District level coherence making as a prerequisite for school transformation : a study of a Texas school district developing and implementing a learning framework

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Date

2019-05

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Dynis, Deana Nickole

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Abstract

In the almost twenty years since the inception of No Child Left Behind in 2001, the United States has experienced school reform efforts at an unprecedented rate. Federal and State legislatures have attempted to leverage high stakes accountability systems in order to force change with little success. Likewise, grassroots efforts have been attempted by networks of school districts, but have lacked the resources to make systemic reforms. With the literature emphasizing the role of the district in education reform and transformation, the challenge appears to be how school districts can balance the demands of the high stakes accountability system still in place, while providing an environment supportive of the innovation necessary to transform the system. The purpose of this mixed methods study was to explore and understand the perspectives of educators, campus principals, and central office administrators regarding the coherence provided by a district created and implemented learning framework. The following research question guided the study: How do classroom educators, campus principals, and central office administrators of a school district focused on transformation experience coherence through a district created and implemented learning framework? The researcher utilized a mixed methodology study design with a sequential transformative strategy in order to explore and understand the lived experiences of the district’s elementary educators, elementary principals, and central office administrators. The quantitative data tool included a district-wide survey with yes/no, Likert scale, and open response questions. The qualitative methods included individual interviews, a focus group, and the review of district documents. A purposeful sampling strategy was utilized to select 2 central office administrators, and 1 elementary campus principal from each of the 3 middle school feeder patterns. A snowball strategy was utilized to select the classroom educators to participate in the study. The analysis of the quantitative and qualitative data resulted in a narrative supporting the creation of themes relating to how the classroom educators, campus principals, and central office administrators experience and understand the level and impact coherence provided by the district created learning framework. Implications for practice evolving from this study extend to researchers, campus principals, central office administrators, and superintendents.

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