Date of Award:


Document Type:


Degree Name:

Doctor of Education (EdD)


School of Teacher Education and Leadership

Committee Chair(s)

Scott Hansaker


Scott Hansaker


Lisa Boyce


Gary Carlston


Barry Franklin


Rebecca Monhardt


The historical perspective of schools in our democratic society provides a framework of tension between local parent and community control and professional and state control of public school decisions. Today, federal and state requirements demand increased student achievement. One school reform effort enlisted to help meet the challenges is the creation of site-based decision-making councils that involve school administrators, teachers and parents. The state of Utah requires each public school to have a School Community Council that is responsible for the development of plans for school improvement. Limited funds are provided to each School Community Council through the School LAND Trust Program. The funds are to be used to assist in the implementation of the developed plans for the purpose of increased student achievement. Three Utah Middle level SCCs participated in this qualitative strength-based process evaluation. Two of the SCCs were identified as exemplary, and the third SCC was just beginning to function as an SCC. Based on the three questions guiding the evaluation, the evaluation learned that SCCs identified as exemplary were compliant with the law, employed strategies identified in the literature for effective site-based decision-making, and implemented plans that were perceived to impact student achievement. In addition, themes emerged from the strength-based approach to learn what SCC processes influenced an effective balance between the professional expertise and the democratic involvement in decision-making. The emergent themes deal with processes related to membership and elections, sources of confidence, use of data to drive school improvement decision, and communication.