Date of Graduation

12-2012

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Education in Educational Leadership (EdD)

Degree Level

Graduate

Department

Curriculum and Instruction

Advisor

Carleton R. Holt

Committee Member

James Swartz

Second Committee Member

Benny L. Gooden

Third Committee Member

Michael T. Miller

Abstract

The purpose of this qualitative research study was to follow 1 principal's journey to assist the district in its reconfiguration goals, and help the school change through deep examination of district personnel's and parents' perceptions of the change process. This was done by acknowledging distinctions and differences between junior high schools, the current middle school, and the new middle school, delineated by current middle school-reform research. This study explored issues regarding the policies, personnel, decision-making strategies, timelines, and organizational structures of the new middle school.

The reconfiguration resulted in rezoning attendance zones, reconstructing the new high school, raising the new elementary school, repurposing the old elementary school, reconfiguring the grades, and reassigning existing staff among the district's buildings. The students in the 4 middle schools, the junior high school, and the new high and elementary schools were reassigned. The district established a 2012 planning committee to inform decision making.

Influences affecting perceptions were found in three primary trends: (a) communication, (b) leadership, and (c) the plan. Each trend was supported with axial and open codes from the triangulation of data, including standardized open-ending interviews, observations, and document collection.

Three key groups of participants were a major part of this qualitative case study: district administrators, teachers, and parents. Participants were interviewed to provide perceptions about the initial stages of reconfiguration and the reconfiguration itself. The overall findings and conclusions from this study showed that planning, communication, and superior leadership are keys to receiving viable results in a school-district restructuring. Recommendations for further study include (a) replication of this study in all middle schools in the district, (b) studying all middle schools in the state following the National Middle School Association Model, (c) focus on the academic achievement of students in the 5-7 configuration, and (d) interviews should include students who were impacted by the reconfiguration.