Keywords

smaller learning communities, high school reform, implementation, accountability, autonomy, identity, instructional focus, personalization

Abstract

The issue of high school reform has received national attention during the first part of the 21st century. One idea brought forth in this restructuring effort has been the desire to create high schools with smaller student populations. However, in an era of tight budgets, where resources are not always available to build more schools, educators have explored the possibility of dividing existing large high schools into smaller units. This restructuring approach has many titles, but is frequently referred to as a Smaller Learning Community (SLC). Since 2000, the federal government has pledged $245 million to schools willing to create SLCs. This research has studied the schools in Florida that have received the federal implementation grant and have established SLCs. The 39 Florida high schools that were awarded the federal grant in 2000, 2001, and 2002 served as the population for this study. Twenty schools in the population completed a 45-item survey which measured implementation of five key SLC elements:(a) accountability, (b) autonomy, (c) identity, (d) instructional focus, and (e) personalization. Based on the survey results, an implementation score was determined for each participating school. Based on 5-point Likert scale (with a not applicable option) for the 35 questions that pertained to the five elements, a total score of 175 was the maximum amount possible. Individual responding school scores ranged from 104.7 - 157.1. The overall implementation score was also correlated with selected school indicators. Survey respondents also provided rationale for the implementation of SLCs and perceived benefits to students, teachers, and parents. In general, the survey respondents agreed that SLCs at their schools addressed the five key elements. The implementation scores and teacher comments, however, provided evidence that the levels of implementation of SLCs across the state varied in terms of the elements. Suggestions for future research and educational practices are provided

Notes

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Graduation Date

2005

Semester

Spring

Advisor

Bozeman, William

Degree

Doctor of Education (Ed.D.)

College

College of Education

Department

Educational Research, Technology and Leadership

Degree Program

Educational Leadership

Format

application/pdf

Identifier

CFE0000370

URL

http://purl.fcla.edu/fcla/etd/CFE0000370

Language

English

Release Date

May 2005

Length of Campus-only Access

None

Access Status

Doctoral Dissertation (Open Access)

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