Case Study of a School Gone Wrong Case Study

Excerpt from Case Study :

school known as St. Martin de Porras. There were two portions to the case study…a part "A" and a part "B." The two parts were very much a "before" and "after" of a school that was in very rough shape and in every measurable way. This report will have a brief literature view, a methodology section, a study section and an analysis section. The literature review and methodology section are fairly self-explanatory. The study section asks the author of this report to identify the problems, goals and concerns of the stakeholders as well as the problems or critical issues that existed prior to the revolution that later occurred at the school. The analysis section asks the author of this report to compare the findings of the study to the findings in the literature review as well as some identification and analysis of alternative solutions. While some may shy away from a school like St. Martin de Porras, these schools (if done right and well) are a stunningly better option and lead to much better outcomes than some of the horrid inner city schools that exist in areas like the greater Chicago area (like St. Martin) or other major urban cores around the country.

Literature Review

The author of this report really only reviewed two main sources for this report. The first source talks about servant leadership and how it involves or affects things like organizational effectiveness, experiences and barriers. Like a major lesson that was used and learned in the case of St. Martin de Porras, a huge part of proper leadership of any kind is how the leader(s) do and do not engage their students. As stated by Savage-Austin and Honeycutt (2011), schools like St. Martin de Porras "benefit from understanding how leadership engages followers in day-to-day activities because the outcome of this act contributes to the organization's ability to be effective" (Savage-Austin & Honeycutt, 2011). Indeed, the climate at St. Martin was very poor prior to the implementation of the programs that the new principal and assistant principal brought about. Teachers and other personnel were treating their bosses and observing colleagues like the enemy and were blaming the students for their failings. However, things did quickly change thereafter (Savage-Austin & Honeycutt, 2011).

The author consulted one other major source for this report and the author made it a point to focus on the subject of student engagement and motivation. Indeed, that was a major issue at St. Martin de Porras and it is something that Odiotti and Seiberlich address perfectly in many ways. One of the cardinal sins that was being committed by the teachers at St. Martin de Porras prior to the arrival of Odiotti and Seiberlich were that the students were pervasively and consistently, for lack of a better term, "slacking off" and the teachers not only were letting them do it, they were actually engaged in fraud and deceit by feeding them answers and coddling them. To answer to the general topic of that misdeed, the author would point to the work of Chiao-Ling, Yang and Chen. More or less, when the students are not being urged to avoid dishonesty and the teachers are involved in the same, the odds that the behavior will occur unabated is extremely high and that is precisely what was happening at St. Martin de Porras in part A of the case study being covered in this report. Indeed, this second source specifically points to the idea that a student's self-perception as compared to the perceptions of the students or teachers around them has a lot to do with whether they cheat or not and how generally inclined they are to do so. (Chiao-Ling, Yang & Chen, 2015)


The author of this report took a fairly basic approach to this report given that the case study itself was not terribly long and this is certainly not a full-scale dissertation. However, it should be made clear what approach was made because that is relevant to the quality and validity of the answers that will be following below. First of all, the author of this report read the two portions of the case study from beginning to end. The author then found the two qualitative/quantitative articles mentioned above. The author specifically sought out articles that represented a blend in study style because there are certainly qualitative and quantitative elements to the case study so the sources should follow suit. For
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example, the assistant principal in the case study moved some furniture around so that she would be more accessible and apparent to those that approached and were around her. That is not a dollars and sense approach or a statistical gamble. Rather, she is creating a new environment so that the perceptions of her and the school are changed. In the same way, the head principal set numbers-based goals (like the reduction of tardiness by a third) as part of his job. Indeed, there was a blend and the author of this report is not proceeding any differently.

Study & Analysis

Regarding the first question to be answered as part of this study section, there is to be an identification of each stakeholder. Obviously, the two major stakeholders in the Porras case would be Odiotti and Seiberlich. Their review and assessment of the situation at Porras is said quite concisely when they ask their mutual question at the beginning of the case study, that being "where do we start." The students are the next group of stakeholders and surely find a number of things troublesome even if none of them are really quoted…except one time in particular. When some students on a field trip are talking about Porras as a school, it is referred to as the "poor kids" school. There is no mention of academic achievement or any pride whatsoever. The next group of stakeholders would be the teachers. They were doing, in general, a very bad job but were blaming it on the kids to, as the case put it, "absolve themselves." The author of this report could go wider when it comes to stakeholders (e.g. parents, communities, etc.), but the stakeholders mentioned thus far are enough to make the proper points.

Odiotti and Seiberlich are probably assuming that everyone (the students, the teachers, etc.) all mistrust them and that all of them will resist change. Potential bias could be seen from Odiotti insisting he would not even consider being second-in-charge but he seemed to allay those concerns later on. In terms of the teachers, the case study lays bare that they were behaving badly, they knew they were behaving badly and it was potentially going to come tiem very soon that Odiotti and Seiberlich would at least try to change things…whether or not they were successful. As for the students, many of them were on cruise control and were not engage and thus were probably only marginally interested in yet another principal and/or teacher coming through the doors. The author of this report says this because no one at the school was giving them reason to do otherwise. There was indeed one student that such an apparent ruffian that he was told not to come back to the school and roughly a dozen other students did so of their own volition. While teachers do indeed bear a lot of the blame, those students needed to leave. The goals of the administration (Odiotti and Seiberlich) is to change the status quo including raising grades, raising graduation rates, reducing tardiness and creating a learning atmosphere. The goal of the teachers, at least at first, seemed to be to protect their territory and keep their job despite their pathetic performance. However, that evolved to being focused on the students as the school improved. As an example of the former situation, a resource teacher was deemed as "a threat" for trying to assess how teachers were doing. The goals of the student also shifted as they went from coasting and relaxing to getting serious about learning. The overall concerns underlying the demands above would be that the students are either graduating late (if they are graduating at all), teachers are not doing their job, prior administrators were not doing their jobs and the kids were, in a word, losing.

The key problems that existed before were lack of accountability, uncontrolled bad behavior (by students and teachers), lack of building security, lack of academic achievement and so forth. One problem mentioned that can probably be ignored is the "funny" tone that many classrooms took at times. There is nothing wrong with a little joviality…as long as the performance is there. When it comes to comparing the literature review to the results shown in the Porras case study, a lot of that was done in the literature review itself. The prior leaders (before Odiotti and Seiberlich) were not doing their job but those two were very determined, very effective and very hands-on. They were not overt or rude about it but they…

Sources Used in Documents:


Chiao-Ling, H., Shu Ching, Y. & An-Sing, C. (2015). The relationships among students'

achievement goals, willingness to report academic dishonestly and engaging in academic dishonesty. Social Behavior & Personality: An International

Journal, 43(1), 27-37. doi:10.2224/sbp.2015.43.1.27

Savage-Austin, A., & Honeycutt, A. (2015). Servant leadership: A phenomenological study of practices, experiences, organizational effectiveness and barriers.

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