Teacher Education, Educational Leadership & Policy ETDs

Publication Date



This is a single bounded case study, which investigated reluctant change in one restructuring middle school in a large urban school district in the Southwestern United States. Three research questions were addressed in this study. How do middle school teachers understand school change in a school designated as restructuring? What are the connections among teachers understandings of change and how they respond to or act on mandates and policies? What are the processes that will reshape school values and culture to build a positive, creative learning environment? Data were collected via an electronic questionnaire, face-to-face interviews, and document analysis. Teachers saw change as mandated and punitive. When presented with opportunities to make decisions at the school level, teachers believed they could better meet the needs of their students. Teachers saw school change as the evolution of teaching practices based on research as well as on experience and collaboration with peers. When afforded the opportunity for discussion and questions about mandates and policies, they made connections between what they were being required to do (through federal, state, and district mandates) and the classroom. Teachers value communication and the time to communicate. They found the collaborative learning communities at the school to be valuable and expressed favorable reactions to being provided time to work together. By being heard and contributing to the school's direction, teachers believed they were becoming a more cohesive group that worked well together in a more positive, creative learning environment.'


Middle school teachers -- Attitudes -- Case studies, School management and organization -- Case studies, Educational change -- Case studies

Document Type




Degree Name

Doctor of Education

Level of Degree


Department Name

Teacher Education, Educational Leadership & Policy

First Committee Member (Chair)

Allison M. Borden

Second Committee Member

Arlie Woodrum

Third Committee Member

Breda Bova

Fourth Committee Member

Stephen L. Preskill