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This study investigated the implementation and effects of
a school-level leadership model intended to institutionalize quality
principal-teacher interactions into the culture of a high school. The
leadership model for the study was operationalized by incorporating four
new principal-teacher interactions. Over a two year period, the
principals (one head principal and three assistant principals)
introduced individual conferencing (one hour principal-teacher meetings
in the summer), snapshots (frequent short visits to teacher classrooms),
data reviews (facilitating frequent teacher analysis of classroom grade
distributions and discipline reports), and teacher self-assessments
using a rubric-based document to aid teachers in self-reflection on
their instructional practices. The purposes of this study were to
document the implementation of the principal-teacher interactions; to
analyze changes in instructional practices; to analyze any effects
changes in instructional practices had on student performance (operationalized
as classroom grade performance and discipline related behavior); and to
analyze the frequency and focus of teacher conversations.
As a result the four principal-teacher interactions
introduced in this study, teacher instructional practices improved,
student performance increased, and the frequency and focus of some
teacher conversations changed. Results from the analysis of teacher
instructional practices showed that those practices improved, but to
varying degrees among different groups of teachers (high, medium, and
low performing). Results from the analysis of student performance
(grades and discipline) demonstrated greater improvement than would be
predicted had the treatment not occurred. Data analyzes further
suggested that improvement in classroom grade distributions and
discipline referrals were affected both by a change in the quality of
teacher instructional practices and increased principal visibility.
Survey data indicated that the frequency and focus of some teacher
conversations changed, but did not indicate that the frequency and focus
of principal-teacher conversations or teacher-student conversations
changed during the course of the study.
to download full dissertation in its most final/published form
to down load full proposal in its most recent draft.
Here to download ASCD PowerPoint presentation held in Orlando Florida
March 14, 2009
Here to download KPA PowerPoint presentation held in Louisville KY June 15, 2010
How will the treatment of principal-teacher
interactions affect teachers’ instructional practices?
How will changes in teachers’ instructional
practices, initiated by the set of principal-teacher interactions,
affect student performance?
How will changes in principal-teacher interactions
affect the frequency and focus of teacher conversations with
principals, students, and other teachers?
Significance of the Study
The research base
indicates that improving instructional practices is essential to
increasing student performance within a school
(e.g. Cushman & Delpit, 2003; Felner, Kasak, Mulhall, & Flowers, 1997;
Fullan, 2005a; Haycock, 1998; O'Hanlon & Mortensen, 1980).
Implementing a few specific changes to principals’ behavior may
enable principals to function more effectively as instructional leaders
and improve teacher instructional practices. In this study, improved
instructional practices were hypothesized to increase student
performance and to improve the frequency and focus of teacher
This study’s basic structure for enhancing principal instructional
leadership behavior included the addition of four specific
principal-teacher interactions (one-on-one summer meetings with
teachers, frequent classroom visits, data reviews, and teacher
self-assessments) and can be implemented without the use of extra money,
time, or personnel (all of which are difficult to reallocate within a
school). These four principal-teacher interactions comprised the
treatment for this study. Other goals of this study included situating
the treatment within the boundaries of typical practice and contributing
evidence useful to other principals in schools who may choose to
implement similar principal-teacher interactions.