The perceptions and needs of principals and the needs of school districts for the staff development of principals

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Dickerson, Stephen L.
Kowalski, Theodore J.
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Thesis (D. Ed.)
Department of Educational Leadership
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The purpose of this study was to identify principal staff development needs as perceived by principals and superintendents in select Indiana school districts. Need ratings were analyzed by comparing superintendent and principal rating in eight categories of potential needs; "Instructional Leadership and Curriculum," "Community and Public Relations," "Personal Awareness," "School Management," "Personnel Management," "Student Rapport," "Principalship," and "Administrative Organization and Planning." The potential influence of five demographic variables: "Size of School District," "Levels of Graduate Education," "Grade Levels of Assignment," "Membership in Professional Organizations," and "Years' Experiences in School Administration," on principal ratings was also examined. Data were collected from30 superintendents and 181 principals employed in the 30 randomly selected school districts. Data were collected via a survey containing 76 items divided into eight categories. Data were analyzed using an analysis of variance, and research decisions were based on the .05 level of significance.In general, demographic variables incorporated in this study appeared to have little effect on principal ratings. There were three exceptions: (a) level of assignment (type of school) was found to be significant for ratings in the category of "Community and Public Relations," (b) level of assignment (type of school) was found to be significant for ratings in the category of "School Management," and (c) level of memberships in professional organizations was found to be significant for ratings in the category of "School Management."Findings in this study suggested that there was much common ground in principal ratings of their own staff development needs and the ratings provided by superintendents. Hence, the potential for planning programs that address both organizational and personal needs appeared to be high. Additionally, outcomes suggested that practitioner perceptions of principal staff development needs are not affected to any great extent by demographic variables. Additional research examining why principal needs are often ignored in staff development programs was recommended.