The principal's role in opening new elementary schools
Bryant, Karen Caldwell
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This dissertation was conducted to describe the leadership experiences of elementary school principals who led the opening of new elementary schools in a large, metropolitan school district in the state of Georgia during the 2003-2004 school year. Six participants -- experienced elementary school principals-- were interviewed and asked to describe their leadership experiences related to: (1) bringing people, ideas, and resources together to establish new learning communities and (2) the challenges faced during the process. The findings of the study indicated that communication and collaboration were essential to the process of bringing people, ideas, and resources together to form new learning communities. Additional strategies used to lead the formation of new learning communities within new schools included bonding and outreach activities. Challenges that principals faced in the process of opening new schools included physical and emotional stress, staffing, technology, and facilities. Implications for K-12 school systems suggested that consideration be given to the following: (1) Provide release time for elementary principals who are assigned to open new schools. (2) Open the staffing process for new schools to allow all interested staff members to apply. (3) Involve stakeholders in the school planning and design process. (4) Provide professional development activities for school leaders to help them improve the leadership skills needed to build new learning communities. (5) Plan to provide the technology infrastructure and flexibility for new schools in a timely manner.
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