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Educational change and year-round schooling : the role of transformative leaders Oberg, Steven Lynn

Abstract

This study examines whether there is a relationship between transformative leadership with its constituent ideas of agency, moral purpose, and power, and the ability to successfully introduce sustainable school change. The central tenet of the conceptual framework is transformative leadership as informed by the literature on year-round schooling and educational change. Through a series of interviews, I examine why and how educational leaders, at school and district levels, continue to promote and introduce school-calendar change (commonly known as year-round schooling) in the face of what are often substantial political and social battles. My respondents came from four jurisdictions in the United States and three in Canada, some in which the reform was mandated and others in which it was voluntarily instituted by school leaders. They came from schools with various calendars—multi, single, and dual-track that had been implemented between 1969 and 1999. The impetus for the reform (whether voluntary or mandated) had little to do with its viability, but the implementation processes and procedures used by the school leader were critical. A calendar change was implemented to accomplish various goals, from accommodating more students in existing buildings to bettering the learning experience of children to achieving equity. Not only were explicit goals realized, many unanticipated outcomes were also found. Findings relate to the three-part conceptual framework. First, participants report that year-round schooling is a viable educational reform with the ability to provide fiscal and educational benefits to the whole school community. It can garner the support of the parents and wider community and make a difference beyond the school itself. Second, successful educational reform requires goal clarity, attention to processes, and an understanding that the forces of tradition (habitus) are powerful but may be overcome. Third, transformative educational leaders may surmount resistance and introduce successful educational change if they understand the interconnections among agency, moral purpose, and power. All three are simultaneously necessary to achieve reform that has the ability to decrease inequities in educational performance and thus to be transformative.

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