Date of Conferral

2017

Degree

Doctor of Education (Ed.D.)

School

Education

Advisor

James G. Crosby

Abstract

New Jersey is 1 of 46 states to enroll in President Obama's Raceâ??toâ??theâ??Top Initiative. Participating states must adopt national standards, revise teacher evaluation procedures, and administer new state assessments. States are prioritizing quality professional development (PD) to prepare teachers for these rapid shifts. The overall problem studied was how high school teachers perceive the quality of PD in a high school in New Jersey. While substandard PD alone is not enough to lose tenure, it has recently become one of the evaluative measures for teacher performance according to a new tenure law signed in 2012 by Governor Chris Christie. Such added pressures could impact teachers' attitudes toward their professional growth. The study was based on Mezirow and Knowles' theory of adult learning as well as social constructivism. Several questions guided this study, such as how can teachers' perceptions shape the current PD program in the featured high school and if the current shifts in educational reform affect their perception. A case study was used as the research design, and interviews were employed as the main method of gathering qualitative data. Subsequently, 7 educators in various content-specialties were interviewed. Once the interviews were analyzed, transcribed, and coded, 5 significant themes emerged: (a) organized and relevant training, (b) in-class support, (c) continuity and constructive feedback, (d) accountability of transference, and (e) a culture of respectful collaboration and partnership. The implications for social change for this project would be that an effective PD program at the high school might improve the high school teachers' attitudes toward their own professional growth. Improved attitudes might motivate teachers to apply new knowledge, which will increase student performance, faculty morale, and community & family relations.

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