Instruction, equity, and social networks in district-wide improvement

Thomas Hatch, Kathryn Hill, Rachel Roegman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Purpose: The purpose of this paper is to explore the factors and conditions that help to explain what it takes to mount district-wide efforts to improve instruction and address inequities. Design/methodology/approach: The authors examined the evolution of administrator social networks related to instruction, equity and race in three districts over a three-year period. The authors documented when and how these social networks support district-wide connections and consider the relationship between network evolution and each district’s efforts to improve outcomes for all students. Findings: The authors found that administrators were most likely to be talking together about instruction, equity and race, and administrator social networks were most conducive to the sharing of information across roles, levels and initiatives when explicit efforts were made to engage administrators in common equity-related initiatives and when discussions of equity and race were part of the public conversation. Research limitations/implications: Future studies of social networks among teachers and among teachers and administrators would provide a more well-rounded picture of how information and resources related to instruction, equity and race are shared throughout a district. Practical implications: Results from this study can be used to help administrators reflect on key aspects of their organizational structure and the opportunities for interaction they provide. Social implications: Strategic connections among those in different roles and initiatives can foster sharing of different perspectives and support the development of community cohesion and a common understanding of joint work. Originality/value: This study provides an initial step in bringing together work on social networks and instructional leadership with research related to equity and race in studies of school improvement.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)72-91
Number of pages20
JournalJournal of Professional Capital and Community
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 22 2020


  • Leadership
  • Networks
  • Professional community
  • Social capital

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Education
  • Communication


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