Date on Master's Thesis/Doctoral Dissertation


Document Type

Doctoral Dissertation

Degree Name

Ed. D.


Educational Leadership, Evaluation and Organizational Development

Degree Program

Educational Leadership and Organizational Development, EDD

Committee Chair

Ingle, Kyle

Committee Co-Chair (if applicable)

Powers, Deborah

Committee Member

Davis, Bryon Keith

Committee Member

Young, Lu

Author's Keywords

Academy structure; teacher collaboration; teacher perception; academies


Collaboration in is an often researched, many-named concept with a definition which has historically been unclear. What one calls collegiality another may call teacher teaming and yet another may refer to as professional networking. Scholars agree effective teacher collaboration can lead to higher student achievement, teacher efficacy, and teacher retention. However, as elusive as an agreed-upon definition may be an agreed-upon structure that fosters an effective version of this collaboration. When Ford began the Ford Next Generation Learning initiative, they embarked on the path to developing a school model that focused on school and community partnerships to support long-term, transformational change. They did so believing meaningful professional collaboration was an essential component of the model. Since the inception of the Ford NGL program in 2005, over 500 high schools in the United States have become part of the network of NGL academy schools; in 2016, Bryan Station High School in Fayette County, Kentucky became one of them. In an effort to improve student culture and achievement, administration at Bryan Station High School adopted the Ford NGL academy structure. The school is divided into five academies, or small learning communities, within which students study under the umbrella of the Freshman Academy or one of four career academies. Teachers are members of small learning communities (SLC) and professional learning communities (PLC). Dedicated time built into the schedule allows teachers to meet in these groups to focus on academy level information (SLC) or content level information (PLC). I used a case study design to explore how teachers describe their experiences with collegial collaboration before and after the implementation of the academy model. I conducted descriptive analysis of data from two existing surveys, a district-based academy teacher survey and the TELL Kentucky teacher survey, I also conducted a Group Level Assessment (GLA) with ten participants who have taught at the subject school before and after the adoption of the academy model. My research shows that while effective teacher collaboration is dependent on many factors, these teachers perceive their professional collaboration to be more effective in an academy structure than in a traditional school structure.