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- ItemThe Study of Evaluating Teacher Perspectives of Collective Efficacy in the High School Professional Learning Community(Florida Southern College, 2019)This mixed-methodology study explored collective efficacy within the high school Professional Learning Community (PLC) from teachers’ perspectives in southwest Florida. This text/data collection and analysis process revealed the teachers’ opinions expressed in their voices and interactions displayed within their PLCs. Furthermore, the implementation of the sociogram which Owens & Valesky (2015) defined as a graphic that illustrated the social interactions within a human group, and the Teacher Collaboration Assessment Rubric (Woodland, 2016) added to the depth of the quantitative and qualitative analysis. In addition to the personal interviews and field observations, both collection tools exposed the real situations that occurred in these PLCs. The results of this study divulged that the complex and challenging learning environments of high school campus has made it necessary for educators to find emotional support and knowledge within the talents and expertise of their PLC members. The conclusion of the study further discovered that the role of the administration had a great impact on the effectiveness or ineffectiveness of the high school PLC. Bring to light the powerful catalyst of a trusting school culture on the successful development of a proficient PLC.
- ItemA Case Study of Leadership and Disciplinary Practices Used by Secondary School Leaders to Support Equity for Black Male Students(Florida Southern College, 2017)The school-to-prison pipeline has plagued black males for many years. When school leaders apply disciplinary consequences such as in-school and out-of-school suspension, they inadvertently foster the push-out of black males by removing them from the classroom. When black males are removed from the classroom through suspension, the opportunities to excel in social and academic environments significantly decrease. The social construction of race in the context of school discipline supports how black males are stereotyped by the way they dress, their cultural background, and their everyday demeanor (Simson, 2014). Because of this stereotypical societal perception, black males are often generalized as being defiant, disrespectful, and dangerous. It is important for educational leaders to have an awareness of how black males are perceived in school and create opportunities for equitable disciplinary practices towards black male students. The purpose of this study was to explore leadership and disciplinary practices used by secondary school leaders to support equity for black male students. The researcher used qualitative research to conduct three instrumental case studies. Three high schools were used as part of this research: one suburban and two urban. The researcher interviewed and observed three high school principals and high school assistant principals. The exploratory questions that guided this research are listed below: 1. What factors, as perceived by school leaders, play a role in equitable school disciplinary practices for black male students? 2. What data sources do school leaders principals utilize that may influence disciplinary practices towards black male students? 3. What discretionary practices do school leaders use or take into consideration that support equity when handling a disciplinary incident that directly involves black male students? 4. How do school leaders develop and train faculty and staff members to reflect a shared vision to support equity for black male students? This study was designed based upon research done on the Critical Race Theory and the Racial Threat Theory. The racial threat theory suggests that minorities are perceived to present an economic, political, and criminal threat to the dominant social group. The Critical Race Theory suggests that racial stigmatization, stereotyping, and implicit biases are based on a long history of racial prejudice in the United States. Inequity in school discipline for black males has been an ongoing issue for several years. Qualitative research examined how school leaders support black males and maintain equity in leadership and disciplinary practices for black male students. Several components are considered to support equity, and those components range from building positive relationships to promoting parental involvement in education. The researcher offers policy implications on disciplinary practices and recommendations for further research for school leadership.
- ItemA Quantitative Study of P-12 Public, Rural Principals' Self-efficacy with Florida's Principal Leadership Standards(Florida Southern College, 2019)The purpose of this study was to determine what variables increase self-efficacy for public, rural P-12 principals in Florida’s principal leadership standards. The study’s intent was to also determine what sources principals acknowledged as their source of self-efficacy in each standard. For the context of this study, sources of self-efficacy were operationalized and ranked by respondents. Self-efficacy in each standard was determined by a continuous rating 0-10 in each of the skills established by the Florida Department of Education as comprising each of the nine standards evaluated in this study. The data was analyzed using non-parametric measures because of the skewness of the data as determined by the Kolmogorow-Smirnov test. Pearson’s, Mann-Whitney U, and Kruskal-Wallis were used to determine relationships of the variables studied with principals’ self-efficacy in each standard. The number of years a principal has served in that capacity had the greatest significance with having weak, positive correlations in four of the nine standards. Females had higher rates of self-efficacy in two of the nine standards, and race, ethnicity, school and school site had no relationship with self-efficacy in the nine standards. As a principal’s age increased, so too did self-efficacy in two standards. Years of teaching and years as an assistant principal had no relationship with a principal’s self-efficacy in the standards. The greatest source of self-efficacy, ranking number one, was performance outcomes, while verbal feedback was the second, and vicarious experiences ranked as third.
- ItemAn Inquiry into Student-Led Conferences: The Yellow Brick Road Preparing Students for Their Future(Florida Southern College, 2020)Student-led conferences are a transformational shift from traditional parent-teacher conferences to the student discussing their progress with their parent. Student-led conferences have occurred in a variety of educational settings for three decades. This one aspect of change has not occurred consistently, if at all. From preschool through college and career placement, students receive numerous assessments. What is lacking is a measurement of students’ understanding of their performance, progress over time, and making a connection to their long-term goals for their future. The purpose of this study was to examine the experiences of those using student-led conferences, to determine how student-led conferences may prepare students for future academics and careers, how teachers use student-led conferences to inform instruction, and how school leaders create a school culture that fosters student-led conferences. This dissertation presents findings from a qualitative phenomenology study conducted by interviewing participants in two schools; a public elementary Title I school with a poverty rate of over ninety percent in the northern United States, and a charter public secondary collegiate school with a poverty rate of thirty-three percent in the southern United States. The schools and participants represent diversity in demographic data from levels of poverty, gender, and race. Findings from this research indicate student-led conferences benefit many stakeholders and once the shift occurs from teacher-led to student-led conferences stakeholders prefer student-led conferences. Student-led conferences help students improve their communication skills. Teachers observe how students demonstrate their learning to their families to inform instruction. School leaders are instrumental in creating a school culture for student-led conferences.
- ItemA Qualitative Case Study of Assistive Technology Use in Inclusive Education Programs in Selected Central Florida Schools(Florida Southern College, 2019)The purpose of this collective case study is to explore the role in the integration of Assistive Technology, for teachers and leaders, in the inclusion of ESE students at selected Central Florida schools. This study attempts to answer the following research questions: • What knowledge and skills do leaders and teachers bring to the role in supporting the inclusive program? • How are leaders supporting the use of Assistive Technology to support effective inclusion? • How are teachers using Assistive Technology to support effective inclusion? • How do leaders and teachers address ethics of justice, critique, care, and professionalism in the successful use of Assistive Technology in inclusion? An in-depth collection of multiple sources of information, including interviews, documents and reports were collected and analyzed to develop a case description, case categories and case themes. Additional themes will be introduced by individual participant role. The implications of putting this research into practice could have a major impact on successful inclusive education programs. In addition, putting this research into practice could have a significant impact on the implementation of Assistive Technology in inclusive education programs. Lastly, implications of putting this research into practice could have direct impact on individual category roles identified in this study, for both leaders and teachers. The role of any school personnel is vitally important. The role of a special education school leader and teacher are even more vitally important. Whether it be elementary, middle, high, charter school, center school, private school, or an inclusion setting, the role of any individual involved with students with special needs can be challenging.