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Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Professional development of school principals and policy implementation
by Cothern, Thomas Lynn, Ed.D., Southeastern Louisiana University, 2014, 335; 3616991
Abstract (Summary)

Effective professional development for school principals is crucial to the successful administration of schools, especially during periods of change resulting from policy mandates. The Louisiana Legislature has passed legislation in an attempt to reform education in the state. During this same period, the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education (BESE) has determined school districts are responsible for the professional development of school principals in the district. However, there may be varying degrees of fidelity with respect to the types of programs implemented in the school districts in Louisiana.

This study utilized qualitative and quantitative data to determine the elements, contexts, and topics found in the principals' professional development in two school districts in Louisiana. Educational leadership literature and studies have indicated professional development for principals should be ongoing and occur during all phases of the principals' career. The participants in the study included the district personnel responsible for implementing professional development for principals and the principals in two school districts, one rural and the other suburban.

The role district administrators had in the districts' professional development programs was examined and compared to the responses of the principals included in the study. The responses of the principals and superintendents in both districts were compared and contrasted through both a within-case and cross-case analysis. The role professional development had in implementing policy changes was also examined.

The data collected through the survey used and the interviews provided a glimpse of the professional development found in both districts, as well as the expectations and needs the principals had for the program. To take it a step further, the desires of the principals of both districts in all three areas are compared with the common areas in both districts delineated.

The results between the two districts were very similar in both the types of professional development the principals attended and the desires the principals indicated they would like to see included in a program of professional development. The principals in both districts desired the program to be ongoing, collaborative, and participative. The principals also desire for professional learning communities to be the context used in the programs. Topics should include the use of data, enhancing instruction, facilitating change, and the development of leadership skills. The expectations the principals had for professional development that should be included in a program are the use of data, personnel matters, and implementation strategies for changes to the school campus. The needs the principals perceived as important to be included in professional development included collaboration among their peers, provide follow-up, provide time for reflection, allow for school visitations, and the program be research based. The needs that were not being met through professional development included knowledge of teacher evaluation and instruction, data interpretation and student achievement, and activities designed to foster improvement in leadership skills.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Lane, Kenneth E.
Commitee: Crain-Dorough, Mindy, Fossey, William R., Sughrue, Jennifer
School: Southeastern Louisiana University
Department: Educational Leadership and Technology
School Location: United States -- Louisiana
Source: DAI-A 75/08(E), Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Educational leadership, Education Policy, School administration
Keywords: Policy implementation, Principals, Professional development
Publication Number: 3616991
ISBN: 978-1-303-84041-8
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