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District Central Office Administrators With A Cause: Enhancing the Motivation to Collaborate Among and Between District Central Office Administrators to Better Serve Schools

  • Author(s): Ochoa, Micaela
  • Advisor(s): Fuller, Bruce
  • Mintrop, Rick
  • et al.
Abstract

ABSTRACT

District Central Office Administrators With A Cause

Enhancing the Motivation to Collaborate Among and Between District Central Office Administrators to Better Serve Schools

By

Micaela Ochoa

Doctor of Education

University of California, Berkeley

Bruce Fuller, Ph.D., Chair

A new wave of research suggests that strong, coordinated support among offices with central school districts can help to advance deeper learning for all students. However, central offices have traditionally served mainly as administrative or fiscal pass-throughs for federal and state initiatives, managing certain local operations such as facilities, budgets and accounting, purchasing, and personnel. This often fractures work into bureaucratic silos, focuses staff on compliance activities rather than collaborative efforts targeted on gains in teaching and learning. I observed this lack of central office collaboration in a few school districts in Northern California.

My particular study focuses on a K-12 district in Northern California with central office departments operating in the traditional silos and limited coordination or planning among departments. The study seeks to alter the work at the central office by breaking down the silos and addressing the lack of strategic partnerships and collaboration among Business Services, Educational Services, and Human Resources. The study focuses on shifting work routines and communication structures, redesigning the work roles, providing more opportunities for central office administrators to proactively interact with each other, and increasing the teamwork and partnerships among staff in the three departments. While the study resulted in uneven effects on these relationships, the intervention did help to improve communication among central office departments and better coordinate central office support of local schools.

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