University faculty members, district and school administrators, and teams of teachers from seven rural schools worked together for 18 months, seeking to accomplish clearly identified school improvement goals using a collaborative inquiry approach. Five of seven school teams demonstrated increases in collaborative behavior that, in turn, enhanced their ability to accomplish their goals. Four schools showed improvements in student achievement on external exams that were identified as measures related to their goals. Two schools showed minimal improvement on any measures. Lack of improvement was mostly related to changes in team membership, changes in leadership, unresolved conflict, or an inability to sustain focus on a goal. Improvement in student learning was observed and documented in writing and reading skills, numeracy, assignment completion, and classroom behavior. The most apparent aspects of teacher growth were pronounced increases in professional reading, enhanced knowledge of curriculum, improved assessment practices, and shared leadership. However, involvement in the project failed to encourage a majority of teachers to share aspects of their teaching practice with their colleagues. Principals of successful projects were seen to be effective in sharing responsibility, managing conflict, communicating clearly, and ensuring task completion. Less effective principals were seen as more controlling. less willing to delegaie, and not skilful in managing conflict.
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Townsend, David and Adams, Pamela
"Being There: University Faculty, School Administrators, and Teachers Engaged in School Improvement,"
Northwest Journal of Teacher Education: Vol. 6
, Article 6.