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The Leadership and Problem-Solving Role During the Covid-19 (Dissertation Sample)


this paper was a part of the dissertation where I was going to do an analysis of the results obtained from interviews. the paper had the student's work in which there was a collection of interview responses and had to make sense of it. Throughout the paper, there was an essential value where the principles in secondary schools were key in solving problems related to the administration of their schools during the period of covid 19.


The Leadership and Problem-Solving Role During the Pandemics
In early 2022, I interviewed ten secondary principals regarding their school leadership through the Covid-19 pandemic. A great deal of rich data was generated from those interviews and in this chapter there are twelve thematic elements organized:
1 Pre-Covid Processes
2 Framing the Problem
3 Managing the Pandemic
4 Teacher Morale
5 Learning Loss/Loss of Student Engagement
6 Loss of Human Connection
7 Collaborative Leadership
8 Principal Vision/Core Beliefs
9 Principal Communication
10 District Communication
Community Expectations
Innovative Approaches

The themes in this chapter are recorded to indicate the leadership and problem-solving role and preparedness of the principals during the time of covid-19 pandemic in the
Pre-Covid Processes
Taking a moment to revisit the period before the pandemic, some activities being executed showed how principals had prepared. Although no one did know exactly when the pandemic would occur, the requirements of transitioning and adapting to the new environment required the principal’s critical problem-solving skills which were evident to some. “I think the groundwork was already in having a great leadership team and processes to solve problems. None of us have ever been prepared for COVID 19 or a pandemic, but I think our processes already in place that we relied on here were critical. (Randolph Gibson, 2/2/2022, Green Valley High School,” McKinley Unified School District). Principals preparedness in the event of the pandemic was not on high end as surveys shows that majority of principals had only one parameter of preparedness that checked (Diliberti et al., 2020).
Before the pandemic, a PD on growth mindset was one of the first PDs I did with my staff when I became principal. So, establishing that growth mindset to being flexible, stepping outside your box, exposing yourself to failure. (Deborah Harris, 2/10/22, Slabtown High School, Cordova City Unified School District). This strategy is a good one for the principals to prepare their workmates to deliver in most unprecedented times. It was a custom for the use of the traditional in-person learning model that inhibited the growth in creativity for other ways of learning. During the corona pandemic, learning shifted from in-person to online in most institutions and records of failing were evident in schools unfamiliar with delivery techniques outside the traditional ones.
Data collected from the interviews shows that there was preparedness by various principals not necessarily for the pandemic but also for changing the traditional instructional delivery method. The principal of Oak Hill High School indicated that “we had actually for years before the pandemic, not even knowing it was coming, we had been putting Chromebooks in the hands of students before the district provided a one to one, before we were even one to one, we had bought... I mean, we had hundreds and hundreds of these Chromebooks that we were using in the classrooms, beefing up the student skills, getting them used to using these devices.” (Chris Madison, 1/28/22, Oak Hill High School, Oak Hill Unified School District)
Embracing technology is one of the best possible strides in achieving a good transition and creating a friendlier environment for the workers and all parties involved. Not only does technology in teaching help teachers organize and help learners becoming updated with the new era, but also does it make learning enjoyable. King’s Island High School and others had embraced the digital classrooms offered by google as part of their routine in delivering learning processes, “we had started several years ago, we were one of the first schools to be a Google Classroom school the very first year they had Google Classroom. We had paid for trainers to come and invited, I think it was seven or eight different schools, to come and get trained in Google Classroom from Google before it being activated. So, we had been using the platform for a long time.” (Marsh Nelson, 2/1/2022, King’s Island High School, Chester Unified School District).
Actualizing change cannot be achieved solely as it requires a team effort to make things run smoothly. Having a supportive and updated team available to work together has been identified as a key element in making operations smooth in unexpected times. Data collected from the interview shows that teamwork helped transition from the standard learning processes during the in-person meeting to the seemingly new model during the pandemic. Another key piece that we were prepared for before COVID was that I utilize my department chairs. We meet at least once a month, and they’re involved in everything from scheduling to budgeting, to master schedule, teacher assignments, problems about prom or graduation. I utilize those people within our building. So, I think those processes helped us be as successful as possible. (Randolph Gibson, 2/2/2022, Green Valley High School, McKinley Unified School District)
Framing the Problem
The anticipation of the problem, the corona pandemic, was not correctly informed until after it was reported as a national issue some later days after authorities in Wuhan, China declared it a pandemic. Encounters with education stakeholders showed how the matter individual in education did not weigh the issue, as Nelson of King’s Island High School recounts. “I guess the main thing is going back to the beginning. In February 2020, I was with a group of special education teachers at a conference in Portland, Oregon. On the west coast, it was a big, hot topic at the time. I have nieces and nephews living out in Oregon and they were already discussing schools and if they have to shut things down, because of what was going on in Wuhan. Upon returning, it was hitting the national news. I met with my administrative team and instructional coach in our weekly meeting and started discussing where we were if there was a shutdown. What if we had to start teaching online?” (Marsh Nelson, 2/1/2022, King’s Island High School, Chester Unified School District). The pandemic was flagged as a global issue that was estimated to cause a totalof 80% of children worldwide to miss school (Saavedra, 2020).
At the beginning of the cycle of virtual learning, when we shifted in the per fourth quarter, really in our district in 2020, we had to think on the fly and develop processes so that we could continue number one, checking in on our students to make sure that their basic needs were being met. And then number two, to look at an instructional process for providing curriculum and instruction to our students. (Josh Douglas, 1/28/2022, Sandy Knoll High School, Lincoln County School District). The interviewee shows there was inadequate preparedness, and it developed a challenge in ascertaining the overall wellbeing of the students and delivery of learning content to the learners. As noted by Nelson (2022), the lejkungth of the pandemic period was lightly taken. Therefore, it was difficult to adapt to a new reality that the period would prolong more than the anticipated time.
Douglas (2022) indicates that there was a need to ensure a continued assessment of learners’ basic needs in education and the processes of ensuring that there is a continuity in curriculum and instructions to the students because they did not anticipate the issue going further than a month. Echoed by Nelson(2022), the main problem was estimating the length of the stay period for the pandemic and many principals were wrong on the matter as Gibson puts it: “We were not perfect. COVID when it started in March, whatever that was 13th of 2020, we all thought, in my opinion, we would be out for two weeks, have spring break and come back after the third week. That’s sort of what we planned for. And boy were we wrong!” (Randolph Gibson, 2/2/2022, Green Valley High School, McKinley Unified School District)
No authotity had anticipated the issues of e-learning in the district as the interviewees had in mind that the pandemic would not last long; however, their analysis and interpretation of the event were wrong. Although some schools had already intergrated the e-learning processes in their schools, there was an unprecedented reality as put up. “So, the struggle became then of A: the students who do not have internet access, finding internet access through hotspots, going to the buses, et cetera. And then B: how to keep kids engaged that they know that the grades were not going to matter as long as they turned something in. (Marsh Nelson, 2/1/2022, King’s Island High School, Chester Unified School District). It became a challenge even for the schools which had enrolled in the e-learning processes, not because of the absence of skills but the limited access to the internet in an individual capacity and the role of remote teachers in engaging their learners.
The shutting down of schools is bringing about many discrepancies as those in the active role of education are caught of guard in some areas they are not yet fully prepared for. As noted by Nelson (2022), there was no preparedness of internet access to learners at individual capacity: Also, staff skills and individual learners’ skills were having a gap, “all of a sudden, we were sent home and with about two- or three-days’ notice, the governor shut schools down. We were sent home and we were put on e-learning. And so, we had to coordinate getting our kids up and running, our teachers up and running in a digital...

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