Creating a learning organization : a case study of a high poverty, continuously improving predominantly Hispanic school district
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Since today’s educational professionals face numerous challenges in attempting to address issues pertaining to failed school improvement efforts and a dissatisfied public, current experts propose seeking improvement from the existing capability within the organization as an option to improvement. The theory of organizational learning is an appropriate model for change. At this time, current research findings on learning organizations within the educational domain are limited. This study examined a school district in Texas that had demonstrated continuous academic improvement from 1994-1998 as evident in the Academic Excellence Indicator System (AEIS) for the state of Texas. The purpose of the study was to determine whether and how its leadership was responsible for the student success that had been achieved. The study’s focus was to determine if in the process of achieving a state of continuous improvement, the leadership of the district transformed it in ways that manifests the characteristics of a learning organization. George P. Huber’s model of organizational learning, which includes the following four constructs: knowledge acquisition, information distribution, information interpretation, and organizational memory was used to discuss the finding. These constructs were useful tools in bringing an understanding to the kind of leadership employed to move this school district forward toward becoming a successful learning organization. The findings from this qualitative single case study determined that the organizational leadership set the vision and directed the efforts in a collaborative manner toward goal attainment for all students. This results-based orientation was supported by high inclusive learner expectations, empowerment of individuals creating a sense of ownership of results, experiences with the improvement process, and engagement in authentic activities that created a sense of co-responsibility for results. Moreover, this study demonstrated the utility and value of Huber’s model in determining the characteristics of a learning organization.