The Simultaneous Implementation of Two School Improvement Models in a Rural Southwest Virginia School System

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Virginia Tech

The purpose of the study was to describe the process of simultaneous implementation of the Indistar model of school improvement and the University of Virginia School Turnaround model of school improvement and how those models influenced school improvement practices in a rural Southwest Virginia school system. Best practices from each of the school improvement models were identified and adopted, which led to the establishment of a hybrid model of school improvement. The study documents how and why the practices were adopted and used in the hybrid model.

The paper includes a literature review which examines the evolution of school improvement in the U.S. The description of the historical development of school reform sets the context for in-depth reviews of five current research studies. The studies selected for review, as well as the research study, focus on the role of the central office in school improvement. A synthesis of the studies' findings provided evidence that further research was needed.

Data sources for the study include an individual interview of the superintendent, focus group interviews of central office administration and school leadership teams, archival records, and documents. The focus group interviews were conducted to describe the process of implementation of the two school improvement models and to identify school improvement practices that were adopted by the division.

This study identifies the practices that were adopted and implemented throughout the rural Southwest Virginia school system. Best practices that are used in the hybrid model of school improvement are Professional Learning Communities, acceleration teams, 90-day school improvement plans, and a tiered remediation program. Barriers to implementation of school improvement were time, the initial lack of support in the Indistar model, involvement, and the understanding of data and data analysis. The themes of professional development, external and internal supports, and sustainability of school improvement are discussed in Chapter 5. Recommendations for practice and future research are presented.

school turnaround, school improvement, strategies for school improvement, remediation, school improvement plan