The boundary-spanning role of democratic learning communities: Implementing the IDEALS

Leslie Williams, Jean Cate, Mary John O'Hair

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations


This multi-case study investigates characteristics and practices in schools that expand the traditional boundaries of school leadership and transform schools into democratic learning communities based on the level of implementation of the IDEALS framework. This investigation serves as a modus to illuminate democratic processes that change schools and address the needs of the students, not the needs of the adults in the system. A sample of five purposefully selected high schools, from the Midwest USA, was utilized. The schools serve Grade 9-12 students, but vary in size, residential area and socioeconomic status of the students. This study illuminates some of the challenges and strategies that facilitate or impede the process of creating more democratic schools that expand the boundaries of inquiry and discourse to include a broader range of community stakeholders and that respect and embrace issues of equity.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)452-472
Number of pages21
JournalEducational Management Administration and Leadership
Issue number4
StatePublished - Jul 2009


  • Collaboration
  • Democratic learning communities
  • High schools
  • School change
  • Teacher leadership
  • Teacher learning

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education
  • Strategy and Management


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