Support for secondary service-learning programs among school board presidents, school superintendents, and high school principals

Geniene Mary Guglielmo, Fordham University

Abstract

The purpose of this study was to determine the level of support for secondary service-learning programs among school board presidents, superintendents, and high school principals in New York State, excluding New York City schools. Specifically, it attempted to examine if these important leaders differed in their level of support and if their perceptions were related to selected personal variables and/or school district enrollment. The study investigated the most significant barriers faced by district leaders who have tried to implement service-learning and the perceived barriers among district leaders without service-learning. ^ As an experiential learning opportunity for students, it is extremely important to ascertain attitudes toward implementing and supporting such a program by these major decision makers. Many states have implemented service-learning programs as part of the curriculum in secondary schools; some have made it a requirement of graduation. ^ Based upon New York State Department of Education data, there were 645 school districts eligible for participation in this study. These districts were placed into one of five enrollment groups, based on a mean district enrollment of 2,554 with a standard deviation of 3,284 students. The target population included superintendents, school board presidents, and high school principals in districts that had at least one secondary school accommodating students in any configuration of grades 7–12. ^ An instrument, developed by this researcher, solicited information from the respondents regarding their level of support for service-learning programs and their perceived barriers to their implementation. The High School Service-Learning Program Survey collected personal background information and four separate sections explored areas related to service-learning. ^ School board presidents, superintendents, and high school principals were philosophically supportive of service-learning. They appeared to agree with experts that service-learning had the potential for positive outcomes for students and the community, specifically improved self-esteem, community service, social values, career development, and academic growth. They were somewhat willing to support service-learning with the staff and financial resources needed to implement and sustain this innovation. It appeared that budget constraints made these leaders somewhat reluctant to support service-learning with the resources necessary to implement and maintain this innovation, that is, additional staff, funds for materials, and staff development. None of the personal variables studied in this investigation were related to philosophical and resource support for service-learning. ^ Leaders in districts with service-learning programs had significantly higher philosophical and resource support scores than leaders in districts without this type of program. Furthermore, they did not perceive as many barriers to the implementation of this innovation compared to leaders in districts without service-learning. Those leaders in districts without service-learning perceived 6 of 10 barriers as somewhat significant to the implementation of this innovation. The majority favored making service-learning a high school graduation requirement. ^

Subject Area

Education, Administration|Education, Secondary

Recommended Citation

Geniene Mary Guglielmo, "Support for secondary service-learning programs among school board presidents, school superintendents, and high school principals" (January 1, 1998). ETD Collection for Fordham University. Paper AAI3021701.
http://fordham.bepress.com/dissertations/AAI3021701

Share

COinS