Significant school change: A case study of a Chicago elementary school's local school council and the principal

Matthew John Murphy, Fordham University

Abstract

With the current emphasis on educational reform processes underway, it is important to begin to look at pre-identified successful models to gain better insight on what makes successful school change. The Chicago School Reform movement has been a leader in a process in which power, authority, and decision making are placed in the hands of its stakeholders. This research identified the dynamic elementary school so we can begin to understand how they worked together to produce significant school change. ^ An elementary school was identified as significantly changing as defined by 16 criteria. This school was presented with the First Annual Chase/Fordham Award for Significant School Change in the summer of 2000. Once identified, case study methodology was used. At the school, teachers, parents, and administrators were interviewed, individually as well as in focus groups. Observations of Local School Council meetings, teachers and parents in action were conducted. Additionally, documents relevant to the change were reviewed to determine the dynamic between the principal and the Local School Council to understand how they worked together to produce significant school change. ^ It is clear that the story of the significant change that has taken place in this urban school is the collection of stories of the different relationships between the principal and the Local School Councils he worked with. There was a partnership between the principal and Local School Council. As the instructional leader, the principal had a student-centered vision, facilitative in nature, and a desire to empower teachers. In turn, there were 5 different committed school-based management teams that remained focused on curriculum and instruction and created the opportunity, the possibility, and the reality of significant school change. Together they were able to produce substantial, systemic, student-centered, and solution-oriented change. ^

Subject Area

Education, Administration|Education, Elementary

Recommended Citation

Matthew John Murphy, "Significant school change: A case study of a Chicago elementary school's local school council and the principal" (January 1, 2002). ETD Collection for Fordham University. Paper AAI3056150.
http://fordham.bepress.com/dissertations/AAI3056150

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