Ethics and the principalship

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Virginia Tech

The primary aim of this study was to produce materials on ethics which could be used in the preparation of practicing and potential principals.

To examine the views of secondary school principals involved in the study, twenty scenarios were developed which portrayed situations that principals typically encounter. School divisions in Virginia were divided into four categories according to enrollment and the number of secondary schools in the division. Ten schools from each classification were randomly selected, and on-site interviews were conducted with each principal in which four of the scenarios and a survey form were employed to collect information. Responses of the principals to the scenarios were transcribed, analyzed and distilled.

The scenarios and responses became the foundation for the development of a primer on ethics for use in administrative in-service workshops and principal preparation programs. The primer was used in designing and presenting in-service programs on ethics for the administrative staffs of two school divisions.

Responses by principals to situations presented during the study and the in-service programs indicate that practicing and potential school administrators would benefit by having ethics included as a fundamental part of their professional preparation program.