Leading with intent

Cultivating community conversation to create shared understanding

Scott Marsh*, Manjula Waniganayake, John J. De Nobile

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


School improvement is a central focus for school leaders. Whilst measures such as high-stakes testing and other government accountability agendas have at times marred the discourse of school improvement, how schools develop their capacity to ultimately improve the core business of student learning remains important. As an extensive area of scholarship, much has been written to support leaders in improving learning and teaching in their school. Indeed, studies demonstrate the value of establishing schoolwide goals and expectations and the importance of using evidence to improve teaching practice. This article presents qualitative data from 4 independent schools in the state of New South Wales (NSW) Australia which suggest that whilst the concept of school improvement is not new, the capacity of schools to embrace some key concepts found in this area of study is limited. The article proposes that through cultivating conversations within their communities, schools can foster shared understanding and enhance their capacity for improvement.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)580-593
Number of pages14
JournalSchool Effectiveness and School Improvement
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 1 Oct 2016


  • evidence-based practice
  • leadership for learning
  • school effectiveness
  • School improvement

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