Date of Award
Educational Administration and Policy Studies
Elinor Katz, Ph.D.
Achievement, At-risk, Behavioral, Leadership, Reform, Restructure
Sustained achievement remains out of reach for most Title I schools. While there are many programs and examples of schools touting improved performance, there are precious few that are able to maintain that improved performance over time. This case study examined the characteristics of changes made at one Colorado Title I elementary school that did see improved growth for a period of four years. Two administrators, five teachers and two classified staff members were interviewed. Two of the staff members were also parents at the school. This study utilized a qualitative methodology to examine the changes made that lead to sustained improvement. Observations of classroom instruction, collaborative meetings and interviews were conducted to collect data. Elliot Eisner's qualitative method of educational criticism and connoisseurship was selected to organize and classify the data.
Through in-depth interviews these staff members identified and examined the changes implemented over the last four years that contributed to the sustained achievement at Amazing Elementary School. They examined structural changes, delineation of instructional focus, a targeted curriculum, training and hiring of staff. This study is relevant to all schools, most especially those facing higher than normal poverty rates and challenges associated with diverse populations.
Conclusions reached are as follows: the common qualities found among the groups was an unwavering focus on student growth, strong acknowledgement and appreciation of staff efforts, connecting peers with purpose, effective communication between staff, parents and students and on-going professional collaboration. All of these areas build and contribute to the effectiveness of one another. It was not the implementation of any one factor that attributed to the success of Amazing Elementary School, but rather it was the persistence of many factors that when combined together fashioned a well- orchestrated symphony of sustained improvement.
School Districts need to work to allow challenged schools to remove obstacles preventing them from creating similar environments. Schools need to structure their environments to promote greater collaborative time for teachers in order to better analyze the needs of students and develop structures and lessons to meet these needs. Teachers need to improve their skills at analyzing data and they need better more efficient ways at assessing students' learning. Pre-service teachers need to participate in improved residency programs that allow them greater opportunities for side-by-side coaching and mentoring from master teachers.
Finally, this case study has provided practical advice on how to better address the needs of students in title I school for district administrators, school administrators, and teachers.
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Sorvig, Carol A., "In Pursuit of Sustained Achievement: A Case Study of One At-Risk School's Efforts to Change Behaviors" (2010). Electronic Theses and Dissertations. 618.
Received from ProQuest
Carol A. Sorvig
Educational administration, Educational leadership