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Published by: Harvard Kennedy School
Published in: 1996
Length: 6 pages

Abstract

Public high school principals hold one of the highest-pressure, frontline management jobs in government. Even in relative affluent communities where schools are popular, the day can pose a series of unexpected and momentous decisions, and in communities where social problems spill over into the school, the high school principal can face a daunting tasks. It was in just such a high school where Laura Johnston set out to attempt a major organizational turnaround--attempting to use the approaches developed by the Coalition of Essential Schools (headed by prominent Brown University education professor Theodore Sizer) to motivate cynical faculty, restore order to campus life and to increase academic achievement. This case series, a disguised version of actual events,follows the specific strategies which Johnston employed and recounts the extent and nature of resistance which she encountered.

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Abstract

Public high school principals hold one of the highest-pressure, frontline management jobs in government. Even in relative affluent communities where schools are popular, the day can pose a series of unexpected and momentous decisions, and in communities where social problems spill over into the school, the high school principal can face a daunting tasks. It was in just such a high school where Laura Johnston set out to attempt a major organizational turnaround--attempting to use the approaches developed by the Coalition of Essential Schools (headed by prominent Brown University education professor Theodore Sizer) to motivate cynical faculty, restore order to campus life and to increase academic achievement. This case series, a disguised version of actual events,follows the specific strategies which Johnston employed and recounts the extent and nature of resistance which she encountered.

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