Successful School Leadership in Challenging Secondary Schools in Spain

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Abstract

This article shows the results of a multi-case study of two high schools located in the province of Granada. The schools selected have similar characteristics. They are among the schools situated in disadvantaged socio-economic contexts; they are catalogued by the Territorial Educational Delegation as schools of “preferential attention,” and in recent years they have shown gradual improvement in the students’ academic results, but without reaching the expected level. The official reports show that they have positive results in terms of school atmosphere and reducing school failure and attrition. The article documents how the educational leadership of the leadership team influences this improvement. The leadership in these cases combines many of the successful leadership conditions documented internationally. However, it emphasizes aspects of distributed and resilient educational leadership in order to promote qualitative improvements in challenging contexts. This leadership must be developed in the heart of broad professional communities, with the participation of the community, and focused on improving the academic results of the school and the students.