JELPP – Volume 34 (2019)

Nurture the seed and it will blossom

Editorial - Michele Morrison

As educators know only too well, change is ubiquitous, both planned and unplanned, initiated and imposed, short-lived and long-lasting. Further, building relationships and systems that stimulate, support and sustain innovation requires careful deliberation and a great deal of hard work. As the Journal of Educational Leadership Policy and Practice transitions from a print-based subscription mode to an open source digital platform, it is fitting that we pay tribute to the national executive of NZEALS for their vision and intrepid spirit in traversing new publication ground. We remain indebted to our national secretary and JELPP technical editor, Emerita Professor Ann Briggs, who led negotiations with Exeley, New York, and production editor, Yvette Shore, who ensured the digital system alignment necessary for us to embark on this exciting new chapter. The whakatauki, poipoia te kakano kia puawai, speaks to the promise of small beginnings and we are confident that JELPP’s arrival on the global open source stage will bring added richness to journal offerings.

A systems perspective on exploring the sustainability of leadership initiatives in a secondary school setting

Kala. S. Retna / John Davies


This paper uses a systems approach to examine the implementation of a design thinking (DT) initiative in a Singaporean secondary school setting. In particular, the paper uses the systems representational tools attributed to Senge (1990) to better understand the factors and relationships that underpin successful change initiatives in terms of the change process and related outcomes. The systems approach sheds light not only on those managerial and behavioural factors that facilitate initial acceptance and adoption of the design thinking change initiative, but also those factors that might inhibit or undermine ongoing change and success. As such, the paper provides interpretive insight about what constitutes effective systemic change in the implementation of design thinking, and on the nature of individual managerial intervention necessary to sustain ongoing and effective use of the design thinking and other initiatives.

School leaders’ perceptions on comprehensive school counseling (CSC) evaluation processes: Adherence and implementation of the American School Counselor Association (ASCA) National Model

Rachel Louise Geesa, Nicholas P. Elam, Renae D. Mayes, Kat R. McConnell, Kaylee M. McDonald


Throughout their K-12 educational experience, students should have access to resources,
educators, counselors, and specialists to help meet their academic, social, emotional, college, and
career needs. When school leaders or principals work in collaboration with school counselors,
often school climate is more positive for students, faculty, and stakeholders. However, many school
leaders do not receive proper training to evaluate school counselors. The purpose of the study
is to explore school leaders’ perspectives of processes, policies, and trends in school counselor
evaluation. The amount and type of support school counselors receive from their school leaders is
important in developing and maintaining a progressive comprehensive school counseling (CSC)
program for all students, but leaders must be familiar with CSC in order to appropriately evaluate
school counselors. The results indicate that while delivery of a CSC program may be important, the
evaluation process may be limited in its utility to help school counselors adhere to and implement
the American School Counselor Association (ASCA) National Model, which includes foundation,
management, accountability, and delivery components. More research is needed regarding what
content should be included in a school counselor evaluation.

Contemporary pressures on school-based research: A cautionary tale for school leaders

Smith Thrupp and Barrett


School-based research has historically played an important role within the education system contributing to our understanding of the organisation and practice of formal education. Supported by relevant literature, this article reports on current challenges in conducting school-based research in Aotearoa New Zealand as experienced by one researcher. It suggests that conducting school-based research is becoming increasingly difficult, with possible explanations for this being the divergent workflows of researcher and school-based participant(s), the volume of demands on teachers and schools, and restricted roles for teachers and parents, which increase the risk of research fatigue. The article argues that although school-based research is rarely an immediate priority for school leaders, it is imperative that they support it if they want to be informed by its insights for policy and practice.

“Lazarus” school rising: Finding renewed hope with a “little help from our friends”

Bills Hamilton and Wadham


This article examines the nature of sudden and sweeping organisational change when a public secondary school facing closure reframed the ideological components of schooling, finding renewed hope and direction for the future. It also attempts to explain how organisational change can take place through university-led action research, activating school community support to become a science, technology, engineering, arts and mathematics (STEAM) school, securing funding sustainability, political and bureaucratic support, and a new regional school and university partnership. Finally, it seeks to understand how teachers and leaders make sense of their new STEAM organisational identity and how they are reflecting upon this in their new work ahead.

This single bounded case study used a “sequential transformative strategy” involving an initial phase of action research reframing schooling purpose as a STEAM school. This was followed by semi-structured teacher and leader interviews hermeneutically analysed, constituting a two part project with a theoretical lens of social science theory. The theoretical perspective of Meighan’s component theory informs the analysis of the two methodologies.