Teacher and Principal Preparation Programs: Reforms that Sustain High Performance and Learning in High Poverty and Diverse Schools

By Michele Acker-Hocevar and Marta Cruz-Janzen.

Published by The Learner Collection

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Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

A previous study examined three-years of data for student learning in all the public elementary schools in Florida. Only nine schools sustained high performance with students most likely to be unsuccessful in other Florida public elementary schools: high poverty with majority students of color and at least 10% designated as English Language Learners. Both in-depth interviews with administrators and focus groups with teachers were conducted in this present study with a third of the original schools. This study sought to identify actual tasks performed by teachers and principals at these schools, along with the skills and knowledge they attributed to their success. It further identified values inherent within the climate and culture in these schools. This study made it apparent that principal and teacher preparation programs must be charged “from the ground up” through the realities of those in the trenches; away from traditional theoretical role definitions and with better connections to the actual tasks performed at these schools, and the skills and knowledge that enable them to be successful.

Keywords: Grounded Theory, School Effectiveness, Effective Practices, Organizational Efficacy, Learning Partnership, Sustained High Performance

The International Journal of Learning, Volume 14, Issue 10, pp.87-96. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 775.598KB).

Dr. Michele Acker-Hocevar

Professor, Educational Leadership, Florida Atlantic University, Boca Raton, Florida, USA

Michele Acker-Hocevar is a professor of Educational Leadership at Florida Atlantic University (FAU). She has spent over 25 years in education with a hiatus in business where she worked in educational publishing and then in marketing for a Fortune 100 Company. Both her teaching and administrative experiences honed her research interests on school and organizational development. Most recently, Dr. Acker-Hocevar has become interested in school development around global learning communities. Her research work focuses on schools breaking out of traditional strangleholds that have kept schools with certain demographics as low-performing or mediocre-at-best. She also is the co-leader of a national study of principals and superintendents to better understand how current school leaders describe and relate school improvement, school community and social justice under recent federal legislation. Presently, she teaches in the doctoral and masters programs at FAU.

Dr. Marta Cruz-Janzen

Professor, Multicultural Education, Teacher Education, Florida Atlantic University, Boca Raton, Florida, USA

Marta I. Cruz-Janzen is Professor of Multicultural Education at the College of Education of the Florida Atlantic University. She completed the Ph.D. in Curriculum & Instruction from the University of Denver. Her research explores the role of the home, community, peers, and schools on the self-identity and self-concept of students of color, with a focus on multiethnic and multiracial students. Her research links school curricula to the academic achievement of students of color, particularly those of multiethnic and/or multiracial backgrounds. As a multiracial person herself, she is concerned with the ensuing invisibility of multiethnic and multiracial persons in the schools' curricula and the consequent assault on multiethnic and/or multiracial self-identity within USA society and institutions, especially the schools.

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