Prospectus Presentation – Sharon R. Duhart

January 23, 2014 @ 6:00 pm – 8:00 pm
College of Education Forum - Room 481
30 Pryor Street Southwest
Georgia State University, Atlanta, GA 30303

Educators’ Perceptions of Low Achieving Schools in Atlanta Public Schools

by Sharon R. Duhart

This study is part of a larger blueprint from Atlanta Public School’s (APS) Race To The Top (RT3) comprehensive educational reform that aims at improving and sustaining student achievement through instructional and student support systems. The district’s five-year strategic plan is the foundation for this study. While APS is laying out a clear and comprehensive plan for implementation, turning around their lowest achieving schools is essential for plan execution. The purpose of this study is to examine educators’ perceptions of school and student outcomes in Low Achieving Schools (LAS) in APS. In particular, I will employ qualitative research to examine how educators construct meanings of the barriers and challenges low achieving schools face and their views on how to overcome those obstacles. I will use multi-case multi-method case study as my methodology for investigating data, which will primarily include interviews from principals and teachers, document analysis, and field notes from observations. The following research questions will guide the study: (l) What are the characteristics of APS LAS schools; (2) What are educator’s perceptions of what influences student and school outcomes in APS LAS schools; and (3) What recommendations do educators provide for overcoming barriers and challenges in their school? Finally, understanding educators’ perceptions about what is causing LAS to perform the way they do will be value added to APS’s RT3 strategic plans of significantly improving the performance of LAS in their district and setting them on a path for continued improvement.