Date of Conferral







Ronald Paige


Despite government policies and reform efforts, the adoption of improvement systems that include collaborative practices has failed to increase student achievement as measured on Ohio’s state report cards for public school districts that have implemented the Ohio Improvement Process. Systemic, collaborative practices hold promise, but a gap existed in understanding how members engaged in collaborative practices across the organization. The study's purpose was to qualitatively explore principals’, teachers’, and district-level administrative members’ behaviors, perceptions, and practices across one Ohio school district’s three organizational strata associated with teaching and learning to discover how collaborative practices influence continuous improvement. Gronn’s leadership distribution theory and Senge’s organizational learning theory served as the foundation for the conceptual framework that involved concepts such as systems thinking, shared vision, and team learning. A mini-ethnographic case study design was used to understand how organizational members participated in collaborative practices and how they perceived their organization's vision, collective reflection, and systems thinking. Collected data included personal interviews, observations, and artifacts from one Ohio traditional, suburban, public school district that implemented the Ohio Improvement Process. Inductive and deductive narrative analyses were used to identify literature-identified and emergent themes. Findings included the habits, habitats, and habitudes that support authentic collaboration and social change to advance K-12 continuous improvement efforts.