Shared vision and collective action: School improvement processes in three New York City elementary schools

Gwendolyn Williams Thomas, Fordham University

Abstract

The purposes of this study were to identify the hows of a school improvement process: formation of a personal vision, creation of a shared vision, transformation of the vision to reality through program planning, implementation, evaluation, and to study the organizational outcomes of a school improvement process. The results of this study can be used to further the research on school-based planning, participatory decision-making involving teachers, parents, and pupils. To do this study the roles of the elementary school principal as visionary, symbolic leader, and manager of the change process, and teachers' perceptions of their schools' improvement process were investigated in three New York City schools. The major findings of this research were: (1) Visioning workshops are effective modes of professional development for principals who plan to implement school-based planning, participatory decision-making involving teachers, parents, and pupils in the total education process. (2) Principals with a clear, intense, and appropriate personal vision could set the direction of the school toward achieving the goals as outlined for school improvement. (3) The Shared Vision and Collective Action model for school improvement can be an effective process to emulate. (4) Staff and professional development should be a mandatory component of the shared vision and collective model for school improvement.^ These findings supported the theoretical constructs of Manasse (1986). The crucial dynamic analyzed in this study was that of change, a dynamic stressed by both Combs (1988) and Sirotnik (1987) who asserted that renewal at the school level is the beginning of needed educational reconstruction. Theoretical research has evidenced that there is no other recorded study of the elementary school principal as a visionary leader engaged in collective action for school improvement. It is hoped that this research can be used by other school officials when they create shared visions for instructional excellence. ^

Subject Area

Educational administration|Elementary education

Recommended Citation

Thomas, Gwendolyn Williams, "Shared vision and collective action: School improvement processes in three New York City elementary schools" (1991). ETD Collection for Fordham University. AAI9123126.
http://fordham.bepress.com/dissertations/AAI9123126

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