Principal collaboration through the lens of communities of practice to improve student *attendance at the local school level

Linda Ellen Grobman, University of Pennsylvania


This research study explores how establishing a community of practice among school principals contributes to shared knowledge, improved practice and better student outcomes. The primary purpose of this dissertation is to stimulate dialogue and consideration around a model of principal collaboration, which postulates that effectiveness is enhanced across school sites when conditions for communities of practices are created. Specifically, investigated are the knowledge and behaviors related to improving student attendance that are shared, changed and improved when elementary and middle school principals are organized into communities of practice. Utilizing the framework of communities of practice, the focus of the study reviews the work of twenty-four principals organized into three teams within the Northwest Region of an urban school district. Within the team, principals have the opportunity to share expertise across school locations related to improving student attendance and reducing suspensions. Communities of Practice (Wenger 1998, p.45) are defined as "a group of people informally bound together by a shared expertise and a passion for joint enterprise." Communities of practice (Wenger and Snyder, 2000) can drive strategy, generate new ideas, solve problems, promote the spread of best practices, develop professional skills and help recruit and retain talent. The conceptual framework and the methods discussed here contribute toward the development of a model of collaboration for principals that facilitate the creation and sharing of best practices across school locations. Hopefully, this research will point toward fruitful ways that superintendents of urban school districts can manage their complex organizations by ensuring that conditions are in place to support principal collaboration.

Subject Area

School administration

Recommended Citation

Grobman, Linda Ellen, "Principal collaboration through the lens of communities of practice to improve student *attendance at the local school level" (2008). Dissertations available from ProQuest. AAI3310487.