Date Awarded


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (Ed.D.)




William F. Losito


The investigation of Maury Elementary School in Richmond, Virginia addressed the establishment of a non-traditional model school in a conservative city not directly supportive or progressive education ideology. A case study approach was taken to investigate the interrelated questions of explaining the success and longevity of Maury School and of determining to what extent Maury School was a faithful implementation of the tenets of progressive education.;The study contributes to an understanding of the development of an innovative school, to progressive education, and to the diffusion and integration of educational theory and reform. Historical methodology was used; data were drawn from both published and unpublished primary and secondary sources and oral histories.;The progressive education movement was characterized by essential features and practices by which a school could be considered to be progressive. A description of the program developments at Maury revealed that the features of progressive education were established in the practical and philosophical functions of the school from 1934 until the school was closed in the summer of 1970.;The best explanation for the existence of Maury School was found to be an interrelated set of factors. The effective leadership of Principal Etta Rose Bailey was a key factor in the origin, development, and maintenance of the school. The long tenure of her principalship was a sustaining force in rooting and maintaining innovation. The school had an identity which separated it from the school system. The hierarchical structure of the system allowed the principal and the staff the autonomy to develop an innovative program. The innovations were not labeled as progressive education by the Maury staff, which enabled the program to outlive the movement itself. A unique culture was developed and sustained by the programs and practices.;From the case study of Maury Elementary School, where educational innovation was a local phenomenon limited to one school, inferences may be drawn regarding the effects of the progressive education reform movement in Richmond, Virginia. Additional study is recommended to determine if innovation can sustain itself without the continuity of strong leadership provided by a key figure at the location of the innovation.



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