Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

How Rural Elementary Building Principals Conceptualize the Programs in Their Schools, the Processes of Connecting Students to Programs, and Their Leadership Role in Doing So
by Hatton, Holly, Ed.D., The George Washington University, 2013, 224; 3592439
Abstract (Summary)

Principals in rural schools lead with an awareness of multiple contingent factors that influence their decisions every day regarding programming for students. The purpose of this research is to examine how rural elementary school principals conceptualize programs in their schools, the processes used to connect students to these programs, and their leadership role in doing so. Through the lens of contingency theory, this qualitative research study informs the research regarding contextual variables that influence principals' decisions as they program for students.

Three research questions provided the frame through which to examine the ways that principals conceptualize the benefit of programs in their school buildings, as well as the ways that they negotiate the environment and obligate resources based on student needs and outside influences. A purposeful sample of 11 principals working at rural elementary schools in a mid-Atlantic state participated in this study. A basic qualitative design provided the framework for interpreting the interview data collected.

Major findings of this study indicated that principals were more apt to introduce a new program to their building if it was one they had had experience with before. If they did not consider the program beneficial, they were less apt to support it in their building. In addition, principals and school teams used formal and informal assessment data to make decisions regarding student programming. Principals obligated human resources in multiple ways in order to meet the programming needs of their students, but funding, regulations, and curricular and testing demands influenced their programming decisions. In addition, teacher "burn-out" and limited time in the school day were all areas of concern.

Nationally, public schools receive billions of dollars in federal, state, and local funding for the purpose of student programming. Policy makers write policy from an urban-centric viewpoint. This viewpoint forces rural principals to interpret the policy in creative ways to ensure it meets the needs of their students. This study provides insight as to how rural principals interpret policy in order to utilize resources to program for students. This study also examines the contexts that influence their programming decisions.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Tekleselassie, Abebayehu A.
Commitee: Howard, Lionel C., Sherrill Linkous, Kelly, Tekleselassie, Abebayehu A.
School: The George Washington University
Department: Educational Administration and Policy Studies
School Location: United States -- District of Columbia
Source: DAI-A 74/12(E), Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Educational leadership, Education Policy, School administration
Keywords: Elementary schools, Leadership, Principals, Rural schools
Publication Number: 3592439
ISBN: 9781303334832
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