Perceptions of the Role and Effectiveness of a School Assistance Team in Facilitating School Improvement in a Low-Performing School in Alabama
Type of DegreeDissertation
Leadership and Technology
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This study investigated the role and impact of an Alabama School Assistance Team in facilitating school improvement in an Alabama school. Facilitating factors and barriers that hindered the Alabama School Assistance Team in promoting positive change in a low-performing school were also identified. The perceptions explored in this study were those of the Alabama School Assistance Team Leaders, Team Members, Local Education Agency (LEA) personnel, and community members. Data were collected from interviews, documents and observations. A case study was conducted with one of the Alabama School Assistance Teams and the LEA site the team served. Findings indicated that 100% of Alabama School Assistance Team personnel view their role as facilitating school improvement and empowering the LEAs they serve. LEA personnel voiced two perceptions of this role. Most respondents (60% of LEA personnel and community members) perceived the Alabama School Assistance Team as a facilitating factor in school improvement. A minority view (40% of LEA personnel) described the Alabama School Assistance Team as an external group charged with enforcing mandates and creating change. Facilitating factors that enabled the Alabama School Assistance Team to be successful in school improvement efforts included consistent, effective leadership; commitment and dedication of the Alabama School Assistant Team personnel; and excellent relational/personality/people skills demonstrated by the Alabama School Assistance Team personnel. Barriers that hindered the Alabama School Assistance Team in being successful in school improvement efforts included socio-economic factors; resistant attitudes of LEA personnel being assisted; relational difficulties; program structure of the Alabama School Assistance Teams; and State Department of Education reports and mandates. Despite challenging barriers, findings suggest that the Alabama School Assistance Team made a positive impact on this school by enhancing student performance, fostering student and teacher empowerment, improving the school environment, and developing positive relationships.