The purpose of this paper is to examine the relationship between school principals’ sense of efficacy and their involvement with the Arkansas Leadership Academy's (the Academy) School Support Program (SSP).
Data were collected from participating SSP principals to explore differences in mean principal self-efficacy given varied years of participation in SSP. The Principal Self-Efficacy Survey was used to measure the construct of principal self-efficacy of 27 principals participating in the Academy's SSP for low-performing schools.
The findings suggest that principals of low-performing schools that participated in the Arkansas Leadership Academy's SSP for more years have a stronger sense of leadership efficacy than principals of low-performing schools that are just beginning the SSP. Post hoc qualitative data were collected through a focus group discussion to provide insight regarding actual practices that led to increased perceived self-efficacy as a result of participating in the SSP.
This study is highly contextualized to the principals and school systems participating in the SSP, a limited population due to conditions under which schools qualify to participate in the program.
As schools continue to be identified as needing to improve based on accountability measures, external sources of leadership development for the principals leading these schools should be considered as a possible means for increasing their senses of efficacy, and indirectly supporting the potential for improved school performance.
The attributes of highly efficacious principals – self-regulating, confident, and calm in difficult situations – may be more critical to leaders engaged in systemic change in low-performing schools where the challenges may be more complex.
There could be a strong argument that the influence of an outside support program might be one strategy to consider when addressing the improvement of low-performing schools through raising leader efficacy.
T. Airola, D., Bengtson, E., A. Davis, D. and K. Peer, D. (2014), "Principals’ sense of efficacy: the influence of the Arkansas Leadership Academy", Journal of Educational Administration, Vol. 52 No. 6, pp. 754-774. https://doi.org/10.1108/JEA-08-2013-0089Download as .RIS
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