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4 Williams - www.nationalforum.com - Dr. Kritsonis

4 Williams - www.nationalforum.com - Dr. Kritsonis

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Published by: William Allan Kritsonis, PhD on Sep 10, 2009
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial


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Henry WilliamsCentral Washington University
ABSTRACTThis article examines a Superintendent’s responsiveness to the school culture componentof the Interstate School Leaders Licensure Consortium (ISLLC). An analysis of thedevelopment of school culture by the late John Stanford, Superintendent of SeattlePublic Schools was the focus is the focus of the article. When he took over assuperintendent of Seattle schools, many complained that he had no knowledge of education, he is a military person, and they cannot see how he will be able to work withthe largest school district in Washington State. To the amazement of everyone in Seattle,during his short tenure in the school district, he was able to turn the down troddenSeattle school district into something the students, staff, state legislatures and thecommunity embraced. The late John Stanford, was the cheerleader at rallies, the chef forelementary school students and great communicator with all people. He had a vision forself, staff and community, and to sustain it, he was always available.
nterstate School leaders Licensure Consortium (ISLLC) standard 2states us that a school administrator is an educational leader who promotes the success of all students by advocating, nurturing, andsustaining a school culture and instructional program that is conduciveto student learning and staff professional growth. By addressingculture in a standard, it is obvious that culture is important to thosecharged with defining “good school leaders”. This standard speaks tothe need of a school leader to understand the importance of a positiveschool culture and its impact on student learning.
Culture is based on common norms, values and beliefs. Cultureis the glue that holds schools together or keeps it in tatters. It definesthe group and gives it a sense of identity that sets it apart from other 
groups. Culture enhances the stability of the school district and itestablishes appropriate behavior standards for members of the group.Culture can gives the members a sense of organizational mission.The culture of a school district affects the outcomes for children, thesatisfaction of the staff and the perceptions of the community. There isincreasing evidence that a Culture of Trust promotes studentachievement and improvement, even after controlling for thesocioeconomic status of the school (Bryk and Schneider, 2002;Goddard, Tschannen-Moran, 1999; Hoy and Tschannen-Moran, 2003;Tschannen-Moran and Hoy, 2000; Tschannen-Moran, 2003). Whilecreating a culture of trust may take work, it is certainly easier thantrying to change the socioeconomic of families or other such outsidefactors.Likewise, a culture of academic optimism in a school districthas strong positive impact on school achievement, even controlling for socioeconomic factors, previous success and other demographicvariables (Hoy,Tarter, and Woolfolk-Hoy, 2006a, 2006b; McGuiganand Hoy, in press; Smith and Hoy, 2006). Academic optimism createsa culture with collective beliefs and norms that view teachers ascapable, students as willing, parents as supportive, and academicsuccess as achievable. By creating a culture of academics optimism,schools can positively affect student achievement despite outsidefactors.Also, the culture of control in a school impacts the outcomesfor students. When schools with a custodial culture of control werecompared to schools with a humanistic culture of control researchshowed that custodial school had more alienated students thanhumanistic ones (Hoy, 1972). Humanistic schools provide healthysocial climates that lead to the development of more mature selimages for students (Diebert and Hoy, 1977). Additionally, there is a positive relationship between students’ perception of their schools ashumanistic and their motivation, problem solving and seriousness tolearn (Lunenburg, 1983) as well as their positive perceptions of schoollife (Lunenburg and Schmidt, 1989).
Henry Williams
The culture of efficacy of a school usually has a positiveimpact student learning. Collective Efficacy is the shared perceptionthat school personnel in the school district are all striving to provide a positive effect on students. In his study of collective teacher efficacyand student achievement, Bandura (1993) discovered two keyfindings: (1) student achievement was significantly and positivelyrelated to collective efficacy and (2) collective efficacy had a greater effect on student achievement than did student socioeconomic status.Subsequent research has supported these findings (Goddard, Hoy andWoolfolk-Hoy, 2000, 2004; Goddard, Sweetland and Hoy, 2000;Goddard 2001; Goddard, 2002b; Hoy, Sweetland and Smith, 2002;Hoy, Smith and Sweetland, 2002b; Goddard, Hoy and LoGerfo, 2003;Goddard, LoGerfo and Hoy, 2004). By taking the time and making theeffort to create a culture of collective efficacy, the schools in thedistrict will have a positive impact on student achievement. So, howcan a superintendent be culturally responsive?The superintendent and personnel must be positive role model.Superintendents should be the one to develop the shared-vision, behardworking, and committed to achieving the utmost endeavor for himself/herself and the people he/she is working with at the schools.The superintendent should mirror pride in the school and everyone,including the students to make suggestion and recommendations for improvement. School district leaders must be effectivecommunicators. The superintendent should have the charisma and power to move people toward set community goals. A good exampleof a charismatic leader was the late John Stanford, Superintendent of Seattle public Schools. When he took over as superintendent of Seattleschools, many complained that he had no knowledge of education, heis a military person, and they cannot see how he will be able to work with the largest school district in Washington State. To the amazementof everyone in Seattle, during his short tenure in the school district, hewas able to turn the down trodden Seattle school district intosomething the students, staff, state legislatures and the communityembraced.

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