High school restructuring and renewal : an exploratory and comparative study of structural and instructional integration strategies applied by successful leaders of turnaround high schools
This study examined the perspectives of central office personnel, principals, and teachers involved in the school transformation process. This study was guided by the two main questions: (a) What strategies (structural and instructional) do high school principals implement to lead a successful turnaround of a school? and (b) Which strategies seem to be perceived as most effective by principals, teachers, and superintendents, when measured by multiple school effectiveness indicators? A qualitative case study design was used in an in-depth comparative inquiry of two high schools, which met the criteria of turnaround schools. Data collected were inclusive of interviews, documentations, and historical artifacts to provide insights into the school planning and decision-making process. In addition, the role of the principal and its impact in the selection and implementation of specific strategies were investigated and analyzed against a research-based conceptual framework developed by the researcher, exploring the following components: (a) Principal’s Leadership Role, (b) Structural Integration Practices, and (c) Instructional Integration Practices. A three-fold investigation was conducted to gain a deeper understanding of schools undergoing restructuring. This three-fold investigation was designed to: (a) Review and summarize extant research related to high school restructuring models that relate to school turnaround, (b) Collect research findings that identify effective instructional and administrative leadership practices adopted by principals to accomplish a successful school turnaround, and (c) Conduct a comparative study of two Texas urban high schools that experienced school turnaround. This research study revealed that a principal’s leadership role in effectively implementing strategies has a great impact on the school transformation and renewal process of school turnaround. In addition, the perceptions of central office staff and teachers, principals’ structural and instructional practices chosen by schools, demonstrated the utilization of specific strategies school leaders may adopt to ensure a successful turnaround.