The School Administrator

Dec 2010 Cover

December 2010 Number 11, Vol. 67Reconfiguring the Central OfficeA sharper role raising schools' capacity to lift academics


  • From Operations to Teaching and Learning


    A pair of researchers at University of Washington identify practices that deepen the instructional impact of the district office, including fundamental shifts in how central-office administrators go about their daily work with principals and teachers.

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  • Flipping the Script


    Recent experiences and new research funded by the Wallace Foundation suggest that anything short of an all-hands-on-deck effort with sustained backing from school district leaders probably won’t have the desired effect of driving learning improvement among students.

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  • A New Vision for Supervision of Principals


    Based on their work in several school districts, the authors share 10 ideas for raising the level of professional practice among site administrators through honest and collegial professional learning communities.

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  • Investing in the Central Office


    Why, even in times of fiscal uncertainty, strategic spending in support of school capacity makes sense — but you’ll need effective arguments to justify central-office expenditures using appropriate metrics and benchmarks.

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  • The Central Office in a Decentralized System


    The rapid growth of charters begs the question: What is the role of a school district in an environment where a majority of its public schools are charter schools? A policy researcher with RAND Corp. details the central operations in a pair of “portfolio districts” that have learned how to differentiate services for the various segments of their markets.

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  • One for All and All for One


    The author spent his two superintendencies perfecting a collaborative leadership concept known as “the superintendency.” The experiences of those cabinet members who lived this model in the two school districts best illustrate this unique approach to system leadership.

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    In Tune Over Needs of Children by Paul Riede

    A superintendent in northern Illinois harbors some concerns about federal policy in education, but she has the rare luxury of being able to sound off to a member of Congress who happens to be her brother.

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    Board-Savvy Superintendent

    Wearing the Hat of Psychologist-in-Chief by DOUG EADIE

    Building and sustaining a solid partnership with the governing board may mean the chief executive pays close attention to the emotional and psychological dimensions of the relationship.

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    Punishing Staff Violators for Misuse of Technology by SHANA R. LEWIS

    Through computers, e-mail and the Internet, school employees sometimes find attractive opportunities for misconduct. As a result, school districts are enacting policies to discipline those who make inappropriate use, and arbitrators have begun to evaluate the discipline being imposed.

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    Guest Columns

    From Decision Making to Action by CHRIS HITCH

    In his work with successful executives, the author discovered that succinct, consistent, repetitive and clear communication translates decisions into sustained action.

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    More Than Hardware for 1:1 Computing by THOMAS W. GREAVES

    While researching a report on the digital state of schools, the author found most early laptop initiatives were driven by the technology rather than the academic needs of students. Some implementations didn’t even include improved academics as an objective.

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    Our monthly compilation of members on the move and those retiring from the field. Also, the Sidelight highlights a veteran superintendent in Minnesota who loves spending road time on his Harley with fellow educators.

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    Tech Leadership

    Perils to Technology-Enhanced Learning by DENNIS RICHARDS

    Once you’ve invested in professional development tools, be sure the prevailing conditions don’t inhibit their use and lead to frustration and wasted opportunities.

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    President's Corner

    Enough Is Enough by EDGAR B. HATRICK

    Thankful for the blessings of living in America and wondering why so many put down the virtues of a public education system that serves as the foundation of our democracy.

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    Executive Perspective

    AASA’s Status Check on the Superintendency by DANIEL A. DOMENECH

    The association’s executive director touts “The American School Superintendent: 2010 Decennial Study” as a must-read report for every superintendent, chock-full of facts about the profession at this moment in time.

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    AASA School Solutions

    Easing the Purchasing Process by ROVAIDA JASIM

    The procurement process can be slow and cumbersome, but a new firm has devised a browser-based platform that clears the bottlenecks for organizations in search of bidders.

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