Leading School Change Through Innovation: The Hybrid Schedule
Type of DegreePhD Dissertation
Education Foundation, Leadership, and Technology
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Decades of differing philosophies and conventions have placed the idea of change at the forefront of reform efforts (Rothkopf, 2009). With the implementation of the rigorous, complex Alabama College and Career Ready Standards, a deeper understanding of subject matter is required, and the complexities of these standards require specialized content instruction (Common Core State Standards Initiative, 2012; National Education Association, 2010; Porter, et al., 2011). Schools must prepare and organize for the changes required to teach these standards effectively. Although there is a vast amount of research on educational change as related to school improvement, there is a lack of evidence on how to create a context for change to implement a new innovation on teaching practices, school culture, and student learning outcomes. Therefore, it is pivotal in connecting the dots of what it will take to bridge the gap between failed change and successful sustained school improvement efforts. The purpose of this research study was to assess the effectiveness of the Innovative Hybrid schedule in improving student learning outcomes and school culture. This mixed-method research study used data generated by the Stages of Concern Questionnaire (SoCQ), the AdvancEd®’s Stakeholder Feedback Survey, the ACT Aspire® Student Achievement Tests, teacher interviews, and artifact data that consisted of a Qualtrics departmentalization survey given to the teachers and students at the end of the pilot year. The conceptual framework of the present case study was based on the five attributes of the PLCs identified through the work of Shirley M. Hord (2004) and Michael Fullan’s Educational Change Theory (2007). Hord’s five attributes were: 1) Shared Values and Vision, 2) Intentional Collective Learning, 3) Supportive and Shared Leadership, 4) Supportive Conditions, and 5) Shared Personal Practice. Fullan’s educational change theory has three phases: Phase I – Initiation; Phase II – Implementation; and Phase III – Institutionalization. The analysis of this study’s data revealed a number of factors that facilitated the implementation of the Innovative Hybrid Schedule. The researcher discovered during the interview process that the overall facilitating factors related to the benefits of changing classes, teachers as content specialists, teacher collaboration through PLCs and vertical planning. Even though the findings from the data from the Stages of Concern Questionnaire (SoCQ) were not statistically significant, there was a decrease in teacher concerns from the beginning to the end of the implementation process. The results of this study of the Innovative Hybrid Schedule showed that significant change occurred in school culture based on the two administrations of the AdvancEd®’s Stakeholder Feedback Survey. Additionally, student learning outcomes measured by ACT Aspire® Reading and Mathematics Student Achievement Tests showed a statistically significant improvement in both reading and math. Lastly, the analysis of teacher interviews supported the findings in the quantitative data. Four themes emerged from the interview process and supported the school culture and student learning outcome data. The four emergent themes were: Benefits of Changing Classes, Improvement in School Culture, Teachers as Content Specialists, Teacher Collaboration through PLCs and Vertical Planning.