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New Paper from De Voto, Superfine, and DeWit

Research Assistant Professor Craig De Voto, LSRI Co-director Alison Castro Superfine and Associate Professor Marc DeWitt have published a new paper in Educational Administration Quarterly.

The title of the paper is Navigating Policy and Local Context in Times of Crisis: District and School Leader Responses to the COVID-19 Pandemic. As part of the NSF funded CASPIR Math project, De Voto, Superfine, and DeWit investigate how K-12 leaders have made sense of and responded to the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic— especially the extensive federal/state policies governing their systems. The study focused on two districts over two years (2020– 2022), drawing on extensive interviews with K-12 leaders (n = 41) and teachers (n = 18), federal/state-level policy documents (N = 64), and local responses to the Comprehensive Assessment of Leaders for Learning (CALL) survey (N = 111). The data reveal districts that possessed adequate expertise and organizational resources were better positioned to make sense of and respond to the crisis, whereas those lacking such capacities experienced increased anxiety/stress. In the process, the authors argue that the COVID-19 pandemic provides a new window into the critical external/internal factors influencing K-12 leader sensemaking and subsequent responses to crises more broadly. They also discuss the potential role intermediate service agencies might play in the development of a stronger crisis response infrastructure for associated districts and schools. Finally, they point out how principal preparation programs and professional development efforts could prospectively address such crisis-related challenges faced by K-12 leaders.