Date of Conferral



Doctor of Education (Ed.D.)




Donna Graham


This case study addressed the factors that enhanced or constrained the success of one Promise Academy at an elementary school in the northeastern United States. A large number of schools in an urban district have continuously failed to make adequate yearly progress (AYP). The study school implemented the Promise Academy model in September 2010, to dramatically improve and transform the learning environment in this underperforming school. Promise Academies, the district turnaround model, was implemented in 11 schools, all of which have failed to produce increases in student outcomes. The theoretical framework supporting this study was Michael Fullan's theory of educational change. Using a qualitative goals based program evaluation, the research questions explored the stakeholders' perspectives on the implementation of one Promise Academy. For this qualitative study, interview data were collected and analyzed by using open coding and analytical coding. The common themes identified helped to examine and understand the factors that participants' reported as having constrained and enhanced the implementation of the Promise Academy model and student achievement. The key stakeholders in this case study included 10 teachers, 3 parents and 2 administrators. The results included in the evaluation report reflected that the implementation of the Promise Academy had a positive impact on student learning during the first 2 years of the model, however, this was followed by a decline in student achievement during the third year and beyond. The recommendations included a continued plan of action throughout the intended duration of the reform model. Positive school turnaround can lead to higher graduation rates which can positively affect the quality of the community, which will ultimately lead to positive social change.