Title page for ETD etd-121598-200118

Type of Document Dissertation
Author Hess, Brenda F.
Author's Email Address bhess@compunet.net
URN etd-121598-200118
Title Learning How to Grow: a Case Study of School Renewal in One Elementary and Middle School
Degree Doctor of Education
Department Educational Leadership and Policy Studies
Advisory Committee
Advisor Name Title
Niles, Jerome A. Committee Co-Chair
Parks, David J. Committee Co-Chair
Cutlip, Bobbi J. Committee Member
Parson, Stephen R. Committee Member
Yardley, Dianne R. Committee Member
  • Regional accreditation process
  • School renewal
  • Southern Association of Colleges and Schools
Date of Defense 1998-12-07
Availability unrestricted



Brenda F. Hess

Dr. Jerome A. Niles, Co-Chair

Dr. David J. Parks, Co-Chair

Educational Administration


School Renewal is a broadly defined process used as an alternative route to school

improvement and regional accreditation. However, there is no direct evidence to support

its use. To date, there have been no systematic inquiries to document the regional

accrediation process of improving an elementary and middle school through the School

Renewal process. This study was an inquiry into the School Renewal accreditation

process in an elementary and middle school.

The study focused on the structure of the School Renewal process, the processes in which

participants engaged, and the outcomes of the School Renewal process as related to

planning, climate, communication, curriculum and instruction, and staff development.

The design included a case study with a rich, descriptive, narrative format for reporting.

The participants included the principal, assistant principal, all faculty and staff members,

parents and community members of Honaker Elementary and Middle School who were

members of one of the School Renewal committees. Data from documents, observations

and interviews of participants, and the researcher's journal were analyzed to build a

complete case narrative. The findings were organized into three major themes from the

School Renewal process: the structure of school renewal; the processes of leadership

including communication and involvement of participants in the School Renewal process;

and the outcomes of School Renewal.

A number of major understandings emanated from the study that help to elaborate existing

descriptions of the School Renewal process. Planning and structuring the process created

the framework and foundation from which to begin the School Renewal process. A

democratic, supportive principal and a strong teacher leader emerged as key participants at

the school level. School-wide communication was a vital component. The roles of

participants, representation of stakeholders, and active involvement helped facilitate

participant motivation that bound the participants together throughout the renewal


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