Date of Award

5-2016

Degree Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy

Major

Education

Major Professor

Pamela A. Angelle

Committee Members

Kerry Robinson, Mary Lynne Derrington, JoAnn Cady

Abstract

Common Core State Standards (CCSS), an initiative for standardizing learning in a more in-depth, analytical way, have been adopted by 45 states, Washington, D.C., and four United States Territories. When implementing such changes, rural schools face their own unique challenges, where principals and administrators play an important role in the successful culture of change. The purpose of this study was to examine how the principals and district-level administrators in Mountain View School District, an East Tennessee rural school district, supported teachers during the transition to CCSS. In this qualitative study, three principals, two assistant principals, and three district-level administrators were interviewed and provided artifacts in this multi-site exploratory study. Findings indicated that resource limitations forced Mountain View School District to rely heavily on generic training and technological resources provided by the state to support their teachers during the transition to CCSS. Principals and district-level administrators provided support in the forms of communication and collaboration. The findings from this study have implications for education policy makers, district-level administrators, and principals. Policy makers have insight into expectations of implementation and training compared to the reality of implementation and training; district-level administrators have insight into gaps between state training and district implementation, especially for new administrators; and principals have insight into the lack of parent communication. Recommendations include increasing variety in state training, a more realistic implementation timeline, and funding from the state; providing a mentoring program for new administrators and more frequent training within districts; and providing more support for parents and students through communication from principals.

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