Transformational leadership in urban educational settings
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Urban education has both internal and external challenges that place inner city students at an extreme disadvantage. They are at risk of educational equity and access to knowledge and skills necessary to compete in a constantly evolving global society (Oakes, Franke, Quartz, Rogers, 2002). Jean Anyon (2005), identifies failed, short-term educational policies such as urban family dynamics, and underprepared teachers and principals as secondary contributors of the ills of urban education. This challenge is compounded by the majority of students living in poverty not having their basic needs met before they begin school each day. One of the major challenges in urban education lies within school leadership. In many schools teachers feel isolated from colleagues, school leadership and the community. The role of the principal over time has drastically evolved from a managerial role to an instructional leader role (Dhuey and Smith, 2014). This requires principals to become change agents that will challenge teachers to explore new and innovative ways of approaching teaching. The purpose of this study is to examine leaders and faculty of secondary urban schools that provide a culture of commitment to high levels of collegiality, high expectations, and professional learning. This research will illustrate how leaders in urban, secondary schools transform the cultures of schools and raise the commitment levels of teachers while sustaining academic gains for students. This research will search for evidence of a school environment conducive to the real world challenges of the twenty first century urban education. The specific form of qualitative research that will be used is a collective case study. In this case study, maximum-variation sampling was chosen to enable the researcher to identify secondary schools with sustained cultures of high academic performance, located in urban areas as a means to study schools. Teacher leaders will be selected by implementing a maximum variation of sampling technique, identifying a group of teachers that have expertise in diversity to create a heterogeneous sampling group. The Multifactor Leadership Questionnaire (Appendix 1) will be used to evaluate the leadership styles of Principals. The tool will allow individuals to measure their perceptions of their leadership behaviors by utilizing a self-leadership form (Avolio and Bass, 2004). For the purpose of this research, focus groups will be grouped with teachers from improved secondary, urban schools, which are under corrective action status by the state department of education and Principals from similar schools, which utilize transformational leadership methods in their practice.
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