Franchise Model Schools: Rethinking Educational Practices and Structures

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Development and Learning in Organizations

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Purpose: How will schools reinvent themselves to respond to the technological and economic demands of the mid-21st century? In response to the demands, a school district in the western region of the United States implemented a model patterned after the franchise business model. Two effective principals were tasked to simultaneously lead multiple high-risk elementary schools and to replicate the success they achieved from their flagship school. This paper aims to introduce the concept of franchise model schools. It also examines the innovative impact of the model as it relates to student achievement and leadership development. Design/methodology/approach: The methodology for this research was a case study approach. This case study sought to examine teacher and school leaders' perceptions of the implementation of the franchise model school framework. The setting of this case study was five franchise model elementary schools in the western region of the United States. Participants of this study included 37 grade-level teacher leaders and 133 teacher respondents to an online questionnaire. Semi-structured focus group interviews were conducted with grade-level teacher leaders at each participating school. State and site-based academic assessments were also collected and analyzed. Findings: Due to the novelty of the franchise model schools, the long-term effects on student outcomes are not yet discernable. Interviews with the teachers and school leaders revealed that staff morale was low after the initial implementation of the model and student assessment scores also decreased after the first year of implementation. The current pattern of student assessment revealed a decrease after the first year of implementation and a small increase after the second year. Findings revealed assistant principals within the model increased their leadership capacity and efficacy. Assistant principals felt confident in their ability to lead a school as principals. Originality/value: The implementation of franchise model schools is unique to the United States education system. Minimal research exists which examines the novelty and impact of franchise model schools. This case study has the potential to inform school systems, policy-makers and educator preparation programs of new practices and innovative structures that can help meet the demands of obtaining a mid-21st-century education. For educational leadership preparation programs, the use of this model provides new practicum and internship opportunities for aspiring school administrators.


Innovation; Leadership development; Organizational change and learning; Franchise Model Schools


Educational Administration and Supervision | Educational Leadership



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