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Open Access Publications from the University of California

The role of the district office in instructional practice reform

  • Author(s): Rizzi, Karen Schultz
  • et al.

In the age of educational accountability, both the district and the school are held accountable for improving the academic achievement of each student, thus compelling both to implement reforms that demonstrate measurable increases in student achievement. The changes in accountability measures have revived interest in the district office's role in educational change and reform. Although elementary schools, and to a lesser degree middle schools, seem to be rising to the challenge of standards- based education, high schools are lagging behind. Though the research base is growing, more needs to be learned, specifically about instructional practice reform at the high school level, to identify the successful interactions between the school site and the district office, both charged with undertaking the improvement effort. Acting as a participant observer, the researcher's major goal of the study is to identify and examine the role of the district office in supporting or constraining instructional practice reform at the high school level. It has been suggested that districts can and should collect and analyze data from a variety of sources to make decisions that support teaching and learning. By examining one secondary district's reform efforts targeted at instructional practice, the study will contribute to the small yet growing body of research on the role of the district office in high school reform. In addition, participant observer methodology has the potential for administrators to generate knowledge out of their own practice settings

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