A Case Study of Teacher Hiring Practices in Award Winning Middle Schools in Pennsylvania

by Miller, Claire L.

Abstract (Summary)
A CASE STUDY OF TEACHER HIRING PRACTICES IN AWARD WINNING MIDDLE SCHOOLS IN PENNSYLVANIA Claire L. Miller, EdD University of Pittsburgh, 2004 _________________________________________ Given the lack of specific middle level teacher preparation in Pennsylvania, along with the implications of No Child Left Behind legislation, this case study investigated how principals of award winning middle schools resolve these issues in terms of the hiring and development of middle-level educators in order to sustain excellence in their schools. The knowledge of the essential elements of an effective middle school, the pedagogical expertise needed to effectively instruct transescents and the personal attributes of candidates were examined as possible factors in the hiring process. Data was collected by taping personal interviews and by examining district artifacts regarding interviewing procedures, as well as the application packets for either the National Blue Ribbon Award or the PMSA Don Eichhorn Award for Outstanding Middle Schools. Interview questions posed to the principals sought to discern their perceptions of the key personal qualities and pedagogical knowledge that they were searching for in outstanding middle school teacher candidates. Questions were also posed to address the districts practices for induction, mentoring, and professional development of new and existing staff members in order to build a capacity for best middle level practices. Finally, the principals own path to the principalship of an award winning middle school was explored. By studying the processes used in award-winning middle schools for teacher selection, mentoring and induction programs, and on-going professional development programs, the researcher sought to reveal the patterns and themes consistent among these schools, in order to draw conclusions and make recommendations about how other principals could build the staff capacity to become an outstanding middle school. Four themes emerged from the research. Middle school principals utilized a unique interview process in order to hire the best middle level teacher candidates. An emphasis was placed on the personal qualities of the candidates, rather than their pedagogical knowledge or experience. Award-winning middle schools nurtured an environment of collegial learning. Finally, under the leadership of the principal, the award-winning middle schools built a culture of continuous improvement. Results from this study supported the notion that hiring the right people was at the core of sustaining an excellent middle level program.
Bibliographical Information:

Advisor:Dr. Betty Sue Schaughency; Dr. Sue Ann Goodwin; Dr. Richard Wallace; Dr. Kay Atman; Joseph S. Werlinich

School:University of Pittsburgh

School Location:USA - Pennsylvania

Source Type:Master's Thesis

Keywords:administrative and policy studies


Date of Publication:12/13/2004

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