• It's All About Relationships: An Exploration Of A High School Advisory Program

      Caldwell Templeton, Kyra Monet
      High school is a pivotal time in the development of an adolescent (Anfara & Caskey, 2014; Browne, 2014). Because of the varied experiences that high school students endure, in and outside of school, the development of a stable school community is important. Healthy student/adult relationships can be fostered through an effective advisory program; thus cultivating a community of support and mentorship. This qualitative case study explored the inception and evolution of the advisory program at a Metro Atlanta charter high school. As the foundation for the school, the advisory program has been perceived to be critical to its success. Furthermore, it is embedded in the school’s genetic makeup. The study explored the history and transformation of homeroom and advisory programs in education. Throughout the investigation, past and current programs were assessed. The site of study was examined, using a logic model program evaluation strategy, in order to provide a basis for the implementation of the program and its impact on students, teachers, and administrators. The state of the program was reviewed; the perspectives and experiences of participants were explored in order to reveal if lasting relationships were developed through the advisory program. Further, through the lens of the Communities of Practice Theory, the study explored if true community was established as a result of the advisory program. In order to assist in the examination of the development and impact of student-teacher relationships, a high school advisory program was investigated. Perspectives and overall feedback regarding the development and maintenance of an advisory community from teachers and students was collected through interviews, focus groups, observations, and a survey for data triangulation. Using an interpretive lens, this qualitative case study revealed that if strong relationships exist as a result of the effective execution of an advisory program, alignment with intent and practice must occur. Through the development of an ideal logic model, the advisory program could be replicated and implemented in all high schools with the goal of offering adult support to adolescents during the critical period of social and emotional development that occurs throughout one’s matriculation in high school.
    • It's Not My Problem: A Quantitative Examination Of Culturally Relevant Word Problems In Fourth Grade Mathematics

      Twyman, Cheryl Petrice
      This quasi-experiment using a pretest/posttest with control design with randomization investigated the effects of using culturally relevant word problems in fourth grade mathematics. Study participants were African American students who attended an elementary public school in a large urban Georgia school district. The student population consisted of 48% males and 52% girls, where 85% of the students participated in the free/reduced meal program. Through randomization, 42 students comprised the control group and 61 students comprised the experimental group. Initial pretest/posttest data results yielded a left range restriction and, as a result, the Star 360 assessment data were used for the multiple regression analysis. After six weeks of using culturally relevant word problems, the analysis indicated no statistically significant difference (p = .10; B = -.20) with the treatment group. The examination of two additional variables, gender and participation in the free/reduced meal program, revealed a positive statistically significant difference (p = .01; B = .31) for the females in the experimental group and a negative statistically significant difference (p = .03; B = -.36) for all of the participants in the free/reduced meal program. Despite the study’s overall large effect size (R² =. 66), various limitations warrant additional research on the topic of culturally relevant word problems in mathematics.
    • Job Expectancy, Burnout, and Departure: Predictors of High School Principal Turnover

      Ross, Tara; Tift College of Education
      Among the many new educational challenges resulting from COVID-19 and existing learning deficits of students in underserved communities, districts and policymakers must address the school disruption caused by constant principal turnover. Extensive empirical studies on principal turnover continually show that transiting leaders impact staff and students at similar rates each year, further widening the gaps in performance for select subgroups of students and the careers of these leaders. The purpose of this study was to examine the causes of principal turnover in relation to those who stay and leave public education after one and three years with a focus on high school principals from a large metropolitan district in a southwestern region of the United States. The researcher aggregated district and school-level certified personnel data of 339 from approximately 2000 school principals through 2017-2020. The data were compiled into two categories: (a) staying on or leaving the job after one year and (b) staying on the job or leaving after three years. Using binomial logistic regression design, the researcher determined the extent that principals leave their schools based on individual and collective influences in the profession. The construct of job embeddedness was used to define the voluntary principal turnover behaviors for multiple years. The analysis showed a decrease in the principals who stayed at the same school from one to three years, with key variables such as the principal’s age, gender, and subordinate leaders predicting their intent to remain with the institution. The impact takes three to five years to improve the school or return student performance to a certain level. Furthering students’ educational path requires the district and school leaders to develop systematic and supportive processes to decrease principal turnover rate, particularly with minority student populations and inexperienced school leaders. Preventing and predicting involuntary principal turnover is necessary to increase and sustain the achievement and school climates conducive for favorable working and learning conditions. Recommendations included systematic efforts for national, state, and district retention initiatives, ongoing professional development on school improvement cycles, coaching for principals beyond their first two years, and greater autonomy at the school level.
    • John Leadly Dagg

      Straton, Hillyer Hawthorne
    • Journey To Compliance: Institutional Response To The 2011 Dear Colleague Letter To Address Campus Sexual Violence

      Nunn, Melissa Marie
      The U.S. Department of Education Office for Civil Rights released the April 4, 2011 Dear Colleague Letter (DCL), a significant guidance document, to address student on-student sexual harassment and sexual violence. Sexual violence continues to be a problem facing colleges and universities, and institutions that do not respond appropriately to reports can result in severe outcomes for reporting parties, responding parties, and institutions. The purpose of this study was to examine institutional compliance and response to student-on student sexual violence using the regulations set forth by the April 4, 2011 Dear Colleague Letter. A sequential, mixed-methods design guided the researcher’s data collection and analysis process. The participants, Title IX coordinators at colleges and universities in the United States, were solicited utilizing a sequential QUAN→qual sampling technique. Data were collected using an online self assessment tool, semistructured, open-ended phone interviews, and a review of relevant documents. The researcher reviewed the findings of this study utilizing the lens of Strange and Banning’s (2001) Environmental Theory. Four deductive themes were derived from the 2011 Dear Colleague Letter: proactive efforts (noneducational), victim support services, educational measures and services, and incident investigation and judicial proceedings. An additional five themes emerged from the data used to describe Title IX coordinator experiences implementing Title IX on campus: limited resources, relationship with campus partners, challenges implementing Title IX training and regulations, and limited support for Title IX coordinator position. The researcher concluded the Title IX coordinators at the participating institutions appeared to have put forth a good faith effort to implement policies and procedures, support services, and training and education initiatives to ensure safe campus environments with reduced incidents of sexual violence. Recommendations for further study included examine the perceptions of students to assess their perceptions of institutional efforts related to sexual violence response on their campus; explore the experiences of other individuals responsible for responding to sexual violence on campus; and examine if the rescinsion of the 2011 DCL and the 2014 Questions and Answers on Title IX and Sexual Violence has impacted continued efforts at the participating institutions.
    • Labels Are For Soup Cans: A Phenomenoglogical Study Of Elementary Principals' Experience With Ascribed School Status Under Georgia's Consequential Accountability System

      Brock, Dana Thomas
      The purpose of this phenomenological study was to explore the lived experiences of principals working in socioeconomically disadvantaged schools labeled as failing under the pressures and sanctions of test-based accountability. In this era of increasing accountability, strong leadership is crucial to improving the academic achievement in schools labeled as failing. Principals serving disadvantaged student populations in Title I schools are more likely to be penalized for failing to make adequate progress. This study was situated within the specific context of Title I schools labeled as failing. The need exists to understand the experience of negative reform mechanism and its meaning from the perspective of principals. Existing studies do not illuminate the perspective of school leaders. This study utilized an interpretative phenomenological analysis framework to understand how school leaders make sense of their ascribed school labels and consequential accountability mechanisms in the context of Title I schools. The findings from this study provided a deeper understanding of principals’ experiences and beliefs about their schools’ ascribed label. Findings were reported as four themes: responding to the school’s unique needs, feelings of stigmatization, the confluence of forces beyond the school’s control, and questioning fairness in comparisons. This study sought to draw attention to consequential accountability mechanisms as a matter of social justice. Findings of this study suggest that policymakers should focus on the implications of negative labels and structural inequalities in underperforming schools.
    • Leading Large Without Losing Soul: Equipping Senior Pastors Of Large Congregations To Discover, Nurture, And Lead From The True Self

      King, Shaun Michael
      In the context of large church leadership, the success of a congregation is often associated with the public persona of its senior pastor. The result is a very real temptation on the part of the senior pastor to place a high premium on this public persona and leverage the better part of his or her energies in cultivating and preserving it at all costs. Gone unexamined or unattended, this unique dynamic makes it challenging for senior pastors of large congregations to maintain true integrity and lead from a position of authentic selfhood. In a context that often enables narcissistic tendencies of ego-preservation and promotion, it was the primary goal of this project to discover what deliberate practices of personal soul-care would empower and equip senior pastors of large congregations to continually lead from a position of authentic selfhood. To accomplish this task, traits were first identified that were characteristic of large church pastors who led from the true self. Then, five senior pastors of large congregations from across the U.S. were selected and interviewed in one-on-one, guided interviews, to determine what deliberate behaviors and practices aided them in their own personal soul care. The resulting data revealed seven themes that emerged as common among all five pastors. The themes were: A Way of Life, Sabbath-keeping, Personal Accountability and Community, Spiritual Practices, Physical Exercise, Calendar-management, and Staff Community. After introducing the background problem in detail, this thesis traces the theological, biblical, and historical foundations of this quest for authentic selfhood. It then details the particular challenges to this quest, as found within the context of large church leadership. The seven themes that emerged from the project are then described in detail. Finally, the thesis concludes with four practical pathways for future development and work. These pathways are: future writing projects, podcasts, retreats, and staff development.
    • Learning To Dialogue And Discern: Conversations That Matter In The Local Church

      Grammer, Libby Mae
      “How now shall we live?�? “What is right under these circumstances?�? “What has character and morality to do with decision-making and ethical living for Christians?�? These questions and many more feel harder and harder to address in a culture so politicized and polarized that the very consideration of ethical conversation evokes considerable anxiety in individuals and communities. Learning how to navigate the dual enterprises of exploring politicized moral issues in a church community setting and fundamentally changing how a group dialogues requires deep examination of Christian morality, the ethical methodologies to assess it and make moral recommendations in group settings, and the group dynamics and dialogue / discernment models. With the deep social and political divide in the United States today, politically diverse churches like River Road Church, Baptist in Richmond, Virginia have often become silent on issues of moral importance that have become politicized, or have even split along secular political party lines, instead of seeking to find a Christian response to contemporary political and social issues through productive dialogue. This project sought to create a covenantal ethical discerning dialogue that produces a way of having a productive dialogue within church leadership that is theologically rich, intellectually serious, genuinely illuminating about moral issues, and that leaves the community intact. Ultimately, the project results seemed to indicate that such a model for discerning dialogue was necessary and helpful for church leaders, while also providing some insight to needed changes to the dialogue process.