By Dr. Lisa A. Cadero-Smith
Edited by Dr. Ismail Sahin, Dr. Phu Vu
Effective teacher professional development is defined as structured professional learning activities which result in changes in teacher practice and improvements in student learning outcomes. Superintendents face common challenges unique to the rural environment which hinder the delivery of effective teacher professional development in rural school districts. These barriers must be addressed to ensure a high-quality education for all rural students. The purpose of this qualitative study was to explore the common experiences and perceptions of superintendents responsible for providing teacher professional development in rural school districts. Social constructivism, interpreted through a transcendental phenomenological lens, was the theoretical framework guiding the research. The investigator interviewed 4 purposefully selected superintendents from rural, remote school districts in Western Washington state. A semistructured interview protocol consisting of open-ended questions aligned to the study’s purpose was utilized to gather data. Results showed superintendents faced inadequate fiscal resources, limited human capital, geographic isolation, and difficulties implementing effective teacher professional development in rural environments. Superintendents overcame challenges by establishing a vision and systems within existing resources and employing aligned professional development practices. Superintendents desired supports which were responsive to the unique needs of rural school districts. The findings may inform the work of rural administrators, professional development consultants, policymakers, regulatory agencies, and rural organizations. The findings may also lead to policy changes, shifts in rural school district resource allocation, and changes in rural teacher professional development delivery to ensure the educational equity of all rural students.
Cadero-Smith, L. A. (2020). Teacher professional development challenges faced by rural superintendents. I. Sahin & P. Vu (Eds.). ISTES Organization
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