Transformational leadership can also be an integral part in terms of being an effective leader in terms of eliciting parental involvement in the schools. In 2000, Hamilton Academy was identified by the state as a school that was in desperate need of improvement and was placed under a registration review (Giles, 2008). One example of how transformational leadership could make a positive change in schools was a case study of Hamilton Academy which was a school with low enrollment, a transient student population, and a weak administration with little parental support. Teachers argued that one of the reasons achievement was low was the lack of parental involvement and that the administration had not pursued it. This was a school that was in an urban neighborhood setting and the parents were accustomed to being left out of the school business and they were disillusioned with the school's leadership. Using the traditional leadership model, a new principal came into a difficult situation and attempted to create strong relationships and a supportive culture for teachers, students, and parents (Giles, 2008). The principal saw that the transformational model was one that could be used not to exclude parents from the school, but to include them. This top down approach was one that designed to specifically address the changing of the culture in the urban neighborhood school (Giles, 2008). The approach coincided with an increase in good relationships with parents and students in which they could see that the principal truly cared about the progress of each individual student. The principal also spent considerable time to make sure the parents had a voice in their children's education and this allowed them to ease their distrust of the administration (Giles, 2008). The parents were responding well to the principal's transformational leadership and the expectations that were being put upon their children. Parents of the children positively attributed this change of culture to the leadership of the principal. They remarked that they saw the principal as caring, professional, and someone that communicated well (Giles, 2008). The use of transformational leadership was highly effective in changing the culture inside and outside of the school, all for the benefit of the students and their achievement.
We are always saying that aspiring leaders do not get to see enough of what good principals do in the field. This is where the aspiring leaders see how principals handle certain situations and how they treat their students, teachers, and parents. A good idea would be for schools to send aspiring leaders to a particular school one day to let them see for themselves examples of servant and transformational leadership. It would behoove aspiring leaders to go and investigate schools to see if leaders are using either traditional or servant leadership. This would allow them to learn some interesting lessons about leaders and the styles they use while at work. A good activity for interns to use would be to have a questionnaire with yes or no questions which the intern would have to use after following the leader around for a few hours during a school day. This would be part of an activity that would immerse the intern into what would be a great connection between aspiring and practicing school administrators. An activity like this would be of great help to aspiring administrators for a few reasons. One, they would get to see what these two types of leadership truly looks like in the field. Second, they would see that both of these leadership styles allow the principal a great chance to support both students and teachers. The end of the day could be used to go over the questionnaires and time would be given to debrief with the practicing leader to discuss what the aspiring leader saw and what they learned from it. An activity like this is one that could inspire a new leader and allow them to see a new thinking of leadership and what it looks like in action during a school day.
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