First Advisor

Samuel Henry

Term of Graduation

Spring 2009

Date of Publication


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (Ed.D.) in Educational Leadership: Curriculum and Instruction


Educational Leadership




Literacy -- Study and teaching (Secondary), Language arts (Secondary), School improvement programs, High school teachers -- In-service training, Arts du langage (Secondaire), Enseignement, Réforme



Physical Description

1 online resource (2, viii, 386 pages)


Improvement in literacy learning in secondary schools requires a dual focus: a district and school organizational leadership approach, and a classroom- and instruction-focused approach. To help close the achievement gap and improve learning for all students, whole school reform efforts must be focused on literacy. Elements of whole school reform may include professional development programs such as professional learning communities, peer coaching, and literacy coaching. The sociocultural contexts that these approaches incorporate can help improve the learning of both teachers and students and can bring about significant secondary school reform and academic improvement.

This dissertation study is a qualitative, collective, case study of two school districts and their approaches to promoting secondary literacy. The study describes and analyzes forms of literacy leadership at both the district and school level, explores professional development methods used for promoting literacy and assesses their effectiveness, analyzes the incorporation of sociocultural structures in professional development, and describes and analyzes the roles of literacy coaches and leaders. The study made use of several data collection methods, including audiotaped interviews, document analysis, and field observations and also includes elements of program evaluation to assess the effectiveness of each district's approach to secondary literacy. Data analysis included coding of all data followed by identification of major emerging themes.

Results indicated that both districts have made significant progress in focusing attention on and allocating resources to secondary school literacy. The data analysis resulted in several major themes emerging for both districts related to literacy leadership and coaching, instructional strategies, writing, leadership and change, collaboration, best practices, resources, goals, challenges, assessment and evaluation, student literacy skills, professional development, intervention, reading incentives, and district and school level support. Comparative observations are made based on the results in each district, and recommendations are offered for both school districts.


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