Date of Award

2009

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy

School

School of Education

Program

Educational Leadership PhD

First Advisor

James A. Tucker

Second Advisor

Shirley A. Freed

Third Advisor

Gary Gifford

Abstract

Problem. Pressures created by consistently higher expectations of No Child Left Behind (NCLB) legislation are forcing school boards and professional educators to examine current practices and structures in an effort to reach Average Yearly Progress (AYP). The concept of a single-campus K-12 school may be a viable school structure that can provide an optimum learning climate while addressing academic needs to provide a well- rounded education for the children of America.

Purpose. The purpose of this study was to closely examine the school climate of a K-12 school that operated as a single entity for 20 years. The intent was to determine whether there were characteristics of the K-12 structure that were especially effective as perceived by individuals with firsthand knowledge of this structure.

Method. The method used in this research was a qualitative case study of a particular school in Pennsylvania. This school was operated as a single-campus K-12 school for many years, and was recently divided into the standard two-campus formats of elementary and secondary schools. Data for this study were obtained from three sources: interviews, a school survey, and an administrator‟s reflections about the case-study school. Four distinct groups were interviewed: graduates of the case-study school, teachers of the case-study school who graduated from organizational structures other than a K-12 single-campus school, parents, and community members. A principal who served the school for 15 years provided reflective observations. Finally, results of a school- culture survey administered to sixth-graders, the class of 2011, and 12th-graders, the class of 2005, were analyzed prior to the separation of the case-study school into separate units. Common themes were identified that described the climate of the case-study school.

Recommendations. The primary recommendation resulting from this study is that policy-makers (school boards, administrative groups, and communities) should examine the K-12 structure when they attempt to restructure their schools. As the literature review suggests, and this case study substantiates: the K-12 organizational structure provides a viable alternative to the current school organizational format, separate elementary, middle, and high schools. There are definite budgetary advantages provided by the K-12 organizational structure. In addition, students, especially those from distressed socio- economic backgrounds, perform academically as well as, or better than, students from current organizational structures. Further research should be conducted to examine the level of impact of those factors present in a K-12 organizational structure which yield student success.

Subject Area

School environment, Elementary school environment, High school environment, Education, Secondary, Education, Elementary

Share

COinS