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Leadership characteristics and practices in South Carolina charter schools

Region:
Southeast
Description:
The purpose of this descriptive study was to identify characteristics of charter school leaders in South Carolina, determine how they spend their work hours, understand the time they spend on challenges to their work, and learn who influences their schools' policies. REL Southeast researchers collaborated with the South Carolina Department of Education (SCDE) and other charter school policymakers and practitioners to develop a survey based on items from the school and principal questionnaires of the U.S. Department of Education, National Center for Education Statistics Schools and Staffing Survey. SCDE administered the survey to the 66 leaders in charter schools across the state operating during the 2014/15 school year. Forty leaders provided responses. Results indicate that the leaders have many similar demographic, educational, and employment characteristics and reasons for becoming charter school leaders. They worked an average almost 60 hours per week, spending more hours on activities related to communication with families and on school regulations and policies than on other tasks. Many of them spent time daily on school safety. A majority of the leaders were frequently challenged by state education agency requirements and services and sponsor intervention, but leaders were rarely or never challenged by staffing issues or board intervention. In addition, the leaders reported having more influence than any other entity over most of their schools' policies, except policies related to classroom instruction, academic guidance, athletics, and student assessment, which their staff influenced more and board membership policies that their board influenced more. This study was a first step toward understanding what characteristics and activities of charter school leaders in South Carolina may lead to improved school performance. Further research is needed to link school leadership characteristics and time management practices to school and student performance and other outcomes.
Publication Type:
What's Happening
Online Availability:
Publication Date:
November 2016
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