Reward school leadership: building a good-to-great cycle of excellence

Journal Title
Journal ISSN
Volume Title
Southern New Hampshire University
For years, schools across the country have carried the label, and in many cases the reality, of being schools in need of improvement. School improvement plans, deficit analyses, and theories for school organizational improvement have saturated the landscape of school communities. While much of this work has been focused on strategies to correct existing deficiencies, very little is focused on taking schools with strong performance and solid foundations and enabling continuous and sustained growth. Collins (2001) in his book Good to Great examines the enabling factors that have distinguished companies that sustain a much greater rate of corporate success, or profit, than others. Many schools have looked to adapt these strategies for continuous improvement in student learning. A thorough examination of the enabling factors in schools that have shown this type of improvement, and a comparison of those factors with Collins’ framework, will inform the discussion of “good to great” school improvement. This qualitative study examined the factors present and enabling improvement in student learning in a designated Reward School in New Hampshire. Reward schools have been so designated because of sustained significant growth in student learning (US DOE, 2012). In particular, this study examined (1) the characteristics of the leadership present in the school; (2) the ways in which that leadership has supported the continuous improvement; and (3) the alignment of the external measures of improvement with the stated values in student learning held by the school staff and leadership. This qualitative study utilized a case study research design with data gathered through staff surveys, document analysis, and staff and principal interviews. (Author abstract)