Date of Conferral

2017

Degree

Doctor of Education (Ed.D.)

School

Education

Advisor

Patricia Anderson

Abstract

An initiative to coordinate early learning programs across a major city in the Midwestern United States was undertaken in 2013. The opinions of teachers regarding effects on instruction and children were not included in the development and implementation of the program. This omission is important because multiple scholars have pointed to the benefits and need of including stakeholders' perspectives in program development. The purpose of this study was to explore preschool teachers' experiences and perspectives of this initiative using a qualitative bounded instrumental case study design. Fullan's theory of educational change served as the framework of this study. Nine preschool teachers, who worked full-time in the Head Start-RTL initiative, volunteered to participate in individual semistructured interviews. Data were analyzed using open coding and thematic analysis. The findings revealed 3 themes: programs and services, initiative administration and processes, and initiative resources. Within each theme, participants identified benefits, challenges, and ideas for improvement, including increased administrative and financial support, streamlined processes, and freedom to individualize curriculum to meet the needs of a diverse student body. It is recommended that teachers' perspectives and their experiences with this initiative be used in planning and implementing changes needed to improve the current program. These endeavors by school district personnel may contribute to positive social change by reducing duplicated administration demands on preschool teachers, who, in turn, could devote more time to instruction and interaction with young children, resulting in improved quality of preschool services and positive outcomes for preschool children and their families.