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Educational American Research Journal Putting School Reform in Its Place : Social Geography, Organizational Social Capital, and School Performance Jennifer Jellison Holme and Virginia Snodgrass Rangel Am Educ Res J 2012 49: 257 originally published online 3 October 2011 DOI: 10.3102/0002831211423316 The online version of this article can be found at: Published on behalf of American Educational Research Association and Additional services and information for American Educational Research Journal can be found at: Email Alerts: Subscriptions: Reprints: Permissions: >> Version of Record - Mar 29, 2012 OnlineFirst Version of Record - Oct 3, 2011 What is This? Downloaded from at SAINT CLOUD STATE UNIV on January 24, 2013 American Educational Research Journal April 2012, Vol. 49, No. 2, pp. 257283 DOI: 10.3102/0002831211423316 2012 AERA. Putting School Reform in Its Place: Social Geography, Organizational Social Capital, and School Performance Jennifer Jellison Holme Virginia Snodgrass Rangel The University of Texas at Austin For decades, policymakers and researchers have struggled to understand the reasons that schools in disadvantaged contexts have relatively more trouble responding successfully to reform demands. This analysis extends theory regarding the challenges of school change in disadvantaged contexts by illustrating how the internal resources that schools rely on to respond to external policy demands can be affected by the social contexts in which they are embedded. The article draws on data from a study of five high poverty high schools responses to the pressures of Texas high stakes accountability system. The case study data illustrate how a schools social context can precipitate instability in some schools and relative stability in others, how organizational stability in turn can affect schools organizational social capital, and how organizational social capital can influence schools ability to respond to external policy demands. KEYWORDS: social capital, social context, school reform O ver the past several decades, state and federal policymakers have sought to produce changes in the behavior of schools by holding them accountable for student outcomes (ODay, 2002). Research has shown that while some schools identified as low performing under accountability JENNIFER JELLISON HOLME, PhD, is an assistant professor in the Educational Policy and Planning Program, Department of Educational Administration, at The University of Texas at Austin, 1 University Station, D5400, Austin, Texas 78712; e-mail: jholme Her research focuses on the politics and implementation of educational policy, with a particular interest in the relationship between school reform, equity, and diversity in schools. VIRGINIA SNODGRASS RANGEL, MA, is a doctoral candidate in the Educational Policy and Planning Program, Department of Educational Administration, at The University of Texas at Austin. Her research focuses on school organization, school choice, and policy implementation. Downloaded from at SAINT CLOUD STATE UNIV on January 24, 2013 Holme, Rangel systems have improved in response to these pressures, many more have failed to make their way out of improvement status (Stecher, Vernez, & Steinberg, 2010). Schools in more disadvantaged contexts have had a particularly difficult time responding to these mandates: Research has shown that urban schools, high poverty schools, and schools serving large concentrations of non-White students are significantly more likely to be identified as failing under No Child Left Behind (NCLB) and are less likely to exit improvement status, even under growth models (Hoffer, Hedberg, Brown, Halverson, & ReidBrossard, 2011; Stecher et al., 2010). While some schools have in fact turned around, what remains unclear is why those schools are so rare. In other words, what is less understood is why the organizational conditions needed for improvement appear to be systematically harder to create in disadvantaged schooling contexts. This analysis extends theory regarding the challenges of school change in disadvantaged contexts by illustrating how schools institutional resources are shaped by the social geographic contexts in which schools are embedded. Specifically, the focus is on the way in which high rates of principal and teacher attrition (or organizational instability) can erode the institutional resources that schools need to respond to external pressures, such as accountability demands. Through our analysis, we demonstrate how organizational instability is not simply a product of a negative organizational climate, but also is related directly to a schools social geographic location. School Reform, Social Context, and Organizational Social Capital This analysis emerged (in many ways, unexpectedly) over the course of data collection for a study about how high schools responded to the pressures of Texas exit testing system. As we conceptualized the study, our review of the existing reform literature led us to expect that each schools response to the accountability pressure would be affected by the internal organizational features of schools that have been demonstrated to matter with respect to organizational change: capacity (skills and capabilities of individuals in the organization), trust (Bryk & Schneider, 2002; Elmore, 2003), strong social networks (Achinstein, Ogawa, & Speiglman, 2004; Coburn & Russell, 2008; Smylie & Evans, 2006), and teacher beliefs (Coburn, 2001). In embarking on this study, therefore, we sought to examine how Texas exit testing policy interacted with these organizational features to shape response. As data collection proceeded, however, we began to see how the responses of some schools appeared to be affected by (or more accurately, impeded by) extremely high rates of teacher and leadership turnover. It became clear that the combined effects of leadership and teacher turnover adversely affected the very institutional resources (capacity, trust, ties, and 258 Downloaded from at SAINT CLOUD STATE UNIV on January 24, 2013 School Reform and Organizational Social Capital beliefs) that researchers have shown to be important for effective institutional response. In attempting to make sense of this finding, we searched for studies that would help us to explain in more theoretically precise ways why high rates of leadership and teacher turnover might impede organizational functioning. We first searched the literature on school reform, and while we found a number of studies that asserted that there was a negative connection between turnover and organizational functioning (see e.g., Allensworth, Ponisciak, & Mazzeo, 2009; Fink & Brayman, 2006; Hargreaves & Fink, 2000; Partlow, 2007; Ruby, 2002), we found few that have investigated these relationships directly. We also searched the literature on teacher and leadership turnover, and while we found some studies linking turnover to indicators of poor organizational performance (i.e., low morale and poor working conditions) (see e.g., Allensworth et al., 2009; Fink & Brayman, 2006; Ingersoll, 2001; Loeb, Darling-Hammond, & Luczak, 2005; Loeb, Kalogrides, & Horng, 2010), we found few studies that investigated whether or how turnover may shape organizational response to external policy pressures. We then expanded our search of academic databases to journals outside of the field of education. From this search, we found a body of scholarship within the field of organizational behavior and management that specifically has addressed the effects of high rates of turnover on organizations and how they function. Much of this work on organizational instability has focused on instabilitys consequences for what these authors call organizational social capital. Organizational Social Capital, Instability, and Organizational Learning Organizational social capital is, according to Leana and Van Buren (1999), a feature of organizations that [reflects] the character of social relations within organizations (p. 538). It is an organizational resource that facilitates cooperation, increases efficiency, and fosters knowledge transfer among individuals within an organization, thereby increasing the potential for organizational learning and, ultimately, improving performance (Nahapiet & Ghoshal, 1998). It is an attribute of the collective, rather than the sum of individuals social connections (Leana & Van Buren, 1999, p. 539). While researchers in education have documented how social capital is important for successful school reform (Bryk, Sebring, Allensworth, Luppescu, & Easton, 2009; Coburn & Russell, 2008; Smylie & Evans, 2006), few have directly examined the effect of turnover or instability on organizational social capital in schools.1 Organizational social capital, according to Nahapiet and Ghoshal (1998), consists of four core dimensions: structural, relational, cognitive, and intellectual. The structural dimension consists of the structure of network ties between actors (Nahapiet & Goshal, 1998). It comprises both individual 259 Downloaded from at SAINT CLOUD STATE UNIV on January 24, 2013 Holme, Rangel connections as well as the overall configuration of network ties, which affect the transfer of information (Bolino, Turnley, & Bloodgood, 2002, p. 510). As Dess and Shaw (2001) write, high levels of instability within an organization can break structural ties between individuals as well as overall network configurations. The effects of turnover are felt in particular when large numbers of key individuals (e.g., school principals, key administrators, or department chairs) leave an organization. Dess and Shaw explain, The loss of key network members, especially when accompanied by the loss of other key network members, can severely damage an organizations social fabric and perhaps eradicate its social fabric altogether (p. 446). Instability in organizations also adversely affects the second dimension of organizational social capital, the relational dimension, which comprises the personal relationships people have developed with each other through a history of interactions (Nahapiet & Goshal, 1998, p. 244). The relational dimension therefore concerns affective relationships between employees in which coworkers like one another, and trust and identify with one another (Bolino et al., 2002, p. 510). The relational dimension also consists of a shared sense of obligation between network members, which motivates cooperation. Higher levels of trust, identification, and cooperation in turn facilitate the transfer of knowledge among members of a network (Inkpen & Tsang, 2005). As Leana and Barry (2000) observe, stability is important for the creation of trust: Trust . . . [is] most readily created in stable work environments and can be threatened or undermined by change that is too rapid, frequent, or unpredictable (p. 755). By eroding the structural and relational dimensions of organizational social capital, instability also affects the third dimension of organizational social capital, or the cognitive dimension. This dimension refers to the creation and maintenance of shared representations, interpretations, and systems of meaning among parties (Nahapiet & Ghoshal, p. 244) and is created in network structures where linkages are strong, multidimensional, and reciprocal (Nahapiet & Ghoshal, 1998, p. 258). Organizational stability fosters such linkages, which rely on frequent and close social interactions that permit actors to know one another, to share important information, and to create a common point of view (Tsai & Ghoshal, 1998, p. 465). Researchers have argued that because instability weakens each of these dimensions of organizational social capital, it negatively affects an organizations knowledge and knowing capability (Nahapiet & Ghoshal, 1998, p. 248), or collective intellectual capital (Inkpen & Tsang, 2005). An organizations intellectual capital is dependent on both individual capabilities and the collective capabilities of the organization derived from organizational social capital. Intellectual capital or organizational intelligence (Hanson, 2001) is vital for organizational learning and performance. The relationship between instability and organizational social capital is not necessarily unidirectional. The relationship can be, as Dess and Shaw 260 Downloaded from at SAINT CLOUD STATE UNIV on January 24, 2013 School Reform and Organizational Social Capital (2001) observe, reciprocal, or one of repeated causal sequences (p. 451), as instability can both affect and be affected by the degree of social capital within organizations. The reciprocal and often iterative nature of these relationships can make the causal direction between such relationships difficult to isolate (Dess & Shaw, 2001, p. 451). Researchers also have acknowledged that high levels of organizational social capital are not always positively related to organizational learning and change (Daly & Finnigan, 2010; Dess & Shaw, 2001; Leana & Barry, 2000; Smylie & Evans, 2006). Strong ties between network actors and shared norms may, in some instances, foster organizational inertia (e.g., shared norms of individual autonomy or strong orientation to existing routines) (Leana & Barry, 2000). Indeed, some of the most recent policy approaches to low school performance are based on the assumption that there is something fundamentally faulty about organizational norms within low performing schools. Such approaches seek to alter the dysfunctional norms and behaviors through wholesale staffing changes such as reconstitution or principal replacement. These approaches implicitly aim for a one-time transformation to provide a clear slate upon which future reforms can be built. This analysis is concerned with a fundamentally different question, which is the effect of ongoing leadership and teacher turnover in schools. The research suggests that this type of volatility does have negative implications for organizational social capital and, in turn, organizational learning and performance.2 The Uneven Distribution of Instability: Demographics and Geography While the previous discussion illustrated why instability can be detrimental to school performance, the research on teacher and leadership turnover has found that instability is not evenly distributed across schools. The most unstable schools in terms of teacher and leadership turnover are also the most disadvantaged in terms of social composition: predominately non-White, low income, low performing, with older facilities, and with higher rates of discipline problems (see Allensworth et al., 2009; Clotfelter, Ladd, Vigdor, & Wheeler, 2006; Fuller & Young, 2009; Hanushek, Kain, & Rivkin, 2004; Ingersoll, 2001; Jackson, 2009; Kelly, 2004; Loeb et al., 2005, 2010; Scafidi, Sjoquist, & Stinebrickner, 2007). In the past, these problems have been concentrated primarily in urban and rural school districts (Ingersoll, 2001; Lankford, Loeb, & Wyckoff, 2002). Yet in recent years, suburban districts have experienced dramatic increases in poverty and racial diversity as low-income families have migrated away from urban cores in search of better opportunities for their children. Many inner ring suburban districts, in fact, have become more disadvantaged than the cities that they border in terms of the proportion of low-income 261 Downloaded from at SAINT CLOUD STATE UNIV on January 24, 2013 Holme, Rangel Figure 1. The relationship between social geography and organizational response students they serve and their relatively lower tax base (Orfield, 2002). At the same time, the gap between affluent suburbs and low-income suburbs has widened (Orfield, 2002). We found in our research that the teacher market closely tracked these new metropatterns (Orfield, 2002). We specifically found that each schools social-geographic location (in terms of demographics, location, and resources) influenced its ability to compete for experienced teachers, who themselves had their own sets of preferences about student demographics and residential location. Our analysis illustrates how social geographic factors relate to levels of organizational stability in schools, how that stability (or instability) influences organizational social capital, and how organizational social capital relates to a schools ability to craft a response to external accountability pressures (see Figure 1). Method and Data Sources As stated previously, this analysis draws on data from a study examining the organizational responses of five low performing, high poverty high schools to the pressures of Texas high stakes exit testing policies. This study drew on a collective sense-making framework, which views policy response as dependent on both individual interpretation and the collective negotiation of meaning between actors within a local setting (Coburn, 2001). This framework provides a tool to examine the relationship between external policy structures, local school contexts, and response (Coburn, 2001). The study employed qualitative case study methodology, which permitted us to examine how educators interpreted and responded to accountability pressures and how those interpretations and responses related to local contextual conditions (Merriam, 1988; Yin, 1994). To select our case study schools, we first identified all high schools in Texas that served a student population that was at least 50% at risk3 as well as at least 50% economically disadvantaged (eligible for free or reduced price lunch, Temporary Assistance for Needy Families, or the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program). We narrowed our selection to high schools in the bottom quartile of exit testing performance, with less than 70% 262 Downloaded from at SAINT CLOUD STATE UNIV on January 24, 2013 School Reform and Organizational Social Capital Table 1 School Demographics, 20082009 Vanderbilt High School Total enrollment (n) Percentage African American Percentage Hispanic Percentage White Percentage Asian/ Pacific Islander Percentage economically disadvantaged Percentage limited English proficient (LEP) Percentage at risk Percentage mobility Morrison High School Hudson High School Stewart High School Kingsbridge High School 1,923 2.3 2,528 36.2 1,525 12.7 2,898 7.3 1,818 0.7 92.3 4.8 0.5 49.1 12.4 2.2 79.3 5.6 2.1 77.5 13.5 1.6 97.6 1.5 0.1 78.6 58.3 84.1 63,2 89.5 7.1 6.0 22.5 4.4 7.7 68.6 24.3 44.2 24.6 82.4 33.1 61.8 24.0 67.3 20.4 Source. Texas Education Agency. cumulative pass rates for 11th graders on all four exit-level exams. We then narrowed our sample to schools within seven counties in Texas, sampled for geographic diversity to include several of the states major urban centers, their adjoining suburban districts, and nearby rural counties, while excluding geographically remote counties. We selected the final five schools for diversity in terms of performance, demographics, and district type, urbanicity, and size (see Table 1). Data collection consisted of semi-structured interviews with school leaders, a cross-section of core subject teachers at each school, and district leaders. A total of 105 interviews were conducted over two academic years (see Table 2). Interviews focused on the ways in which educators made sense of exit testing pressures and the influence of those pressures on the school (or district) and their own practices. Interviews also focused on understanding how responses related to the local contextual conditions within schools and districts and thus focused on understanding those conditions more fully. While this study did not set out to examine the issue of turnover directly, it emerged as a theme early in the study, and in response we added probes to our protocols to explore the issue further. Interviews were supplemented by targeted observations of department and leadership team meetings as well as statistical data from the Texas Education Agency. Interviews were fully transcribed, and interviews and observations were coded for within-case and then cross-case themes. Themes were clustered 263 Downloaded from at SAINT CLOUD STATE UNIV on January 24, 2013 Holme, Rangel Table 2 Summary of Interviews Vanderbilt English language arts (ELA) Math Social studies Science Administrators Counselors Other District Total Morrison Hudson Stewart Kingsbridge Total 5 4 6 3 2 20 4 4 1 2 2 1 4 23 4 1 1 2 1 2 2 17 2 3 1 2 1 3 4 22 2 3 2 3 3 1 5 22 3 2 2 2 4 2 4 21 15 13 7 11 11 9 19 105 by topic area (i.e., turnover, trust), level of analysis (i.e., district, school), and role or group within the organization (i.e., department). In cases where apparent discrepancies arose within analyses, interviews were re-read and checked against the coded data to ensure that interpretation was consistent with the preponderance of data and that conclusions were not overreaching (Bogdan & Biklen, 2006; Miles & Huberman, 1994). Findings In the following section, we illustrate how aspects of both district and school context worked together to precipitate organizational instability in some schools and relative stability in others. We then examine the ways in which instability (or relative stability) influenced (or was influenced by) the structural, relational, cognitive, and intellectual dimensions of social capital within schools. Lastly, we examine how these dimensions of organizational social capital shaped the ability of schools to respond to external policy demands, focusing specifically on schools internal systems and structures for improvement, or structures of internal accountability. Elmore (2004) describes internal accountability as both a cultural and structural feature of schools: Internal accountability exists when there is convergence in what people in a school say they are responsible for (responsibility), what people say the organization is responsible for (expectations) and the internal norms and processes by which people literally account for their work (accountability structures) (p. 14). Internal accountability structures therefore draw on all dimensions of social capital: cognitive capital (shared norms), relational capital (obligations and expectations), structural capital (ties among actors), and intellectual capital (explicit and tacit knowledge). We are interested in examining schools systems of internal accountability 264 Downloaded from at SAINT CLOUD STATE UNIV on January 24, 2013 School Reform and Organizational Social Capital because they have been shown to be an important foundation for successful response to accountability pressures. Internal accountability systems, as a number of researchers have found, create the organizational conditions necessary for improvement to occur (Elmore, 2003; Mintrop, 2004; ODay, 2002). In schools lacking such systems, external accountability policies are intended to push schools to create them (Mintrop, 2004; ODay, 2002). In the following, we present emergent patterns that we believe enhance our understanding about why some schools in this study struggled to craft a coherent response to external pressures while other schools were more successful. In this discussion, we present our evidence across three categories of schools: three highly unstable schools, the moderately stable school, and the unexpectedly stable school (see Table 3). Within each category, we first discuss the relationship between context and organizational instability and then examine the relationship between instability, organizational social capital, and response. We should note that we discuss only those dimensions of organizational social capital that emerged from our data; not all dimensions emerged as salient within all schools, and the relationships between dimensions differed in each category. The Unstable Schools: Vanderbilt High School, Morrison High School, and Hudson High School Of the five schools in the study, three emerged as particularly unstable. We present each school in turn and discuss how district and school context precipitated instability in each. Social Context and Organizational Instability Vanderbilt. Vanderbilt High School is located in a highly segregated central city school district in a major metropolitan area that has experienced dramatic suburban expansion over the past four decades. As the suburbs expanded, middle-class families fled northward, later followed by lowermiddle-class families who moved to inner ring suburban school districts in search of better educational opportunities for their children. Teachers also have followed the flight to the suburban districts. As one administrator observed, teachers leave the district because of the low salary (due to the low tax base) and the fact that they often do not live within the district: Were the only district thats not giving a pay raise. Our teachers are leaving to teach closer to home. Four dollars a gallon gas isnt helping either. Vanderbilt High School itself is located in the northernmost part of the district. While the school once served the children of the districts wealthy families, today the schools students are predominately non-White and low income (see Table 1). 265 Downloaded from at SAINT CLOUD STATE UNIV on January 24, 2013 Holme, Rangel Table 3 Teacher Turnover, Alternatively Certified, and Principal Turnover School Name 20062007 Unstable Vanderbilt High School Teacher turnover (%) Alternatively certified (%) Principal turnover Morrison High School Teacher turnover (%) Alternatively certified (%) Principal turnover Hudson High School Teacher turnover (%) Alternatively certified (%) Principal turnover Relatively stable Stewart High School Teacher turnover (%) Alternatively certified (%) Principal turnover Surprisingly stable Kingsbridge High School Teacher turnover (%) Alternatively certified (%) Principal turnover 20072008 20082009 Average 16.3 13.0 Principal 1 15.4 16.4 Principal 1/2 21.1 7.8 Principal 2 17.6 12.4 Two principals 14.7 11.8 Principal 1 18.7 11.9 Principal 2 32.1 10.0 Principal 2 21.8 11.2 Two principals 37.7 12.9 Principal 1 17.0 25.2 Principal 2 18.1 13.3 Principal 2 24.3 17.2 Two principals 17.0 4.1 Principal 1 18.7 4.5 Principal 1 14.8 6.2 Principal 1 16.8 4.9 One principal 15.8 7.2 Principal 1 13.3 9.9 Principal 1 14.8 12.1 Principal 1 14.7 9.7 One principal The school has had high rates of turnover in both central and peripheral positions within the schools network. When we began our study, the school was being led by its second principal in three years. The principal, who had arrived halfway through the prior academic year from a middle school, hired instructional coaches (charged with staff development) who had no prior high school teaching experience. As one teacher observed, the sad part is, is that . . . our school has gone through three principals in three years almost, so weve had different administration, different staff, so its been a true just crazy transition. The school also experienced turnover in more peripheral network positions, among the ranks of alternatively certified teachers, who according to interviewees were the most likely to leave. As one counselor reflected: Last year we had . . . a large turnover rate with the teachers. . . . We lost a lot of young teachers to [two suburban districts to the north]. 266 Downloaded from at SAINT CLOUD STATE UNIV on January 24, 2013 School Reform and Organizational Social Capital Morrison. Morrison High School is located in a formerly middle-class suburban school district that has experienced rapid demographic change as low-income families of color have flocked to the low cost housing in the southern end of the district in an effort to escape the neighboring urban districts failing schools. This enrollment surge prompted the district to build Morrison High, which opened four years prior to data collection. When the school opened, the district redrew high school attendance boundaries so as to zone most of the White middle-class families to the districts existing high school and most of the lower income and non-White students to Morrison. The school therefore opened as a high poverty and racially isolated school. In the short time it has been open, Morrison has had two different principals. In the year of data collection, three out of four department chairs (central network members) were brand new. The school also has had high rates of turnover of alternatively certified teachers (peripheral network members), particularly in math and science. According to the math department chair, 40% of the teachers were new the year of data collection. These troubles were ongoing, according to one math teacher who told us, This would be three years ago, they actually had . . . math teacher positions that went unfilled here, and they were holding math classes with substitute teachers for the entire year because they couldnt find teachers to come out and join. The science department chair (who herself was new and had never taught high school before) told us that when she arrived the current academic year, she recalled thinking: Oh my God: its a brand new department, we have 18 teachers, of that six remained from the original department last year. Reasons for this turnover were attributed at least in part to context. When asked why the teacher turnover was so high, a math teacher replied: Partly the location. . . . [This district] will always have a little bit of trouble recruiting because it sits right next to [two large suburban] districts, which are one of the higher paying in the state. You know, the competition for teachers in this area is pretty stiff. Another teacher noted that alternatively certified teachers often look for new positions once they get experience: We have a lot of teachers come in on an alternative certification program and get certified and then start looking for better paying . . . jobs other places. The racial composition of the teaching force (White and middle class) also appeared to play a role in the turnover at Morrison. As one teacher observed: Some teachers just cant handle the demographic that we have here. Its not for everybody. Its different classroom behavior, things like 267 Downloaded from at SAINT CLOUD STATE UNIV on January 24, 2013 Holme, Rangel that, and I dont know if that . . . and some of it might be that were not exactly close to a lot of stuff. I mean unless you live out here, I have a good twenty, thirty minute drive everyday, which I prefer. Hudson. Hudson High School is located in a central city district that has, over the past several decades, lost many middle-class families to the areas rapidly expanding suburban districts. With its growing proportion of children in poverty, the district has struggled to compete for the regions more experienced teachers, according to the superintendent: Its a challenge, our demography, our poverty, the mobility. . . . Cause Im like a farm team for the suburbs, I lose about 300 teachers every year to the suburbs cause the work is easier. The superintendent noted that he prefers to hire younger teachers, but that retaining them is difficult: Id rather hire young talented people, so retention is my big problem, not recruitment. Hudson High School, built in the 1960s, is located in one of the older neighborhoods within the district. The neighborhood, which began to lose its middle-class families in the 1980s to the newer suburbs to the north, has become a major destination point for the areas immigrant families. Hudson currently serves one of the most disadvantaged student populations in the district. Hudson has experienced high rates of leadership turnover, with two principals over the past three years. While the department chairs (central network members) have remained stable, the school has had trouble retaining newer, often alternatively certified, teachers. Turnover at this school primarily has been concentrated in the math and science departments, which have suffered significant losses. The principal recalled last year that [The] average years of experience for math teachers was three years, and it was the lowest in the district . . . and we had two people whod been teaching for almost 20 years, so thats how that . . . you know, so you can imagine how many really young ones we really had. Organizational Instability, Organizational Social Capital, and Response Each of these schools therefore experienced high levels of instability at least in part because of their location within their metropolitan area and their unequal ability to compete (due to demographics, salary, and location) with nearby districts for qualified teachers. The instability experienced in these schools, as we heard in our interviews, weakened various aspects of each schools organizational social capital. We present the themes that emerged in the following discussion. Although all of the themes were not present at all of the schools, together the themes illustrate the various ways in which organizational instability can erode or prevent the creation of organizational social capital. 268 Downloaded from at SAINT CLOUD STATE UNIV on January 24, 2013 School Reform and Organizational Social Capital Cognitive capital: Leadership turnover and unclear organizational goals. One crucial aspect of the cognitive dimension of organizational social capital is a shared vision, which can hold together a loosely coupled organization (Tsai & Ghoshal, 1998, p. 487) and encourage cooperation. We heard how leadership turnover had a particularly negative effect on this dimension of social capital at Vanderbilt, which had a number of leadership changes in a short amount of time prior to data collection. A number of teachers reported that the constant shift in leadership resulted in unclear and often conflicting organizational goals. One history teacher reflected: Im fixing to start my sixth year at this school, and in six years Ive had four administrators, principals, so, I mean, theres no one here long enough to, you know, fix the problems; they understand the problems and then theyre gone. Similarly, when asked what the goals of the current administration were, a counselor replied: I dont really know what they are. I dont know if theyre articulated, and I think that has to do with the fact that we got a new principal last year, kind of unexpectedly . . . I dont even know where he came from, and then he made all these changes . . . which we were not accustomed to, and we werent quite sure that they were good. And so then mid-year hes telling us hes leaving. . . . He had just gotten here and made all these changes, and we were trying to adjust, and now hes leaving, and now theyre bringing in somebody else . . . I mean, just when were learning possibly the mission for the other principal, were getting another new one, and . . . and then not only did this other new one come in, but he brought some of his own people, . . . they all have . . . their own philosophy. These findings illustrate how the constant turnover or churning in leaders, who are instrumental in setting organizational goals, may weaken (or prevent the formation of) a coherent organizational culture (Hallinger & Heck, 1996; Hart, 1993). Relational capital: Teacher. cohesion In our interviews, we heard about the ways in which instability negatively affected the relational dimension of social capital within schools, particularly the sense of attachment to fellow workers or cohesion among group members (Nahapiet & Ghoshal, 1998, p. 244). At Vanderbilt, teachers reported a general lack of connection between staff members, which one teacher attributed to changes in leadership: As a whole faculty, were not strong together, and I think its because of all the changes in administration and policies and things that weve been through the past three . . . Id say between the last five years, really. Another noted how the constant turnover in principals made it difficult for teachers to trust new administrators: Its kind of hard when you have new people, very often your leaders are new, and your leaders do not . . . 269 Downloaded from at SAINT CLOUD STATE UNIV on January 24, 2013 Holme, Rangel appear as though theyre here for the long run. Turnover in leadership also was blamed for low staff morale at Vanderbilt. One striking sign of low morale was the high rate of teacher absenteeism at the school, as much as 25% on some days. Relationships at Morrison were not negative so much as they were weak as a result of the large number of new staff members each year. This problem was the most severe in the science department, which experienced turnover of more than half of the staff from the prior year, including the department chair. The new chair of the science department noted that, I still dont know people here, I dont know if theyre subs or teachers or what. I know my department and a few other people, and thats it and that, to me, is a very big weakness, theres nothing that says were together. Thus, although the school had been open for 4 full years, the relationships in the core departments (particularly math and science) were relatively weak. Intellectual capital: Building instructional capacity. We also heard in our interview data about the effects of instability on the intellectual capital in schools. The intellectual capital of an organization, according to Nahapiet and Ghoshal (1998), consists of the capabilities of individuals within the organization in terms of theoretical knowledge (explicit knowledge) as well as hands-on experience (tacit knowledge) and the collective sum of those skills and capabilities at the organizational level. Each of these schools struggled to build and maintain a cadre of teachers with a high level of explicit and tacit knowledge due to the constant turnover in inexperienced teachers. This turnover required administrators to focus continually on the preparation and training of new teachers to build the explicit and tacit knowledge required to teach successfully. At Morrison, the science chair reflected on her work with new staff, noting that while some have explicit knowledge in their subject matter, they lack explicit and tacit knowledge of pedagogy and classroom management: Of the 11 [new teachers], nine are alternatively certified, that means that theyre not coming in with classroom management, they may have the science background, but they dont necessarily have the pedagogy behind it to how to get it from point A to point B, they may not have the patience, and thats the areas where weve been trying to work on with them. At Vanderbilt, an instructional coach noted that he has had challenges working with larger numbers of alternatively certified teachers, many of whom had taken up teaching as their second career: I think the majority of the teachers in math . . . 80 maybe percent of them its their second career in math. . . . So, there are things that they 270 Downloaded from at SAINT CLOUD STATE UNIV on January 24, 2013 School Reform and Organizational Social Capital need to learn, you know, that they can improve on, but getting to that point has been a challenge. Now, I will say that I think its improving, but its like, you know, you chip away at it. The superintendent of Hudsons district noted that it takes several years for the investment in training to yield results for the schools, yet new teachers often dont stay that long: Its really hard cause some of my suburbs, theres no social justice here, theyre picking all my people, theyre headhunting in my district, and thats not fair cause weve got the hardest work. Its one thing if a teacher applies, its another thing to call them up and say, do you want to come to my district. And thats what theyre doing. But again, youve got to bite your lip and just, you know, figure we can do it. . . . With the turnover, . . . it makes it hard. . . . As you know, that costs big money to do that training and . . . Id love [teachers] to be here 25 years, you know, but at least five years, cause youre ready in three, four and five, given the input we do. It is a challenge. New teachers can, in theory, provide some advantages to schools compared with veteran teachers because they may be amenable to change. This new teacher advantage, however, only can be realized if schools are able to retain those teachers. As an administrator at Vanderbilts district reflected, the loss of new teachers translates into both a loss of intellectual capital and a loss of district time and resources: Unfortunately we had trained the last year . . . [we put] a lot of time and attention into math and science at the eleventh grade and twelfth grade to get those kids [ready for exit tests] and those teachers are now gone . . . a lot of them. To have that many new teachers that we now have to do that same intensive training with . . . and really its our job, but at some point in time you would love for it to be an add on piece. The out-migration of new teachers has become, in essence, a bucket that has a continual leak, a constant drain of time, resources, and intellectual capital. Internal accountability and organizational response. How did this instability affect schools ability to respond to the demands of the states high stakes testing policy? Although the relationships between instability and response may not be directly causal, organizational instability did erode organizational social capital in each of these unstable schools, as highlighted in the previous sections. The weak organizational capital hindered (if only indirectly) the establishment of systems of internal accountability: Across these campuses there was little consensus about organizational goals or norms, and in each of these campuses teachers reported that they were not being held accountable in any meaningful way for poor performance. 271 Downloaded from at SAINT CLOUD STATE UNIV on January 24, 2013 Holme, Rangel At Hudson, for example, an 11th-grade (exit-level) math teacher observed that he rarely engaged in conversations with administrators, noting that, Its almost like Im off the grid, which I enjoy. Similar comments were made by teachers at both Morrison and Vanderbilt. These schools were therefore very loosely coupled, highly fragmented organizations. One impediment to creating structures of internal accountability was administrators inability to enforce organizational normsto bring teachers into line with organizational goalsfor fear that doing so would lead to greater teacher turnover, particularly in the key departments of math and science. At Hudson, we heard from a math teacher about an instance in which the principal put pressure on her for poor test results; the math teacher challenged the principal and was surprised when the principal backed down. When asked why she thought that happened, she speculated that it was due to the turnover within the school and the administrations fear of losing yet another math teacher. She told us, It doesnt help [the administrators case] that, you know, Im in my fifth year teaching, and the department itself is really young, like honestly whats really sad is in my fifth year Im one of the most experienced in the department. At Morrison, district leaders had tried to hold teachers accountable through an observation system, which involved regular walk-throughs of classrooms by campus and district administrators. These observations, by all accounts, reduced the morale of an already distressed faculty and prompted many teachers who were on the verge of leaving for nearby suburban districts for other reasons (better pay, working conditions, shorter commute time) to actually make the move. The chair of the math department recalled that, It was a bad year last year. The district interfered quite a bit, and it became, when you have observations almost daily and people are criticizing you daily, teachers get fed up. So a lot of them just left. He noted that many left for suburban districts, noting that its easy to get a math job. Another math teacher noted: As a math teacher, obviously if you are just doing a horrendous job, you are going to be in trouble anywhere. But if you go back to my earlier comments on recruiting math teachers, you know, there was a year at this school where there were no qualified math teachers and there were empty math positions to fill. If you are thinking about pressure in terms of are you worried about losing your job over this, you know, lose my job to who? Thus, while organizational relationships and norms were weak within these schools, what efforts there were to enforce organizational norms and to hold teachers accountableas weak and top down as they were were, from our data, undermined by the reality of high levels of instability and the threat of loss of teachers to other school districts. 272 Downloaded from at SAINT CLOUD STATE UNIV on January 24, 2013 School Reform and Organizational Social Capital It should be noted that, as stated previously, the causal relationship between instability and social capital can be bidirectional: While instability can undermine social capital, it is also the case that weak social capital within schools can trigger or exacerbate turnover problems (Dess & Shaw, 2001). Although it is difficult to isolate the causal direction of these relationships, we believe our data provide compelling evidence about the role that each schools geographic location played in the instability each school experienced, over and above the problem of low organizational capital. The iterative relationship between instability and capital, however, left each of these schools in a problematic Catch-22: Without requisite levels of organizational social capital, it was difficult to retain teachers; yet without stability, it was difficult to build organizational social capital. The converse of these relationships is illustrated by the case of the relatively stable high school, Stewart. The Relatively Stable School: Stewart High School Stewart High School was relatively stable compared to the other schools in our sample. As we shall illustrate, one of the reasons for this stability was related to its district context. Social Context and (Relative) Organizational Stability Stewart High School is located in a large suburban district that long has been one of the more affluent districts in its metropolitan area. During the past decade, the district has experienced increases in diversity as nonWhites and lower income families migrated from the central city into the inner ring suburban neighborhoods within this district. These trends have particularly affected the student composition of Stewart, which is located in the section of the district nearest to the central city. Despite these demographic changes, as a whole, the district remains solidly middle class, well resourced, and sought after by teachers seeking employment within the metropolitan area. A district administrator noted that teacher retention was not a big problem and that their social context (resources and geography) helped in recruitment. Describing reasons for low turnover, he noted that: [One reason] is salaries in this district are good in comparison with others in the area. Of the new housing built in this county half of it is within our geographic limits and so theres a good chance that teachers just physically live in our district anyway. That helps us to attract . . . you know everybody wants to work close to where they live. There are all of those factors too, and obviously we feel like we have good schools and so that attracts people. All of that combined leads to fairly low turnover. While Stewarts turnover rates were higher than the districts, Stewarts rates were relatively (if only slightly) lower than the highly unstable schools 273 Downloaded from at SAINT CLOUD STATE UNIV on January 24, 2013 Holme, Rangel in the sample. The key difference at Stewart, which we discuss in the following, was that there was a high level of stability in the schools core network members: The department chairs, administrative team, and the principal were all highly stable, having been at the school nearly a decade. Organizational Stability, Organizational Social Capital, and Response What was most notable about the interviews from Stewart was the absence of any mention of instability in the interviews as an organizational barrier. Relational capital: Strong relationships. Teachers across all departments at Stewart reported positive relationships among staff members and between staff and the administrative team. For example, when asked about the schools strengths, an English language acquisition (ELA) teacher replied that, The main strength that I think we have in this school is our administration. . . . Its the best administration Ive ever seen . . . I mean thats the foundation of our school is our administrative team. At this school, teachers also spoke frequently about the positive nature of relationships within departments. The chair of the social studies department noted that, were in tune right now. Another ELA teacher similarly noted of her department, We get along. We collaborate together very well and we definitely enjoy working with each other. While none of the teachers attributed the strong relationships to the relative stability within the organization, it is likely that the relative stability of administration and staff helped to foster such strong linkages simply by giving the relationships time to develop (Nahapiet & Ghoshal, 1998). Intellectual capital. The relative stability at the school also fostered high levels of intellectual capital within the organization. The principal noted that the stability in his administrative team enabled him to continually review and refine his teams strategies: I have been blessed to have a veteran administrative group and we . . . have been here a long time together, the majority of us have been here the eleven years Ive been here, or at least nine or eight. I mean, I dont have a lot of turnover in my administration, and . . . every year [we] take everything apart and try to put it back together. The school also was not reliant on many alternatively certified teachers: Due to the districts resources, the principal was able to recruit experienced teachers from the high poverty, low performing districts in the metro area. He noted that, when hiring, Im not proud of this, but we raid [two of the areas lowest income districts] for teachers. In fact, this is one of the districts to which both Morrison and Vanderbilt teachers refer to as the cause of teacher turnover at their school. A social studies teacher who was new to the school commented on the benefits of stability to the intellectual capital within the cadre of teachers: 274 Downloaded from at SAINT CLOUD STATE UNIV on January 24, 2013 School Reform and Organizational Social Capital The people we have in place have been teaching [their] subjects for a long time, so they pretty much have a routine of what they do and I think that helps them as well cause theyve done it so long. This is just my first year doing it and, you know, you have your own anxiety, . . . you dont want to be the weak link in the bunch, so thats why I, personally, went above and beyond just to make sure that Im up to that level. So there is a tremendous amount of pressure, not just for the students, but for the teachers as well, to make sure that theyre achieving at the level thats expected. Structures of internal accountability and response. Teachers at this school, in contrast to the unstable schools, expressed a shared sense of norms, goals, expectations, and procedures. We heard a relatively strong consensus at this school about how we do things here across the campus, involving regular meetings about student data and a culture of professional support. A school counselor described the process: The department heads get together . . . with [the academic dean] and they go over what needs to be done, how theyre gonna improve the scores, how theyre gonna improve the knowledge content. Then the department heads go back to their teachers and they have their meetings to say this is what we need to do . . . and they keep a check on those teachers to make sure that this is happening. When they benchmark test again they look at the scores again and then they have a meeting again. Its like a vicious circle trying to get it to work. The school, furthermore, was able to enforce organizational norms in those instances where teachers did not meet expected performance goals. The new social studies teacher noted of his understanding about the degree to which he would be held accountable: [The administrators] are gonna hold you accountable and ultimately your jobs gonna be on the line if you dont produce these numbers, and thats just been the . . . what Ive come to understand. One potential reason for this ability to enforce norms was the relatively deep hiring pool, as the school, unlike the more unstable schools, did not have difficulty filing vacant positions. The shared norms and the level of internal accountability within this school may not be directly attributable to the relative stability that this school enjoyed, because such patterns were as much a product of the schools leadership and their policies. However, unlike the unstable schools and districts, instability was not mentioned as an organizational barrier in this school; thus, these relationships were likely facilitated by the stability that did exist. The strong relationships at the school likely enhanced teacher retention, reinforcing what stability the school already enjoyed. This iterative relationship between organizational capital and stability is illustrated most clearly in the case study of the final school in the sample, Kingsbridge. 275 Downloaded from at SAINT CLOUD STATE UNIV on January 24, 2013 Holme, Rangel The Unexpectedly Stable School: Kingsbridge High School The final school in the study, Kingsbridge, was an unexpectedly stable school given it was in the most disadvantaged context in the study. Upon deeper investigation, however, we realized just how fragile its stability was. While this school illustrates how a schools social geographic context does not doom an organization to failure, it also demonstrates how context can make success fragile. Social Context and Organizational Stability Kingsbridge High School is located in a district with one of the lowest per pupil property valuations in the state. The level of poverty in this community is severe: Driving through the community, one sees few businesses, no chain stores, very dilapidated homes, and numerous stray dogs roaming the streets. While the community was once a blue-collar suburb, as the outer ring suburbs pulled out working-class residents, the community has become predominately low income and Latino. Despite its disadvantaged population, we found that Kingsbridge was one of the most stable schools in the study in terms of leadership, having been led by just one principal in the past 5 years. It also has enjoyed relative teacher stability, with lower teacher turnover rates than Stewart in the more affluent district to the north. The reasons for this relative stability, we found, were connected partly to geographic location, partly to school leadership, and partly to high levels of organizational social capital, which tended to moderate instability the school might have experienced as a product of its social context. Organizational Stability, Organizational Social Capital, and Response We found several ways in which organizational capital contributed to the relatively higher levels of stability at Kingsbridge. Relational capital: Teacher loyalty. One reason for the relative stability within the school was related to the fact that many of the schools teachers were alumni of the district or the school who had sought out teaching positions at the school as a way of giving back to their local community. A teacher who was an alumna reported, Just off the top of my head I could probably name about five [other teachers] that are alumni, or maybe alumni from our sister high school as well, administrators, teachers, and staff. Its like a family in this area. Another teacher observed: Ill tell you one thing, I notice, and it just astounded me when I came to this district, I found that a lot of people that work here grew up in this community, theyre products of Kingsbridge High School, or the district, and theyve gone to school and come back. 276 Downloaded from at SAINT CLOUD STATE UNIV on January 24, 2013 School Reform and Organizational Social Capital This loyalty on the part of teachers is consistent with literature showing that teachers of color tend to remain in schools serving students from their cultural background, out of a commitment to their community (Achinstein et al., 2004). The relational capital that these alumni brought with them helped to foster stability within the schools teaching force. Constructing relational and cognitive capital. Another reason that Kingsbridge enjoyed relative stability was attributable to the principals careful efforts to construct relational and cognitive capital within the school. The principal of the school arrived 5 years prior to our data collection, and both he and his vice principal were graduates of the school and had spent their entire careers in the district. The principal had obtained more than $400,000 in competitive grants for his school, which, together with a special allotment of funding from the state, was used to fund an extra daily release period for teachers (over and above planning time) for professional learning community meetings, or PLCs. The principal mandated that the PLC time be used for planning, analyzing data, and conducting book studies, and the principal or another administrator would attend the PLCs once a week to review data and information with teachers. The principal used the PLC structure as an opportunity to build capacity (intellectual capital) and to build shared organizational norms (cognitive capital) while holding teachers accountable for their performance. The math department chair described the PLC process at Kingsbridge: We have a PLC once a week with our administration, with our principal and VP for instruction, so were reporting our own scores. . . . We go back over those items on the benchmark, why they do well, why they do poorly, what could we do better, what interventions do we need to look at from this point on. . . . I can definitely speak for the math teachers . . . we have a very vested interest in our own performance. Teachers were enamored with these structures and reported strong levels of professional satisfaction. The schools vice principal attributed their low teacher turnover to the supports provided through the PLCs. She reflected: One of the things Ive noticed is I dont hire as many teachers anymore. For example Ive hired one science and two math teachers in the last two years or three years and thats because we had someone retire or added units. . . . Our teachers are very happy here and thats half the battle is retaining your good teachers. . . . That support . . . our teachers wont leave because of our PLCs. While many of the gains the school experienced were attributed to this strong leader, one teacher noted the stability of the administration helped to foster improvement as well: 277 Downloaded from at SAINT CLOUD STATE UNIV on January 24, 2013 Holme, Rangel My experience has been that when you have an administration that is constantly changing, progress is very limited. But because weve had the fortune that the same administration has been in place, the leadership has been strong, progressive, building on what theyve already developed, and I think thats been a major issue in keeping things stable and improving things. The case of Kingsbridge therefore illustrates the iterative relationship between organizational social capital and stability: Through great effort, the principal and his leadership team were able to construct high levels of organizational social capital within the school, which in turn enhanced the stability within the organization. Fragile stability. From a distance, Kingsbridge appears to be a successful turnaround story. The school has, in fact, received state and national attention for the gains that the school has made. Yet, closer inspection reveals that the reforms that the school instituted were dependent upon a number of factors that, if altered, have the potential to erode those gains. First, the reforms were dependent on a strong principal. Many teachers said that they remained at the school in part because they felt loyalty to the principal who, they felt, supported them. One teacher asserted that if this leader were to change schools, he would likely change schools as well: I would probably follow him everywhere. This illustrates how strong relational capital can work to foster stability within a school. Second, the reforms were highly dependent on external resources: As stated previously, the PLCs were funded through both grant money and state funds. New grant money may not be available, and the state has since experienced an economic crisis and made large cuts to public education. The principal was well aware that the supports the school provided were instrumental in retaining teachers on their campus, which was difficult given the stiff competition the school faces from the wealthier suburbs in the metro area. Weve got to have the best teachers. I wish they would have a way to compensate our teachers so we could retain them. . . . What happens sometimes with schools like ours . . . we rank fourth or fifth in pay in the area so Im having to compete with [three affluent districts in the metro area] for the best teachers. That makes it difficult sometimes. . . . Im having to find other creative ways to retain teachers because the funding aint there. I cant compensate my teachers like they do across town. Q: What are some of the creative ways that you try to retain teachers? A: Professional Learning Communities, high visibility, teacher support. Thats why they dont leave right now because some of those things that they have here they cant buy anywhere. You see, these teachers have other colleagues that teach across town and they hear their horror stories and then hear how happy they are here so they dont leave. 278 Downloaded from at SAINT CLOUD STATE UNIV on January 24, 2013 School Reform and Organizational Social Capital Thus, while this school was successful, over the long term this success may be fragile if the principal or the supports for teachers change. Kingsbridge, in short, illustrates that while social capital can facilitate higher levels of organizational stability, this case also illustrates how the larger contextual dynamics can threaten to undermine the stability that has been attained. Discussion and Implications This analysis illustrates how the internal resources that schools rely on to respond to external policy demands can be affected by the social contexts in which they are embedded. The case study data presented in this analysis demonstrate how a schools social context can precipitate instability in some schools and relative stability in others, how organizational stability in turn can affect schools organizational social capital, and how organizational social capital can influence schools ability to construct a responsein this case, to create coherent structures of internal accountability. Data from the highly unstable schools (Vanderbilt, Morrison, and Hudson) showed how instability in both leadership and teaching positions eroded aspects of relational capital in schools (morale and trust), intellectual capital (teacher knowledge), and cognitive capital (norms and goals). Together, the weakness in organizational social capital and intellectual capital made it all the more difficult for these schools to establish shared norms and goals and systems for achieving those goals (structures of internal accountability). Efforts to hold teachers accountable backfired in these unstable contexts, where teachers who felt unfairly criticized knew they could leave and find a job in a less disadvantaged school that would be, in many respects, an easier work environment (in terms of commute time, pay, and working conditions). The data from the relatively stable school (Stewart) illustrated how stability has an element of invisibility. What was striking about Stewart was the noticeable absence of any mention of instability as an organizational barrier. Structural ties were strong and well established within the school, relationships (relational capital) were positive, and teachers reported a strong sense of shared norms (cognitive capital). Furthermore, because the school had a deep pool of teacher candidates to replace those who were not performing, the school leaders were better able to hold teachers accountable for performance. The surprisingly stable school (Kingsbridge) illustrated the iterative relationship between organizational social capital and stability. The principal was able to build organizational social capital by establishing supportive professional structures, which allowed him to build cognitive and intellectual capital, and structures of professional accountability within the school. These structures and norms in turn generated teacher loyalty and stability. 279 Downloaded from at SAINT CLOUD STATE UNIV on January 24, 2013 Holme, Rangel The stability, however, was fragile because it was dependent on the schools leaders and the extra resources the principal obtained. The social context of this school was constantly threatening to undermine the gains made. This case provides some indication as to why successful reform in high poverty contexts may be difficult to sustain over time. This analysis offers several implications for research. First, this analysis serves as a point of departure for more focused and systematic investigations into the issue of instability as an independent, explanatory variable in studies of school reform and organizational performance. A range of methodological approaches could help to elucidate various ways in which instability may (directly or indirectly) affect organizational processes and schooling outcomes. Researchers could, for example, quantitatively test the relationship between organizational stability and outcomes (achievement scores, dropout, etc.) utilizing indices that capture differences in the level of instability experienced by schools (i.e., short term vs. ongoing) and the types of losses incurred (i.e., administrators and teacher leaders vs. new teachers). Researchers could also examine how instability affects mediators of organizational performance by statistically testing the association between levels of stability and the strength of social capital or the structure of social network ties within schools. Qualitative methodology, particularly ethnography, could be utilized to examine the interaction between context, instability, and relationships within (and between) groups of stakeholders (i.e., educators, students, and community members). Studies of reform adoption and implementation would be particularly enhanced by a consideration of such processes. This analysis also offers several implications for policy. First, it indicates that policymakers concerned about school improvement should seriously consider the effects of instability on schools ability to respond to external policy demands and that organizational stability as a concept merits some consideration as a policy aim. A second, and related, implication centers on the newer policy approaches aimed at turning around lower performing schools through restaffing or principal replacement. The findings from this analysis suggest that over the long term, schools targeted for such efforts may, as a result of their social location, struggle to fill the vacancies created by restaffing, or through subsequent attrition (see also Malen, 2006). Finally, the findings from this study raise questions about the sustainability efforts to encourage reform through short-term grants that are often promoted at the federal and state level. The findings from the Kingsbridge case study in particular indicate that while professional support provided by such funding may help to build social capital and thus provide some measure of stability in schools, if these efforts are short-lived (i.e., through single, short-term grants), the school may not be able to sustain the reforms required to combat the social and geographic forces that lure teachers away from those disadvantaged school contexts. 280 Downloaded from at SAINT CLOUD STATE UNIV on January 24, 2013 School Reform and Organizational Social Capital Notes The research reported herein was supported by a grant from the Spencer Foundation. The authors would like to thank the editors of the American Educational Research Journal-Social and Institutional Analysis Section as well as the anonymous reviewers for their helpful feedback on the article. 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