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    The Impact Of Auxiliary Support Systems In Improving Learner Outcomes In An Online School: A Qualitative Case Study
    (2022-11-09) White, Katie Joann; Smith, Julia; Hess, Amanda; Flumerfelt, Shannon
    The purpose of this study was to examine the impact of auxiliary support systems in improving learner outcomes through a case study of one virtual school in a midwestern state. Mentor and teaching practices were researched and analyzed using the Community of Inquiry (CoI) theoretical framework. The research design was an evaluative case study where data were gathered from online teachers, mentors, and academic interventionists. The research sought to answer the questions, "Were online students more successful when they have an assigned mentor with whom to work?" and "How might we improve how we prepare our mentors (e.g. training, support, and professional development) to better serve our students?" The practices and beliefs of two mentors, one academic interventionist, one special needs teacher, and four online teachers were studied using interviews, observations, and document analysis. I used the CoI's three presences: social, cognitive, and teaching/mentor presence to examine mentors, interventionists, and online teachers in one K-12 public school district over the course of one semester. The location I selected has legislation that mandates that there is an assigned mentor for every student enrolled in an online class. Each staff member was asked to fill out surveys to gather pre and post semester data and participated in a sequence of interviews based on that information. The findings from the study showed causal relationships between students' need for skilled and effective mentors and success in their online classes. They provided advising tools and resources, offered daily support and encouragement, helped troubleshoot technology issues, motivated frustrated students, and helped them stay organized. However, while mentors were assigned to online students as required by legislature, each of the participants had been "voluntold" of their mentoring roles and were left to figure it out on their own. The lack of time to complete their normal job duties along with mentoring students resulted in negative feelings. As a result, there were inconsistencies as to the effectiveness of the mentors. Further research is needed to identify practices of K-12 fully online teachers for all subject areas and to verify the applicability of the K-12 Community of Inquiry framework.
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    Understanding The Role Of Curriculum Pacing In Relation To At-Risk Student Locus Of Control
    (2022-11-16) Welsing, Percy Reginald; Smith, Julia; Solomonson, William; Abbott, Christine
    The purpose of the study was to explore the possibility of mitigating school drop out of at-risk students by self-pacing of curriculum in an alternative institution. To accomplish this goal, I interviewed seven students and five staff members comprising three teachers and two administrators, a total of twelve interviewees to solicit their opinions on the issues at hand. Purposeful sampling was used to identify participants who were "information rich" to conduct my interviews. I used a qualitative case study to research the causes of failure of at-risk students and the solutions to at-risk student school dropout. Participants were asked to tell the impact of self-pacing on students' locus of control, and if there was any relationship between at-risk students' use of self-pacing and their experience of test-taking. They were also to explain if there was any relationship between at-risk student self-pacing and their feelings about school dropout. The responses revealed five themes; the barriers to academic success which included childbearing/nursing mothers, law enforcement issues, behavioral issues, homelessness, and jobs/employment. Another theme that emerged was that the students saw the alternative school as the last opportunity for them to succeed. That alternative schools offer many options and levels of support and there is variability of success in alternative schools. The final theme was what I called intervention synergism, meaning that when several options or treatments are prescribed, there is a likelihood that one or two of the options would be able to address the issues confronting the students at-risk.
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    The Importance Of Legislative Mandates In The Implementation Of Restorative Practices
    (2022-11-14) Gomez, Kathryn Elaine; Smith, Julia; Kennedy, Sheryl Y; Klein, Suzanne
    This dissertation research answered the following question:Is there a significant correlation between legal mandates to implement restorative practices and a reduction in suspensions in states with legal mandates compared to states without legal mandates? To answer this question, I used data available from the Civil Right DataCollection and The School Survey on Crime and Safety. A quantitative approach was taken to evaluate data using a repeated measures model in the CDC data and a crosstabulation for the SSOCS data. The findings indicate that states with mandated restorative practices have a higher reported use of restorative practices than states without a mandate. Additionally, the findings show that in states with a restorative practices mandate, suspensions decreased at a greater rate than in states without the mandate. Finally, the research showed that states with restorative practices mandates had higher rates of suspensions before the legal mandates were adopted than states that do not have a restorative practices mandate.
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    Educational Leadership In Independent Schools
    (2022-10-18) Moen, Tracy Elizabeth; Smith, Julia; Klein, C. Suzanne; Abbott, Christine
    Independent schools provide a unique environment from other educational systems. By circumventing state and federal funding, they are able to cultivate autonomy for curriculum choices, management decisions, and independence not known in public schools. The educational leaders of independent schools may require different leadership skills than other school settings due to these additional possibilities and responsibilities. Through a phenomenological lens, the study uncovered skills utilized by four experienced independent school heads. The study used full-range leadership theory to further interpret the lived experiences of the school heads. The purpose of the inquiry is two-fold. First, according to the review of literature, most independent school leaders felt unprepared to lead when they accepted their first leadership position. Graduate level leadership programs tend to prepare leaders for the majority of positions in public schools. The preparation of independent school leaders could impact the sustainability of these schools. The second reason for the inquiry is the lack of research that has taken place in independent school leadership. This study uses qualitative methods of interviews to gain a rich description through a phenomenological lens of the journey of an independent school leader as well as insight into the skills needed to lead an independent school. Emerging themes such as constancy of purpose, relational approach, personality, and decision making that drove the ability to perform many of the transformational leadership skills. Keywords: Full-range leadership, transformational leadership, independent schools, head of school, constancy of purpose, relational approach, educational leadership, experienced school leadership
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    The Perspectives Of El Parents On The Family-School Partnership During Remote Learning
    (2022-08-04) Aljohani, Ahmed; Klein, Suzanne; Smith, Julia; Middlekauff, Elaine
    COVID-19 impacted the entire world, including the partnership between English learners’ (EL) families and schools. The purpose of the study was to analyze and evaluate the impact of remote learning on EL families and how family-school partnerships were enabled or disabled in the remote learning environment. In this study a questionnaire was distributed to EL parents via social-media, 80 of which met the criteria and completed the survey. An embedded, mixed method, research design was used. SPSS was used to evaluate the quantitative data using descriptive statistics, one-way ANOVAs, and t-tests. Blending, including deductive and inductive coding, was used to evaluate the qualitative data. Findings indicated communication and helping students learn at home had the highest average of means, followed by Parenting, Volunteering, and Decision-Making. The findings also indicated that there was no significant statistical difference in the survey responses for parent’s education, employment status, years living in the United States, English language level, and EL parent meeting attendance in relation to family-school partnerships during remote learning. Additional findings revealed technology assistance, non-technical supports, the role of parents, and teaching children responsibility helped EL parents feel supported in their efforts to be engaged. Furthermore, technology issues, instructional issues, culture and language barriers, socioemotional issues, and parental challenges were identified as perceived challenges reported by EL families in supporting their children to learn at home while engaged in remote learning. Finally, findings indicated schools’ provision of basic needs, technical and instructional support, communication, and planning assistance were ways parents felt most supported in their partnership with their children’s school amidst COVID-19. These findings provide valuable insight to policy-makers, administrators, Department of Education and educators, as they can use the information to understand the resources EL families need to effectively partner with their children’s school during times of remote learning. This information can provide additional insight so that curriculum developers in higher education and continuing education can review and refine curriculum to address any areas in which additional support may be needed to ensure that home school partnerships with EL families maximize learning opportunities for EL students.
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    A Case Study Of The Role Of Universal Design For Learning In Impacting Teacher Professional Development And Instructional Design
    (2022-05-06) Wozniak, Carrie Marie; Johnson, Eileen; Martin, Robert; Flummerfelt, Shannon
    Educators continue to try to address the many different learning styles, disabilities, and intelligences of the students who enter their classroom. With each new year, the ask of our teachers becomes greater. Consequently, designing instruction from the start that addresses the many differences found in a classroom is a challenge for educators. Therefore, professional development centered around creating a flexible learning environment that reaches many types of learners has become the new expectation. The purpose of this mixed method case study was to understand the impact of professional development using the Universal Design for Learning framework on changing teacher practices, and thereby increasing perceived student engagement at three local middle schools.The findings of this study were analyzed through the lens of four data sources: Teacher Focus Groups, Teacher Lesson Plans, Teacher Formative Assessments - Understanding the Role of Lesson Design, and the Technology Usage Perception Survey. My study revealed the challenges that teachers had with identifying students' unique learning needs and shows the importance of schools having a systemic learning framework. Teachers understood the importance of student engagement and good instructional design; however, designing the lessons to create a learner-centered classroom required them to completely rethink their lesson design process. This study concludes with recommendations for redesigning professional development, job embedded coaching, and systemic implementation of the UDL framework within a school district.
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    Saudi Parents' Perspective On The Role Of Social Media Platforms In Promoting Parenting Knowledge
    (2022-07-21) Alahmadi, Rima Abdulilah D; Wakabayashi, Tomoko; Oden, Sherri; Bhargava, Ambika; Smith, Julia
    The purpose of this research was to assess social media, and specifically a podcast entitled Consultation with Sarah, as a source for parents obtaining knowledge about childrenÕs development, and to consider the factors that influence the use of social media to acquire knowledge on parenting in Saudi Arabia. The questions inquired about sources of information Saudi parents perceive as beneficial for learning about parenting, and which factors, such as gender, age, number of children, marital status, education, and employment status, are related to knowledge seeking behaviors. The research questions also sought to understand if there was a difference reported by Saudi parents who use social media for parenting knowledge before the COVID-19 pandemic. The Using Social Media for Parental Knowledge Survey was distributed to 353 Saudi parents. A mixed method survey design was used, as the survey included both multiple choice and open-ended questions. SPSS was used for quantitative data analysis. Findings indicated websites and social media were the two most common sources parents utilized to obtain parenting information. Results also indicated there were differences in knowledge seeking or reported parental knowledge based on gender, age of parents, marital status, education level, and employment status. Findings also indicated there was a statistically significant difference in respondents' use of social media before COVID-19, although there was not a difference with regard to Consultation with Sarah. Finally, the results suggested listening to the Consultation with Sarah podcast made a significant difference in parenting knowledge, and there was a statistically significant difference reported by parents or caregivers who listened to the Consultation with Sarah podcast. The qualitative findings shed light on the reasonings behind the relationships. These findings may provide valuable information for parents, caregivers, podcast leaders, influencers, and educators.
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    THE ROLE OF CAREER READINESS IN HUMANITIES CURRICULUM: AN ETHNOGRAPHIC CASE STUDY IN PRE- AND POST-TENURED HUMANITIES FACULTY COURSE DESIGN
    (2021-07-23) Smydra, Rachel Verburg; Nidiffer, Jana; Moore, Shaun; Johnson, Eileen
    This qualitative ethnographic single case-study was conducted to investigate what influences pre- and post-tenured humanities faculty course design, the effects of those influences, and their perceptions about career readiness. This study focused on a career readiness initiative at Mid-western Michigan University (MMU), which was built around the National Association of Colleges and Employers’ career competencies. With much of the success of this initiative dependent on faculty, the course design process and career readiness perceptions served as critical areas to explore. Eisner and Vallance’s (1974) education value orientations theory served as a framework for this investigation. Thirteen pre- and post-tenured MMU humanities faculty with at least two years of teaching experience participated in the study. Data collection included one-on-one semi-structured interviews, influence rankings, and document analysis of faculty syllabi and current and archival department/program resources. The data collected were analyzed and coded for insight into different influences, effects of those influences, and perceptions about career readiness. Findings showed students, academic discipline, and the purpose of education resonated as primary influences. In addition, faculty participants demonstrated that they employ meta-orientations by considering different influences concurrently. Influences resonated in faculty decision-making with regard to the following course design elements: content, skills, learning outcomes and themes, and big course questions. Findings also demonstrated that most participants are resistant to the language, branding, and logistics of MMU's career readiness initiative; however, some see the value of career readiness and have implemented aspects of transfer into their courses. These findings have implications for not only administrators who consider strategies to build a culture around career readiness but also for stakeholders concerned about the value of the humanities, the collective humanities disciplines, and ultimately for students who take courses in humanities disciplines.
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    HOW FACULTY USE ONLINE SOCIAL SPACES TO DEVELOP THEIR TEACHING PRACTICES: AN ETHNOGRAPHIC STUDY OF THE #UNGRADING ONLINE COMMUNITY
    (2021-11-09) Moore, Christina Marie; Nidiffer, Jana; Sule, Thandi; Nichols Hess, Amanda
    In higher education, faculty often teach in isolation, wondering if their practices reach and inspire students. If their institutions have teaching and learning centers, faculty might engage in discussions with colleagues within and beyond their disciplines, complemented by programming that builds their pedagogical knowledge. But many faculty members either do not have access to such programming because their institution lacks it, their schedule does not allow for it, or the programming does not connect with their interests and needs. Some faculty turn to online spaces such as social networking sites (e.g. Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn) to listen to and connect with other faculty, exchange teaching ideas, and refine practices accordingly. My study analyzed the conditions in which online teaching-based communities thrive and the experiences of faculty within them, focusing on two questions: how do faculty develop their teaching practices and identities in online communities of practice and personal learning networks, and why do they engage in this teaching development in online spaces. This digital ethnography observed an active Twitter-based conversation on ungrading, the practice of minimizing, eliminating, and critically examining grading constructs. Complemented with observing a related book club’s activities and analyzing faculty’s personal blogs, publications, and presentations, this dissertation described the culture of “Teaching Twitter” generally and #ungrading specifically. Results found that faculty on Twitter valued participating on the periphery of these communities, sometimes engaging more in these spaces over time and other times using Twitter as a starting point to engage in smaller communities of practice. They gravitated toward Twitter to find other teaching-centered faculty practicing ungrading, as such faculty can be difficult to find at one’s institution alone. Twitter and related online spaces provided faculty the autonomy and flexibility they need in teaching-related professional development. Faculty and faculty developers can apply the results of this study to create more online, social opportunities for teaching development.
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    WHAT IS THE RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN EARLY CHILDHOOD TEACHER TURNOVER, ADULT STAFF RESILIENCE AND RESILIENT LEADERSHIP PRACTICES AT LICENSED EARLY CHILDHOOD CENTERS?
    (2021-11-15) Arakelian, Tamara Labadie; Ricks-Doneen, Julie; Oden, Sherri; Wakabayashi, Tomoko; Klein, Suzanne
    This research investigated the relationship between adult resilience, resilient leadership practices, and variables that reflected turnover to learn if increasing adult resilience or resilience leadership practices is an avenue to reduce turnover of high quality early childhood education teachers. The areas of adult resilience and resilient leadership practices that were measured include relationships, initiative, internal beliefs, and self-control as itemized in the Devereux Adult Resilience Survey (DARS) and Devereaux Resilience Leadership Survey (DERLS). One-hundred and eighty-five adultsparticipated by completing a survey that gathered their individual information including demographic information like age, information related to turnover like how long they anticipated working at the current center, and responses to the DARS and DERLS. Administrators were also asked to provide center information, like whether turnover was the lower, the same, or higher than the previous year. Those who submitted a survey worked in early childhood centers from an urban area in a Midwestern State of American. The 185 adults who submitted a survey included 99 teachers and 86 administrators from 82 different licensed centers. They ranged in age from 25 to 63 years. A quantitative analysis included factor analysis that established composite variables for each of the DARS and DERLS areas. Statistical significance was analyzed using chi-square, one-way ANOVA, logistic regression, and linear regression. The researcher found many significant relationships. For example, centers with staff with higher DARS ratings had lower turnover and center directors with research recommended qualifications also significantly predicted turnover at the center. Applications include investing in early childhood at each of Bronfenbrenner’s ecological systems to build the resilience of early childhood professionals.
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    THE RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN STATE-TRAIT ANGER EXPRESSION AND ATTRITION RATES OF AFRICAN AMERICANS IN COURT ORDERED ANGER MANAGEMENT TREATMENT
    (2021-10-20) Childers, Kimberly M.; Chaney, Michael; Leibert, Todd; Matthews, Jennifer; Scott, Chaunda
    This research examined the relationship between state-trait anger and attrition rates of African Americans in court ordered anger management (COAM). In this study, archival data was collected from African Americans clients sentenced to COAM from 2011-2018 at a university counseling clinic. The results indicated that no relationship exists between state-trait anger and attrition from COAM. Men were found to have higher scores on state anger physical and trait anger reaction. Results also indicated that younger participants were more likely to have higher state anger verbal and state anger physical scores than older participants. These results yielded shed light on the need for appropriate pre-screening, cultural sensitivity, and recognition of possible bias in the referral process from judicial systems for African Americans. The sociopolitical implications of African Americans receiving harsher criminal sanction and possibly inappropriate clinical treatment as part of those sanctions is an area for future research. While the clinical implications for counselor educators and clinicians suggest that additional training is needed to increase advocacy for African American clients in COAM.
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    LEARNING BY DOING: A CASE STUDY EXPLORING MENTOR TEACHERS' EXPERIENCE IN A TEACHER PREPARATION PROGRAM THROUGH THE LENS OF COMMUNITIES OF PRACTICE AND TRANSFORMATIVE LEARNING
    (2021-11-10) Horne, Sara Marie; Carver, Cindy; Smith, Julia; Nidiffer, Jana
    This study explores the learning theories communities of practice (Lave & Wenger, 1991) and transformative learning theory (Mezirow, 1978) in the context of mentor teaching. The landscape of teacher education preparation programs is shifting its focus to practice-based teacher education, with the inclusion of high-leverage teaching practices. This study delves into four mentor teachers’ experiences. Through a case study approach, this work examines how a change in teacher education programs impacts the mentor teachers’ experience. The learning theories, communities of practice, and transformative learning, were used as the lens with which to analyze the data. Monthly surveys, individual interviews, and a group interview were used as data instruments. The data demonstrated ways in which mentoring is a disorientating experience, as well as ways in which communities of practice and transformative learning work together to foster a transformative experience for mentor teachers