Training school staffs in concepts of participatory management in the Fairfax County public schools: an evaluation study

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Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University

The Fairfax County, Virginia, Public Schools made a commitment in 1981 to involve teacher leaders and principals in all schools in the improvement of school-based facilitation of instruction. It was decided that this school-based management emphasis would best be achieved through a training program that focused on concepts of participatory management. Therefore, beginning in the fall of 1981 (and for three successive semesters), principals, assistant principals, department chairpersons, and team leaders were selected to participate in a one-semester university credit course entitled “Distributed Management of Instructional Environments." The course provided a forum for the presentation of alternative decision-making models to the instructional leadership within each school. Leadership theories based on the writings of Herzberg, Maslow, Levinson, et al., and models such as Likert's linking-pin structure and Hersey and Blanchard's situational leadership were presented in large group sessions followed by small group discussions. Each school was required to prepare a planning document detailing the management processes and structures to be used to facilitate instruction. This study evaluates the success of the program in achieving its objectives. The CIPP evaluation model proposed by Stufflebeam provided the overall design for the study.