Date of Award

2014

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)

First Advisor

David Shellman

Abstract

In 2007, the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction included low-performing middle schools in its Turnaround Initiative. The purpose of this initiative was to offer support and guidance to designated low-performing middle schools across the state. This research study was a descriptive case study that involved a North Carolina priority middle school located in the north central part of the Piedmont, which served a diverse, low socioeconomic population. This research study investigated how the implementation of the North Carolina Turnaround Initiative impacted the school's culture and reviewed student achievement trends for the years 2007-2010, covering 3 school years.

This descriptive case study used a mixed-methods design and looked at the implementation of the required Framework for Action based on the Schools to Watch Academic Excellence Criteria, as required of North Carolina Turnaround Initiative for middle schools. Through descriptive statistics, it evaluated teacher perceptions of five constructs of the 2008 and 2010 North Carolina Teacher Working Conditions Surveys. Also, this study conducted focus groups and individual interviews to assess for any changes in the school culture and reviewed end-of-grade scores during 2007-2010 to ascertain if student achievement trends presented any change during the time the school was in the Turnaround Initiative.

The findings of this study indicated that the study school implemented its Framework for Action as required of middle schools that were involved in the North Carolina Turnaround Initiative, and there was both a positive change in school culture and an improvement evidenced in student achievement trends. The results of this study are consistent with previous research supporting the importance of a positive school culture to school improvement.

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