A study of the effect of a new teacher evaluation policy on the work of the high school principal

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Higgins, Chad A.
Backhus, DeWayne

Public schools are arguably the most diverse and challenging organizations to lead due to the vast number and type of stakeholders as well as the vulnerable clientele within. The continually rising demands of leading public schools is both rewarding and exhausting. The purpose of this study was to learn about how principals perceive their workload, additional requirements, and develop strategies to effectively implement and manage a new mandate. The study used a new teacher evaluation requirement as the new mandate that has the potential to increase the overall workload of the high school principal. The school principal, historically, has been the person tasked with taking on additional duties in order to allow teachers to spend their time focusing on classroom instruction. However, over time, an expectation of instructional leadership has been added to the principal's job requirements. This basic qualitative study was conducted across a diverse range of high schools across Kansas. Twelve high school principals were purposefully selected to represent schools of various sizes, differing current and previous evaluation models, and varied amounts of administrative experience. A conceptual framework consisting of contingency theory and open systems theory was used to examine the phenomenon. Interview data was coded and analyzed and, as themes emerged, three major findings were developed. First, principals recognized and expressed frustration in the difference between what they were expected to do and what they were able to do as a school leader. Second, a number of challenges prevented principals from implementing the new evaluation process with fidelity. Finally, principals shared the strategies they developed to address challenges and survive in their role. It was clear that if teacher evaluations are to be completed as intended, a systemic change in either the leadership structure of schools or in the framework of the evaluation model will have to take place.

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Thesis (Ed.D.)-- Wichita State University, College of Education, Dept. of Counseling, Educational Leadership, Education and School Psychology