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Abstract

This article reports the progress of one project aimed at bringing together professionals from post-secondary and K-12 environments. The project is being implemented at Richards Middle (RMS) in Columbus, Georgia and involves a collaborative partnership between several universities and RMS, resulting in a school-based evaluation initiative with direct implications for strengthening leadership, training, and instructional practices in schools. Faculty researchers from three universities from two states, Troy University, Columbus State University, and Auburn University are working collaboratively with faculty and staff of Richards Middle School on an inquiry with a three-fold purpose. The primary goal is to evaluate the effectiveness of the school’s International Baccalaureate (IB) Programme in its first year of implementation in the sixth grade. A second goal of the investigation is to evaluate the effectiveness of the staff training and development process employed during the initial year in terms of effective professional learning practices. A third goal is to investigate the effectiveness of the collaborative process itself in terms of the implementation of the dialogic approach discussed in Clark, et al. (1996).

Author's Biographies

Paul T. Hackett is an Associate Professor of Educational Leadership at Columbus State University. His academic areas of interest include professional learning and program improvement. He has served as a secondary teacher of language arts, assistant principal, principal, system-level administrator and as a superintendent of schools.

James E. Witte is an Associate Professor of Adult Education with the Department of Educational Foundations, Leadership, and Technology at Auburn University. His academic areas of interest include training program development and evaluation, individual learning styles, and how learning is assessed.

Maria Martinez Witte is an Associate Professor of Adult Education with the Department of Educational Foundations, Leadership, and Technology at Auburn University. Her research areas of interest include learning styles assessment and analyzing effective context, processes, and content that enhances teaching-learning environment.

Iris Saltiel is an Associate Professor of Educational Leadership at Troy University in Phenix City, Alabama. She has conducted research on corporate/collegiate collaborative partnerships, partnerships in learning, training design, and evaluation. She has published works on topics as diverse as the development of cohorts and collaboration.

Mike Johnson has taught technology at Kendrick High School, served as Assistant Principal at Blackmon Road Middle School and is currently Principal of Richards Middle School. A transformational leader, he is leading Richards through the first year of implementation of the International Baccalaureate Middle Years Programme.

Kathy Hesler has taught music and performed as a symphonic trombonist both in the United Sates and with the Bamberger Symphony Orchestra in Germany. She presently serves as the International Baccalaureate Programme Coordinator at Richards Middle School which is in its first year of implementation as a magnet middle school program.

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