Current Research on System-wide Instructional Renewal in School Districts

Here, our work focuses on the dynamics of instructional leadership exercised in and by school districts that are seeking through partnerships with external support organizations to revitalize the quality of teaching and learning across schools within the system. Related theoretical work attempts to define and sharpen the way sociocultural and organizational learning theories help to explain district efforts to guide and support instructional renewal. In the past two years, the Center's investigations of instructional renewal in school districts has concentrated on two strands:

District Instructional Leadership Capacity

Longitudinal investigation of partnerships between three school districts and the Center for Educational Leadership at the University of Washington looks at how school districts can increase their capacity to exercise system-wide instructional leadership to revitalize the quality of teaching and learning across schools within the system. The following publications - also available in the Center for Educational Leadership website - present emerging results from this line of work:

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  1. Balancing Direction and Support - Third Year Scale Up of a System-wide Instructional Reform Initiative: A Partnership between the Center for Educational Leadership and Norwalk-La Mirada Unified School District (Interim Report #2)
    A Research Report by Chrysan Gallucci and Judy Swanson, January 2008.
  2. Gaining Traction through Professional Coaching: A Partnership between the Center for Educational Leadership and Highline School District (Interim Report #2)
    A Research Report by Chrysan Gallucci and Elizabeth Boatright, February 2007.
  3. Aiming High: Leadership for District-wide Instructional Improvement A Partnership between the Center for Educational Leadership and Norwalk-La Mirada Unified School District (Interim Report #1)
    A Research Report by Chrysan Gallucci and Judy Swanson, October 2006.
  4. The Pedagogy of Third-Party Support for Instructional Improvement: A Partnership between CEL and Highline School District (Interim Report #1)
    A Research Report by Chrysan Gallucci, Beth Boatright, Dan Lysne, Juli Swinnerton, January 2006.

Theoretical Development: The Relationship between Reform and System Learning

With support from the Spencer Foundation, Center members and collaborating researchers aim to define and sharpen the way sociocultural and organizational learning theories help to explain district efforts to guide and support instructional renewal. The following occasional papers, recently published in revised form in a special issue of the American Journal of Education (August, 2008) capture our work to date.

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  1. Architectures for Learning: A Comparative Analysis of Two Urban School Districts
    An Occasional Report in collaboration with The Spencer Foundation by Mary Kay Stein and Cynthia Coburn, January 2007.
  2. Policy Implementation and Learning: How Organizational and Socio-Cultural Learning Theories Elaborate District Central Office Roles in Complex Educational Improvement Efforts
    An Occasional Paper in collaboration with The Spencer Foundation by Meredith Honig, January 2007.
  3. Using Sociocultural Theory to Link Individual and Organizational Learning Processes: The Case of Highline School District's Instructional Improvement Reform
    An Occasional Report in collaboration with The Spencer Foundation by Chrysan Gallucci, January 2007.
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