How do we take care of our own? Principal support and development in Rocky Top Public Schools

WCU Author/Contributor (non-WCU co-authors, if there are any, appear on document)
Jennifer Shaw Griffin (Creator)
Western Carolina University (WCU )
Web Site:
Ann Allen

Abstract: Principals are isolated in their work and suffer from low morale. The role of the principal has become increasingly complex and demanding especially within the current accountability model with the public nature of school report cards. This is a problem in Rocky Top Public Schools and in school districts across the country. The purpose of this improvement effort is to provide support to decrease feelings of isolation and improve principal morale.Rocky Top Public Schools is an urban school system and one of three school systems in Carter County, North Carolina. Rocky Top Public Schools was designated as low performing under state legislation for the 2014-2015 school year. The pressures from this designation exacerbate the issues of low morale and isolation as principals seek additional ways to quickly improve student achievement.In the absence of resources and structures designed to support principals, principals collaborated to support one another as a community of learners. As an intervention, a structured professional learning community (PLC) with mentoring was implemented, so principals could engage in job-embedded inquiry and meaningful reflective dialogue. Improvement science was used as the framework to implement the change, an initiative to provide support to principals, and the impact of the change on the system will be measured to determine if the change is an improvement. Qualitative measures were used to collect data and study participant perceptions of the impact of the intervention. Reflection on the process applied revealed the PLC was functioning as a Community of Practice. The assessment of the effectiveness of the Community of Practice was analytic auto-ethnographic, relying on field notes, interviews, and journal reflections from a complete member researcher. Analysis of the findings suggest the intervention combats isolation and builds trust among participants.

Additional Information

Language: English
Date: 2017
Churn, Community of Practice, Principal, Support
School principals -- Professional relationships
Professional learning communities
Mentoring in the professions
School management and organization
Educational leadership
Public schools -- North Carolina

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