Date of Award

4-23-2014

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Education (Ded)

Department

Professional Studies in Education

First Advisor

Cathy Kaufman, Ph.D.

Second Advisor

Joseph Marcoline, D.Ed.

Third Advisor

Valeri Helterbran, Ed.D.

Fourth Advisor

Joseph Werlinich, M.Ed.

Abstract

The purpose of this qualitative study was to examine the perceptions of the elementary principals' and elementary teachers' experiences utilizing the Western Pennsylvania Principal's Academy Walkthrough Observation Tool as a meaningful tool for professional growth for during the years 2011 to 2013. The researcher utilized Charlotte Danielson's rubric on Growing and Developing Professionally to measure the connection between the Walkthrough Observation Tool and the lived experiences of elementary teachers. The researcher contacted the Directors of the Western Pennsylvania Principal's Academy to determine which schools were utilizing the Western Pennsylvania Principals Academy Walkthrough Tool with fidelity. The experts served as gatekeepers in the selection of the five public elementary schools that participated in this study. Elementary schools selected all made Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) in third grade reading and math, utilized the Walkthrough Observation Tool from the Western Pennsylvania Principal's Academy for at least three years, and were all located in the suburbs of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. The researcher used semi-structured interview questions to gather data on the professional growth of elementary teachers. All of the participant's interviews were transcribed and member checked to assure accuracy. Finally, the researcher used content analysis to identify consensus, supported, and individual themes. This research study affirmed the relationship between the Walkthrough Observation Tool of the Western Pennsylvania Principal's Academy and the professional growth of elementary teacher. The results of this study indicated the Walkthrough Observation Tool provided a framework for elementary teachers to enhance knowledge, to seek out feedback from colleagues, and to participate actively in assisting other educators or contribute to the profession.

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