Date of Award

Winter 12-18-2013

Degree Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

EdD Education Leadership, Management and Policy

Department

Education Leadership, Management and Policy

Advisor

Daniel Gutmore, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Elaine Walker, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Phillip Williamson, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Kenneth May, Ed.D.

Keywords

school reconfiguration, parent trust, school reform, trust in schools

Abstract

The purpose of this study is to investigate the impact of the reconfiguration of three schools, on parent trust, as measured by parent perceptions in a small urban school district in New Jersey.

For this study an interview protocol was developed to elicit parent responses about the reconfigured schools’ ability to meet the middle school needs of their children and it’s impact on one component of the parent school relationship; trust.

The reader is provided with direct quotations from the interview participants which consisted of parents with mixed socio-economic and racial backgrounds from the reconfigured schools whose children attend or attended the schools since the fifth grade. The recorded interviews were subject to a systematic procedure of data analysis based on template analysis (Crabtree and Miller 1999). Template analysis focused the analysis on data relevant to the research questions and to make comparisons between the theoretical framework and the experiences of the participants as they described them.

Study findings suggested that the majority of the participants trusted the reconfigured schools. Emergent themes from this study described the schools’ principals as paramount to the development of a safe and trusting climate. Subsequently, distrust for the district high school sometimes trumped trust at the elementary level causing parents to look for available “out of district” options as early as 6th grade.

The results of this study could assist district administrators and stakeholders to make decisions based on research when planning, and implementing school redesign as an improvement strategy for the district.

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