Expanding Learning-Focused Leadership in US Urban Schools

  • Bradley S. Portin
  • Michael S. Knapp
Part of the Springer International Handbooks of Education book series (SIHE, volume 25)


This chapter describes the results of an intensive, qualitative study of US urban school leaders’ work, in 15 schools across four states. The study examined leaders with supervisory authority (principals, assistant principals, department heads) and their nonsupervisory counterparts (teacher leaders) who were engaged in individual and collective efforts to improve the quality of teaching and learning in their schools. The schools in this study were finding ways to support progress among a diverse student clientele, share the leadership work among various staff members, and align resources with a shared agenda for improving learning across the school. This chapter suggests lessons and provides images of possibility for schools, and for those who support the work of educators in schools, concerning the ways that leadership can be focused on the learning of students, staff, and the entire school community. The study findings suggest several ways of thinking about and exercising learning-focused leadership in these schools that may help to explain why they are doing well, and how others could do so. In particular, the chapter portrays: (1) what it means for leaders to work within a demanding environment; (2) what supervisory and nonsupervisory leaders do in these kinds of settings; and (3) what their work implies for the new learning they will need to do.


Professional Learning Urban School School Leader Accountability System Teacher Leader 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of Washington BothellBothellUSA
  2. 2.Center for the Study of Teaching and Policy, College of EducationUniversity of Washington-SeattleSeattleUSA

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