Teacher Ownership/Democratic Governance Category 2

Here is a collection of articles written on the EdVisions model and network schools.

Teacher Ownership/Democratic Governance articles

*All articles are available upon request by emailing info@edvisions.org

Category 2: Teachers model ownership and democratic leadership; inspire students, parents and community to take ownership and actively contribute to decision making.

Angelle, P. S. (2010). An organizational perspective of distributed leadership: A portrait of a middle schoolResearch in Middle Level Education Online33(5), 1-16.

Interest in the concept of distributed leadership has increased as evidenced in the recent literature. While there has been much discussion, there has been scant empirical evidence of distributed leadership in practice. This research study examines one middle school where educators practiced distributed leadership daily. Approached from an organizational perspective, the researcher gathered data from administrator and teacher interviews, organization context, and student outcome records. Findings from this qualitative case study form the basis for a model of distributed leadership. Organizational preconditions include: (a) leadership practice as support for organizational structure, (b) trust as strengthening organizational culture, and (c) relationships as the foundation for organizational affiliation. Organizational constructs of organizational structure, organizational culture, and organizational affiliation, in turn, lead to the organizational outcomes of (a) efficacy, (b) increased trust, (c) job satisfaction, and (d) teacher intent to stay.

Brasof, M., & Spector, A. (2016). Teach students about civics through schoolwide governancePhi Delta Kappan97(7), 63-68.

Building democracies in K-8 schools is a promising approach to increasing young people and educators’ civic knowledge, skills and dispositions. The Rendell Center for Civics and Civics Engagement leveraged strategies and concepts from the fields of civic education, student voice, and distributed leadership to build a youth-adult school governance system and schoolwide civic literacy curriculum at Edwin M. Stanton Elementary School in the School District of Philadelphia. Their yearlong effort to build schoolwide civic learning illustrates how civics can be an effective conduit for connecting curriculum and leadership practices: School improvement becomes both a collective endeavor and a means for teaching active citizenship.

Butler, K. (2010). Double duty: Schools as community centersDistrict Administration46(4), 50-58.

The article discusses the efficacy of creating partnerships between school districts and nonprofit or government agencies that allow such groups to use school buildings. The program is called 21st Century Community Learning Centers and was being promoted by U.S. president Barack Obama and Secretary of Education Arne Duncan. The benefits of the partnerships include financial incentives, school improvement, and professional development for teachers.

Coggins, C., & Diffenbaugh, P. K. (2013). Teachers with driveEducational Leadership71(2), 42-45.

This article presents information on how U.S. teachers can be motivated by leadership opportunities. The authors discuss teacher satisfaction, effectiveness, and motivation through mastery, purpose, and autonomy. The article also discusses educational reform, standards, and opportunities for teacher improvement.

Gewertz, C. (2016). Taking students' voices to heart. Education Week35(33), 5-8.

The article looks at the role of students in innovating school life at Harwood Union High School in Green Mountains, Vermont. Topics discussed include school policymaking by students through the Youth and Adults Transforming Schools Together training program.  This all-school dialogue enables students in grades 7 to 12 as well as teachers and staff to address critical problems in the school.  They also experience the benefits of distributed leadership towards the growth of Harwood.

Hess, F. M. (2015). Busting out of the teacher cagePhi Delta Kappan96(7), 58-63.

The author lays out guidelines and suggestions for how teachers can actually become policy leaders, from his book, The Cage-Busting Teacher (Harvard Education Press, 2015). Teachers serious about leadership can get the ear of policy makers by leveraging their positional and moral authority — though they may need to be persistent to get an audience. Once they get a meeting, Hess offers up guidelines for creating the schools and systems they seek. They should emphasize shared concerns, offer workable solutions, and take care to not just demand more resources. Teachers who seek to affect policy, should keep in mind that policy makers usually want to do the right thing but that they often don’t know how their policies are playing out in real world, and are eager to hear from practitioners who show up with practical ideas and workable solutions.

Kennedy, A., Deuel, A., Nelson, T. H., & Slavit, D. (2011). Requiring collaboration or distributing leadership. Phi Delta Kappan92(8), 20-24.

This article discusses the use of distributed leadership as a method for teachers to work collaboratively and to participate in the administration of their schools. A study was conducted by the authors to investigate the educational benefits of this approach to educational leadership and professional learning communities (PLCs). Mathematics and science teachers at a secondary school in the U.S. began to meet in order to improve their practices and incorporate data into their teaching. The three attributes of distributed leadership include drawing on teachers' knowledge, a lateral decision-making model, and using dialogue and inquiry to build a school culture.

Kohler-Evans, P., Webster-Smith, A., & Albritton, S. (2013). Conversations for school personnel: A new pathway to school improvement. Education134(1), 19-24.

School personnel are not having the number or quality of meaningful conservations needed to move schools forward in a focused, cohesive manner. In the face of compelling evidence and best practices, many school leaders and teachers continue to work in isolation. There remains a dearth of professional learning communities and where they exist, many may limp along with some level of dysfunction. Meaningful conversations are also in short supply with external stakeholders. Hard-to-read parents need meaningful conversations that help them to understand their roles and ways they can parent academic achievers in partnership with the school. By the same token, community thirsts for meaningful conversations so that the media are not their sole means of learning about the life of schools. Such conversations, in some cases, could save and/or advance a community's existence and vibrancy. Therefore, the authors use their collective insight to propose a widespread shift in how educational leaders, school leadership teams, teachers, students, parents, and the community think about and talk about what it takes to improve schools. In their quest to comprehensively address the needs of schools, the authors took a quick look at the school improvement standards of ten states from all regions of the U.S. "The Standards and Indicator for School Improvement" that several states are using in a variety of ways to improve schools was selected because of its comprehensive approach. So, the question begs: what are meaningful conversations? This paper addresses why meaningful conversations are important now and why they will always be important.