Date of Conferral



Doctor of Education (Ed.D.)




Lucian Szlizewski


Educators in a low socioeconomic urban school district have been concerned with the quality of professional development (PD) training provided by the district. This issue affects students, parents, and teachers. Guided by the educational philosophy of inquiry and community, which hold that empowering teachers with validated PD could improve teacher pedagogy and perhaps academic outcomes, this project study examined (a) what benefits a standardized professional development content validation program for the 21st century can provide and, (b) what standardized professional development content validation for the 21st century looks like. A sequential exploratory mixed-methods design was used on a purposive sample of 8 teachers, who participated in semistructured, open-ended interviews. A quantitative questionnaire collected perceptions of teachers at the school. Interview data were analyzed via an inductive analysis approach, and survey data were analyzed via descriptive statistics. The findings of this sequential mixed methods research revealed that the content of PD activities often lacked structured validation for teachers to master important skills in their content area, new skills were undiscovered, and their pedagogy was underdeveloped. The outcome was a 3-day workshop designed to provide PD content validation for educators in 1 district in Washington State. Positive social change implications include teachers who can engage students in an informed, confident, professional manner, and increased teacher satisfaction at the research site as well as in other rural schools. Implementing this workshop will provide useful knowledge for policymakers, educators, and other researchers who are looking for a clearer definition of PD content for the 21st century.