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ERIC Number: ED553437
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2013
Pages: 271
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: N/A
ISBN: 978-1-3030-6606-1
Rurality to Virtuality: Creating a Community of Practice
Hill, Tracy A.
ProQuest LLC, Ed.D. Dissertation, Walden University
In recent years, enrollment and overall student performance in rural schools have declined. Research shows that principals are critical to the success of a school system and that implementing a virtual community of practice (CoP) at the principal level has solved some of the issues associated with rurality in some organizations. Such implementation has not taken place in rural Colorado schools. The purpose of this phenomenological study was to explore how Colorado West School District principals perceived issues connected to rurality and identified ways in which it may be possible to establish professional learning communities with other rural principals using a virtual CoP. Twelve principals currently or formerly employed in the rural Colorado West School District were interviewed to understand their lived experiences. The study's unit of analysis was the interview transcript of each individual principal. Content analysis, using both a priori and inductive categories was used to search for patterns and themes. A thick description of each principal's lived experiences was written and these descriptions were compared and contrasted between principals. Themes that emerged pertaining to rurality included: professional isolation; lack of professional opportunities; overwhelming nature of mandates; legal requirements; and social aspects that impact small rural districts. Themes pertinent to how a virtual CoP could potentially solve these issues included: faster access to solutions to laws/mandates and access to collaborative professional growth. Findings of this study could assist rural principals in attaining the additional preparation and support they need to be successful in their school districts and promote positive social change in the communities they serve. [The dissertation citations contained here are published with the permission of ProQuest LLC. Further reproduction is prohibited without permission. Copies of dissertations may be obtained by Telephone (800) 1-800-521-0600. Web page:]
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Publication Type: Dissertations/Theses - Doctoral Dissertations
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Colorado