Teachers' and Principals' Perceptions On the Contributions of Teaming to Their Pennsylvania "Blue Ribbon" Middle School Status

Open Access
Andrejack, Stephen A.
Graduate Program:
Educational Leadership
Doctor of Education
Document Type:
Date of Defense:
May 14, 2007
Committee Members:
  • Nona Ann Prestine, Committee Chair
  • Roger C Shouse, Committee Member
  • Paul Begley, Committee Member
  • Peggy Noel Van Meter, Committee Member
  • teaming
  • Blue Ribbon School Program
  • collaboration
  • team leadership
ABSTRACT The main purpose of this study was to investigate the perceptions of teachers and principals on the contributions of teaming to their Blue Ribbon Program School Status. The definition of teaming by Paul S. George and William M. Alexander (1993) was used in this study. A survey and case study were utilized in this mixed methods research approach to explore teaming’s impact on exemplary middle schools. Pennsylvania’s Blue Ribbon Program Middle Schools were sent surveys that included a variety of questions and statements on teaming, and 47.7% of these surveys were returned in the one-time mailing. The case study utilized an interview process that involved 15 separate teacher interviews, an entire sixth grade team of 6 teachers, and the assistant principal from the studied middle school. The principal was informally interviewed for this study through meetings and phone conversations prior to and after the on-site study. Various teaming components and processes were found consistently and pervasively throughout this study. Three key findings emerged about teaming’s contributions in the studied exemplary schools. These included teaming’s importance in promoting collaboration, teaming’s connection to the middle school philosophy, and teaming’s opportunities for teachers to share leadership. These findings were consistently supported by the data derived from the mixed methods research on teaming and its perceived impact on students’ achievement and the school’s Blue Ribbon Program designation. The case study school’s PAGE One structure added a new direction and moved away from its teaming with the PA State Board of Education’s “Pennsylvania Achievement Gap Effort”. This changed how the teachers used their common planning time and collaborative efforts, which moved away from its middle school philosophy and pure teaming when it became a Blue Ribbon Program school in 1995-96. Teaming was perceived to enhance teachers’ ability to influence students’ learning and academic achievement, but becoming a PAGE One school changed how the collaborative efforts impacted subgroups’ and all students’ success. Finally, the middle school philosophy and teaming may be in jeopardy as middle level schools attempt to address the demands of NCLB and AYP.