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, W. Kyle

Committee Co-Chair (if applicable)

Powers, Deborah

Committee Member

Munoz, Marco

Committee Member

Wisman, R. Aaron

Author's Keywords

School improvement grant; SIG; school turnaround; school leadership; contingency theory


In December of 2009, President Barack Obama and U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan announced the School Improvement Grant (SIG) program would expand as part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. The United States Department of Education (USDOE) awarded an initial allocation of $8,610,752 in SIG funds to the Commonwealth of Kentucky to turnaround their lowest performing schools (United States Department of Education, 2016). In 2010, the Kentucky Department of Education (KDE) received funding with the goal of moving targeted schools out of PLA status successfully within the three-year window outlined in the SIG application. Ten schools in Cohort I identified as a Tier I school or Tier II school. Each school received $500,000 per year for three years beginning with FY2010. Of the 10 schools identified for the first cohort, six were from the Jefferson County Public School (JCPS) district, which is a large urban school district encompassing the city of Louisville, Kentucky that serves approximately 100,000 students. The other schools were from rural areas of the state with two in the rural eastern half of the state and two in the rural western half of the state. After three years of SIG implementation and KDE support, no JCPS school successfully exited PLA status; however, three (75%) of the non-JCPS schools did. This document analysis explored how some Kentucky Cohort I schools were able to exit PLA status successfully within the three-year timeframe outlined in the SIG application, while others were not.