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ItemExploring the Benefits and Challenges of Inclusion through the Perceptions of Teachers and Administrators at the Elementary Level in a Large Florida School District(Florida Southern College, 2017) Kelley, Kimberly RaeIn the early twentieth century, parents began forming advocacy groups to help bring educational needs of students with disabilities to the public eye. These groups rallied together and by the early 1970’s, a number of students with disabilities were being educated in the public school. Finally, in 1975, the United States Congress enacted the Education for All Handicapped Children Act (EHA) then the Individuals with Disabilities Act (IDEA) and ultimately, EHA was absorbed in the IDEA law and provisions. The provisions of IDEA establish a right to public education for all children regardless of disability and requires schools provide individualized or special education for children with qualifying disabilities. IDEA governs how states and public agencies provide early intervention, special education, and related services to more than 6.5 million eligible infants, toddlers, children and youth with disabilities. Inclusive education means that all students attend and are welcomed by their neighborhood schools in age-appropriate, regular classes and are supported to learn, contribute and participate in all aspects of the life of the school. Inclusive education is about how educators develop and design schools, classrooms, programs and activities so that all students learn and participate together. Inclusion expresses a commitment to educate each student, to the maximum degree appropriate in the regular classroom. This method involves bringing support services to the child instead of moving the child to the services. However, rather than having to keep up academically with the other students, they can receive accommodations based on their disability in the regular education environment. Situated in an elementary education setting, this study explored the perceptions of regular education teachers, ESE teachers, and administrators on the effectiveness of inclusion programs for special education to better understand the benefits and challenges of the learning environment for students with disabilities. The purpose of this case study, further, was to explore methods, practices, and approaches teachers use and support provided by administrators. My research questions that guided this study were: 1. What support is provided by educational leaders to regular education and Exceptional Student Education (ESE) teachers in an elementary inclusion setting? 2. What methods, practices, and approaches are identified by regular education and ESE teachers in an elementary inclusion setting? 3. What are the benefits and challenges identified by teachers and administrators in an elementary inclusion setting? The theoretical framework of this study was social constructionism. This theory stresses the fundamental role of social interaction in the development of cognition, and how the community plays a central role in the process of making meaning. Employing qualitative research methodology, this researcher conducted interviews with eight decisively selected participants. The findings reported from this study and the literature reviewed explored the benefits and challenges of inclusion that the regular education and ESE teachers are faced with on a daily basis. The perceptions of principals, regular education, and ESE teachers were shared based on their personal, overall experiences. Educational experience, training, and administrative support for teaching students with disabilities play an essential role in the successful implementation of inclusion. Teachers’ preparedness plays a significant role in the success of the implementation of inclusion as well as collaboration among the regular education and the ESE teacher. Inclusion is important because it is constructed on the principle that students with disabilities should be valued for their exceptional abilities and included as important members of the regular education classroom just as the regular education students. Inclusion enables these students to be educated with their peers in the least restrictive environment with instructional strategies such as cooperative learning and differentiation being used to deliver instruction. ItemA Descriptive Study of Florida Public School Elementary Highly Effective Reading Coaches' Perceptions on the Performance Evaluation for Coaches(Florida Southern College, 2017) Jurnigan, Lacey J.The purpose of this study is to explore Florida public school highly effective elementary coaches’ perceptions on how to best evaluate the effectiveness of the position of reading coach. The study attempts to answer the research questions- What are Florida elementary public school exemplary reading coaches’ perspectives on the performance evaluation process? What are the components that highly effective reading coaches believe should be included in the evaluative process? This study was comprised of interviews with 6 full time coaches who currently work as reading coaches at one elementary school with an increasing school grade and have been labeled highly effective by district staff. Coaches believe that collaboration should be included in the evaluative process through observations. Teacher input and feedback should be considered through an annual survey. Coaches should turn in a schedule in order to develop their skills in prioritizing their time. Danielson believes portfolios have extraordinary potential to present an authentic view of teaching and learning (Danielson, 2000). District reading coaches would be knowledgeable and credible to evaluate and support school based coaches. Good quality reading coaches can decrease the number of teachers who leave the profession. Negative implications include: that district coaches would be in an evaluative role, and developing an evaluation and training personnel to be evaluators would be time consuming and costly. Based on the research, my study fills the gaps by creating procedures for assessing all aspects of coaching and provides a trained evaluator to provide consistent judgments. ItemMeasuring the Impact of Reducing Principal Supervisors’ Leadership Portfolios in Large School Districts(Florida Southern College, 2020) Hepburn, HowardThe purpose of this study was to measure the impact of reducing principal supervisors’ spans of control or leadership portfolio sizes on schools’ academic outcomes. For this study, principal supervisors’ spans of control directly refer to the number of schools within their purview. Academic outcomes for this study included student performance on state’s annual mathematics and English Language Arts assessments. Data collected during the study included academic outcomes for three years prior to a reduction in spans of control and three years after the reduction in spans of control. The study focused on two large school districts and included academic outcomes from elementary schools and secondary schools with varying complexities of academic performance and poverty levels. Minimal research has been conducted about principal supervisors, their roles in supporting schools, and impact on academic outcomes (Corcoran, Casserly, Price-Baugh, Walston, & Simon, 2013; Goldring, Grissom, Rubin, Rogers, Neel, & Clark, 2018). The information from this study contributed to the knowledge base about principal supervisors’ impact on various types of schools and roles in supporting schools. The findings from this study suggest that an overall reduction of principal supervisors’ spans of control had minimal impact on academic outcomes. The findings also suggest that a reduction in elementary principal supervisors’ span of control had a greater impact than a reduction in secondary principal supervisors’ span of control. This research contributes to the knowledge base of principal supervisors’ spans of control and its relationship to school academic outcomes. ItemSocial Media and Social Adjustment: A Mixed Methods Study of College Learning Community Students(Florida Southern College, 2020-03) Fowler, Melanie RyanColleges have made significant improvements in enrollment rates over the past century. However, graduation rates in higher education have not improved as dramatically. Tinto’s interactional theory of student attrition points to students’ personal connections, or social adjustment, as an important factor related to their decisions to remain in college. Learning community programs are one strategy colleges use to increase students’ opportunities for these social connections. However, technology and social media have changed the ways in which people interact with one another. This quasi-experimental explanatory mixed method study explored if learning community students’ social adjustment was influenced by the use of social media within their learning community. Two cohorts of learning community students used the social media app GroupMe for their first semester in college and two cohorts did not. Faculty in the social media group received Ethical Communications Using Social Media in Education training prior to the start of the semester. The researcher compared students’ change in raw Social Adjustment to College Questionnaire (SACQ) scores (N = 44). The results indicate that students’ use of social media with their classmates and faculty does not decrease social adjustment. Additionally, there were no differences in social adjustment based on active, interactive, or responsive social media use (n = 26). An inductive analysis of the qualitative data (N = 35) revealed three themes (i.e., academic, non-academic, and prosocial) for the types of communication for which students use GroupMe. Lastly, the quantitative and qualitative data were integrated (n = 22). The results indicate that academic and prosocial communications via GroupMe may predict academic and personal-emotional adjustment, respectively. These findings suggest that social media, when used intentionally and ethically, may be beneficial to students and serve as a window into students’ experiences as well as encourage a scholarly environment. Furthermore, leaders of academic institutions should provide opportunities for educators to receive training on ethical communication using social media. Future research should continue to explore social media use based on the current study’s two-dimensional model, include direct measures of social media use, and investigate students’ experiences from a variety of academic disciplines. ItemQuantitative Effect of Family Structure on Collegiate Educational Attainment: Millennials, Generation Xers, Baby Boomers(Florida Southern College, 2021) Franson, Lindsey ThyeLow educational attainment of four-year college degrees in America is a concern attributed to specific factors such as the ratio of family size to family income, driven by a dilution of resources. Also having a negative effect on educational attainment are nontraditional family structures such as single, divorced, separated, same-sex, cohabiting, or remarried parents, which likewise links to the resource dilution theory. The purpose of this quantitative study was to test if family structure effected educational attainment across generations of students and link results to the resource dilution theory through a cross-sectional anonymous survey. This study focused on the changed definition of family structure over time in America and how this has affected educational attainment by surveying participants from the Millennial, Generation X, and Baby Boomer generations on their educational background and demographic characteristics. Participants (n = 209) were employees at a government agency located in Polk County, Florida, as this county had statistically low educational attainment than the nation and the state of Florida. The overall relationship between family structure and educational attainment was statistically analyzed by comparing results from each generation of participants through the use of logistic regression, chi-square of independence, and one-way between-groups analysis of variance (ANOVA). The results indicated that family size, family income, and family structure were not predictive of educational attainment, and that the greatest predictor, although not statistically significant, was racial/ethnic group. Additionally, data also did not find statistical significance between educational attainment and family structure on a generational level. Lastly, the results indicated statistical significance between the acceptance rates of family structures for Millennials and Baby Boomers, finding that Millennials were more accepting of nontraditional family structures. These findings suggest that racial/ethnic group is the greatest predictor of educational attainment and that the acceptance of family structures varies by generation. Future research should continue to pursue generational studies on the effect of family structure, in order to inform higher education institutions, high school counselors, and families about predictive barriers to educational attainment. ItemA Qualitative Study: Faculty Mothers and Identified Barriers Influencing Motivation: Experiencing Tenure in Higher Education(Florida Southern College, 2021-12) Jodon, Christa MaryA Qualitative Study on Faculty Mothers and Identified Barriers Influencing Motivation: Experiencing Tenure in Higher Education This phenomenological study addresses the influence of identified barriers on the motivation of working mothers on the tenure track in higher education. Specifically, this study explored the barriers of work-family culture, family-work balance, tenure clock policies, and reentry into the workplace after maternity leave. Barriers in the workplace for mothers on the tenure track at higher education institutions have been addressed in the literature (Larson et al., 2019; Mason & Goulden, 2004; Ward & Wolf-Wendel, 2016; Young, & Wright, 2001). This dissertation expands the research on motherhood to include Herzberg’s Two-Factor Theory on motivation and explore the motivational influences of identified barriers on mothers in the workplace. Three research questions were addressed: What factors are motivating to mothers pursuing tenure at a college or university? How do identified barriers influence maintenance factors in the workplace for mothers on the tenure track at a college or university? What influence has motherhood had on job motivation of mothers at a college or university? To best address the research questions, a phenomenological approach was used to gather rich descriptions of participant experiences, developing into four meaningful themes, and better understand this shared phenomenon (Creswell, 2018). Mothers detailed accounts of successes and challenges working on the tenure track at a college or university and the influence on their job motivation. Results from this research study include positive and negative experiences in the workplace with internal and external work factors which contribute to the motivation of each mother on the tenure track at a college or university. Four themes emerged from the data providing a rich understanding of the passion and performance of work-related tasks, comradery between colleagues and administrators, work climate factors, policy and benefits, and the balance of motherhood in terms of societal and institutional expectations, as each mother details their experience and the influence on job motivation. The concluding discussion on the workplace factors and motivational influence for mothers recommends policy considerations and administrative growth for higher education institutions in support of working mothers on the tenure track. Keywords: phenomenology, Fredrick Herzberg, motivation, tenure, higher education, mothers.