Maxine Hall at Northwest Middle School (a)
2 Pages Posted: 17 Dec 2018 Last revised: 27 Apr 2019
Maxine Hall, the new principal at Northwest Middle School, knew when she started that the school was suffering from a sense of distrust between teachers and administration, as well as a high degree of student disengagement and absenteeism. To unlock student achievement and instill much-needed consistency and alignment across the school, Hall implemented data-driven instruction, but her efforts were stymied by an unwillingness to change among staff and teachers. This case is used at Darden in executive programs for leaders in education and second-year MBA courses on leading change. It would also be suitable in courses covering data-driven instruction, school transformation, leadership, and change processes.
Dec. 12, 2018
Maxine Hall at Northwest Middle School (A)
The summer before she became principal at Northwest Middle School in Anaheim, California, Maxine Hall held a retreat for teachers and staff. She knew that the relationship between teachers and the administration was contentious.
Hall had inherited a leadership team that included two deans and two assistant principals, one of whom had tried for Hall's job and thus resented her presence. Teachers had lacked support from these administrators, and a sense of apathy permeated the school. There was also a heavy union presence at the school because teachers believed the previous administration had violated teacher contracts. Hall acutely felt the environment of distrust.
The school also suffered from student disengagement and absenteeism. Students who were perceived to be disruptive were typically sent to the office and then home, so they missed significant instructional time.
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Keywords: data-driven instruction, leadership, school transformation
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