Examining District Administrators’ Professional Development Decision-Making Processes Concerning New Special Education Teachers
Date of Award
Doctor of Education
Special Education and Literacy Studies
Dr. Elizabeth Whitten
Dr. Luchara Wallace, Ph.D.
Dr. Brett Geier
Professional development, decision-making, new special education teacher, special education teacher, district administrator, professional learning
New special education teachers face an abundance of challenges from day one that directly correlate to student outcomes (i.e. classroom management, instruction, curriculum, school culture and operations, test preparation and administration, state standards, parent relations, and interactions with other teachers). District administrators, (i.e. superintendents, assistant superintendents, curriculum and instruction directors, directors of student services, special education directors, and special education supervisors) play an important role in determining how to best use their districts' professional development time and resources to support new special education teachers as they work to continually improve student outcomes. Therefore, professional development should be a purposeful endeavor. To better understand this issue, this study explored the decision-making process of district administrators regarding three key aspects of professional development: planning, implementation, and evaluation. To gather data, district administrators who play a role in professional development decision-making, in Michigan’s top 25 traditional public-school districts, were surveyed. Five of the surveyed administrators were interviewed. Furthermore, district and state guiding documents were selected and analyzed. Descriptive survey data, transcribed interviews, and selected documents were analyzed. Through coding, theming, and triangulation, the results were then compared for points of convergence and divergence. Themes discovered in the data include: the impact of policy on decision-making, the impact of accountability on decision-making, effective methods currently used, barriers to or supports for new teacher professional development, and effective evaluation practices regarding professional development. These findings are useful for identifying and understanding current practices and strategies for optimal planning, implementation, and evaluation of professional development for new special education teachers.
Bacalia, Sarah J., "Examining District Administrators’ Professional Development Decision-Making Processes Concerning New Special Education Teachers" (2020). Dissertations. 3585.