Educational Leadership In A Changing World

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Charter schools are becoming the norm among the educational system in the United States; more and more charter schools are becoming available. American parents had three available choices of getting their children educated. These three choices available for parents were: public, homeschooled and or private school. In the early 1990's president Clinton offered the opportunity of Charter Schools to be implemented or rather a choice if parents wanted a different route of getting their children educated. Charter schools allowed teachers the opportunity of developing their own unique way of working with the students. It also provided teachers the opportunity of working with smaller groups of students in lieu of working with 25 to 30 high school students in the public schools. Charter school teachers are also given leeway of teaching. Even though teachers are given leeway to teach the students in a diversified way, directors need to be available to support the teachers' method of teaching. A strong director is crucial in a Charter School. The directors are there to support the staff and guide them on what it is that the school is implementing. Even great teachers need a firm hand to become effective teachers.

In a charter school, administrators, teachers and staff need to value and fully concur with the same type of "Vision" in order for the school to be successful. Working together as a team is key in order for the school to prosper and be able to provide the best educational opportunity for students. A director cannot excel on his/her own; it takes the entire staff to be successful. The relationship between the teachers and administrators is essential to establish a good working rapport, in order for the vision/mission to be implemented. The vision should also be shared collaboratively with the staff, stakeholders, and the governing board. Primarily, the schools' atmosphere should be one of the many focal points for the teachers and staff and be accounted for as a team. Nonetheless, understanding the vision plays a major role for both, the teachers and administrators in order for the school to function properly.

Of all the theories that has been studied and reviewed. Situational Theory is considered to be the best to use in a Charter school. According to Paul Hersey, "situational theory is based on principles that administrators are the leaders and the teachers are guided towards the goal of students achieving success". Both the director and the staff need to have the same level of vision for the school to be a success. "Future vision is a widespread vision on how the organization will look at some point in the future, including how it will be positioned in its environment and how it will function internally" (Manasse, 1986, p. 157).

The governing school board stakeholders need to have the same shared vision with their staff in order for the school to progress with great results. Therefore, Charter schools need to maintain a positive attitude towards education of the students by implementing the "situational theory". Charter schools' vision is to place the students first, and the educational settings revolve around the needs of the students. These needs are constantly changing due to the students that are enrolled in a Charter School. Most charter schools have an open enrollment policy which causes many charter's to have an overabundance of Special Population students. Teachers and staff strive to educate all the individuals in a small setting. The classes are ratio to be at no more that 20 to 2 co-teachers to help the students succeed.

At Gateway Academy our mission is to "offer educational programs in a community based, non-traditional setting where teachers are free to be creative and motivate the students". Students are giving guidance to succeed in their endeavors. Students will be giving the tools to help them prosper and up their self-esteem. Students are not "judged," but given an opportunity to strive to be the best and bring out their full potential. Whereas, many of the students that are coming from public schools claim that the teachers do not believe in them or rather they do not have the time to offer one-to-one help. Since Charter schools do not have the capacity to place too many students in a class, teachers are able to help the students on a one-to-one basis. Teachers and the entire educational community of the Charter schools are to provide the best practices in helping the students succeed in their learning. In Laredo alone, charter schools are becoming more available to educate the students that "fall through the cracks".

Furthermore, "situational theory" focuses on motivating the staff to inspire their students to succeed. This theory also speculates that the staff controls the learning environment and the outcome of the student's success. Students are given a contract to sign at the beginning of their education to be aware that the Charter school is a "zero tolerance" school. So, in the meantime the students become aware that they are given an opportunity to achieve their goals in acquiring a high school diploma. Students are made aware that teachers and staff will help them succeed, but they (the students) must abide by the strictly enforced guidelines. In efforts to increase motivation and participation, teachers and staff go above and beyond to recognize the students and "reward" both the students and parents. Even though, the teachers are given free access to teach the students, the directors are there to guide them on attaining the best trainings and staff developments feasible to support their teaching. In addition, administration continuously strives to enhance new data driven teaching methods that can benefit our students. According to Manasse, this aspect of leadership is a "visionary leadership" and it includes four basic types of visions. These visions include the opportunity to be organized, the future and the personal strategies to help the students to prosper. Manasse also stressed that the "organizational vision emphasizes the system's mechanism in order to help the individual student to succeed." (Manasse, 1986, p. 157) The future is the turn out that the school strives for success on the student's educational needs. In the meantime, personal strategies are the way teachers implement the learning styles for the students. Teachers are geared into teaching on the best "scientific-based" principle to help students succeed.

Overall, effective leadership entails a well rounded person that has the potential to succeed as long as the individual is willing to admit mistakes and take into account that it takes the whole community to teach a child. Prosperous leaders are measured through personal traits that are taught and others that they are born with. Regardless of how one views leadership, all of the concepts should to be used to begin the journey of a successful leader. Whether it contains interrelationship or intra-relationships, effective leadership requires the full participation of the educational community, including parents and the governing board. According to Goleman (1997), the founder of Emotional Intelligence, a great leader is assertive, has empathy, comforts the followers, and come up with decision making as a whole group, as well as a high level of self control and time management.

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