A case study: An ecological leadership model and data-based decision-making
Ludwig, Kathleen E.
This case study identified which of Baker and Richards' (2004) leadership models (compliance, performance, ecological) were used to make data-based decisions in six Oregon schools. Two elementary, two middle and two high schools in a suburban school district were selected. Typologies of each school's reported data Sources, Leadership, Processes and Impacts were developed. The results of the typologies were applied through pattern-matching to a Conceptual Model of Data-Based Schools developed by Hill (2004) in an earlier study. The study investigated (a) the similarities and differences in how the schools used the data they collected; (b) patterns that emerged indicating how data were used to inform decisions; and (c) the data-based leadership model (compliance, performance, ecological) evidenced at each school, school level and within the overall district. Findings indicated consistent patterns of data-based practices across all six schools and placed each of them, as well as the overall district, on the continuum between the performance and ecological leadership models. School administrators reported an ecological set of beliefs to guide their site-based decisions; teachers reported a performance set of beliefs and practices in their classrooms. There was no significant difference attributed to school levels. The findings build on Hill's (2004) previous study, strengthen Baker and Richards' (2004) ecological leadership model, and add to the emerging literature on ecological leadership in schools. School leaders can use the model to identify current practices in data-based decision-making and share their findings with their staff in order to improve data practices and move along the continuum toward ongoing and continuous school improvement.