Date of Conferral

1-1-2011

Degree

Doctor of Education (Ed.D.)

School

Education

Advisor

Derek Schroll

Abstract

Although all of the schools in the target school system adhere to a school improvement process, achievement scores remain mediocre or stagnant within the overseas school in Italy that serves children of United States armed service members. To address this problem, this study explored the target school's improvement process to discover how different stakeholder groups viewed that process. The aim of these investigations was to determine if different stakeholder groups' competing values hindered the school's improvement efforts. The conceptual framework of this study was Schein's organizational culture theory along with recent findings by Creemers and Kyriakides that show that school culture must be addressed in order for a school to improve. The research design was a single case study. Four different stakeholder groups were interviewed, two school improvement committee meetings were observed, and seven school-improvement related documents were examined. ATLASti qualitative analysis software was used following Hatch's typological analysis method. Two major themes, Teachers versus Technocrats and Pre-Fourth Way, revealed the importance of school culture. The recommended project, a Networked Learning Community (NLC), was designed to build a positive culture by promoting collective responsibility, empowering innovation, and building capacity. This study will promote positive social change by demonstrating how school improvement occurs and by providing a research-based plan for a NLC that can help shift the trajectory of the static moderate achievement levels in the case study school and the target school system.