The emerging role of the principal in restructuring for enrichment education

Barbara Ellen Slatin, Fordham University


This case study examined the transformation of one South Bronx Elementary School from a skills-based orientation to a talent-based, Educational Enrichment construct. The study looked at the emerging role of the principal in supporting and effecting the school's restructuring initiative. A qualitative design was selected to obtain data, which included analyses of documents, interviews, an inventory, and observations. The findings of the study highlight the importance of strong, dynamic leadership. The principal articulated and institutionalized a meaningful and humanistic school mission. The vision had a moral imperative; it sought to promote equity of opportunity for inner-city children. It promoted gifted education strategies for all students in a heterogeneous school and ignored the process of labeling and sorting children. All children received an enriched education, nurturing talents in domains such as: Mathematics, Science, Computers, Art, and Music. This restructured initiative was based on the Enrichment Triad of Dr. Joseph Renzulli and the Multiple Intelligence Model of Dr. Howard Gardner. The leader displayed a strong commitment and belief in her students. She emphasized teaching and learning and continually employed strategies and sought opportunities to promote professionalism and collegiality. Teachers served on ongoing committees and focus groups to explore and develop new strategies. There was constant infusion of outside consultants, conferences, courses, and intervisitations. Teacher strengths were honored and teacher leadership emerged. The principal promoted participatory democracy and encouraged the staff to utilize the shared decision making process. This process supported her dynamic leadership and did not supplant it. The principal's behaviors began to evolve and change. She displayed an energetic, driven, and externally optimistic personality. The study describes the journey of one inner-city school to promote success for all students. It identifies seven behaviors employed by the principal in supporting the school's restructuring process. It invites all educators from inner-city schools to reflect on their own strategies and school organization. It reminds all educators that they can evolve and change.

Subject Area

School administration|Preschool education|Elementary education

Recommended Citation

Slatin, Barbara Ellen, "The emerging role of the principal in restructuring for enrichment education" (1995). ETD Collection for Fordham University. AAI9530958.