Faculty perceptions of, and participation in, a small school district's large -scale change

James A Melchor, University of Pennsylvania


The purpose of this study was to investigate the impact of faculty participation in the initial planning process for school district reconfiguration on faculty perceptions toward the reconfiguration as well as perceptions toward the planning process itself. The small, but growing, suburban school district where the study took place was in the initial planning stages for the reconfiguration of its elementary schools and middle school from K-5 and 6-8 buildings, respectively, to K-6 and 7-8 buildings. The reconfiguration would result in the redistricting of students within the existing 4 elementary schools as well as a new K-6 elementary school, and the redeployment of existing staff among the 6 affected buildings. To inform decision making regarding the special areas courses to be offered to 6th grade students in an elementary setting, the classroom structure to be utilized for their instruction, curricular issues, as well as additional issues of concern related to the reconfiguration, the school district established a Transition Steering Committee (TSC) consisting of administrators and faculty representatives from each impacted building. Through this study, the effect of faculty participation on perceptions toward the initial stages of reconfiguration planning as well as the reconfiguration itself was investigated. The impact of faculty TSC participation on acceptance of reconfiguration plans, faculty comfort levels regarding the planning process, and the perception by faculty of their role in the reconfiguration planning process, were assessed through observation of participant interactions during TSC meetings as well as data collection through administration of pre-, midpoint, and end-of-study surveys and interviews to TSC members as well as non-TSC faculty. Analysis of the data collected over the course of this 2-semester study identified concerns of representation, purpose, and communication among faculty TSC members, non-TSC faculty, and administrators, that in some cases remained constant over the course of the study and in others grew louder over time. Identification of the concerns resulted in suggestions for committee intervention for the TSC as well as recommendations for the future organization of similar participatory bodies in this school district and others.

Subject Area

School administration

Recommended Citation

Melchor, James A, "Faculty perceptions of, and participation in, a small school district's large -scale change" (2007). Dissertations available from ProQuest. AAI3270864.