Date Awarded


Document Type

Dissertation -- Access Restricted On-Campus Only

Degree Name

Doctor of Education (Ed.D.)




Michael DiPaola


The purpose of this study was to conduct a formative evaluation of principals' perceptions of the effectiveness of a network support structure in a large urban school system. This program evaluation was formative to clarify aspects of the design and implementation of the network support structure in the areas of instruction, operations and youth development. The evaluation was guided by the Joint Committee on Standards for Educational Evaluation and utilization-focused evaluation practices, and situated in the pragmatic paradigm to promote utility, meaningful stakeholder involvement, and qualitative methods of data collection and analysis. Interviews and a focus group were conducted to gather data from principals and the network leader, and a document review of the network support plan was also conducted. Data was triangulated from the different sources to corroborate the findings. The study revealed findings connected to customized support, problem solving, crises management protocols; varying degrees of alignment of network support with intended support; enduring relationships, specialized consultative services, and effective leadership and strong instructional leadership as factors that hinder support and, network growth and compliance mandates as factors that hinder support in the areas of instruction, operations and youth development. Implications for program improvement, recommendations for future program evaluation, and implications for practice are discussed to offer enhancements for increased program effectiveness.



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