Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Fort Zumwalt School District Professional Development Plan: A qualitative study of current elementary teacher perceptions and proposed changes
by McCullough, Deanne K., Ed.D., Lindenwood University, 2009, 190; 3354737
Abstract (Summary)

In the Fort Zumwalt School District, the professional development program lacks a district focus resulting in different professional endeavors dependent upon popular trends or interests rather than teacher and student achievement needs. Written procedures for evaluating the Fort Zumwalt Professional Development Plan have not been implemented in a systematic manner resulting in the current plan remaining unchanged and with limited evidence of impact on teaching and classroom practices. The researchers collected data from Fort Zumwalt K-12 certified teachers using three instruments: (a) reflection/evaluation sheets, (b) needs assessments, and (c) electronic questionnaire. The data from these instruments were used to answer five specific questions presented at the onset of this qualitative research study: (1) In what types of professional development opportunities are teachers choosing to participate? (2) What motivates teachers to participate in professional development activities? (3) When do teachers prefer to participate in professional development opportunities? (4) To what degree do teachers believe professional development experiences improve their teaching and classroom practices? (5) Do teachers believe that professional development programs are meeting their need to improve teaching and classroom practices?

When reviewing the results specifically from elementary teachers’ perspectives, several general findings were observed. The results indicated elementary teachers are limited in professional development participation due to a lack of (a) offerings during the school day, (b) variety of topics in specific grade level content areas, and (c) structure needed to support ongoing, high quality professional development. Elementary teachers asked for more collaboration, better follow through, and more activities being offered to assist with implementing new curriculum.

The need to focus on teacher content knowledge and best teaching practices was well-documented throughout the review of literature. Further, the review demonstrated that as teachers develop content knowledge, they are more apt to use effective teaching strategies to meet the learning needs of students. The research from the review of literature supported the need to provide professional learning opportunities within the school day, allowing all staff and administrators to take part in ongoing professional learning.

Based upon the results obtained in conjunction with the literature review, recommendations were proposed to the Fort Zumwalt Board of Education in the following areas: (a) Curriculum Review Cycle, (b) Conferences/Workshops/Related Travel, (c) Professional Development Training, (d) District Mentoring Program, (e) Graduate Studies Tuition Reimbursement, (f) Recommendations for Ongoing Program Evaluation, and (g) Future Recommendation for Consideration.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Matthews, Larry, Bice, Cynthia
School: Lindenwood University
Department: Education
School Location: United States -- Missouri
Source: DAI-A 70/04, Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: School administration, Elementary education, Teacher education
Keywords: Elementary teacher, Fort Zumwalt School District, Missouri, Professional development, Teacher perceptions
Publication Number: 3354737
ISBN: 978-1-109-12104-9
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