Date of Award


Degree Name

EdD Doctor of Education

Dissertation Committee

Mary Woods Scherr, PhD, Director; Edward R. DeRoche, PhD; C. Bobbie Hansen, EdD; Sally J. Bennett, EdD


evaluation study, Leadership studies, observation-based model, reculturation, professional development, San Diego City Schools (San Diego, CA), school administration, standards-based reform, teachers


Public education is undergoing a process of reculturation prompted by standards-based reform initiatives. Student content standards suggest fundamental changes in the way teachers, schools, and districts think about and do their work. These substantive reform efforts require a parallel reorganization in professional development processes. Traditional models that rely on episodic, large-scale workshops are insufficient to support teachers to meet the demands of a standards-driven system. San Diego City Schools has developed an innovative approach to teacher training that is context and situation specific. The observation-based model of professional development utilizes a unique training environment and process. A fully functioning classroom is attached to a professional development center via a one-way minor. Participants are able to see, hear, and study exemplary models of teaching and learning in real time. This evaluation study examined the training model and its potential for impact on the practice of participants. Three research questions guided this investigation: (a) How do participants assess the observation-based model of professional development? (b) What is the perceived impact of the observation-based model of professional development on teachers' pedagogical practice? (c) What are the factors that act to support or impede participants' implementation of those instructional strategies demonstrated in the observation-based model of professional development? Three research methodologies supported the study of these questions. A survey was administered to teachers and school leaders who participated in the observation-based model of professional development. Focus groups were formed to investigate the themes that emerged from the survey results. And, a select number of site administrators were interviewed to elicit more detailed implementation data. The findings suggested that: (a) participants assessed the training model as appropriate and relevant, (b) participants implemented or planned to implement some of the learnings into their classrooms and schools, and (c) a number of professional and political barriers posed real or perceived barriers to implementation. San Diego City Schools is committed to offering an observation-based model of professional development for teachers to illustrate effective literacy instruction. This formative evaluation study provides a baseline of data that may be used to inform programmatic decisions and improvements.

Document Type

Dissertation: Open Access