Literature review My original topic is the effects of leadership on student achievement and sustained school success, especially in challenging

, high-poverty schools. The work begins with a brief overview of past research into school leadership in challenging contexts, followed by a description of the core practices Leithwood and Riehl (2005) argue are necessary, but insufficient, for student success in any context. These essential practices: setting direction, developing people and redesigning the organisation, provide a framework for understanding the work of leaders in successful high poverty schools. Over the past several decades, a growing body of research on the work of school principals has made it increasingly clear that leadership matters when it comes to improving student achievement (Fullan, 2001; Marzano, Waters & McNulty, 2005; Sergiovanni, 2001). Efforts to improve educational leadership should build upon the foundation of well-documented and well-accepted knowledge about school leadership that already exists. There are numerous research studies on the nature and effects of leadership (e.g., Bass, 1990; Yukl, 1994) and on successful school leadership in the literature (e.g. Hopkins, 2001). They revealed that school leadership is most successful when it is focused on teaching and learning, and that it is necessary, though not sufficient, for school improvement that leadership should take different forms in different contexts and should use various mechanism through which schools leadership achieves its effects. The study which is presented might facilitate better cross-national communication and exchange concerning understanding of successful leadership and leadership strategies in effective schools in challenging urban environments. It might provide a good starting point for dialogue with diverse audiences about the successful school leadership in disadvantaged urban communities. Perhaps the key importance of the study lies in the fact that it promotes sustainable development and tackles the future challenges for education and training systems and lifelong learning. In order to achieve successful outcomes in the face of high levels of student poverty, school leaders must often confront significant challenges, such as poor nutrition, inadequate health services, high rates of illiteracy, and criminal activities that include drug and substance abuse. In turn, teachers in such schools often deal with high rates of student transience, absence and indiscipline. Maintaining productive levels of instructional continuity when youngsters are frequently moving in and out of school and disrupting classes is a major challenge at such sites. In other words, the external realities of a child s life create significant obstacles to his or her performing successfully relative to public expectations for school outcomes. Interestingly, as far back as the Effective Schools Literature of the 1970s and 1980s, and as recently as Smith s 2008 book, Schools That Change, there is evidence of principals working in high-poverty schools that have defied the odds; schools that produced levels of student achievement that were markedly better than would have been predicted given the demographic characteristics of the student body. These schools are statistical outliers when compared to the performance of others facing similarly impoverished conditions (see for example Brookover & Lezotte, 1979; Edmonds, 1979; Purkey & Smith, 1983; or Smith, 2008). Making this interest in quality leadership even more compelling is the

and rural schools. The site visits allowed us to conduct a categorical analysis of instructional practices. These characteristics were: A focus on academic achievement Clear curriculum choices Frequent assessment of student progress and multiple opportunities for improvement An emphasis on nonfiction writing Collaborative scoring of student work . Poland now provide school principals and senior staff with significantly more training. high poverty schools being examined (Jacobson. The school locations included inner-city urban schools. This perspective suggests there is a need to focus on the range of leadership preparation and development programmes to understand how they can contribute to improve school leadership. migration and changing family structure. abilities in group dynamics. 2005). In the same manner that the authors of In Search Of Excellence (Peters and Waterman.000 students in 228 buildings. we sought to identify the extent to which there was a common set of behaviors exhibited by the leaders and teachers in schools with high achievement. membership in the EU. Poland is undergoing social. the picture concerning the availability and quality of training and professional development of school leaders across Poland is mixed. Our research on the 90/90/90 Schools included both site visits and analyses of accountability data. we found five characteristics that were common to all 90/90/90 Schools. However. The student populations ranged from schools whose populations were overwhelmingly poor and/or minority to schools that were largely Anglo and/or economically advantaged. and high poverty levels. and many other parts of the world. They not feel well prepared to take on the challenges. However. As a result. pedagogical.fact that there is a growing concern that educational leadership is in relatively short supply in the U. high minority enrollment. In the contemporary Polish environment. especially for the type of challenging. suburban schools. the range of knowledge and skills that effective school leaders need today is daunting: curricular. opportunities for school leaders in this area leave room for improvement. economic. The research includes four years of test data (1995 through 1998) with students in a variety of school settings. much preparation and professional development may not be effective in fitting school leaders to today s challenges. from elementary through high school.S. Research conducted at the Center for Performance Assessment on the 90/90/90 Schools has been particularly instructive in the evaluation of the use of standards and assessment. and political change because of and in response to global economic competition. Our analysis considered data from more than 130. Polish Principals are being pulled in many directions between management. 1982) identified the common practices of excellent organizations. and support than they received in the past. among other reasons. student and adult learning in addition to managerial and financial skills. leadership and accountability pressures. an ageing population and growing social programme costs. interpersonal relations and communications. Moreover.

The first factor is what Cawelti (2000) referred to as "a sustained focus on multiple factors. on the other hand. in part because it is so difficult to recruit teachers to high-poverty schools. ensuring that students have nutritional meals and access to health. Carter (2000). and the schools that serve them confront a host of challenges. where adults and young people alike treat each other with respect (see Kannapel & Clements 2005. difficulty attracting experienced teachers. followed by a forced march to the next unit." That is. It is importantto note that these assessments were not district or state tests. for example). and what to teach. In discussing what factors in the school environment produce resilience in students. and all at the same time.Many of the high-poverty schools included students whose skills were significantly below grade level in academic achievement as they entered the school. in their mission of teaching children to read. to begin to achieve the critical mass that will make a difference in student outcomes²in other words. Cawelti (2000) points to incentives and student recognition as one expression of caring. schools do not achieve high performance by doing one or two things differently. high rates of absenteeism and transience. Researchers have looked at such schools to determine what characteristics they share. emphasized the autonomy of principals: "effective principals decide how to spend their money. Principals establish high expectations for themselves and their staff. student performance that is less than proficient is followed by multiple opportunities to improve performance. where children. Very poor communities face many hardships. Rather. and McGee (2004) observes the attention that high-performing schools give to health and safety. teachers set high expectations for themselves and their students. Most of these schools conducted weekly assessments of student progress. or have excelled. and I have never found that in another school" (Kannapel & Clements 2005). high-poverty schools that achieve gains in student performance engage in systemic change. families. Lauer 2001. Kannapel and Clements (2005) were surprised by the variety of leadership styles they observed. whom to hire. these challenges include children who start school without early literacy skills. Everyone models the processes of continual learning and self-assessment that are asked of students. As one of the audit teams for the Prichard Committee for Academic Excellence observed. The principals who hire teachers place somewhat different emphasis on the qualities that they look for in hiring. and students learn to have high expectations for themselves²and the adults around them. and develop higher-order thinking skills. do mathematics. There are public schools in poor communities that are making substantial progress. The culture of high expectations is embedded in a caring and nurturing environment. 2000). State and national assessments consistently show poor children lagging behind in performance. "I strongly believe everyone there believes all can learn. But researchers differ in how crucial the principal¶s role is and in their definition of the preferred leadership style. Jesse et al (2004) noted both collaborative and hierarchical leaders among the principals studied. Haberman (1999) identified the ability of teachers to forge relationships with children in poverty and connect with them as the key factor in high-performing schools. dental. The consequence of students performing badly was not an admonishment to Wait until next year but rather the promise that You can do better next week. and much more (Stiefel et al. yet found mostly ³non-authoritarian´ principals who led by collaborative decision-making. but were assessments constructed and administered by classroom teachers. and counseling care. The best available research indicates that positive change and success can occur even under the most challenging conditions. high-poverty schools could bolster efforts by school leaders and educators strengthen low-performing schools (Carter 2000). Lessons learned from high-performing. Borman & Rachuba (2001) identify ³strong and supportive´ relationships with teachers as crucial. For schools. Some require . The consistent message of the 90/90/90 Schools is that the penalty for poor performance is not a low grade. Children who live in poverty often attend the lowest performing schools. They must do a number of things differently.

Fullan. In such cases. Ragland et al 2002). Finally. Middle schools and high schools offer college preparatory curricula. Still other schools establish master teacher or coaching systems to mentor new teachers. and take part in school-wide intervention strategies. Other schools require students to demonstrate excellence in speech and writing.). (2001). actively looking to improve each other¶s teaching to help students meet specific academic standards. and McNulty. He explored the contract model.. R. References. T. B. or to prepare research papers and literary analyses in early elementary grades. Meeting the Challenge: an improvement guide for schools facing challenging circumstances. and provide venues for teachers to critique and assist one another. It was also found that schools were seeking to develop higher-order skills (Barth et al 1999). Englewood Cliffs. But high-performing schools do not stop with the acquisition of basic skills. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass Marzano. (1994). Waters. (2001) Leading in a culture of change. and Riehl. building libraries and offering Junior Great Books. Other principals hire teachers with little experience or training but the right attitudes and beliefs about children and learning. K. Alexandria. (2005). or music. London. the form it takes varies considerably. Some schools offer curricula enriched by sports. Carter (2000) reported a variety of ways that schools sought to develop the "reading habit" in students. Leadership: What s in it for schools? London: Routledge Falmer Yukl. They address barriers to learning. What we know about successful school leadership. Teachers and staff at these schools view parents as "critical partners" in the learning process (Ragland et al 2002).candidates to teach a demonstration lesson. Sergiovanni. M. They regularly communicate across teaching areas and programs and are eager to learn from each another (Kannapel & Clements 2005. arts. where parents literally sign a contract with the school. Barth et al (1999) found that high-performing schools were increasingly engaging parents in processes that would help them understand standards and student work. (2005). At one end. others include the explicit study of character. Jesse et al (2004) found that many high-performing schools sent lots of communications home to parents. by providing detailed guidance for them to follow in the classroom. NJ: Prentice Hall Hopkins. collaborate to identify solutions. Teamwork and collaboration are very typical. a program of the Great Books Foundation that provides engaging texts geared to students from kindergarten through 12th grade. but did not seek their active involvement. D. G. Although researchers generally find that high-performing schools encourage parent involvement. several researchers identified collaboration and teamwork among school staff as a feature typical of high-performing schools. C. High-performing schools may also set aside significantly greater collaborative planning time (Feldman 2003). Leadership in organizations (3rd ed. Others work closely with colleges to place student teachers that they can observe and cultivate as promising candidates. (2001). DfES. Carter (2000) also found school staff actively working with parents to bring learning into the home. and train them on the job. VA: Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development. On the other hand.: Leithwood. some principals report that off-the-shelf curriculum packages help these less experienced teachers deliver instruction more effectively sooner. . committing to getting the child to school on time or helping with homework. School leadership that works: From research to results. T.

and Lezotte. New York: Warner Business. . 37. R. . Educational Leadership. East Lansing.Brookover. (1979). & Waterman. Edmonds. MI: Institute for Research on Teaching. . 15-2 Peters. W. Effective schools for the urban poor. (1979). L. Changes in school characteristics coincident with changes in student achievement. In search of excellence. R. (1982). T.Vol.

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