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A Case Study of Dispositions Addressed in Principal Preparation Programs as a Transition into the Internships

Module by: Mary Martin. E-mail the author

Summary:   Whereas researchers have examined dispositions in teacher education programs, literature to assist the field of principal preparation is limited. However, the Educational Leadership Constituency Council standards clearly delineate dispositions that are essential for the success of school leaders. The faculty at a southeastern public university currently requires an individual disposition conference before a principal candidate begins the internship. This conference, serving as one of the transition points in the Educational Leadership program, addresses areas of leadership the faculty believe crucial to strengthening professional growth. Data gathered during 76 conferences indicate that the most frequently addressed dispositional domain concerned professional demeanor and work ethic. Moral and ethical dispositions were presented least. Specific dispositions within each domain are discussed in the study.

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Note:

This module has been peer-reviewed, accepted, and sanctioned by the National Council of Professors of Educational Administration (NCPEA) as a significant contribution to the scholarship and practice of education administration. In addition to publication in the Connexions Content Commons, this module is published in the International Journal of Educational Leadership Preparation, Volume 4, Number 3 (July - September 2009). Formatted and edited in Connexions by Theodore Creighton, Virginia Tech.

Introduction

As Educational Leadership programs are revised to meet the changing demands on school leaders, much attention is being directed at each of the Educational Leadership Constituency Council (ELCC) standards. While many programmatic modifications have been made to strengthen the knowledge and performances, dispositions have been much harder to impact directly. Student interactions with others, leadership characteristics, ethical decisions, personal demeanor, and work ethic are often not directly addressed on an individual basis with principal candidates during the coursework of their graduate studies. However, faculty at a southeastern public university has observed that a weak disposition often has a direct impact on the success of the internship. Likewise, employers of our graduates also indicate that graduates who struggle in their first administrative position often do so as a result of weak dispositions.

Purpose of the Study

The purpose of this case study is to analyze the focus of individual disposition conferences at a transition point in the Educational Leadership Program. These individual conferences are quite time consuming, causing reflection on the value of the time hours spent addressing specific dispositions of principal interns. To ensure the conferences explicitly and frequently address dispositions necessary for the success of school leaders, two questions will be addressed in this study:

  1. 1) What dispositions were addressed most frequently in the conferences? Which dispositions were presented as significant strengths of students? Which ones were discussed for improvement?
  2. 2) What dispositions were addressed infrequently in the conferences?

The University Graduate Conceptual Framework identifies nine dispositions to address in every graduate program within the university’s College of Education. Thereby, every graduate from the Educational Leadership program is expected to be able to:

  1. Examine and make appropriate professional decisions based on an advanced understanding of ethics and laws
  2. Advocate full and appropriate access to public education and human services for people with special needs and their families.
  3. Care for and relate to students, families, and the larger learning community.
  4. Appreciate the value of using research to inform practice.
  5. Model life-long learning. 
  6. Promote an appreciation and understanding of diversity in families and society.
  7. Advocate for the development of individuals to their full potential.
  8. Display overall dispositions/behavior consistent with expectations of the profession.
  9. Respect and cooperate with others. 

The Educational Leadership faculty has intentionally woven a thread of ethics and dispositions through coursework. In the first course, Schooling in American Society, the ELCC standards are taught in depth, with particular attention to Standard 5. This standard clearly encompasses dispositions:

“Candidates who complete the program are educational leaders who have the knowledge and ability to promote the success of all students by acting with integrity, fairly, and in an ethical manner.” (NCPEA, 2002, p. 13)

Students are given opportunities to apply each standard to relevant situations. Then each course presents possible dilemmas where this standard would be challenged. For example, in Leadership for Special Needs, students face decisions related to changing trends within a diverse student body, requiring leaders to act with fairness in their responsive actions. In the Personnel course, students learn to make selections of new employees based on ethical standards that follow policy. Activities that require thoughtful consideration of their own dispositions are presented in every course.

Over the past two years, faculty has undertaken an experimental program that deliberately and specifically calls attention to the personal dispositions of its principal leadership candidates on an individual basis. At the midpoint transition, students participate in a mandatory 30-minute session with the Educational Leadership faculty to discuss their readiness for leadership during the first internship. Topics addressed in the private conferences include interpersonal skills, goal setting, leadership traits and specific concerns that may have a direct impact on their leadership. Though these conferences are time-consuming, they provide a unique opportunity for the faculty to discuss a student’s tendency to act in a certain way as well as any concerns

Theoretical Framework

As the demands and pressures on school principals increase, principal preparation programs are paying closer attention to the candidate’s dispositions. The National Council for Accreditation in Teacher Education (NCATE) and National Board of Professional Teaching Standards (NBPTS) have promoted the concept of dispositions as essential to the success of both teachers and administrators. Most students enter Educational Leadership programs with three to five years of successful service in the role of the teacher. Therefore, one might logically assume appropriate dispositions would be in place before entry to the program.

Dispositions are the qualities that typify a person as an individual. In a paper presented at the First Annual Symposium on Educator Dispositions, Usher (2002) explained that they are the controlling, perceptual qualities that determine the person’s natural or usual ways of thinking or acting.

The National Council for Accreditation in Teacher Education defines dispositions as “professional attitudes, values, and beliefs demonstrated through both verbal and non-verbal behaviors as educators interact with students, families, colleagues, and communities.” Institutions are expected to assess professional dispositions based on observable behaviors in educational settings. Two professional dispositions, fairness and the belief that all students can learn, are specified for assessment. This council allows colleges and universities to identify, define, and operationalize additional professional dispositions according to their mission and conceptual framework (NCATE, 2007)

The Educational Leadership Constituency Council (ELCC) has established guidelines that also speak specifically to dispositions of school leaders. According to NCPEA (2002),

This standard addresses the educational leader’s role as the "first citizen" of the school/district community. Educational leaders should set the tone for how employees and students interact with one another and with members of the school, district, and larger community. The leader’s contacts with students, parents, and employees must reflect concern for others as well as for the organization and the position. Educational leaders must develop the ability to examine personal and professional values that reflect a code of ethics. They must be able to serve as role models, accepting responsibility for using their position ethically and constructively on behalf of the school/district. (p. 13.)

The dispositions of the leaders have a definite effect on the culture of the school. The actions of the principal are noticed and interpreted by others as what matters and is valued (Deal & Peters, 1993). Principals are expected to be the role models in the building, setting the tone for how staff and students interact with one another and with other members of the school, district, and larger community. Likewise school leaders’ values and dispositions also impact the quality of education in their schools. (Gold, Evans, Earley, Hallpine, & Collabone, 2003).

In previous studies, Standard 5 has been found to be a critical one. McCown, Arnold, Miles, and Hargadine (2000) found that Missouri superintendents view Standards 5 (integrity, fairness, and ethics) and 2 (school culture and instructional program) as substantially more important than Standard 6 (political, social, economic, legal, and cultural context). Knuth (2004) found that Washington State superintendents harbor an identical view. In Indiana, both principals and superintendents rated Standard 5 as most important of the standards (Cox, 2003). Though all six standards are essential, the standard that addresses dispositions is unquestionably regarded with high importance.

Ritchhart (2002) contended that “dispositions concern not only what we can do, our abilities, but what we are actually likely to do, addressing the gap we often notice between our abilities and our actions” (p. 18). In order to understand and address dispositions explicitly, Costa and Kallick (2000) described a series of actions expected by school leaders: persisting, managing impulsivity, listening with understanding and empathy, thinking flexibly, thinking about one’s won thinking, striving for accuracy, questioning and posing problems, applying past knowledge to new situations, thinking and communicating with clarity and precision, gathering data through all senses, creating, imaging, innovating, taking responsible risks, thinking interdependently, finding humor, and remaining open to continuous learning. Hansen (2001) provided evidence of intelligent professional conduct, such as being curious, open-minded, decisive, systematic, skeptical, deliberate, judicious, inquisitive, strategic, diligent, fair-minded, and reflective.

Sockett (2006) organized these dispositions into three different dimensions:

  1. 1) dispositions of character: self-knowledge, integrity, wisdom, courage, temperance, persistence, trustworthiness
  2. 2) dispositions of intellect: fairness and impartiality, open-mindedness, truthfulness, accuracy
  3. 3) dispositions of care: receptivity, relatedness, and responsiveness.

According to Richardson and Onwuegbuzie (2003) the assessing dispositions can be “by nature, subjective and often dictated by personal philosophies” (p. 3). Measuring these qualities can be difficult and often subjective; however, specific student actions, comments, and behaviors clearly reveal strengths and weaknesses.

Costa and Kallick (2009) clearly indicated that these habits can be changed and developed over time. Diez (2006) stressed that improvement in these areas must be intentional, requiring that candidates thoughtfully explore their reasoning, motivation, words and actions.

For the purpose of this study, dispositions will be defined as attitudes, values, beliefs, and characteristics demonstrated over time through professional interactions, decisions and observable behaviors with the entire school community. By extending the work of Sockett and giving strong consideration to graduate dispositions, dispositions in this study will be examined in four domains:

  1. 1) Moral and ethical dispositions: operates with advanced understanding of ethics and law, committed to serving all children, fully believes that all children can learn, operates with fairness, openness, and honesty, is trustworthy.
  2. 2) Intellectual integrity: bases decisions and practice on professional research, is the lead learner in the school, sees challenges as professional learning opportunities, reflective and willing to learn receptive to feedback.
  3. 3) Professional demeanor and work habits: Models professional conduct appropriate for school leaders, confident, responsible, willing to do whatever it takes to promote school success, takes the initiative, maintains professional appearance and actions.
  4. 4) Dispositions of relationships: cares for and communicates openly and honestly with everyone, values diversity in the school, is in all situations respectful, cooperative, and positive

Method

Program Description

Based upon feedback from an Advisory Board and from survey data from employers of our graduates, dispositions were determined to be an ongoing need. Feedback on coursework is provided throughout the program; however, in the past, dispositions have only been addressed when a problem surfaced. The inclusion of conferences was intended as a means to address dispositional issues on an individual basis that are not specifically addressed in coursework. The expectation is that these individual conferences will result in principal candidates completing the internship, fully equipped with the behavioral tendencies and personal traits needed to improve schools in the future.

Following the NCATE expectations, the graduate dispositions at the university are measured three times during the program. Initially, students complete a self assessment during the first Educational Leadership course and set goals for their own professional growth. At midpoint, before students are allowed to enter the first internship, faculty address these same dispositions with students. A final review at the end of the candidate’s program of study is made prior to graduation. The intent clearly is to avoid producing what M. Mark Wasicsko called “dispositional misfits’ into the position of school administrators (para. 3).

Before allowing students to begin the internship, a mandatory conference was scheduled between faculty and student. Faculty discussed individual strengths and weaknesses prior to the conference and reached agreement on specific dispositional feedback that needed to be discussed with the student. Then in a 30 minute, confidential meeting, dispositions noted thus far in the program were discussed. Conferences were loosely structured, allowing for honest and specific dialogue. The feedback was presented in the conference as a strength or weakness, examples of behaviors or interactions were provided to clarify the disposition, and goals for individual improvement or building on strengths were suggested. Through the open dialogue and supportive setting, students were able to reflect on their actions to recognize the possible impact of these factors on their leadership potential. Time was provided for the students to react to the feedback and share their own perceptions.

Dedicated effort was made to ensure that conferences were not punitive, but supportive. In most conferences many attributes were discussed as strengths and students were encouraged to maximize their positive dispositions. However the consequences for a negative indicator/habit needed to be addressed and explored before the student entered the principalship. Because faculty is genuinely vested in their students’ success, dispositions were confronted directly and specific strategies were suggested to improve weaknesses. In certain situations students were encouraged to do more self-reflection of their commitment and desire to leading a school. Others were challenged to stretch and focus on their own potential. For example, comments might begin: “Our wish for you during your internship is that you will pay close attention to …” or “When you begin your internship, certain dispositions may need more of your attention than others.”

Participants

This study involved 76 principal candidates enrolled in a master’s degree program. They have completed the first year of the program including four specialty courses with a minimum 3.0 GPA. These students are served in a cohort model where 25-30 students study together throughout the program. One cohort consists of educators from a large urban city. The other cohorts involve students from three different geographic locations across a southeastern state. These students currently work in approximately 12 different school districts.

Source of Evidence

To answer research questions, detailed notes were made during the conferences. The notes were recorded in Excel. Between conferences additional notes were added to ensure the range of dispositions discussed was recorded.

Data Analysis

From the detailed notes, similar comments were sorted and tallied. Next, these categories of comments were matched to the appropriate domain: moral and ethical dispositions, intellectual integrity, professional demeanor and work habits, and dispositions of relationships. Likewise the distinction was made regarding the disposition as a strength or weakness. Through the process of examining and summarizing all collected data, findings identified the frequency of certain dispositions and the standpoint of a strength or weakness.

Results

Question 1: What dispositions were addressed most frequently in the conferences? Which dispositions were presented as significant strengths of students? Which ones were discussed for improvement?

In response to the first research question, the disposition domain addressed most frequently in the conferences was professional demeanor (132 comments during 76 conferences/173.6%). Of these, 65 comments in the 76 conferences (85.5%) were designated as strengths whereas 67 comments in the 76 conferences (80.6%) were designated as needs for improvement.

The most frequently addressed trait within this domain was time management (32/76 conferences/42.1%), with regard to being prompt, prepared, in attendance, and meeting deadlines. This characteristic was the one most often presented as a weaker trait. In 14 comments (18.4%) it was designated as strengths. In 18 comments (23.7%) it was presented as needs for improvement.

The specific disposition within this domain that was presented as a strength was effort, the willingness to go the extra mile, being dedicated and conscientious (29/76 conferences/38.2%). In 20 of 76 conferences (26.3%), effort was discussed as a strength. In 9/76 conferences (11.8%), effort was designated as a need for improvement.

In the domain of relationships, the most frequently discussed disposition was communication. This disposition was also the most frequently discussed need for improvement within this domain. In 7/76 conferences (9.2%), communication was a strength. In 13/76 conferences (17.1%), communication needed to be improved.

In the domain of relationship dispositions, the most frequently noted strength was cooperation and collaboration. In 9/76 conferences (11.8%), cooperation and collaboration was a strength. In 10/76 conferences (13.2%), cooperation and collaboration was a need for growth.

In the domain of intellectual integrity, being reflective and self aware, willing to learn was discussed most often in 15/76 conferences (19.7%). It was the disposition addressed most in this domain as strength and area of need. In 9/76 conferences (11.8%), being reflective was a strength. In 6/76 conferences (7.9%), being reflective was an area for growth

While not the most frequently discussed, the disposition of seeking professional growth and being an inquiring learner were tied as a strength with being reflective in the domain of intellectual integrity. In 9/76 conferences (11.8%), seeking professional growth was a strength. In 1/76 conferences (1.3%), seeking professional growth was a need for growth.

In the domain of moral and ethical dispositions, the most frequently discussed disposition was that of being open minded and receptive to unique styles and ideas of others (15.76 conferences/19.7%) This trait was discussed most frequently as both a strength and need for improvement within this domain. In 6 of the 76 conferences (7.9%), open-mindedness was given as a strength. In 9 of the 76 conferences (11.8%), open-mindedness was listed as a need.

Table 1: Domains in Order of Frequency With Disposition that is Strength or Weakness
Domains, in order of Frequency Specific dispositions – Strengths Specific dispositions - Weaknesses
Professional Demeanor and Work Habits Effort Time Management
Relationships Cooperation and Collaboration Communication
Intellectual Integrity Seeking professional development & Being reflective and self aware Being reflective and self aware
Moral and ethical dispositions Open-minded; receptive to unique styles and ideas Open-minded; receptive to unique styles and ideas

Question 2: What dispositions were addressed infrequently in the conferences?

There was at least one disposition in each domain that was mentioned only once.

In the domain of moral and ethical dispositions, two dispositions were mentioned only once, both noted as strengths: 1) the belief that all children can learn, appreciating and persisting to ensure learning for all children was mentioned once and 2) setting and enforcing clear expectations and procedures was mentioned once.

In the domain of professional demeanor, two dispositions were only mentioned once, both noted as strengths: 1) being creative and seeing multiple solutions to problems and 2) being a “multi-tasker”, able to handle several issues at once.

In the domain of relationships, only one disposition was discussed with a single student. Being a motivator, encourager, and sharing leadership was a shared as a strength.

In the domain of intellectual integrity, all traits were mentioned more than once. The most infrequent traits were mentioned with 4 (5/3%) of the principal candidates: One disposition, being receptive to feedback and responding to it appropriately. Of these three (3.9%) of the comments were designated a strength in this area. One (1.3%) of these comments was designated as a need for improvement. The other disposition infrequently addressed in this domain was having solid judgment and common sense. One (1.3%) of these comments was designated as a need for improvement and three (3.9%) of these comments were designated a strength in this area.

Table 2: Infrequently Addressed Dispositions in Each Domain
Domains in order of frequency Specific dispositions – Addressed Infrequently
Professional Demeanor and Work Habits Being creative and seeing multiple solutions to problems
Professional Demeanor and Work Habits Being a “multi-tasker”, able to handle several issues at once
Relationships Being a motivator, encourager, and sharing leadership
Intellectual Integrity Being receptive to feedback and responding to it appropriately
Intellectual Integrity Having solid judgment and common sense
Moral and Ethical Dispositions The belief that all children can learn, appreciating and persisting to ensure learning for all children
Professional Demeanor and Work Habits Setting and enforcing clear expectations

Conclusions

From the analysis of the focus of disposition conferences held at a transition point in the Educational Leadership Program, the scope of dispositions addressed on an individual basis was comprehensive. However, to ensure dispositions continue to be addressed in an explicit and frequent manner, several conclusions stem from the data that may be considered for program modification.

First, more intentional teaching of dispositions in the first courses of the program is appropriate. This instruction might best involve a thorough list of dispositions with explanations of their importance in school leadership. Presenting the four domains with explicit examples would strengthen the instruction.

In order for students to fully understand personal strengths and areas of need, faculty will revisit the disposition form used for self-reflection and for disposition conferences. The revision will result in a more comprehensive approach to professional strengths and needs.

Because of the noted areas for growth, time management, communication, reflective practice and open-mindedness will be a focus during the internship. For example, when a principal candidate identifies the need to strengthen one specific disposition, the university supervisor will follow-through with professional dialogue during the internship visits.

During the conferences, faculty will follow a structured protocol in order to address each of the four domains in providing a more thorough analysis of an individual’s dispositional strengths and needs. By using a protocol, the infrequently addressed topics will be included more often when needed. The significant meaningful feedback to students on the consistency of their dispositions is of critical importance. Fairness and supporting the belief that all students can learn throughout the school will be addressed specifically to meet NCATE expectations.

Educational Implications of the Study

This study demonstrates a positive step toward understanding educational leadership dispositions addressed in school leadership preparation programs. It has provided insight on the frequency of specific dispositions addressed in with principal candidates as well as identifying strengths and weaknesses of principal candidates as they enter the formal internship. Other Educational Leadership programs may benefit from a similar analysis of dispositional components of their programs.

Further study will be conducted to examine the students’ perception of the disposition conferences and any specific benefits tied to the individual meetings. More specific study will also be necessary to determine impact of the professional dispositions as they are transferred into the workplace as a school administrator.

References

Costa, A., & Kallick, B. (2000). Discovering and exploring habits of mind. Alexandria, VA: Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development.

Costa, A., & Kallick, B. (2009). Leading and learning with habits of mind: Sixteen essential characteristics for success. Alexandria, VA: Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development.

Deal, T. E. (1993). The culture of schools. In M. Sashkin & H.J. Walberg (Eds.), Educational Leadership and School Culture. Berkeley, CA: McCutchen Publishing.

Cox, E. P. (2003) Administrator perceptions in new licensing standards. ERS Spectrum, 21(3), 4-10.

Diez, M. E. (2006). Assessing dispositions: Five principles to guide practice. In H. Sockett (Ed.). Teacher dispositions: Building a teacher education framework of moral standards (pp. 49-68). Washington DC: American Association of Colleges for Teacher Education.

Gold, A., Evans, J., Earley, P., Hallpine, D., & Collarbone, P. (2003).Principled principals? Values- driven leadership: Evidence from ten case studies of ‘outstanding’ school leaders. Educational Management & Administration, 31(2), 127-138.

Hansen, D. (2001). Exploring the moral heart of teaching: Toward a teacher’s creed. New York: Teachers College Press.

Knuth, R. K. (2004a). Principal performance and the ISLLC Standards: Implications for principal selection and professional development. ERS Spectrum, 22(4),4-9.

Knuth, R. K. (2004b). [Survey of Washington State superintendents: Principal success and failure]. Unpublished raw data.

McCown, C., Arnold, M., Miles, D., & Hargadine, K. (2000). Why principals succeed: Comparing principal performance to national professional standards. ERS Spectrum, 18, 14-19.

National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (2007, November). NCATE News: Defines Professional Dispositions as used in Teacher Education. Retrieved April 8, 2009 from http://www.ncate.org/public/102407.asp

National Board Policy for Educational Administration. (2002). Standards for Advanced Programs in Educational Leadership. Retrieved May 28, 2009, from http://www.npbea.org/ELCC/ELCCStandards%20_5-02.pdf

Richardson, D. & Onwuegbuzie, A. J. (2003, November). Attitudes toward dispositions related to teaching pre-service teachers, in-service teachers, administrators, and college/university professors. Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the Mid-South Educational Research Association, Biloxi, MS.

Ritchhart, R. (2002). Intellectual character: What it is, why it matters, and how to get it. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.

Sockett, H. (Ed). (2006). Teacher dispositions: Building a teacher education framework of moral standards. Washington, DC: American Association of Colleges for Teacher Education.

Usher, D. (2002, November). Arthur Combs' five dimensions of helper belief reformulated as five dispositions of teacher effectiveness. Paper presented at the meeting of the First Annual Symposium on Educator Dispositions, Richmond, KY.

Wasicsko, M. M. (2004, October.) The 20-Minute Hiring Assessment: How to ensure you’re hiring the best by gauging educator dispositions. Retrieved April 8, 2009 from http:/www.aasa.org/publications/saarticledetail.cfm?ItemNumber=1133

Appendix I: Categories of Disposition Content Matched to the Four Domains

Table 3
Number of conferences: 76 Moral & Ethical Intellectual integrity Professional demeanor & work habits Relationships
Attitude – enthusiastic, positive, looks for challenges and new opportunities     XXX  
Belief that all children can learn, appreciates their varying abilities, persists in helping all children achieve success; efficacy to ensure learning XXX      
Communicator; articulate; elaborates as needed; not too much!       XXX
Confidence – lack of or overly so     XXX  
Cooperative, collaborative; works well with others; tends to take control       XXX
Creative; Sees multiple solutions to problems     XXX  
Effort; willing to go the extra mile; dedicated; conscientious, strong work ethic     XXX  
Fairness, equity with respect; acutely aware of bias; tolerance; appreciates diversity; Impartial XXX      
Flexible; able to handle ambiguity; adaptable     XXX  
Feedback : receptive; critical of authority; responds appropriately   XXX    
Honesty; genuine; ethical XXX      
Humor       XXX
Initiative; willing to take risks; courageous; looking ahead     XXX  
Inquiring; learner; intellectual curiosity, seeks professional development   XXX    
Judgment solid; common sense   XXX    
Listener; genuinely cares about feelings; asks many questions       XXX
Motivator; encourager; involves others; shares leadership       XXX
Multi-tasker; able to handle several issues at once     XXX  
Open minded; receptive to unique styles and ideas; considers various viewpoints and multiple perspectives XXX      
Organized; attends to details     XXX  
Presence: patience, calm presence, impulsive, candidness     XXX  
Prompt and prepared; in attendance; meets deadlines, time management     XXX  
Quality-focused; committed to excellence   XXX    
Reflective; self aware; willing to learn   XXX    
Relationship-oriented; people aware       XXX
Responsible; trustworthy; builds trust; works to serve others and carry weight; Can be confidential XXX      
Rule follower/enforcer; sets clear expectations and procedures XXX      
Stress management; Taking care of self and personal needs     XXX  

Appendix II: Data Presented by Domain

Domain One: Moral and ethical dispositions

Table 4: Moral and ethical dispositions
Number of conferences: 76 Discussed as strength Discussed as need/warning Total times discussed
Belief that all children can learn, appreciates their varying abilities, persists in helping all children achieve success; efficacy to ensure learning 11.3% 00% 11.3%
Fairness, equity with respect; acutely aware of bias; tolerance; appreciates diversity; Impartial 22.6% 00% 22.6&
Honesty; genuine; ethical 56.6% 11.3% 67.9%
Open minded; receptive to unique styles and ideas; considers various viewpoints and multiple perspectives 67.9% 911.8% 1519.7%
Responsible; trustworthy; builds trust; works to serve others, carries weight; Maintains confidentiality 00% 33.9% 33.9%
Rule follower/enforcer; sets clear expectations and procedures 11.3 00% 11.3%
TOTAL 20 26.3% 1418.4% 3444.7%

Domain Two: Intellectual integrity

Table 5: Intellectual demeanor
Number of conferences: 76 Discussed as strength Discussed as need/warning Total times discussed
Feedback: receptive; critical of authority; responds appropriately 33.9% 11.3% 45.3%
Inquiring: learner; intellectual curiosity, seeks professional development 911.8% 11.3% 1013.2%
Judgment solid; common sense 11.3% 33.9% 45.3%
Quality-focused; committed to excellence 67.9% 56.6% 1114.5%
Reflective; self aware; willing to learn 911.8% 67.9% 1519.7%
TOTAL 2836.8% 1621.1% 4457.9%

Domain Three: Professional demeanor

Table 6: Professional demeanor
Number of conferences: 76 Discussed as strength Discussed as need/warning Total times discussed
Attitude – enthusiastic, positive, looks for challenges and new opportunities 1519.7% 45.3% 1925%
Confidence – lack of or overly so 11.3% 1722.4% 1823.7%
Creative; Sees multiple solutions to problems 11.3% 00% 11.3%
Effort; willing to go the extra mile; dedicated; conscientious, strong work ethic 2026.3% 911.8% 2938.2%
Flexible; able to handle ambiguity; adaptable 56.6% 33.9% 810.5%
Initiative; willing to take risks to move school forward; courageous; looking ahead 11.3% 33.9% 45.3%
Multi-tasker; able to handle several issues at once 11.3% 00% 11.3%
Organized; attends to details 11.3% 11.3% 22.6%
Presence; patience, calm presence, impulsive, candidness 67.9% 1215.8% 1823.7%
Prompt and prepared; in attendance; meets deadlines, time management 1418.4% 1823.7% 3242.1%
Stress management; Taking care of self and personal needs 11.3% 1317.1% 1413.4%
TOTAL 6585.5% 6780.6% 132173.6%

Domain Four: Dispositions of relationships

Table 7: Dispositions of relationships
Number of conferences: 76 Discussed as strength Discussed as need/warning Total times discussed
Communicator; articulate; elaborates as needed; not too much! 79.2% 1317.1% 2026.3%
Cooperative, collaborative; works well with others; tends to take control 911.8% 1013.2% 1925%
Humor 56.6% 11.3% 67.9%
Listener; genuinely cares about feelings; asks many questions 22.6% 00% 22.6%
Motivator; encourager; involves others; shares leadership 11.3% 00% 11.3%
Relationship-oriented; people aware 79.2% 810.5% 1519.7%
TOTAL 3140.8% 3242.1% 6382.9%

Appendix III. Sample Comments from Frequently Discussed Disposition Conferences

Table 8: Sample Comments from Frequently Discussed Disposition Conferences
Prompt and prepared; in attendance; meets deadlines, time management
  • Need for/benefit of family support for principals
  • Strategies for avoiding procrastination
  • Need to simplify and organize work/home
  • Student: “I am now using a planning calendar and setting aside specific times for certain things to get done. I’ve not done this before!”
Effort; willing to go the extra mile; dedicated; conscientious, strong work ethic
  • Faculty: “Even with new baby, you never missed a class.”
  • Stressed that you get out what you put in; for internship to be of maximum benefit, take advantage of every opportunity.
  • Faculty: “Don’t do enough to just get by, remember that your work represents you.”
  • Faculty: “Watch your day job. Your classroom still is your top priority.”
Communicator; articulate; elaborates as needed; not too much!
  • Student: “I may be seen as too assertive, I can be blunt; have been known to speak my mind.”
  • Faculty: “You are very articulate; you think well on your feet.”
  • Faculty: “Think through your comments so that you clearly say what you mean. No rambling; don’t let your nervousness show.”
  • Student: “I’m most concerned about responding to the irate parents.”
  • Student: “Sometimes I am uncomfortable speaking up in class. I don’t want to say the wrong thing.”
  • Student: “Will I be able to communicate to a large group and get my ideas across? Will I be able to get the ideas into actions?”
  • Student: “What and how do I communicate my expectations?”
  • Student: “My loudmouth northerner part comes out too much!”
Cooperative, collaborative; works well with others; tends to take control
  • Faculty: “Be sure you lean on others and don’t hold so much in.”
  • Student: “I get frustrated when others are not doing their fair share of the work. I want everyone to carry their weight.”
  • Faculty: “You are observant. You fill in the gaps when doing teamwork. You sit back, listen, and see where you need to fit in.”
  • Student(s): “I don’t like group-work. I work better by myself where I can work independently.”
Open minded; receptive to unique styles and ideas; considers various viewpoints and multiple perspectives
  • Student(s): “I’m afraid I will struggle with the politics.”
  • Student(s): “I worry about moving to elementary (or secondary) and seeing what they do.”
Reflective; self aware; willing to learn
  • Faculty: “You are a quiet, thoughtful, deep thinker.”
  • Faculty: “Be tolerant of yourself; don’t be so critical of your own work.”
  • Faculty: “Be careful not to take things too personally.”
  • Student: “I’m my own worst critic. I put a lot of pressure on myself.”
Student: “I keep trying to look at things through the eyes of a leader.”
Seeking professional development; Inquiring; lifelong learner, curiosity, eager
  • Faculty: “You have been totally intent on getting notes, asking questions – always highly engaged.”
  • Student: “I don’t ever want to be complacent in my learning. I always take advantage of workshops and conferences when I can.”
  • Student: “It seems I leave class with more questions than I had before. There is so much to learn about leading schools with today’s challenges.”
  • Faculty: “We know you will move right on to your doctoral studies when you become an administrator.”

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