Date of Award


Document Type

Dissertation - NSU Access Only

Degree Name

Doctor of Education


Center for the Advancement of Education


In October 1986, the Milwaukee Public Schools (MPS) Board of School Directors appointed a broadly based committee to study the feasibility of Site Based Management (SBM) for the MPS. The committee was comprised of varied staff from the educational community including elementary, secondary and college levels. Also included were business and professional people from the Milwaukee community. In March of 1987, the committee delivered their report to the Board. The committee recommended that the MPS establish SBM in all of the 140 school buildings, starting with a small number of volunteer pilot schools. In the fall of 1987, ten schools volunteered to be the first pilot schools. As of September 1990, the Pilot School Program has grown to thirty-six schools, which is still far short of the total 140 school buildings. Milwaukee Public Schools needed an implementation program to effectively and efficiently expand the SBM program into the non,-SBM schools on a timely basis. To develop an MPS SBM Implementation Program, data were collected from the literature, a University of Wisconsin study of the Phase I and Phase II pilot schools, and by a survey of the 45 members of the Council of Great Cities Schools. The survey, designated the SBM Interview, was developed and administered during the MARP. It consisted of thirteen questions that were asked of those members of the Council of Great Cities Schools who had established a SBM program. The goal was to explore SBM programs in other urban school districts. When the data from the literature, the Pilot Schools Study, and the SBM Interview given to the Council of Great Cities Schools were combined, there developed an agreement regarding the definition of SBM. All perceived SBM as an ongoing process unique to a specific school building rather than a general product or destination. Other components suggested for the definition of SBM in addition to, process, were that it should be a school improvement strategy, change oriented, participatory and representative, and reflect commitment by the school staff to a commonly held vision regarding the possibility for mutual empowe-m8nt toward the goal of all students succeeding. Data collected were analyzed and combined into a SBM Implementation Program for MPS to utilize in moving, the traditional school into the SBM program. The resulting SBM Implementation Program developed via the MARP responded to several needs and issues identified by the newly appointed SBM Coordinator and the University of Wisconsin Pilot Schools Study. One of those was the continuing need for extended inservice training for traditional, non-SBM schools as they become SBM. Training was also important for members of the traditional power structure such as the central office staff. These administrators were sometimes seen as resisting the SBM schools process of employment. Another concern was to increase the verbal and demonstrative commitment to SBM by the teachers union. Teachers at SBM schools expressed the need for a waiver process to occasional set aside restrictions such as staff placement by seniority, teacher certification and certain other changes in working conditions that were part of the teacher's contract. A major workshop was developed for the SBM council leaders who chaired the SBM council meetings. Recommendations were made for the SBM coordinator to expand the marketing strategies and to publicize the benefits of SBM to attract more non-SBM schools to volunteer for SBM. Other recommendations included a SBM newsletter and annual conference to instruct and highlight SBM successes. All recommendations and strategies developed within the Major Applied Research Project were intended to focus on the ultimate, long-range MPS goal of increasing student achievement and accomplishment.

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