Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education




In the Fort Zumwalt School District, the professional development program lacks a district focus resulting in different professional endeavors dependent upon popular trends or interests rather than teacher and student achievement needs. Written procedures for evaluating the Fort Zumwalt Professional Development Plan have not been implemented at the district level in a systematic manner resulting in the current plan remaining unchanged and with limited evidence of impact on teaching and classroom practices. The researcher collected data from Fort Zumwalt K-12 certified teachers using three instruments: (a) reflection/evaluation sheets, (b) needs assessments, and (c) an electronic questionnaire. The data from these instruments were used to answer five specific questions presented at the onset of this qualitative research study: 1. In what types of professional development opportunities are teachers choosing to participate? 2. What motivates teachers to participate in professional development activities? 3. When do teachers prefer to participate in professional development opportunities? 4. To what degree do teachers believe professional development experiences improve their teaching and classroom practices? 5. Do teachers believe that professional development programs are meeting their need to improve their teaching and classroom practices?

Findings from the five research questions demonstrated that teachers in the Fort Zumwalt School District value the professional development opportunities that are attended. However, professional development participation within the district is limited due to (a) staff members availability to attend opportunities scheduled outside of the school day, (b) limited models of professional development offerings, (c) limited collaboration opportunities, and (d) limited topics related to content, curriculum, and assessment.

Based on the review of literature and data from the research instruments, one may concluded that high quality professional development is a long term, dynamic process designed to improve teaching and classroom practices that support the advancement of student achievement at both the building and district level. Recommendations to the Board of Education will include the need to align district professional development efforts with the district’s Comprehensive School Improvement Plan, incorporating the characteristics of high quality professional development that supports each of the following: 1. teacher content knowledge and best teaching practices 2. collaboration among teachers and administrators 3. alignment with teacher needs, as well as, district and state standards and assessments 4. duration and extension of professional development with sufficient time and appropriate resources provided 5. continual evaluation of the impact on teaching effectiveness and student achievement.


Copyright 2008

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