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Passing through the Halls: Relationships and Organizational Structures in the Work of a School Granted Autonomy

Author: Szczesny, Thomas Joseph
Publisher: ScholarlyCommons 2017-01-01T08:00:00Z
Dissertation: Thesis / Dissertation ETD
Edition/Format:   Thesis/dissertation : Thesis/dissertation
Summary:
Though much is known about the school environments that increase students’ access to opportunity, the process for developing conditions that presage such outcomes remains a pertinent area of study. The reality that widespread school performance has yet to realize the promise of true educational equity, particularly in urban settings, attests to the challenge. In the search for solutions, one response across decades  Read more...
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Genre/Form: text
Material Type: Thesis/dissertation
Document Type: Book
All Authors / Contributors: Szczesny, Thomas Joseph
OCLC Number: 1088513264
Language Note: ENG

Abstract:

Though much is known about the school environments that increase students’ access to opportunity, the process for developing conditions that presage such outcomes remains a pertinent area of study. The reality that widespread school performance has yet to realize the promise of true educational equity, particularly in urban settings, attests to the challenge. In the search for solutions, one response across decades has been to grant schools autonomy, a trend that continues today. The goal of this research study is to understand the process by which a school in such a context builds its capacity to improve student outcomes. With capacity seen as a function of available information, the relationships and organizational structures are given particular attention knowing that such mechanisms serve as conduits for information exchange in organizations. It is seen the presence of strong relationships and strong organizational structures are necessary but not sufficient for productive information exchange. In order to realize their full utility, leadership must cultivate relational trust and manage expectations of their duties as leader. Moreover, organizational activity must align to the school’s desired direction and capitalize upon available capabilities. Finally, the importance of clear communication about autonomy’s multiple dimensions related to schools is seen. The results of this case study suggest that relationships and organizational structures can illuminate the complex work of serving students in the context of a school granted autonomy while calling for greater nuance in the idea’s conceptualization as a means for school improvement.

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