Date of Conferral



Doctor of Education (Ed.D.)




Dr. Jerita Whaley


Within a Northeast urban school, there is little empirical evidence to indicate the effectiveness of the district professional development (PD) program. Elementary teachers at the study site reported that they encountered problems accessing professional development programs applicable to their needs. The purpose of this case study was to examine teacher perceptions of district PD programs and to discover teacher perceptions of PD best practices. Knowles' adult learning theory provided a frame of reference for this study. The research questions assessed teachers' perceptions of the format, content, and process of professional development programs and examined how teachers applied new knowledge, concepts, and skills offered in professional development training. A case study design was used to gather focus group data from a critical case sample of 6 elementary teachers who were participating in PD training or who had participated in PD within the past 3 years. Emergent themes were identified from the data. Findings were developed and validated with member checking. The findings indicated that these 6 teachers desired more involvement in planning relevant PD, greater time allocated to collaborative activities, and more grade-level customized programming. Implications for positive social change include improved district professional development opportunities that align with best teaching practices for effective student instruction and increased student achievement.