Restructuring school management to meet the needs of multicultural schools

restructuring school management to meet the needs of multicultural schools

Multicultural Schools. ERIC/CUE Digest superficial interest in school innovations and restructuring efforts; at worst Effective instruction in bilingual/ multicultural schools requires that administrators must undertake tasks they have never before been called to grow professionally to meet the nation's educational needs. multicultural leadership is needed to prepare school administrators. and teachers to . promote multiculturalism to meet the needs of the wide range of. multicultural . teachers do not want students with special needs in their schools. because they .. Restructured teacher education for inclusive-. ness: A. School and district governance are being re-examined, and educational leaders at all on restructuring schools and, specifically, on site-based decision making. order to achieve different, and better, results in meeting the needs of all children. .. student-related decision making may never occur if the cultural values and.

It is a source of familial pride for us. Even African Americans, who do not always have an Ellis Island story in the family true, find collective strength in the stories of their ancestors and what it means for their lives today.

While this blending of cultures can most definitely be a blessing—it can also be a curse. With more diversity than ever, teachers have to adjust methods from one student to the next, and from one year to the next. Multicultural education is about more than a classroom with varied skin color — it includes careful examination of the neighborhoods, parenting styles and general experiences that shape each and every K student. In this article, I want to take a look at several ways to encourage a real multicultural education in our schools.

Multicultural education is a progressive approach for transforming education based on educational equality and social justice. The components required in educating a multicultural education are content integrations, prejudice reduction, empowering school culture and social culture. What kids learn in their classroom environments when it comes to interactions with those who are different from them translates into how well they will manage life in the global marketplace. In the last century, there has been an increase in global mutual acceptance of opposing views and different cultures — though arguably, there is still a long way to go.

Specifically when it comes to America, it is crucial that multicultural education exist with the increasing number of students who speak a second language and come from somewhere else. Diversity exists even within mainstream society and students need to have the communication life skills that multicultural education promotes.

Observe your students closely, and value your real-life experience of diversity over the textbook version. David Kolb created a four-step model for really understanding the needs of a particular student group.

He starts with concrete experience, adds reflective observation and then moves to abstract conceptualization and active experimentation. In other words, multicultural education cannot be taught in a textbook. Close to students are parents who, in yesterday's model, were mostly uninformed and underutilized resources and, like students, were isolated from decision making and the operations of the school.

An abundant literature advocates training parents to develop understandings and skills relative to the education system's purposes, and to act as colleagues in planning and decision making, and as advocates and partners in the local school's change efforts.

6 Ways to Implement a Real Multicultural Education in the Classroom - The Edvocate

Teachers, too, have been isolated from active involvement in significant decision making and have been dependent on administrative and external to the school policy development. In the past, they have had limited communication with each other in their own buildings and have been underutilized as sources of ideas and information to each other and the staff as a whole.

In site-based decision making, it is expected that they will develop interactions across the campus community and become broadly connected with staff and parents. These interactions provide the setting for their sharing of ideas and concerns, and participation in making decisions for their campus. Teachers who are professional organization representatives will find their roles also changing Steinberger, Whereas they had frequently acted as guardians of teacher rights and the teachers' contract, the new model requires flexibility from the organization's representative.

Yesterday's model found these representatives in direct confrontation with the school system, and serving as negotiators of issues; the "new" model embraces collaboration and cooperative participation in decision making in all areas. The typical organizational liaison was a representative of either teachers or administrators; they now need to act as partners with teachers, administrators, the school board, and the broader educational community.

Many school board members also will experience new role expectations Gibbs, Certainly not all, but many board members, once advocated uniform procedures across the district and maintenance of the status quo. They had been unilateral policy makers. Their roles, too, will become more collegial as they become advocates of flexibility, support change and improvement, and accept partners in policy making.

Gibbs also pictures changed roles for superintendents, other central office staff, and principals. As the chief administrative officer and general manager of the district, director of operations, and deliverer of top down mandates, the superintendent will exhibit new behaviors.

These new behaviors will be characterized by inviting participation and serving as an executive team member, encouraging bottom up change. Rather than delivering uniform treatment to all campuses, the superintendent will support differences and uniqueness.

New behaviors of other central office staff will be required. Rather than delivering policies made in the central office and monitoring their implementation in schools, they will respond to schools and serve as resources and facilitators for them, to assist them in their change efforts. Many central office staff have been viewed as isolated from the campuses, as experts or specialists in particular academic areas.

In site-based decision making, they will become integrated into various campus activities. They may provide training, coordinate district level human and material resources for the campus, support schools' autonomy, and share decision making.

Perhaps no other role will be more affected by site-based decision making than that of the principal. The principal has been described as the middle manager, enforcer of policies made elsewhere, and maintainer of alignment with the district status quo.

In addition, the principal has been characterized as a lonely, isolated person, but nonetheless, the "hero" of school improvement, championing the cause of school change, guiding and managing its success. This individual will continue to have responsibility for the individual school's operations Jenni, And, yet, many other players are expected to share in making decisions for the school. A framework for decision making, such as that provided below, can be very useful as the principal and staff embark upon the new structure of site-based decision making.

How can site-based decision making link to learner outcomes? The purpose of site-based decision making, as suggested in this paper, is improved educational outcomes for all students.

The substance of decision making, therefore, should address issues for improving teaching and learning. To support this purpose, campus decision makers may find it helpful to classify decisions into three types: After categorizing decisions, decision makers then give their time and attention to the type of decisions that hold the most promise for quality learning opportunities for students.

There is seldom any need for site-based decision makers to spend significant time discussing whether to implement a mandated policy. There is little reason to discuss the merits of an issue over which the team has no control. Each state's minimum required number of days in the school calendar is an example of a mandate. The principal has the responsibility to communicate this type of decision to the staff through standard administrative practice; however, it may be productive for the staff to plan the way in which a mandate is implemented.

The expedient type of decision improves the efficiency and management of the school. This is the type of decision many board of education members and too many professionals prefer to address. Use of facilities, driveway surfaces, brand of copy machines, and use of energy sources are examples of expediency concerns.

There will be a strong temptation for the campus team to want to address matters of expediency as part of the shared decision-making process. There are multiple and competing demands on school staffs' time.

If they use it for the expedient type of decisions, they will likely decrease the time and energy that could be focused on essential decisions. These are decisions that involve one or more dimensions of that process, i. Alteration of curriculum documents, proposed staff development directions, and staffing patterns are examples of this type of decision. The campus decision-making team that expends a major portion of its time and energy on essential decisions has a stronger potential to produce positive results in student learning.

In addition to setting priorities for decision making, the campus team or site council may wish to consider the degree of participation of various role groups or their representatives in particular decisions.

Participation can be characterized on a continuum from "no involvement" to "total participation.

6 Ways to Implement a Real Multicultural Education in the Classroom

In sum, participating in essential decisions that address teaching and learning is proposed as a primary focus for the campus decision makers.

The degree to which the various decision makers are involved, as delineated by Wallace and colleagues above, is another variable that may influence opportunities for succeeding more effectively with all students. Schmuck and Runkel assert that reaching consensus through participatory decision making is most desirable.

It makes good sense that a broad array of persons representing various knowledge bases, experiences, and expertise can contribute more meaningfully to discussions and decisions about the increasingly diverse needs of students and how to address them. Johnson reports that research studies have failed to find a relationship between site-based management and student achievement.

However, she found patterns of directionality in her study of middle schools. In schools where students were achieving, there was a significantly higher level of shared decision making and less central control.

Most prevalent in the literature are reports of what was learned when implementing site-based decision making at district and campus levels. In a four year longitudinal study of two Minnesota school districts, Jenni concluded that issues of power tend to interfere with a school's goal of site-based decision making. Further, whatever their position, individuals in schools tend to resist change. Third, the "activities of site councils tend to be observational and discussional rather than advisory and decisional" p.

In a study of five school systems across the nation and documentaries of additional communitiesHill and Bonan draw conclusions focused on the relationships between the school, district system, and parents. These authors concluded that site-based decision making is a reform of the whole school system even though it focuses on individual schools; change at the school level will result if site-based decision making is the school system's basic strategy for reform, rather than one of several projects for reform; site-managed schools that have their own unique attributes and operations are likely to develop over time; the balanced relationship of the district system and individual schools that represent variety, not uniformity, will require new thinking about accountability; and parental choice, where parents are free "to move among schools," is the ultimate means of accountability for site-managed schools.

Principals in the schools were acting as developers and facilitators, rather than as "bosses. They allocated resources space, scheduling, personnel to achieve the vision. They broadened decision-making structures through development of ad hoc committees and task forces. They supported teachers in becoming decision makers through helping them "navigate the sometimes treacherous shoals of the district bureaucracy" p.

Teacher changes occurred in new roles, skills, perceptions, and relationships with their peers. Teachers developed a greater sense of efficacy and control, as well as the ability to influence their work environment.

They began experiencing more participation and satisfaction; their increased energy, they thought, appeared to impact their instructional practices and teacher-student interactions.

restructuring school management to meet the needs of multicultural schools

Lessons from these authors and others, most clearly articulated by Jennip. Teachers are reluctant to take on new role definitions as decision makers, as they see their primary role in the classroom and the principal as decision maker. Training and retraining are essential but often are nonexistent in site-based decision-making programs.

Accountability and decision-making responsibilities are vague, with the principal rather than the school team assuming the ultimate responsibility; if responsibility for decisions rests outside the purview of the decision-making group, what real function does the group serve?

Clear purpose and direction must be established for site councils, or school teams, with decision-making parameters clearly delineated; council control of resources also helps. Preparing for Implementation In order for a school district to be successful in implementing site-based decision making, the various constituencies involved in decision making must operate synergistically.

Site-Based Decision Making: Its Potential for Enhancing Learner Outcomes

Each campus should be part of a vision of decentralization whose purpose is improvement. However, uniqueness needs to be maintained. The campuses should not all be alike nor think alike; but, each should be part of an overall effort that "thinks together. How does the district office provide guidance and support?

Initial planning is done at the district level, possibly by a team representing the schools and all constituencies, whereby goals and priorities are articulated for the entire system. These goals form the parameters within which the schools will function so that there is, in fact, a system of schools.

restructuring school management to meet the needs of multicultural schools

Further, the boundaries within which schools will operate are established through district policy development and through the clearly defined and communicated limitations of budgets and program and personnel options. It is neither reasonable nor fair to deliver a decision-making apparatus to schools without accompanying guidelines that inform schools about the amount of flexibility they will be able to have.

Campus decision making presents opportunities to develop individualization and uniqueness, yet it also represents the opportunity to proceed toward accomplishing goals common to the campus and to the district. In addition, there must be a district vision and commitment to shared decision making and planning. Adequate time is a necessity; shared decision making cannot occur if there is insufficient time for meeting. The district can demonstrate its commitment through the provision of time presented to the schools in optional scheduling formats from which they select the most useful.

The district should also provide the resources for training in communication skills, team building, use of decision-making models, conflict management, and understanding of the change process. Some level of technical assistance should be available in order for school staff to receive feedback and suggestions, plus opportunities for improving their decision-making and planning skills.

Central office staff must also model shared decision making. It requires very little time for central office staff members and other instructional leaders to develop rhetoric related to site-based decision making.

However, support for the process will erode quickly if leadership advocates shared decision making, but continues to formulate and demonstrate administrative procedures that ultimately inhibit the process.

In school districts where site-based decision making is successful, central office staff members assume the role of facilitators. Their new role and behavior patterns exhibit a helping attitude, responding to the decisions and declared needs of the schools. If central office staff members are to be able to respond appropriately to site-based decision making, they will need to understand change. Site-based decision making is a change of Cuban's "second order" mentioned above - and is very complex.

First and foremost, there must be a clear understanding of what site-based decision making is, acts like, looks like. A clear conceptualization of how it will work, with its boundaries and privileges, is highly important.