INVESTIGATING HOW INDIVIDUAL SCHOOL INTERNAL SOCIAL NETWORKS CONTRIBUTE TO THE COMMUNICATION OF SYSTEMIC INITIATIVES IN A LARGE URBAN SCHOOL DISTRICT
Kochanowski, Melissa Lynn
McLaughlin, Margaret J.
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Implementation of initiatives and mandates in schools and districts has increased over the last decade and districts are constantly tasked with disseminating new information to staff in the schools. Recently studies have been conducted in the field of education using Social Network Analysis (SNA) to explore how information and knowledge flow between people in schools and districts in order to identify key disseminators, brokers, and hinders of information, as well as the overall patterns of communication. The purpose of this study was to examine the informal communication networks and key actors used to disseminate information about the Common Core State Standards (CCSS) in four elementary schools in a large urban school district. The study was based on the premise that obtaining a better understanding of the informal communication pathways in these schools would allow school and district leaders to better understand how information flows throughout schools and to determine whether the positions intended to communicate new information in a school were actually being used. This exploratory study used an online survey and SNA to identify the flow of and key actors for communication around two initiatives, CCSS and Data Wise. The findings suggest that each of the four schools had highly centralized networks where only a few key staff members were integral for sharing information about initiatives. The key people in each school tended to be administrators and individuals who held two positions. One of the key positions in each school was the Professional Development Lead Teacher (PDLT), which is the position the District had created to ensure information about key initiatives was disseminated.