An exploratory analysis of formal school leaders' positioning in instructional advice and information networks in elementary schools

James P Spillane, C. Min Kim

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

47 Scopus citations

Abstract

This article examines how formal school leaders are positioned in their school's instructional networks based on an analysis of data from all 30 elementary schools in one mid-sized urban school district. Premised on the assumption that advice and information are key building blocks for knowledge development, we analyzed the instructional advice and information networks for mathematics and language arts, the two core elementary school subjects. Our exploratory account examines the prominence of formal leaders in their school's instructional networks as well as their membership and distribution across subgroups within these networks. Our analysis suggests that, although the school principal is not a central actor in the instructional advice and information network in a majority of these schools, formally designated school leaders as a group do occupy central positions.Examining formal school leaders' network and subgroup membership as well as their distribution across subgroups in schools, our account suggests that full-time and especially part-time formal school leaders play important roles in how elementary schools organize for instruction, brokering relations among staff and as representatives of the formal organization in subgroups. We also explore relations between formal school leaders' positioning in these networks and their schools' alignment with standards and normative structures.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)73-102
Number of pages30
JournalAmerican Journal of Education
Volume119
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Nov 1 2012

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education

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