The Role of Teacher Professional Development in Turnaround Principals' Approach to Raising Student Achievement




Terrell, Anthony S.

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Using a collective case study methodology, this study explored how high school turnaround principals operationalized their roles as school leaders. Specifically, the study sought to discover the extent to which turnaround principals leveraged the professional development of teachers as a mechanism for raising student achievement. The study also sought to capture the characteristics of the professional development programs these principals implemented. Interview data were collected from five turnaround principals and from teachers who served under their leadership using a semi-structured interview protocol. Interview data were coded and analyzed to determine the frequency with which principals and teachers referred to specific leadership approaches in relation to their own leadership practice, in the case of principal interviews, and the type of leadership they experienced while teaching in schools to which the principals had been appointed, in the case of teacher interviews. The frequency of references to specific professional development program characteristics from principals and teachers were used to determine professional development plan coherence. Student pass rates on standardized tests in math and reading were used to measure student achievement during each principal’s tenure. A cross-case analysis of the five cases examined in the study revealed key leadership considerations and professional development plan characteristics that appear associated with increased student achievement. Implications for the effectiveness of the turnaround leadership model and turnaround leadership practice are presented.



Educational leadership, Secondary education, Educational administration, Education leadership, Instructional Leadership, Raising Student Achievement, Teacher Professional Development, Transformational Leadership, Turnaround Leadership