New Superintendent's E-Journal

January 2015

In this issue:

The Power of “Process” for Superintendents

Ryan Donlan, assistant professor, Department of Educational Leadership, Bayh College of Education, Indiana State University

The Apache Junction School District in Apache Junction, Arizona, began using “Process” over a quarter of a century ago. Initial results brought the dropout rate from 42% down to 8% and staff turnover from 65% to less than 6%. Authors Michael Gilbert of ATOIRE Communications and Judy & Joe Pauley of Kahler Communications, Washington D.C., cite these and numerous other success stories as evidencing educational transformation with this model. As a K-12 school leader, I experienced incredible success with “Process.” Now as a faculty member, I focus on “Process” in teaching, scholarship, and service. Superintendents are incredibly well positioned to study and use the power of “Process” in their leadership. It works. – Ryan Donlan

As a superintendent, you have a monumental leadership challenge. With current demands placed upon teaching and learning, all in education are feeling the pressure. You may find at times that boards of education and even board meetings are difficult to navigate. People communicating with you are in distress. The best of people can display behavior that, if ignored or minimized, can hinder the business of education, and thus your leadership.

How refined are your skills at communicating with those who are, on their not-so-best days: critical, suspicious, defiant, manipulative, mistake-prone, or timid? As a superintendent, can you say the things your board and constituents need to hear – both those positive and those not? I have found that with deft understanding of people and personalities, superintendents can connect with others in ways that bring out their best. Here’s how.


Why Parents Choose Virtual Education for At-Risk High School Students: How Do We Support Them?

Todd Schweitzer, principal, Oregon Virtual Academy High School
Katherine Schweitzer, principal, Oregon Trail School District

This project performed a qualitative study using in-depth interviews to determine the reasons families enrolled their students in virtual education and to collect their reflections on their experience in virtual education after enrolling. The study interviewed eight parents or guardians, all of whom had a credit-deficient high school student at risk of not graduating who was enrolled in a virtual high school in Oregon. The interviews used 11 open-ended questions in order to answer the two research questions:

1. What are parental reasons for choosing online education for children who are at risk of not graduating from high school with their cohort due to credit deficiency?

2. What are the parents’ experiences with online education now that their child has been in the program? The findings revealed that the most-referenced reason families enrolled in virtual education was a negative relationship with a former school setting, and that all participants reported a positive experience after enrolling in virtual education.



With questions contact Bob McCord, editor.