The purpose of this paper is twofold: to assess the effectiveness of the school building and school district leadership programs within the School of Education at a large…
The purpose of this paper is twofold: to assess the effectiveness of the school building and school district leadership programs within the School of Education at a large private university and to find areas for improvement in these programs.
This study utilized a qualitative grounded theory research strategy using a case study approach of two campuses of the university. Each case study utilized the same data collection methods and data analysis procedures in order to increase validity.
The key findings revealed that the graduates emphasized the importance of professional support via a cohort structure, a sound program philosophy, and a comprehensive and coherent curriculum. Recruitment and administrative internships were two effectiveness criteria not emphasized by the participants. Thus, the findings suggest the program could be enhanced by the creation of leadership portfolios and quality administrative internships. These findings are also consistent with the transfer of learning theory.
Educational leadership preparation programs continue to be highly relevant fields of study as society places greater expectations on school leaders for meeting learning outcomes and educational standards. Increased calls for accountability have initiated more research on conditions and other factors that lead to enhanced student learning in these programs. To the extent that other universities have similar programs in place, the findings may benefit them in developing or improving their own program(s).
The paper includes implications for the development of innovative programs in administrative and instructional leadership. The findings of this study suggest the program could be enhanced by the creation of leadership portfolios (digital and non-digital) as a culminating experience to summarize accomplishments, demonstrate competencies, and to serve as an authentic form of assessment, as well as the creation of quality administrative internships to provide students with real-life opportunities while they go through the program.
This paper fulfils an identified need to study those program characteristics that have been shown to have the strongest relationship to school improvement.