Rubric A: Leadership Style Evaluation
The high school principal described in this task was hired to create change within a struggling high school using transformational leadership. Burns claims that transformational leadership occurs when leaders utilize positive relationships with employees in order to motivate the followers to understand the need for change and then to collaboratively create an instructional plan to improve student achievement (Green). However, this principal’s leadership style began to take on a situational leadership approach in that he adapted his approach to fit the abilities of his followers (Green). He saw that the ELA department appeared capable of creating a task to improve reading scores and allowed them to do so. Ultimately, a transformational leadership approach became a laissez – faire leadership approach (Green). The principal demonstrated a laissez – faire approach by giving is faculty complete autonomy in creating and executing a plan to improve reading scores across the high school. He did not provide any guidance nor directives in how the project should be completed, who should be involved in completing the project, or when the project should be completed.
Rubric A1: Leadership Style Recommendation
Perhaps the Collective Efficacy Model of Distributive Leadership would have better served this principal. This model promotes shared leadership responsibilities between administration and followers with all faculty believing they have the necessary skills to positively effect students (Green). This approach also follows a democratic leadership belief rather than laissez – faire. Faculty still feels as if they have a say in decision making and program implementation, but the principal delegates and provides more guidelines instead of using a completely “hands – off” approach. The Collective Efficacy Model of Distributive Leadership would have still allowed faculty to feel as if they were valued participants in decision – making and program implementation; however, it also would have allowed the principal to delegate responsibilities such as determining which books to be added to the summer reading list, accessibility of those books, creating summer reading projects, and thoroughly reading and reviewing each book on the summer reading list. As the distributive leadership practice is more democratic in nature as opposed to laissez – faire, this leadership style also would have allowed the principal to establish needed guidelines, such as a time frame for project completion, as a plan was needed before the end of the school year which was quickly approaching.
Rubric B: Applied Leadership Responsibilities
The principal implemented several aspects of Marzano’s Twenty-One Responsibilities of the School Leader. To begin with, the principal demonstrated affirmation. He recognized there was a need to improve reading test data and saw a plan was developed (Marzano). Change was also demonstrated in the principal’s transformational leadership style. He acted as a change agent by deviating from the mantra of its – always – been – done – this – way. The normal routine was challenged by seeking to create a new program to improve reading scores (Marzano). Focus was well executed by the principal; before implementing any new programs or practices, he sought the school’s mission statement, vision statement, and values to ensure the new ideas aligned to the overall mission of the school (Marzano). With the limited knowledge possessed through the video, it does seem apparent that the principal had relationships with his staff. He felt comfortable enough to allow the English department to develop and execute their own plan without his own involvement (Marzano). Lastly, it would seem the principal was, indeed, an optimizer. He did seek to inspire a new idea among his staff in order to benefit student achievement (Marzano).
Rubric B1: Leadership Responsibilities Justification
This principal did not demonstrate all of Marzano’s Twenty-One Responsibilities of School Leaders. The implementation of several of the omitted responsibilities would have yielded a much more favorable outcome for the principal. For example, if executed to the full extent, outreach could have had a positive impact on how the students and parents received the idea of summer reading (Marzano). While the principal did use outreach to ensure compliance with the school’s vision and district mandates, outreach among parents and students with the purpose of explaining the purpose of summer reading could have led to more students completing the required reading assignments. Secondly, being involved and knowledgeable about curriculum, instruction, and assessment would have been a wise choice (Marzano). While it is understandable that faculty can be trusted to design and implement certain programs, it is ultimately the principal who takes responsibility within the community when these programs go awry. Therefore, the principals should have closely reviewed the summer reading lists, checked with teachers to determine whether books were screened for age – appropriateness, and examined project requirements prior to approving its distribution. In addition, resources – or the lack thereof – created a major problem among this educational community (Marzano). Had the principal enacted Marzano’s Leadership Responsibility regarding resources, he would have ensured teachers had enough materials to distribute to children before they left for summer vacation. This would have eliminated the limited accessibility of books as well as the excuse to not complete the required task.
Rubric C: Communication Plan
Marzano claims “good communication is a critical feature of any endeavor in which people work in close proximity for a common purpose” (Marzano). Therefore, communication should constantly be at the forefront of any school leader’s thoughts. There is evidence to show the principal communicated various aspects of the summer reading program to teachers, students, and families. To being with, the principal communicated the need to create a program to improve reading scores to his staff and then allowed the staff to communicate with one another in order to determine what this program would entail. Then, once the program was established, the principal had teachers communicate the project’s requirements with students and parents. Teachers chose to include a written letter detailing the project to be sent home with every student. While the principal did do an adequate job communicating his desire to create a new initiative to increase test scores to his teachers, he did not communicate any expectations such as making sure to screen books for inappropriate content or how projects should be graded. Furthermore, he did not effectively communicate the intention and need for this program to students and families. This, unfortunately, resulted in only one – third of the student body participating.
Rubric C1: Communication Plan Improvements
Changes in how the principal communicated his change management strategy could have led to a positive outcome within his new summer reading initiative. First, the principal should have communicated clear expectations for teachers who were designing this project. Consideration should have been given to whether the selected books were age appropriate for high schoolers, the accessibility of books, and how the projects would be graded to prevent failing and/or inflated grades. These changes would have eliminated anger from parents over sexually explicit material, student’s inability to complete the assignments, and confusion over grading amongst teachers. In addition, the principal should have directly communicated the purpose and intended goal of this assignment with students and parents. Considering this principal’s school district placed low priority on education, communicating the reasoning behind this change would have helped students and parents understand the importance of summer reading. Furthermore, perhaps a face to face meeting as opposed to a note would have illustrated the seriousness and importance of the project. The school could have hosted an informational meeting about the new initiative for where students and parents. The project could have been explained and students could pick – up books and project packets to take home for the summer.
Rubric D: School Culture
School culture encompasses transparency, trust, and inclusiveness. The implementation of the summer reading program negativity impacted all aspects of the school’s culture. Transparency is essential to building a positive school culture. Rob Peters, CEO of Standard of Trust, says there are four strategies to being transparent; the strategies are: creating purpose, consistently communicating, focusing on relationship capital, and taking responsibility (Marin, 2018). The principal in this scenario does, indeed, create a purpose and aligns that purpose to the mission of the school. However, he did not consistently communicate. His retelling of the incident discusses one meeting with the reading department rather than numerous brainstorming sessions with all teachers from all departments of the school. Although the focus was specifically reading test scores, other teachers from other departments could have had valuable input as reading is fundamental in their courses as well. Holding multiple discussion with all faculty would have also made certain that all stakeholders were hearing the same message regarding the new initiative. A focus on relationships is also necessary to maintain transparency. As a part of relationships, there must be an “intentional creation of an environment where opposing viewpoints are celebrated” (Marin, 2018)) By all indications, the opposing viewpoints of concerned parents were not celebrated. Although the opposing viewpoints of parents angered by inappropriate reading content certainly should not be celebrated, these were not the only concerns. Parents who believed children’s brains needed the summers to rest should have had their viewpoints welcomed as opposition creates growth among all stakeholders. Finally, leaders who are transparent take responsibility for their actions. While it is unknown how this principal handled the outcome of this situation, in order to build transparency, he should have owned his mistakes whether those mistakes were not screening the summer reading books or not having adequate materials available. Transparency goes hand – in – hand with trust as one does not exist without the other. Seeing as this principal was not fully transparent, one can assume there were stakeholders who did not fully trust his judgement – especially in decision – making – after this incident. Parents will question his ability to lead well, and teachers will question his ability to implement new initiatives. Lastly, school culture also encompasses inclusiveness. Inclusiveness is the “practice of considering general education as the placement of first choice for all learners. This approach encourages educators to bring necessary supplemental supports, aids, and services into the classroom instead of removing students from the classroom for those services” (Villa and Thousand, 2003, p 20). The principal’s retelling does not explain whether SPED teachers were even aware of the summer reading project. Were SPED teachers contacted to contribute ideas which would be feasible for their students’ summer reading projects? If not, these teachers are certain to have a negative outlook on school culture as they may feel less valued.
Rubric D1: Alignment to Mission, Vision, and Values
The principal was clearly aware of the school’s mission, vision, and values. He tried to make sure his new initiative aligned with the school’s ultimate purpose. The school’s mission statement seeks to “enable students to contribute to a changing and diverse world.” Reading well is certainly a part of this process; however, the mission statement also says that the school will work “with parents and the community to a comprehensive educational experience that is rigorous, and individualized.” Clearly, parents and the community were not involved in the process of determining the new initiative as parents were angered at the choice of literature and there were not enough books within the community. Additionally, was the summer reading program truly individualized? It is unclear from the video whether the reading department consisted of special education teachers; if not, this reading program might not have taken into consideration the needs of students with disabilities. What about students who work full time during the summer months – were they considered as well? The summer reading program does not seem to fully align to the school’s mission statement. The next item the principal considered was the school’s vison statement, which declares that all students will exhibit high standards of achievement and critical thinking skills and will be socially responsible for being successful members of their community. In theory, the new initiative does attempt to hold students to a higher standard of academic and critical thinking as it would require students to continue learning and developing over the summer; however, in practice the initiative did not support the vison statement as only two – thirds of students completed the assignment. The 35% who did not complete the assignment certainly were not held to any high standards. Lastly, the principal considered the core values of the school. Again, in theory, the new project does seem to put students first – an effort is being made to help them become better readers. In contrast, in practice, the summer reading program did not put students first as some students could not access the needed material. Students were also needlessly exposed to inappropriate content; this was not in their best interest, and it goes against the school’s core value of providing quality instruction for all students. Results matter is another of the core values. Clearly, results did not matter in this initiative as it was poorly planned, and the results were not successful. This also coincides with all being held accountable. Children who did not have access to the book or who were instructed by their parents not to read the questionable material could not be held accountable by the school for the program. The school’s values also state that parents and community relationships are essential yet there is not evidence that parents and/or community members were given an option to provide feedback on this initiative prior to it being green – lighted. It would seem the only core value truly honored in this process is that leadership provides transparency since the school principal answered to the public at school board meetings. Overall, the summer reading initiative met the school’s mission statement, vision statement, and core values in theory, but it failed to honor any of these in practice.
Rubric D1A: Improved Alignment
Should the principal have taken a different approach with the summer reading initiative, it had the potential to be widely successful. To better align the initiative to the school’s mission statement, the principal should have given parents and/or community stakeholders an opportunity to hear the purpose of the program and to provide input on how the program would be structured. Also, as the mission statement says that individualization is a part of the school’s instruction, SPED teachers should have played an active roll in creating the summer reading list and projects. Furthermore, to align more closely to the school’s vision statement, the principal should have considered the literary materials. If the school’s vision statement says that the school will create students who are socially responsible members of society, it would be prudent to choose texts which exemplify these themes. Additionally, the principal should have collaborated with teachers in order to determine how the projects would be used in the classroom or scored in order to ensure students were reaching high standards of achievement and critical thinking skills as indicated by the school’s vision statement. Regarding the school’s core values, the principal did make decisions based on the school’s data as well as putting students first, which does align with the core values; however, in order to make sure the program was successful, all core values should have been honored. First, the principal should have communicated the purpose and expectations of the initiative with parents and/or community members and worked with the central office or community members to ensure enough materials were available for students to successfully complete the project. The principal should have required his reading department to screen summer reading materials to determine their educational worth as well as the rigor of the content, then worked with these teachers in order to develop a way to assess the summer reading packet which was fair to all students. Lastly, the principal should have been transparent to teachers, students, and parents and/or community members for both the programs successes and failures. Should each of these items been considered in greater detail, the summer reading initiative could have shown great success.
- Green, R. L. Practicing the Art of Leadership. [Western Governors University]. Retrieved from https://wgu.vitalsource.com/#/books/9780134078663/
- Marin, J.P. Leadership Transparency: One Leader’s Perspective. [Western Governors University] Retrieved from https://wgu-nx.acrobatiq.com/courseware/wgu_D016_15Apr19_leader_foundation_ethics_2_1/learning_resources/building_community/wbp_transparency__trust__and_inclusion
- Marzano, R. J. School Leadership That Works. [Western Governors University]. Retrieved from https://wgu.vitalsource.com/#/books/9781416612308/
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