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Absent from the available handbooks and training material is a reporting of research that confirms the stated effects of the application of consensus building practices. While the IAF handbook suggests methods for gaining and building trust, it does not provide verification that the suggested facilitation practices actually result in increased trust levels among participants (Schuman, 2005).

The importance of facilitation skills is well established. In the original Interstate School Leaders Licensure Consortium: Standards for School Leaders (1996), Standard 1 calls for the school administrator to have the knowledge and understanding of “effective consensus-building and negotiations skills” (p. 10). In regards to both the development of relational trust and the use of consensus practices, the newly revised Educational Leadership Policy Standards: ISLLC 2008, retains standards that call for educational leaders to have the necessary knowledge and skills for creating and implementing plans to achieve goals; collaborating with staff and community members; developing a capacity for distributed leadership; and building and sustaining positive and productive relationships. The importance of each of these functions is well established in the successful leadership of our schools. The more that is known about specific strategies and techniques for developing and fostering relational trust in schools, the more accessible those tools can be made to school administrators and their staff members.

Few specific strategies for developing relational trust in schools have been identified for school leaders. Concurrently, there is a paucity of research demonstrating that the consensus process is one method of developing trusting relationships. This study was intended to identify strategies that, when used, fostered the development of strong, positive relationships in schools.

Methodology and research design

A collective case study design bounded by one school was used to explore the consensus processes’ fostering the development of relational trust. The principal from a suburban elementary school with a history of using a consensus process, and six staff members from the same school participated in semi-structured interviews. The superintendent and one additional elementary principal from the same school district were also interviewed to provide additional context and process information. The transcripts of the interviews were analyzed using the constant comparative method (Glasser&Strauss, 1967) to form an understanding of how consensus processes foster relational trust within a school culture.

The participating administrators described what consensus practices were used in their school or school district, how they were implemented, and their observations of the impact of those practices on the relationships of those involved. The staff members were asked for the same information, but focused exclusively on a full-day work session that addressed space and scheduling problems rising out of full-day kindergarten implementation and conflict resolution practices used in their school. For the purpose of this study, the school was referred to as Lincoln School.

Questions & Answers

Application of nanotechnology in medicine
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The nanotechnology is as new science, to scale nanometric
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nanotechnology is the study, desing, synthesis, manipulation and application of materials and functional systems through control of matter at nanoscale
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Source:  OpenStax, Ncpea education leadership review, volume 10, number 1; february 2009. OpenStax CNX. Jun 05, 2009 Download for free at http://cnx.org/content/col10630/1.9
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