Case Study Analysis (20 points)
Directions: Read the case study carefully and respond to ALL 7 Questions (prompts) that follow. Your responses for each prompt need to completely answer the question using your knowledge of administrative supervision. Please remember that quality is better than quantity when formulating your responses.
Developing Human Capital
Decision Making: The Tenure Decision
Dr. Madeline Kinney was disturbed after her conversation with the high school principal, Dr. Peter Levy. Dr. Kinney has been the Superintendent for seven years and has never not recommended a third-year probationary teacher for tenure. It has been her policy to make a decision about a teacher’s tenure by the end of the second year. She felt that if a probationary teacher has had “effective” evaluation ratings for at least two years, carrying a developing or ineffective teacher into the third year of probation was unnecessary. If teachers could not prove themselves in two years, they probably would not be right for permanent employment in her district. Now, her high school principal told her under no uncertain terms that a third-year probationary teacher, Lee Harvey, should not be granted tenure.
During his conversation with the Superintendent, Peter said that he “tried everything with the man, but nothing had solved the problem.” Dr. Kinney remembered reading both of Mr. Harvey’s annual evaluation reports; Year 1 Mr. Harvey received “developing,” Year 2 he received “effective” and they contained many positive comments about his creative teaching and his involvement in extra-curricular activities. His model United Nations Club hosted two large regional conferences and these weekend meetings brought favorable attention to the school district. Dr. Kinney herself attended the sessions and found them well organize and effective. Those parents who watched the debates commented favorably on the event and the local newspaper wrote an editorial complementing Mr. Harvey and the school. There was no question that he was popular with the students and has made many friends in the community, including membership in the local Kiwanis Club. Dr. Kinney also remembered that significant portions of Mr. Harvey’s teacher evaluation rubric for teacher preparation in years one and two were devoted to suggesting ways to improve his spelling and grammar skills. Specifically, during both years, there was a comment about spelling errors made during lessons, on reports, and in written communications with parents.
In reviewing the situation with the Superintendent, the high school principal enumerated steps he took to deal with the problem. During his first year, when it became obvious that Mr. Harvey was misspelling words in the comments section of report cards as well as in progress reports to parents, the principal checked Mr. Harvey’s documents before they were sent out to parents. Even with this kind of review, parents continually brought to the principal’s attention examples of Mr. Harvey’s correspondence with misspelled words. When observing his class, the principal noted that Mr. Harvey misspelled words on the whiteboard during lessons and there was even a chart displayed on the bulletin board with a misspelled word. Students often corrected his spelling. Dr. Levy strongly recommended that Mr. Harvey refrain from writing spontaneously on the board. He was instructed to allow Mrs. Janet McNeill, the department chair, to check presentation material he planned to use during his lessons. While he continued to have some problems during the spring semester of his second year, there were fewer reports of poor grammar and spelling. Although torn with doubt, Peter had decided not to recommend dismissal after the second year because he thought that the problem was solvable, and he had not shared his doubt with the superintendent.
Unfortunately, during Mr. Harvey’s third year of probation, his spelling and grammar usage got worse and now the principal was angry. Dr. Levy concluded that the teacher couldn’t or wouldn’t change. Dr. Levy commented to the superintendent: “the man must have Attention Deficit Disorder. I do not ever see him sitting long enough to write a literate paragraph. You should see what his comments on the students’ yearbooks look like. Believe me, I have tried everything. Even with this constant monitoring, he will continue to embarrass us. Many parents know about his problem and brought it to my attention. I would be very surprised if a member of the Board of Education does not ask about it before they decide his tenure.”
Dr. Kinney asked the principal how they had missed the problem when they hired Mr. Harvey. The principal noted that his college references were exceptional, and although one reference indicated that Mr. Harvey had some issues with spelling, none of his references mentioned this problem. There was no way the problem could have been determined from his records.
While there was no question in Dr. Kinney’s mind about the principal’s recommendation, she knew not recommending tenure would be met with opposition. Although Dr. Levy documented many of Mr. Harvey’s spelling and grammatical errors, she did not doubt that the teachers’ union would support the teacher. She also knew that most f his students, past and present, would denounce the administration for not recommending tenure. The community itself would be split, but Mr. Harvey mand enough friends so that there would be major opposition to a decision not to grant tenure. Most of all, she was worried about the Board of Education. How would they react to a public controversy? She had not yet been through a major conflict with the Board of Education and didn’t wish this to be her first. It was also true that she had always been supportive of her building principals in the past and did not wish to lose their trust.
Between now and the next Board of Education meeting, Dr. Kinney has to decide whether or not to recommend tenure for Mr. Harvey.
- Identify one important issue. Tell why that issue is important.
- State two questions that might be raised by the issue. Explain why each question might be important.
- Identify one strength of the principal and the superintendent.
- Identify and explain one strategy for building on this strength.
- Identify 2 weaknesses of the principal and the superintendent.
- For each weakness explain a strategy for addressing it.
- For each strategy explain why it is likely to be effective.
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