Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Fort Zumwalt School District Professional Development Plan: A qualitative study of current secondary teacher perceptions and proposed changes
by White, Jennifer A., Ed.D., Lindenwood University, 2009, 191; 3354739
Abstract (Summary)

In the Fort Zumwalt School District, the professional development program lacks a district focus resulting in inconsistent 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) an 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 their teaching and classroom practices?

As a middle school administrator, professional development perceptions of secondary teachers were of particular interest. District data was disaggregated to reflect secondary teachers’ responses on the professional development reflection/evaluation sheets, professional development needs assessments and answers to the electronic questionnaire. The results indicated limited professional development participation due to lack of time, variety of topics, and structure or format needed to support ongoing, high quality professional development.

The review of the literature in conjunction with the data collected concluded that professional development is most effective when embedded in the school day and closely aligned with district goals and teacher needs. Recommendations to the Board of Education included a focus on the need for providing (a) additional time and training for teacher collaboration, (b) curriculum and technology integration training, (c) weekend or summer professional development activities, (d) revised reflection/evaluation sheets to gain better data, (e) evaluation practices that gain data on a more frequent basis, (f) a professional development tool for building use, and (g) a checklist for teachers to monitor personal professional development.

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, Teacher education, Secondary education
Keywords: Fort Zumwalt School District, Missouri, Professional development, Secondary teacher, Teacher perceptions
Publication Number: 3354739
ISBN: 978-1-109-12106-3
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