By Dr. Lisa Ann 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. Rural superintendents face common challenges which are unique to the rural environment which hinder the ability to provide effective professional development for teachers. These barriers must be addressed to ensure a high-quality education for all rural students. The purpose of the qualitative study was to explore the common experiences and perceptions of rural superintendents responsible for providing teacher professional development in the school districts. Social constructivism, interpreted through a transcendental phenomenological lens, was the theoretical framework guiding the research. The investigator interviewed four purposefully selected superintendents from rural, remote school districts in Western Washington state using a semistructured interview protocol consisting of open-ended questions aligned to the study’s purpose. Results showed superintendents faced challenges in the forms of inadequate fiscal resources, limited human capital, lack of time, and geographic isolation. Additional barriers included the impacts of poverty and trauma and the complex and resource-intensive nature of effective teacher professional development. Superintendents overcame challenges by establishing a vision and systems within existing resources and employing practices aligned to the vision, systems, and resources. Superintendents desired supports from policymakers and service providers which were responsive to the unique needs of rural, remote school districts. The findings of the study may inform the work of rural superintendents, policymakers, regulatory agencies, and professional development consultants. 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
© 2020, ISTES Organization
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