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Brokering Mathematics Reform: How Principals in Predominantly Hispanic-Serving Schools Conceive of Their Leadership Roles in the Implementation of a District-Wide Mathematics Reform Initiative

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Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/1928/11160

Brokering Mathematics Reform: How Principals in Predominantly Hispanic-Serving Schools Conceive of Their Leadership Roles in the Implementation of a District-Wide Mathematics Reform Initiative

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Title: Brokering Mathematics Reform: How Principals in Predominantly Hispanic-Serving Schools Conceive of Their Leadership Roles in the Implementation of a District-Wide Mathematics Reform Initiative
Author: Trujillo, Barbara
Advisor(s): Kitchen, Richard
Committee Member(s): Mitchell, Rosalita
Celedón-Pattichis, Sylvia
Trinidad-Galvin, Ruth
Madsen, Anne
Department: University of New Mexico. Multicultural Teacher and Childhood Education Program
Subject(s): Principals
Mathematics reform
LC Subject(s): Mathematics--Study and teaching--Curricula--United States
Curriculum change--Social aspects--Case studies
School principals--Attitudes--Case studies
Educational leadership--Social aspects--Case studies
Educational leadership--Psychological aspects--Case studies
Degree Level: Doctoral
Abstract: Mathematics reform efforts have been of interest to educational researchers for many years, particularly since the first Curriculum and Standards for School Mathematics over twenty years ago. Yet, despite efforts to improve the teaching and learning of mathematics for all students, many students, particularly poor and minority students, still do not have access to instructional practices that allow them opportunities to learn important mathematics. Researchers have called this a problem of scale (Cobb & Smith, 2008), and have begun to consider the important role of the principal in scaling up the reforms. This qualitative cross-case study investigated the conceptions of three principals in predominantly Hispanic-serving schools as they consider their leadership role in implementing district-adopted mathematics reform initiatives. While there have been a small number of important studies focused on principal leadership and mathematics reform, and studies on principal leadership and policy initiatives, this study is an attempt to bridge policy and practice. The research considers the combined influences of principals’ leadership content knowledge (Stein & Nelson, 2003), their school contexts, and district policies on their ideas about effective leadership of mathematics reforms. In addition, the research expands the construct of leadership content knowledge to consider each of the National Council of Supervisors of Mathematics (NCSM) Prime Leadership Principles of equity, teaching and learning, curriculum, and assessment. Over a period of two school years, six individual interviews were conducted with each principal. In addition, the researcher joined the principals as they conducted observations of mathematics lessons. Focus interviews, conversations with district personnel, researcher memos, and district/school documents provided further data. The data was analyzed first as individual cases to learn the conceptions of each principal. Then the data was analyzed across cases to look for common themes and insights. Findings showed that principals’ ideas about leading mathematics reform in their schools were manifestations of their leadership content knowledge in mathematics, their brokering of district policies related to accountability, curriculum and supervision, and the dynamics within their individual school contexts. Because the variables that impact principals’ sense-making about leading mathematics reform are so complex, none of the principals had set a clear direction for the reforms, and the necessary support for teachers to learn new curricula and new pedagogy was weak. At the end of two years, the principals continued to describe highly variable mathematics teaching in their schools.
Graduation Date: July 2010
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/1928/11160

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