The LEAD COMPASS project (funded by the Open University of Cyprus) seeks to investigate school leadership in middle schools in Cyprus, which are underperforming and/ or performing lower than expected, given the composition of the student body and the community from which they are drawn. The main aim of the LEAD COMPASS project is to identify schools, which are underperforming and have good pre-requisites (high socio-economic status-SES, parental and local community involvement) and those which have low or bad pre-requisites (low socio-economic status-SES, negative parental and local community involvement, low tax base). In particular, the project examines the effects of school principals’ characteristics, styles, and strategies in underperforming schools, with good and bad pre-requisites, as well as investigates the reasons which (simultaneously) keep them from achieving success or suffering failure.
Specifically, the objectives of the LEAD COMPASS project are the following:
- To identify and examine the characteristics, strategies and contexts of school leadership and management in a range of underperforming schools with good and bad pre-requisites.
- To identify and examine the potential involvement and school principals’ strategies on improving the schools’ core routines in the underperforming schools, and in particular on the improvement of students’ academic achievements.
- To investigate principals’ life history and identity in order to collect information and be in a better position to develop improved and state of the art programs for school leaders of the future.
The realization of the aforementioned objectives is based upon qualitative research through multi-perspective case studies. This research study will be linked with research projects such as the International Successful School Principalship Project (ISSPP), enabling comparison of underperforming schools across various contexts (especially Greece, Austria, and the UK). The main activities, which will be implemented in this project, concern both theoretical and empirical investigations. Firstly, a literature review will be carried out on current knowledge and state of the art about underperforming schools through the leadership perspective. Drawing on the existing literature the interview protocols will be designed (and/or re-designed) and piloted and data will be collected and analyzed. In particular, the process of school selection will be based on specific criteria. The results will be disseminated through academic journals and conferences.
The significance of the LEAD COMPASS project revolves around the effort to deepen our understanding of the school’s leadership role, as well as to investigate the schools’ core routines (school structure and culture, teachers, students, parents and community relations) in the underperforming schools. In conjunction, this research study will reveal school principals’ efforts and strategies to promote the best potential to students’ academic achievements. In addition to that, through the research approach of school principals’ “life history and identity”, we will be in a better position to develop state of the art programs to prepare school leaders for the future.
||underperforming schools, principals’ life history and identity, characteristics, strategies and contexts of school leadership, school stakeholders, educational Leadership, school organizational performance, qualitative research.