Elementary School Leadership Strategies and Subject Matter: Reforming Mathematics and Literacy Instruction

Patricia Burch, James P. Spillane*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article

49 Scopus citations

Abstract

Interviews and observations of 15 elementary school administrators and 15 curriculum coordinators from 8 urban elementary schools suggested that leaders' views of subject matter both shaped and were shaped by their leadership strategies. Relative to mathematics, leaders' agendas for improving literacy instruction focused on teachers' input and on literacy skills that applied to a variety of academic subjects. In contrast, leaders' strategies for improving math instruction focused on external supports such as professional developers and on building skills through sequenced instruction. Leaders who interacted regularly with teachers about instruction also articulated the importance of using internal and external expertise to improve both literacy and mathematics instruction. In this article we illuminate the reciprocal relation between subject matter and leadership and consider the implications of this relation for school leadership development.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)519-536
Number of pages18
JournalElementary School Journal
Volume103
Issue number5
DOIs
StatePublished - May 2003

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education

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