspectives on research priorities in special education. A cross-sectional survey was conducted with leaders from 60 public school districts in British Columbia, Canada. Seventy-one participants representing 43 districts completed the survey. The results of a pre-set list of questions indicated that the top three research priorities were
    grade-to-grade transitions, high school graduation, and time to designation. In terms of designation, or student categorization, participants were most interested in “Intensive Behaviour Interventions/Severe Mental Illness.” When asked about other
    priorities, participants identified types of support and interventions. These results have implications for developing research agendas that can support informed decision-making around policy and programming.
  • The Effects of Simulations on Principals’ Training and Professional Self-Efficacy
    Vol. 16 No. 14 (2020)

    A simulation is a powerful tool for having an experience in a controlled and safe environment. In education, it has been used within simulation centers. The current study examined the effect of simulations on the professional self-efficacy of school principals in training. Twenty-two master of education students were asked to fill out the Principal’s Professional Self-Efficacy Questionnaire before and after taking a course at a simulation center. Results showed a statistically significant increase in all five categories of professional SE. Strong positive correlations were found between the age of the students and each of the measured elements of professional SE in the post-test. Simulations within an organized, supervised process in a simulation center are a powerful tool for the professional development of principals in training.
  • Podcasting as a Dissemination Method for a Researcher-Practitioner Partnership
    Vol. 16 No. 13 (2020)

    Researcher-practitioner partnerships (RPPs) present opportunities to conduct studies that support evidence-based decision-making for participating school districts. Doing this work effectively requires ongoing input from key stakeholders, attention to the local impact of the research, and targeted dissemination to audiences who can benefit from the findings. Maximizing research use in public education requires attention to how it is communicated to decision-makers. The present case study of a podcast used as a dissemination method by a metropolitan RPP explores how it potentially supported the goals of the partnership and promoted stakeholder engagement with research findings. Theoretical and practical implications for RPPs are discussed, as
    well as implications for the literature on research use and podcasting as a communication tool in education.
  • Special Issue on Research Impact in Education
    Vol. 16 No. 12 (2020)

    Amid increased calls for research use in education policy and practice are increased calls for researchers and their research to have impact—an issue experienced globally. After several decades of the study of research use and knowledge utilization, there is a shift in how education research is talked about, and, increasingly, how its evaluation is considered. Motivated by observations of this shift and the recent emergence of research impact in the context of U.S. education, this special issue focuses on scholarship that advances thinking about research impact both conceptually—in the presentation of frameworks and strategies—and empirically—through case studies across multiple contexts.

  • Wordplay or Paradigm Shift: The Meaning of “Research Impact”
    Vol. 16 No. 11 (2020)

    Research impact is increasingly a global issue, yet it is still emerging in the context of U.S. education. This article synthesizes insights on this issue from key thought leaders in various roles in the U.S. education system, including their perspectives on defining, motivating, measuring, and supporting research impact. These insights offer the conceptual framing for this special issue of the International Journal of Education Policy and Leadership (IJEPL) and highlight several themes and tensions associated with research impact. The call for articles focused on these insights, which are addressed in the pieces that constitute this special issue.
  • Exploring Teachers’ Conceptual Uses of Research as Part of the Development and Scale-Up of Research-Informed Practices
    Vol. 16 No. 10 (2020)

    Research Informed Teaching Practice has become a fundamental aspect of educational reform in the modern world, aiding the development and improvement of teaching and learning, decision-making and the school improvement agenda in general. This article presents the findings from a small-scale study across three infant schools in England involving 15 teachers that found that teachers use of research tends to be conceptual in nature. RITP is achieved through an approach that can help teachers engage effectively with research evidence in order to adapt existing research/
    research-informed interventions to achieve the desired impact. The requirements
    for this type of conceptual research use tends to have a functional and
    measurable nature linked to continuous quality improvement.
  • A Development Evaluation of Research-Practice-Partnerships and Their Impacts
    Vol. 16 No. 9 (2020)

    Research-practice-partnerships (RPPs) have arisen as a potentially powerful mechanism for school improvement; however, there is little work how to evaluate RPPs. This study investigates how four RPPs are addressing impact by a) document analysis of metrics (N = 123) being used to assess partnerships, and b) interviews exploring how network leads (N = 11) and policymakers (N = 3) conceptualize partnerships and their impact on the frontlines. Findings suggest that while metrics being used provide a necessary baseline for the number and types of partnerships, more robust methods are needed to capture the quality of interactions and to strategically inform network development. The discussion advocates for network improvement through sharing cases of failures (alongside exemplary cases) to maximize learning, and for the use of developmental evaluation to explore the impacts of RPPs.
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