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Innovative Approaches to Educational Leadership

Selected Cases

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Edited By Carrie Rogers, Kofi Lomotey and Adriel Hilton

Of late, leadership has come to include individuals in elementary, secondary and tertiary institutions who do not necessarily carry leadership titles.  Faculty in preK-16 institutions, along with other staff and community people, have increasingly begun to take on leadership responsibilities as shared leadership is articulated and practiced more and more in education.  This volume focuses on educational leadership--broadly defined.  More specifically, following several research-based thought pieces in which the authors define and discuss this new conception of leadership, contributors offer preK-16 case study illustrations of this recent conception of educational leadership.  Readers will use this casebook as a foundational text for courses in teacher education, educational leadership, business and higher education. It includes detailed chapters focused on teacher leadership, principal leadership and higher educational leadership.
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Chapter Eight: Developing Effective Learning Communities: The Power of Principal and PLC Leadership Team Collaboration (Jessica R. Weiler / Kathleen Topolka-Jorissen)

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CHAPTER EIGHT

Developing Effective Learning Communities

The Power of Principal and PLC Leadership Team Collaboration

JESSICA R. WEILER AND KATHLEEN TOPOLKA-JORISSEN



COLLABORATIVE LEADERSHIP FOR THE DEVELOPMENT OF EFFECTIVE LEARNING COMMUNITIES

In recent years, many principals have assumed the challenge of implementing professional learning communities (PLCs) to foster school improvement. Whether motivated by the reported benefits of learning communities (Annenberg Institute for School Reform 2005; Carroll, Fulton, & Doerr, 2010; Gupton, 2003; Holland, 2005; Jaquith, 2013; Louis, Leithwood, Wahlstrom, & Anderson, 2010; Newmann & Wehlage, 1995; Vescio, Ross, & Adams, 2008) or by a district mandate, principals have been widening the scope of leadership to include teachers in collaborative efforts to improve student achievement. In many cases, they do so without a clear understanding of their own leadership role in this process or the critical steps needed to implement learning communities successfully.

Professional learning communities engage educators in working collaboratively to increase student achievement (DuFour, DuFour, Eaker, & Many, 2006; Hord, 2008). Although the concepts and processes of the PLC have been evolving in schools for over 20 years, definitive research on the supports needed for PLC success has been limited. Consensus on the key role played by the principal is strong, but specifics about what that role entails are somewhat limited, and even more scarce is research on strategies principals should use to ensure that PLCs achieve maximum effectiveness. In this chapter, we...

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