Dissertation

Innovative Leadership Study of an Online School Implementation Within a Public School District Program.

The growth of online school programs has continued at a staggering rate in recent years as schools and districts try to offer a more personalized educational experience to meet the needs of their diverse student populations. The need for administrators to lead these unique environments is growing in concert. Research in the area of online school programs is in its infancy, and further study is needed. The purpose of this case study was to explore the unique nature of the online learning environment in a public school district and the leadership qualities needed to navigate the ever-changing landscape. This single case study of an online school program run by a Southern California public school district as a dependent charter was the basis of the investigation. There were three prevalent themes to arise from the research. The first was the need for innovative leadership skills in the environment. The second theme was that of the varied demands from local districts and an expanding range of responsibilities. The third theme addressed the culture and flexibility fostered in the online environment Several areas were identified as possible subjects for further research. First, the teacher evaluation system needs to be addressed, as the current evaluation system focuses on teachers in brick-and-mortar learning environments. The next potential subject is the exploration of innovation and of changing responsibilities to ensure a successful implementation of online learning programs. Finally, research into the challenges of administrative credentialing will help to ensure we are preparing young administrators to handle leadership in an online and blended learning environment.

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