An exploratory study of capacity building from a social, Dissertation

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The No Child Left Behind Act has placed substantial pressure on schools throughout the United States to steadily improve student learning. While building school capacity has been regarded as a critical approach for such long-term school development, research has done little to explore the work of principals in the context of capacity building. As a result, the role of high school principals in capacity building is not widely understood or empirically described. Particularly missing are fine-grained examples of such leadership.

To address this need, I explored the work of high school principals in the context of capacity building. Through a statewide search, 11 high school principals were identified and studied. To amplify the voices of principals in the emergent discourse on capacity building, a positioned-subjects approach was used where multiple in-depth interviews were conducted that occurred over a period of 18 months. A broad range of documents was also collected from each principal's school.

From a broad perspective, my findings provide an analytic framework for examining two aspects of principal leadership for school capacity: social and human capital development. This framework is comprised of seven macro-level leadership functions including: (a) cultivating trust, (b) cultivating and shaping the distribution of leadership, (c) expanding and shaping the time for teacher learning, (d) shaping the focus of teacher learning, (e) shaping the approaches used to support teacher learning, (f) engaging secondary settings to support teacher learning, and (g) communicating expectations for teacher learning. I use two case studies from the larger sample to illustrate these functional areas and to provide more fine-grained descriptions of leadership practice.

Based on my findings, I argue that the role of high school principals is critical within the context of capacity building. I also argue that principals can strengthen their approach to capacity building by conceptualizing and enacting a social and human capital development strategy. Implications for practice and future research are advanced.

Posted Date: 1/11/2014 7:41:52 AM | Location : United States







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