The next CCEAM conference is about to be held in Canada in June 2014 (for more details see

We would like to submit a proposal for an interactive symposium that is based on both groups in ISLDN. In the proposed symposium, though, we aim to combine two streams of research and share our ideas and ponderings with delegates from different countries. A sharing of ideas with international delegates of an academic conference has always contributes to cross-cultural fertilization and, in turn, to knowledge production in any field of study.

Our purpose in the proposed interactive and structured symposium is threefold:

1.     How do people/educators from different nations and societies perceive leadership for social justice?

2.     What do social justice leaders do in different nations and in different schools including high needs schools?

3.     How are high-need schools defined and what types of local and national policies aimed at high-need schools are found in different countries?


If any of you are planning to attend this conference, please make a contact with Izhar Oplatka, the organizer of this symposium (


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ISLDN Social Justice Leadership Group at ECER, Istanbul, September 2013

istanbulSession Title: 07 SES 02 JS: Making Sense of Social Justice: An International
Exploration of School Leaders Perspectives
Time: 10/Sep/2013, 3:15pm – 4:45pm
Room: D-303

Presenters: Alison Taysum (England) , Kadir Beycioglu (Turkey), Izhar Oplatka (Israel) and Khalid Arr (Israel). Discussant – Katarina Norberg (Sweden). Chair – Howard Stevenson.

The full session proposal is here – ecer-proposal-2013

Kadir Beycioglu, our Turkish network member, is organising a Network dinner in Istanbul on the night of our symposium (ie 10th September).  Network members who want to attend – please email Kadir to confirm.

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Project Network meeting – BELMAS, July 2013

Prior to the 2013 BELMAS Conference in Edinburgh, Scotland, ISLDN members met to update progress on the project and determine next steps for conducting and disseminating research. The meeting was well attended by members of both strands. Summarized below are the major issues discussed during the session.

  1. Bruce Barnett and Howard Stevenson were asked to contribute a chapter to the upcoming Handbook on Urban Leadership. Their chapter will showcase the two strands of the project – social justice leadership and leadership in high-need schools. Bruce will send a copy of the manuscript to all members.
  1. Linda Hammersley-Fletcher, editor of Management in Education (a BELMAS journal) –‎ , extended the invitation for us to complete a special issue for the journal. We decided this would be a great idea and its publication would coincide with the 2014 BELMAS Conference. Specifications for the issue include:
  2. Although articles can range from 2500-4000 words, they should aim to be about 3000 words. This would allow us to include up to 8 articles plus a short introduction to the project for a total of 25,000 words.
  3. Many of the members present expressed interest in submitting a manuscript for consideration.
  4. The tasks and timeline for publishing the July 2014 issue are:
  • Select editors and reviewers (August 2013).
  • Publicize manuscript submissions (August-September 2013)
  • Submit manuscripts (November 30, 2013)
  • Complete reviews and request revised manuscripts (January 15, 2014)
  • Submit revised manuscripts (March 1, 2014)
  • Editors submit of materials to publisher (March 15, 2014)
  1. Because of this tight timeline, we need to determine who will serve as the editors. It was agreed that reviewers would be drawn from the Network membership and that this represents an excellent opportunity to become familiar with wider work in the group. Howard and Bruce have other commitments that prevent them from taking on this role; however, they will provide guidance to those who take on this task. We were encouraged to have one person from each strand serve as an editor and to use our ISLDN team members as reviewers. Those interested in serving as editors should contact Howard (SJL) or Bruce (HNS) by 1st September – it would be really helpful to provide an outline of any ideas you have for the special issue.

A further option would be to try to have one or two of the MiE articles reproduced in UCEA Review – Bruce and Howard to explore the possibility.

  1. We discussed our strategies for continuing to meet and present our work at professional conferences. Several items were clarified:
  • We reaffirmed our desire to present our work at the annual BELMAS and UCEA conferences (Bruce and Howard to co-ordinate) as our sponsor organisations. Members were encouraged to coordinate submissions to additional conferences (e.g., AERA, ECER, CCEAM, ICSEI). It was agreed that members are free to use their own material to present and publish where they wish (but please acknowledge ISLDN where the work reflects some collective intellectual input).  Moreover, anyone is free to organise an ISLDN symposium at whichever conference they wish – simply liaise with Bruce and/or Howard so that there is an overview, and then we can establish if there is interest from other network members. Bruce and Howard will continue to coordinate pre-sessions for AERA, UCEA, and BELMAS.
  • The High Need Schools group is submitting a 2014 AERA proposal, coordinated by Kristine Hipp, Mette Baran, and David Gurr. Because of time restrictions for AERA pre-sessions, we decided to conduct our own pre-session prior to the conference, rather than submit a formal request to Division A. This is similar to what we did at AERA in Vancouver in 2012. Simon Clark ( has strong connections with ICSEI and is willing to coordinate a proposal submission for the January 2014 conference in Indonesia. Contact Simon if you want to participate. Proposals are due by August 8, 2013.
  • In June 2014, the CCEAM Conference will be in Canada. Izhar Oplatka ( will be coordinating a proposal submission for those interested in participating. Contact Izhar if you are interested.
  1. Concern was expressed that we have not been able to spend much time examining what we are learning from our research. We decided to address this in several ways:
    1. Our UCEA pre-session will be devoted to having members of each of the research strands discuss our findings, insights, and areas for further exploration.
    2. We decided to pursue the idea of a “Network Conference,” similar to what the ISSPP has been doing the last several years. This two- or three-day conference would bring together project researchers to share insights about their work, determine promising ways to expand their research, and consider how their work can impact preparation and practice. Jami Berry, Pam Angelle and Ian Potter are responsible for crafting ideas for the group to consider. Howard will approach BELMAS Council regarding funding to support this event (e.g., rooms, food) and Bruce will contact Michelle Young about possible financial support from UCEA.
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Social Justice Leadership Strand of the International School Leadership Development Network – update.

Katarina, Pam and Helene present at BELMAS 2013, Edinburgh

Katarina, Pam and Helene comparing social justice leadership in Sweden and the USA, BELMAS 2013.

Please take some time to read this and take in the contents.  There is a huge amount happening and this is my attempt to bring it all together in a single place.  This relates to the SJL group ONLY – a different set of notes will be written up from the whole Network meeting at BELMAS.

These notes contain matters FOR INFORMATION, and matters FOR ACTION. Some of the action points apply to ALL GROUP MEMBERS, and our expectation is that we show our commitment to continuing our membership by engaging with these basic activities [see in particular the TWO ACTIVITIES at the end of this message].

From the volume of work this project is now generating you will see that it is important we all engage in sharing the project leadership – as we discussed and agreed at the BELMAS meeting.

Future conferences:

ECER, Istanbul, September – Symposium featuring Kadir, Khalid, Izhar and Alison. Howard to chair and Katarina to act as discussant. Please can one of the presenters take responsibility for co-ordinating this symposium. The ECER proposal is here – ECER proposal 2013

UCEA – an SJL network meeting (see below) plus:

  • Symposium 1 – featuring Anna, Chris, Charlie/Vicky/Nancy, Annie/Elson, Jill/Joyce, Meng.  The proposal is here ucea-2013-micro-and-macro-contexts-of-schooling1please can someone in the group co-ordinate this symposium.
  • Symposium 2 – featuring Pam/Heather, Ian and Helene/Katarina. The proposal is here – ucea13-hnssjl-proposal.  This seeks to connect and compare the two different projects. Howard and Bruce to liaise to provide a framework for presenters.
  • Symposium 3 – likely to be in the International Summit at the end of formal UCEA proceedings – Howard and Bruce participating (plus Charlie on behalf of ISPP).

CCEAM – Izhar Oplatka has expressed an interest in the group presenting at this conference. He will ask for expressions of interest soon.  Pending interest Izhar will co-ordinate a submission.

AERA – the group will meet for a business meeting at AERA, but we are NOT submitting a session proposal on this occasion.

In addition there are (exciting !!) plans for an ISLDN Network Conference – sitting outside the normal conference schedules.  This is being planned by Jami Berry, Pam Angelle and Ian Potter.

Meng and Mika at BELMAS 2013

Meng and Mika comparing China and Finland


Management in Education – special issue.  We are aiming for the July 2014 issue of MiE to show case our work.  At least one person from the group will act as a co-editor (with one person from the High Needs group) – a call for anyone interested in editing to indicate their willingness will come out soon.  The co-editors will pull together the special issue.  There are likely to be around 3 articles from within our group of 2-4,000 words in length.

Chapter in a book to be edited by Jim Ryan (OISE) and Denise Armstrong (Brock). Their proposal here – Working_Social Justice_ 2013_ Book Proposal.  Contributors – Howard Stevenson, Pam Angelle, Michelle Morrison (NZ), Philip Woods, Meng Tian, Mika Risku. Howard to co-ordinate.

The project’s next steps . . . [please note – this is the very important part – it involves ALL network members in committing to TWO ACTIVITIES].

Upto now we have all undertaken to commit to Phase 1 of the research. Phase 1 involves an interview with 1 or 2 school principals using the interview protocols agreed by the group. As a group we agreed to undertake this work by July 2013.


We are now engaged in Phase 2 of the research.  This involves taking the research data gathered so far (from the principal interviews) and linking this to the ‘ISLDN framework’ – the framework is here ISLDN Framework v1.  At our SJL strand symposium at UCEA (in November) the presenters will be presenting their data and linking it to the framework.   However, we are asking that all network members spend some time linking the data we have collected to the framework, and writing a commentary/reflection on this.  This should address TWO issues:

  1. Link the headings in the framework  to the data from the interview(s) and provide a short commentary in relation to each one – how far did the items identified in the framework impact on the capacity of the school leader to commit to a social justice agenda?
  2. Comment on the framework – how useful is it in identifying the key macro and micro contextual factors that influence school leaders and social justice? What did work/didn’t work/is missing?

This only needs to be short (as much as is necessary to address the two questions).

Please submit your thoughts to the folder ‘Phase 2 Research – ISLDN Framework’ in Dropbox (I will make sure you all have access) by 7th October. Use a filename that clearly identifies it as your contribution (shared contributions welcome if you tend to work as a team).

This is an important part of the project.  It is very important we do not rely on the presenters at UCEA to do all the thinking (and work) in relation to this. If we all do this activity then the work is shared, and will also be richer.


At our meeting at UCEA in 2012 we agreed we need to engage much more deeply with conceptualising social justice. So far we have put this off . . . and focused on what our school leaders think social justice is. But what do we think social justice is? What does it mean to us? How do we make sense of social justice?  The group has recognised that we can no longer proceed without making more explicit our own personal positions on these issues.  At UCEA it was agreed that we would ask all SJL strand members to produce a short personal statement (maximum 1000 words, can be less) and then we would pool these and use them as the basis for a discussion.  We are asking therefore that all network members produce a statement of maximum 1000 words that addresses the question ‘What does social justice mean to me?’  It is entirely up to individual members of the group how you choose to respond to the question – it may be very personal, or very theoretical, or some combination  of the two. What we would ask is that you include the titles of 5-6 key texts that have been critical in shaping your thinking – as we will use this as a means of starting a literature search in this area. Please place your response in the Dropbox folder ‘Social Justice Statements’ by 7th October.  Please use a filename that identifies the contribution as yours.  I think this will work best if we each do it individually – regardless of whether you normally work in a group.

A personal comment – in my view this is quite a ‘risky’ activity.  We are putting ourselves ‘out there’ to our fellow group members, on an issue that might be quite personal to us.  I feel strongly that this is a ‘risk’ we all need to engage with. If we are to really function as a group, and to work with each other and understand each other, then I think we are now at the point where we need to make our own personal positions more explicit.  Please don’t agonise over it (I’m not going to!).  We are not judging each other on our use of English or the power of our argument. We are not peer-reviewing an article. We are trying to find a way, electronically, to have a discussion. An important discussion – but a friendly and informal one, at the end of the day.  My feeling is that it will be fascinating and will move us as a group into a new level of collaboration.

Ian and Charlie, BELMAS 2013

Ian and Charlie, comparing England and Costa Rica

After all that . . .

We are committed to organising a ‘google chat’ immediately after 7th October – so that we have a chance to discuss issues face to face, before UCEA.

At UCEA we are going to spend our group time (we have a 4 hour session) focused on mapping out Phase 3 of the research. We will review Phases 1 and 2, and begin to formulate Phase 3 . . . how do we extend data collection? What else needs to be done?

And something to think about . . .

We have always been a ‘tight-but-loose’ network in the sense that we are all doing the same thing, but we are rather making it up as we go along!  This may need some further thought.  Some members of the group have linked work they are involved in to the project, but it does not follow exactly the process we have agreed. In other cases we have (very welcome) interest from other bodies and networks that can see common cause with our work (Philip  and Mika’s European Network is one, a link with the General Teaching Council of Scotland post-BELMAS is another).  My feeling is that we will need to think through some of the issues here.  How does work relate to the project if it does not follow the agreed protocol? Does it matter? How can we develop fruitful relationships with other networks and organisations? We have our two sponsor organisations, but how do we benefit from links with other bodies? Perhaps that is a discussion to be had over a coffee in Istanbul or Indianapolis . . .

[if you are not part of this Network, but you’ve got to the bottom of this long post, then it is possible you are quite interested in being involved.  We are interested to hear from people who want to join us (academics or teachers). Each member commits to following our agreed methodology, and we are particularly interested to hear from people able to do work in countries where the project is not already represented – the list of countries here.  Email me for details at]


July 2013

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Thursday 11th July – Network Dinner (mystery venue).  Assemble hotel lobby at 7pm for taxis to Edinburgh City.  Please email me (if not done so already) if you plan to attend as transport and restaurant bookings need to be made.  Thanks to BELMAS who are generously covering all transport costs for the evening.
Friday 12th July – 9am-12pm.  Network Business Meeting. Agenda as follows:

1) Update on recent developments:
Reports of on-going past work from the two sub-strands including a report from the AERA Business meeting:
Update on future commitments – ECER, UCEA, AERA ‘14
2) Detailed planning work in sub-strands (High Needs Schools and Social Justice Leadership)
Detailed discussion of recent and current work
Planning of future work
3) Plenary
Reportback from each group re future work plan
Combined strands discussion about Network activity (including publishing possibilities, NZEALS, CCEAM)
4) AoB

Friday 4pm-6pm – High Needs Schools symposium (details at

Sunday 9am – 10.30 – Social Justice Leadership symposium (see web address above for details).

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indianapolisThe ISLDN is aiming for its biggest presence yet at an academic conference with 5 ISLDN submissions for the UCEA Convention in Indianapolis (7-10 November 2013).

One submission is for a pre-Convention Network business meeting.  These have always been well attended and been an excellent opportunity to the Network to plan future work. The proposal for the pre-meeting is here UCEA 2013 Pre-session for ISLDN – Proposal.

All other submissions are for symposia.

Each of the two sub-strands are submitting a proposal – the High Needs Schools group has a session titled ‘Policies, Practices, and Preparation for Turnaround Leadership in Low-Performing Schools’ – available here – UCEA 2013 ISLDN High Need Schools Proposal. The Social Justice Leadership strand has a proposal submitted titled ‘Micro and Macro Contexts of Schooling: Understanding Social Justice from a Global Perspective’ – available here – UCEA.2013.Micro and Macro Contexts of Schooling(1).

In addition to the two separate strand proposals there is also a separate symposium proposal that seeks to link the two different strands in a dialogic process – ‘Learning from each other: making connections between studies of Leadership in High Needs Schools and studies of Leadership for Social Justice.’ – download it here –ucea13 HNS&SJL proposal

Finally there is a symposium proposal that seeks to link the ISLDN project with both the ISSPP and ISPP projects – ‘Understanding Leadership in Different Cultural Contexts: What Are We Learning from International Collaborative Research Projects?’ – available here – UCEA 2013 Understanding Leadership in Different Cultural Contexts Symposium

These submissions are clearly all proposals at this stage – and must go through UCEA’s peer review process.  We therefore make no assumptions about our presence in the programme.  That said, the level of activity (five separate submissions, involving a wide range of Network members, plus links to other related networks) is an achievement in itself and is an indicator of the level of activity the project is generating. Whatever the outcome of the review process it is clear that UCEA Convention will offer ISLDN an exciting opportunity to push its work forward. We look forward to seeing many of you there . . .

(but BELMAS in July and ECER in September before then  . . . !)


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High Needs Schools group at AERA2013

On Saturday, April 27, members of the High Need Schools strand of the ISLDN met to review our progress and future activities. Our discussion focused on the following topics:

I.      Research areas of leadership in high need schools that merit our future consideration

a.     What are the rewards of teaching/working in high needs schools?

b.     What policies promote and hinder turnaround efforts?

c.     How can high need schools best recruit and screen teaching applicants?

d.     How do high need school leaders use data to inform their decision making?

e.     What are recommendations for continuing education and professional development for principals and teachers?

f.      What mentoring is needed for these leaders to be successful?

g.     How do high need schools sustain momentum over time?

II.    Next steps for the High Need Schools team

a.     Synthesize the findings from our work by addressing these questions

1.     What is unique or different about leading high need schools?

     Magnitude, complexity, and urgency of conditions

2.     How do successful leaders navigate this school environment?

     Leaders must understand these unique conditions

     Leaders must develop a shared vision and create a learning community

3.     What are the implications for preparing and supporting leaders in these schools?

b.     Determine possible dissemination outlets for our work

1.     Linda Hammersley-Fletcher, the Editor of the BELMAS journal, Management in Education, is interested in having us develop a special issue. There is room for 8 articles of 3000 words each. Four would be from the Social Justice Group and four from the High Need Schools group. Those attending the BELMAS Conference in Edinburgh in July can discuss this in more detail.

2.     Stephen Jacobson, Editor of Leadership and Policy in Schools, has expressed interest in having us submit a prospectus for a special issue. We decided to approach Management in

3.     The 2016 New Zealand Educational Administration and Leadership Society Conference will be in Dunedin, New Zealand and the theme will focus on social justice and high need schools. Ross Notman is on the planning committee and would like our work showcased during the conference. Mark your calendars for April 2016.

c.     Develop a strategic plan for conducting studies and disseminating our work. This also should include the specific purpose for meeting at different conferences (e.g., AERA, BELMAS, UCEA).

d.     Schedule working sessions at upcoming conferences

1.      BELMAS 2013 (Friday, July 12, 9:00am-noon)

2.     UCEA 2013 (Pre-session on Thursday, November 7, 8:00am-noon)

3.     AERA 2014 (TBD)

III.  Upcoming conferences where our work will be presented

a.     BELMAS 2013

1.     “Turning Around Low-Performing Schools: Policies, Practices, and Preparation.” Bruce Barnett (chair); Olof Johansson; Jami Berry and Jewell Harmon; QIAN Haiyan; Daniel Duke; and Michelle Young (discussant).

b.     UCEA 2013 in Indianapolis (submissions)

1.     ISLDN Pre-session, “BELMAS-UCEA Collaboration: The International School Leadership Development Network,” organized by Bruce Barnett and Howard Stevenson. Thursday, November 7, 8:00am-noon.

2.     Symposium for High Need Schools group, “Policies, Practices, and Preparation for Turnaround Leadership in Low-Performing Schools,” organized by Bruce Barnett. Participants: Olof Johansson and Elisabet Nihlfors; Daniel Duke; QIAN Haiyan, Allan Walker, and Yang Xiaowei; Jami Berry; Miles Bryant and Nino Sharvashidze; Ross Notman; David Gurr, Lawrie Drysdale, and Helen Goode; and Lori Boyland (discussant)

3.     Joint symposium with Social Justice and High Need Schools team members, “Learning from Each Other: Making Connections Between Studies of Leadership in High Needs Schools and Studies of Leadership for Social Justice,” organized by Howard Stevenson. High Need Schools members include: Olof Johansson (chair); Ross Notman; Miles Bryant; Kris Hipp and Mette Baran; and David Gurr (discussant)

4.     Joint symposium with ISLDN, ISSPP and ISPP project members, “Understanding Leadership in Different Cultural Contexts: What Are We Learning from International Collaborative Research Projects?” organized by David Gurr. ISLDN participants include: David Gurr, Stephen Jacobson, and Olof Johansson; Charles Slater; Howard Stevenson, Bruce Barnett, and Daniel Duke; and Chris Day (discussant)

c.     AERA 2014

1.     Kris Hipp, Mette Baran, and David Gurr have agreed to prepare a proposal on our behalf. We discussed the possibility using the guiding questions in point II. a. above to shape our proposal.

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