School Organizations

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Schools organizations are involved into reform, change, and improvement efforts and process stemming from a desire for renewal, gaps in performance results, advancements in knowledge, mandates, and other societal deficits where responsibility has been delegated to schools (Evans, 1996). According to Fullan (2000) and Mai (2004) the problem for school organizations seeking to effectively improve or change centers on what behaviors, strategies, or structures contribute positively to organizational learning and renewal in a way the produces the capacity for sustainability in order to make a positive difference for students.

Foster (2001) discussed that while the majority of past theories on school leadership have focused upon the capabilities of one individual, this accepted belief of a solitary leader is now being challenged as traditional models of leadership and organizational change are being analyzed. Thus, instead of viewing leadership as a role for one person, leadership is now being redefined as a practice shared among many individuals (Harris, 2003). Distributed leadership involved with creating joint responsibility for leadership activities. Interesting is the focus on shared learning and developing leadership capabilities. Shared leadership is used as synonym for democratic leadership, and collaborative leadership. Practitioners use it to create effective school leadership, or improving schools, or to study leadership.

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Building leadership capacity means broad-based, skillful involvement in the work of leadership. There is a need of significant number of skillful teacher leaders who understood the shared vision in the school, and are able to carry it out. Also the work involves reflection, inquiry, conversations and focused action – professional behaviors that are an integral part of daily work. Understandings and skillfulness involve more than the knowledge of an innovation. The skillfulness focused is those skills of leadership that allow other teachers to capture the imagination of their colleagues, enable them to negotiate real changes in schools and negotiate any conflicts that arise in organization (Harris and Lamber, 2003). In order to build leadership capacity for school improvement the U.K. Open University suggested the following main characteristics: Surface, clarity and define values, beliefs, assumptions, perceptions and experiences ; inquire into practice; construct meaning and knowledge; frame action and develop implementation plans.

The Cyprus Educational System is open to a wide range of influences, which create the need for change and improvement. The strategy of the Ministry of Education in Cyprus is to proceed with the Educational Reform Program in order to fully achieve the goal of an all inclusive, democratic and human school, which embraces all students equally and provides education to each and every pupil according to his/her needs. Educational Reform was launched in January 2005, following a report by a Committee of seven academics which identified the weaknesses of Cyprus Educational System and the areas in need of reform.

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