High School Principals' Perceptions of Central Office Administrator Support For Planning, Coordinating, and Evaluating Teaching and the Curriculum
Lawson, Kimberly Kelleher
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This dissertation was designed to gain insight in the area of central office instructional leadership support from the perception of the high school principal. With increasing standards and high student performance expectations coupled with strict federal and state accountability measures, it is impossible for the high school principal to bear the sole responsibility of meeting the needs of their students, staff, and community without further support. Central office is a critical factor in school improvement. The primary aim of this study was to provide insight and a deep understanding how successful high school principals feel supported as the instructional leader specifically in the area of planning, coordinating, and evaluating teaching and the curriculum. The research was guided by a single overarching question: What are high school principal perceptions of support given to them by district central office administrators in the areas of planning, coordinating, and evaluating teaching and the curriculum? Qualitative research was selected for this study to allow for deep and thorough investigation of a small group of high school principals' beliefs regarding the central office administrator instructional leadership support. Interviews were conducted with six successful high school principals from three large school districts. The findings that emerged from the interviews were categorized into eight themes including: the school district focus; instructional leader toolbox; effective use of data; deployment of curriculum and instruction; quality professional development; collaboration; connections; and communication. A synthesis of participants' responses and prior research lead to three overall conclusions: setting high learning expectations; focusing on curriculum and instruction; and establishing district-campus partnerships. Campus principals need assistance in meeting the high standards and challenges they face today. District central office administrators can assist principals become the instructional leader all schools need. This study begins to fill the gap in the literature on how high school principals can be supported by district central office administrators in the areas of planning, coordinating, and evaluating of teaching and the curriculum.