Date of Conferral

2015

Degree

Doctor of Education (Ed.D.)

School

Education

Advisor

James P. Keen

Abstract

According to recent research, approximately 40-50% of teachers leave the profession within the first 5 years, creating a constant need for teachers. There is evidence that creating a supportive working environment through effective professional learning, drawing on adult learning theory, may reduce teacher turnover and increase student performance. This study explored teachers' perceptions about the professional development offerings available to them, how these perceptions influence their decisions to remain at the school, and what types of professional learning experiences teachers want to experience. Fourteen high school teachers participated in individual interviews and 2 focus groups, which were analyzed inductively for themes. Participants revealed that voice, choice, effective professional development, time, collaboration, school climate, and the district's professional development program were instrumental in creating a supportive environment. These results suggest that creating professional learning programs that incorporate the attributes of effective professional learning and encourage teacher participation are important at all points of the process. A professional learning plan project was designed in response to the study findings and recommendations. This study may lead to social change by providing the target school district and its building level administrators with a plan for professional learning based on teacher input, effective practices, and adult learning theory to use as a viable method to retain effective educators that, in turn, may result in improved student performance.