Page 1 | Volume 5 - Issue 1 - DBU Journal for K-12 Educational Leadership


PROGRAM FEATURES • Degree completion in four years while working full-time • Direct application to current K-12 issues and trends • Lifelong relationships through the cohort model • Research that will impact your school or district • Three weekend classes per semester • Summer Symposiums in Austin and Washington, D.C. • Tuition competitively priced and financial aid available For more information, contact: Dr. Neil Dugger I 214.333.5202 I I Dallas Baptist University I College of Education I 3000 Mountain Creek Parkway, Dallas, TX 75211 EdD IN EDUCATIONAL LEADERSHIP K-12 Equipping Servant Leaders for the 21st Century The EdD in Educational Leadership K-12 program emphasizes a practical approach to leadership development utilizing the servant leadership model. This degree program is for individuals who wish to have a transformational impact on their K-12 setting through their ability to integrate faith and learning. The program is both academically rigorous and practical in design. EARN YOUR DOCTORATE AT DBU

Journal of K-12 Educational Research 1 TABLE OF CONTENTS GREETINGS FROM THE DIRECTOR..................................................................................................................................3 A WORD FROM THE EDITOR................................................................................................................................................4 TEXAS PRINCIPALS’ PERCEPTIONS OF EXECUTIVE COACHING IMPACT ON PRINCIPALS’ PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT ........................................................................................................6 Crystal Johnson Cross, EdD A SNAPSHOT OF STATES’ GOVERNING PRACTICES ON K12 VIRTUAL EDUCATION PROGRAMS ......................................................................................................................12 Judy Yi, EdD EXPLORING COLLEGE-READINESS IN MATHEMATICS FOR POST-SECONDARY INSTITUTIONS IN TEXAS..........................................................................................................19 Kelly K. David, EdD TEACHER PERCEPTIONS OF THEIR PROFESSIONAL LEARNING COMMUNITY EXPERIENCE IN ONE NORTH TEXAS DISTRICT.......................................................................25 Melissa Ann Heller, EdD AN EXPLORATION OF TEXAS’ DISTRICT OF INNOVATION PLAN AND IMPLEMENTATION AT THE DISTRICT LEVEL.................................................................................31 Stephanie Bonneau, EdD MEETING THE NEEDS OF TODAY’S STUDENTS AT A LEADER IN ME SCHOOL: A CASE STUDY OF VALLEY RIDGE ELEMENTARY.................................................................................................38 Julie Dawes, EdD THE PROCESS AND FUNCTION OF MAKERSPACE LEARNING THROUGH DESIGN THINKING: A MULTI -SITE CASE STUDY. .........................................................................44 Leah R. Mann, EdD SCHOOL DISCIPLINE PRACTICE AND THE PERCEIVED IMPACT ON BLACK STUDENTS.............................................................................................................50 Kandiest Martin-Brock, EdD CHARACTERISTICS OF TEXAS SUPERINTENDENTS WITH LONGEVETY OF FIVE OR MORE YEARS ON THE JOB. ............................................................................57 Michael Hill, EdD DISCIPLINARY ALTERNATIVE EDUCATION PROGRAM PLACEMENT TRENDS AND RECIDIVISM RISK FACTORS................................................................................................................62 Tyler Yarbrough, EdD JOURNAL OF K-12 EDUCATIONAL RESEARCH

2 THE IMPACT OF DIGITAL DEVICES ON SOCIAL EMOTIONAL LEARNING.............................................70 Jamie Farber, EdD PERCEPTIONS OF PREPAREDNESS OF ALTERNATIVELY CERTIFIED CAREER AND TECHNOLOGY TEACHERS AND THEIR SUPERVISORS...........................................................................76 Vanessa Zavar, EdD THE EFFECTS OF A SECONDARY NEWCOMER PROGRAM AND SECONDARY NEWCOMERS’ PERCEPTIONS OF UNITED STATES SCHOOLING...................................................................82 Anmarie Garcia, EdD TABLE OF CONTENTS CONTINUED

Journal of K-12 Educational Research 3 Neil Dugger, EdD GREETINGS FROM THE DIRECTOR Journal of K-12 Educational Research 2021, VOL. 5, ISSUE 1 Welcome to the fifth edition of the Journal of Educational Research K-12, published by Dallas Baptist University, with articles written by graduates of the EdD in Educational Leadership K-12 program. One of our goals is to share research generated by our students with school leaders across Texas, and this edition has research articles that carry significance for everyone. The EdD in Educational Leadership K-12 program is the terminal degree offered by the nationally ranked College of Education at Dallas Baptist University in Dallas, Texas. The degree is designed for the practitioner, with a schedule designed to best balance the demands of work, family, and academics. The degree can be earned in four years or less, with the goal of developing transformational servant leaders who will make a difference in the lives of students. Travel seminars in Austin and Washington, D.C. are part of the experiences for every doctoral student. In the past 10 years, this program has graduated over 180 new educational doctors, serving in over 75 different school systems. The retention rate is above 90%, and 85% of the students complete the degree in four years or less. More than 50% of the students are promoted while in the program due to the extensive networking of current students and alumni. The Superintendent Certificate can be earned through this program, but it is not a requirement. The key to these statistics is the high level of support during the treatise (dissertation) phase of the program. During a three-course sequence, students write a draft of their Proposal – all but ready to defend. The program has a full-time Director of Research who personally walks with each student during this phase along with specially trained Committee members. If you would like more information on the EdD in Educational Leadership K-12 program, please email me at I look forward to visiting with you! Neil Dugger, EdD Director, EdD in Educational Leadership K-12 Dallas Baptist University 214-333-5202

4 Dallas Baptist University is proud to present the fifth edition of the Journal of K-12 Educational Research. The articles in this issue are presented by a selection of recent graduates of the Doctorate in Educational Leadership K-12, a practitioner’s degree which highlights skills needed to lead districts in North Texas and beyond. Each article is a summary of the data gathered for their individual research projects, providing answers to questions of local interest. In some cases, the authors provided state-wide data of interest to the broader educational community. Other authors gathered data from a smaller data set or a single district. Whether statewide or local data, we believe the answers may be applicable to many educational settings. In the DBU program, student researchers are encouraged to look for immediate and site-based solutions that could be easily transferrable to issues that are wide and far-reaching. Sharon Lee, PhD AWORD FROM THE EDITOR Journal of K-12 Educational Research 2021, VOL. 5, ISSUE 1 In this issue, you will find articles that have a national impact such as the study by Dr. Judy Yi who researched national standards for online education. Dr. Leah Mann looked at the maker movement that is gaining traction in several districts around the country. Some of the research was conducted in multiple districts on topics of local interest. Dr. Stephanie Bonneau selected at multiple districts in the North Texas region, which are Districts of Innovation. Dr. Michael Hill interviewed local superintendents about what it takes to keep them in their roles. An important topic for most districts in North Texas is graduation and college/career readiness. Dr. Anmarie Garcia studied a secondary newcomer program and how it influenced student persistence to High School graduation. Dr. Kelly David completed a statistical analysis of community college developmental math programs. Teacher and student leadership development is a topic that is of great interest to both campus and district-level leaders. Dr. Julie Dawes studied student leadership, and Dr. Melissa Heller explored teacher development. Dr. Crystal Cross researched a professional coaching program for school leaders. Recruiting and keeping teachers is an issue in many north Texas districts. Dr. Vanessa Zavar explored alternative certification paths for teachers. Several students explored special topics related to school discipline and social-emotional learning. Dr. Kandiest MartinBrock, Dr. Jamie Farber, and Dr. Tyler Yarbrough have keen insight into these topics through their studies. DBU’s EdD K-12 program is based on the Biblical servant leader model of putting the needs of others first. Students explore problems that have immediate concern in their districts and are encouraged to bring answers to those districts.

Journal of K-12 Educational Research 5 The articles included in this issue and the final treatises upon which they were based have the potential to empower educational leaders and classroom educators, while making a difference for students in the classrooms throughout the North Texas region and beyond. Sharon Lee, PhD Director of Research in K-12 Education Dallas Baptist University Editor: Journal of K-12 Educational Research JOURNAL OF K-12 EDUCATIONAL RESEARCH PUBLISHING INFORMATION EDITOR Sharon Lee, PhD ASSISTANT EDITOR Sally S. Scoggins, EdD ART DIRECTOR Kadra Fant LAYOUT Grace Whipple Sharon Lee, PhD AWORD FROM THE EDITOR CONTINUED

6 Considering the expansive and changing responsibilities of principals, proper support for principals is highly important. One-time trainings and course work are not enough for the continuous growth of principals (Every Student Succeeds Act, 2015). According to the 2017-2018 Texas Academic Performance Report for the state, Texas principals average 6.3 years of campus leadership experience, and they average 5.4 years of campus leadership experience within their districts (Texas Education Agency [TEA], 2018). With varying leadership experience, and some experience being minimal, ensuring principals are effective, from the early to latter stages of their careers, benefits schools. The current study reviewed the use of executive coaching as a job-embedded, personalized learning and growth tool for principals. Summary of Study The purpose of the current study was to explore principals’ perceptions of the impact executive coaching had on their professional development. The current study utilized a qualitative, phenomenological design. Semi-structured interviews that included open-ended questions answered one overarching research question that contained four subresearch questions that are listed below. Research Question (RQ1): What are principals’ perceptions of how executive coaching impacted their professional development? Sub-research Question 1 (SQ1) What are principals’ perceptions of how executive coaching aligned with their role as a principal? Sub-research Question 2 (SQ2) What are principals’ perceptions of how executive coaching aligned with their goals and beliefs about their role? Sub-research Question 3 (SQ3) What are principals’ perceptions of differences between executive coaching and other forms of professional development? Sub-research Question 4 (SQ4) What are principals’ perceptions of what they have changed as a result of executive coaching? To gain principals’ perceptions about the executive coaching experience, 12 principals of Texas public schools were interviewed one-on-one by the researcher. The principals who participated in the current study represented elementary through high school campuses and included principals with 1 year to 18 years of experience as a principal. Literature Review Summary The Role of the Principal Understanding the role of the principal provides insight about the urgency of ensuring principal support. Over time, the principal’s role evolved from a less complicated role to a multi-faceted role (Kafka, 2009). In 2017, the TEA reported five Texas Principal Evaluation and Support System (T-PESS) standards that are necessary for the growth and development of principals leading 21st century schools which are instructional leadership, human capital, executive leadership, school culture, and strategic operations. The principal is required to do many things well in various contexts to support students and staff. TEXAS PRINCIPALS’ PERCEPTIONS OF EXECUTIVE COACHING IMPACT ON PRINCIPALS’ PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT Crystal Johnson Cross, EdD Journal of K-12 Educational Research 2021, VOL. 5, ISSUE 1

Journal of K-12 Educational Research 7 Principal Professional Development It is argued that principals do not receive the support and professional development needed to remain committed to their roles (School Leaders Network [SLN], 2014). SLN’s (2014) claim aligns with Snodgrass Rangel’s (2018) acknowledgment that professional development was a listed reason for principal turnover. Professional development may not be the only factor that keeps a principal in the principalship, but considering the role of the principal, principal professional development is worth attention. Effective principal professional development should be continuous and has a trifold impact because a principal’s learning strengthens student outcomes, culture, and leadership (Ikemoto et al., 2014). Adult Learning Based on the attributes of adult learning, there are various connections between adult learning and coaching. Cox (2015) reported coaching can support the theories of andragogy based adult learning if the coachee’s needs drive the process, the coachee’s experiences are a part of coaching, the coaching is relevant, and if there is a connection between what the coachee values and coaching outcomes. Coaching based in the transformative adult learning theory allows for the coachees to develop an awareness of their thinking and habits to develop new understandings (Cox, 2015). Griffiths (2015) admitted that learning derived from coaching must continue to be explored in the educational context, and coaching may serve as a model for effective learning worth considering. Executive Coaching Overall, the outcomes of the executive coaching literature varied. MacKie’s (2007) review of various executive coaching studies and literature based in coaching outcomes determined that coached leaders focused more on leadership and coaching others than uncoached leaders. However, Susing (2016) contended that coaching outcomes can be inconsistent and therefore not worth the investment of coaching, but she also shared executive coaching could be impactful if the coaching is based in evidence, has learning goals, and includes some suggestions. Lastly, the executive coaching literature review revealed the following factors impact coaching: • The effectiveness of the coach (Dagley, 2010); • The coaching model and coaches’ background (Koortzen & Oosthuizen, 2010); and • The mindset of the coachee, timeliness of the coaching, and coaching style (Susing, 2016). For executive coaching to have the greatest impact, these factors must be considered. Summary of Findings and Interpretation of Results Five themes were identified as a result of the researcher’s review, coding, and analysis of interview responses. The themes determined were focus, personalization, relationship, accountability, and growth. Figure 1 displays the five themes and first level child codes. The Role of the Principal During the interviews, principals were asked to define the role of the principal to further understand their needs as principals and recognize supportive professional development based on their role as principal. In naming a multitude of responsibilities, the researcher coded all of their responsibilities to the five principal standards of T-PESS, an evaluation and support system for Texas principals, which include instructional leadership, human capital, executive leadership, school culture, and strategic operations. Instructional leadership and human capital were coded the most times based on principals’ responses. Half of the principals interviewed shared comments that expressed the complexity of the role based on having to accomplish a variety of expectations in different contexts with all stakeholders. Focus: Theme 1 of 5 Principals’ use of words such as focus, intentional, and targeted along with examples of ways in which they narrowed the focus of their work as a result of executive coaching culminated in focus being a theme. Eleven of the 12 principals perceived executive coaching helped with focusing on products or work, their growth, district and campus priorities, and their goals or plans. Two principals credited focus being timely according to current circumstances. Several principals even claimed to be more focused as a result of executive coaching.

8 Personalization: Theme 2 of 5 In principals listing differences between executive coaching and other professional development experiences, feedback, application, engagement, accountability, focus, one-on-one, and personalized were named. All principals had responses aligned with personalization, and the theme’s child codes included the following: campus or person specific, goals, misalignment, relevant problem solving, and one-on-one. In spite of all the principals providing comments that were coded to the personalization theme, four principal responses were also coded to personalization, lack thereof, due to misalignment. Some of the principals expressed not initially seeing the connection to their current situation and not hearing about the work connected to coaching within the district. There were also moments of misalignment for a principal due to other district roles the principal held. Overall, principals valued the personalization aspect. Relationship: Theme 3 of 5 All of the principals had responses coded to the theme of relationship. Some of the principals mentioned relationship attributes such as feedback and engagement when defending differences between executive coaching and other principal professional development. The relationship theme was split into the following child codes: communication, knowledge or insight, collaborative, outside coach, non-evaluative, and trust. Communication was coded the most of any of the relationship child codes and included coaches being listeners, using questioning to promote thinking and reflection, providing feedback, communicating passionately about the work, and providing encouragement or affirmation. Some of the principals addressed the relationship being key to coaching. In spite of there being no interview questions related to executive coaching being provided by coaches who do not work for the school districts, half of the participants mentioned the benefit of having an outside coach. Principals appreciated having an outside coach to gain a different perspective and because the executive coach is not responsible for evaluating the principal. Accountability: Theme 4 of 5 Eleven of 12 principals provided responses that the researcher coded to accountability. This theme had six identified child codes including district focus, goals or evidence, growth, accountability of others, reflection, and productive struggle. Accountability for focusing on district priorities and helping others be accountable had Figure 1. Code Map of Themes and First Level Child Codes Crystal Johnson Cross, EdD

Journal of K-12 Educational Research 9 one response each attached to those codes. Accountability for goals or evidence and growth had six principal comments each, the greatest amount in this theme. The six principal comments attached to growth referred to growth of their thinking and work as a leader, growth of their teachers, and overall growth of campuses. When it comes to accountability related to reflection, four principals discussed having opportunities to reflect on alignment between what is important and what is produced, what needs principals’ focus, and the quality of their work. Productive struggle was attached to five principal responses and focused on addressing areas of concern, tough decisions, and paradigm shifts. It is the researcher’s belief from coding the data and reviewing responses that as a result of focus, personalization, and relationship that accountability was likely a welcomed support for principal development. Growth: Theme 5 of 5 Growth had more coded responses than any other theme, and all of the principals had responses attached to this theme. Growth was divided into four child codes, which included people, processes, products, and more focused. Growth of people, which included principals and their staff, had the most responses attached. One principal tied growth to the quality of products produced as a result of coaching. Eleven of the 12 principals’ responses were coded as being more focused as a result of coaching. In reference to growth related to people, principals expressed growth in students, staff, developing others, self-efficacy, learning or knowledge, and changes in their thinking. Eight principals reported growth in developing others, and six principals perceived they had a change in thinking. Principals addressed growth in processes for communication, faculty meetings, planning, professional development, Professional Learning Communities, recognition, and reflection. Communication could be connected to the responses of eight principals who shared how they have changed the ways they communicate or what they communicate. Table 1 houses what principals shared about their overall perceptions of executive coaching when they were asked to describe their coaching experience using three words of their choice. Implications Themes Focus is important for principal professional development because as described by the principal participants of the current study, the role is demanding. Regardless of the demands, principals must consistently remember the importance of their roles as instructional leaders and dedicate sufficient time towards matters aligned with teaching and learning (Ediger, 2014). Principals reported executive coaching assisted them with activities related to teaching and learning such as learning models and strategies, classroom visits, data, and response to intervention. Eleven of 12 principals also reported changes aligned with increased focused as a result of executive coaching. Personalization was noted by all study participants. Literature related to adult learning and coaching support personalization as a commodity due to adult learners’ needs to drive the process, discuss their experiences, and work on what they value and find relevant (Cox, 2015). One new principal confirmed coaching was not as valuable until it became personalized to the principal’s current needs and Principal Three Words progressive, innovative, collaborative purposeful, personable, growth individualized, relevant, impactful consistent, targeted, personal inconvenient, complimentary, targeted relevant, timely, encouraging individualized, motivational, detailed passionate, targeted, and relational targeted, intentional, beneficial purposeful, self-reflection, challenging timely, direct, independent positive, supportive, awareness P1 P2 P3 P4 P5 P6 P7 P8 P9 P10 P11 P12 Table 1. Three Words to Describe the Executive Coaching Experience

10 priorities. The new principal’s perspective is supported by Bauer and Brazer’s (2013) cautioning that coaching for new principals can be viewed as less beneficial when it is not aligned to their specific needs and goals. Relationship appeared to be a key factor of executive coaching due to such factors as encouragement, feedback, trust, and the coaches’ knowledge. Exceptional coaches can connect and engage with the executive, have broad and flexible approaches and methods, remain aware of their context, and can provide challenging feedback while staying connected with the executive (Dagley, 2010). Trust, non-judgment, and compassion are also important coach skills (Koortzen & Oosthuizen, 2010). The aforementioned traits were noted by the principals of the current study regarding their executive coaches. Principals are held accountable for their campuses. Executive leadership, one of the T-PESS standards, speaks to the principal taking responsibility for campus success (TEA, 2017). Executive coaching appears to have provided welcomed accountability partners for 11 of 12 principals. The executive coaches supported principals in a variety of aspects for which they are held accountable such as curriculum and instruction work, developing themselves and others, adjusting according to improvement feedback, and problem solving needs and challenges, all of which can contribute to the campuses’ success. Growth at some level was documented for all of the principals. Executive coaching allows principals to acquire new knowledge and skills, be more effective, shift behavioral choices, and achieve various goals (Cerni et al., 2010; Dagley, 2010; Galagan, 2014; MacKie, 2015). Principals’ growth in people, processes, products, and more focus support the previous thought. It is argued that principals do not receive the support and professional development needed to remain committed to their roles (SLN, 2014). However, the current study acknowledges it is possible executive coaching could be an option to support principals’ commitments to their challenging role. Executive Coaching Overall, it appears 11 of 12 principals interviewed perceived executive coaching as effective as noted by their growth and overall comments about executive coaching. The outcomes of the current study are solely based on principals’ perceptions. However, Principals must be highly efficacious to persuade others to perform at high levels, and must have a strong belief in teachers and the organization as a whole to pursue the types of school improvement efforts and research-based organization learning mechanisms that can improve student performance. (Hesbol, 2019, p. 33) Principal perceptions of what they are capable of holds value. Based on principals’ perceptions of growth related to people, products, and processes, executive coaching was beneficial. Executive coaching provided focused, personalized, and accountable support resulting in the professional development of principals. Crystal Johnson Cross, EdD References Bauer, S. C., & Brazer, S. D. (2013). The impact of isolation on the job satisfaction of new principals. Journal of School Leadership, 23(1), 152–177. Retrieved from https:// eric-ed-gov.library.dbu. Cerni, T., Curtis, G. J., & Colmar, S. H. (2010, March). Executive coaching can enhance transformational leadership. International Coaching Psychology Review, 5(1), 81-85. Retrieved from login.aspx?direct=true&db=a9h&AN=48188710&site=e host-live Cox, E. (2015). Coaching and adult learning: Theory and practice. New Directions for Adult & Continuing Education, 2015(148), 27–38. ace.20149 Dagley, G. R. (2010). Exceptional executive coaches: Practices and attributes. International Coaching Psychology Review, 5(1), 63–80. Retrieved from http:// AN=48188709&site=ehost-live Ediger, M. (2014). The changing role of the school principal. College Student Journal, 48(2), 265–267. Retrieved from

Journal of K-12 Educational Research 11 =eric&AN=EJ1035057&site=ehost-live Every Student Succeeds Act, Pub. L. No. 114–95, 129 Stat. 1809 (2015). Retrieved from https://www.govinfo. gov/content/pkg/BILLS-114s1177enr/pdf/BILLS114s1177enr.pdf Galagan, P. (2014). Coaching comes into the light. T+D, 68(5), 22–25. Retrieved from http://search.ebscohost. com/login.aspx?direct=true&db=a9h&AN=95794655&s ite=ehost-live Griffiths, K. (2015). Personal coaching: Reflection on a model for effective learning. Journal of Learning Design, 8(3), 14–28. Hesbol, K. A. (2019). Principal self-efficacy and learning organizations: Influencing school improvement. International Journal of Educational Leadership Preparation, 14(1), 33–51. Retrieved from https://eric. Ikemoto, G., Taliaferro, L., Fenton, B., & Davis, J. (2014). Great principals at scale: Creating district conditions that enable all principals to be effective (Research Report). Retrieved from New Leaders website: https://files.eric. Kafka, J. (2009). The principalship in historical perspective. Peabody Journal of Education, 84(3), 318–330. Retrieved from Koortzen, P., & Oosthuizen, R. (2010, July 19). A competence executive coaching model. SA Journal of Industrial Psychology, 36(1). sajip.v36i1.837 MacKie, D. (2007). Evaluating the effectiveness of executive coaching: Where are we now and where do we need to be? Australian Psychologist, 42(4), 310–318. https://doi. org/10.1080/00050060701648217 MacKie, D. (2015). Who sees change after leadership coaching? An analysis of impact by rater level and selfother alignment on multi-source feedback. International Coaching Psychology Review, 10(2), 118–130. Retrieved from e&db=a9h&AN=109268097&site=ehost-live School Leaders Network. (2014). Churn: The high cost of principal turnover. Retrieved from files/7014/5978/0122/principal_turnover_cost.pdf Snodgrass Rangel, V. (2018). A review of the literature on principal turnover. Review of Educational Research, 88(1), 87–124. Retrieved from https://doi. org/10.3102/0034654317743197 Susing, I. (2016). Coaching at the top. OD Practitioner, 48(4), 13–19. Retrieved from login.aspx?direct=true&db=a9h&AN=118453559&site= ehost-live Texas Education Agency. (2017). T-PESS user guide, 1–40. Retrieved from User_Guide.pdf Texas Education Agency. (2018). Texas academic performance report 2017-18 state, 1–23. Retrieved from broker?_service=marykay&year4=2018&year2=18&_ debug=0&single=N&batch=N&app=PUBLIC&title=201 8+Texas+Academic+Performance+Reports&_ program=perfrept.perfmast. sas&ptype=H&level=state&search=campname&namen um=& About the Author Dr. Crystal Cross is a facilitator, trainer, and coach for Engage2Learn and the owner of Cross Management & Consulting LLC. Previous positions held include Director of Professional Learning, Principal, and Title I Instructional Facilitator. She holds a Bachelor of Science Degree in Interdisciplinary Studies from Texas State University, a Master of Education Degree in Administration and Supervision from University of Houston-Victoria, and a Doctor of Education Degree in Educational Leadership K-12 from Dallas Baptist University. She can be reached at Crystal@CrossMCLLC. com.

12 Introduction Online learning is increasingly becoming a viable option for K12 students in the United States. As seen recently, schools were able to continue providing a learning environment through the usage of computers, the Internet, and World Wide Web in spite of the forced quarantined lifestyle resulting from the 2020 global pandemic. However, despite the advantage of anytime, anyplace, and anywhere approach to online or virtual learning, teachers, administrators, and parents remain skeptical about the effectiveness of teaching and learning online. Since its introduction to the K12 sector in the late 1990s, virtual learning has been received with a myriad of emotions, from zealous school reformers who believe that technology will revolutionize teaching and learning to more skeptical educators who believe that technology innovation is overly exaggerated and idealized, making it incompatible with the realities of a classroom. National reports on virtual school performance do not help in providing clarity either, strengthening the apprehension. As the number of virtual schools continues to grow exponentially since their first appearance in 1997, reports of their poor performance have also become prevalent. According to the National Education Policy Center, only 48.5% of virtual schools in the United States were rated as acceptable, and only half of virtual high school seniors graduated, compared to the 84% of traditional school students in the 2017-2018 school year (Molnar et al., 2019). Contrastingly, the research world of online learning paints a completely different picture. In the last 20 years, there has been enough research evidence to indicate that online delivery methods can be as effective as traditional in-person education. This drastic discrepancy between research data and the experience perceived by educational stakeholders is alarming. While there is no denying that technology has become a fundamental part of the current digital age, more research and understanding are needed on its effect on teaching and learning. The purpose of the current study was to explore and examined a broad conceptual understanding of states’ governing practices on K12 virtual education programs. Thirty-four states that offered virtual education programs during the 2017-2018 school year were examined. The results of the study showed that the current governing practices were largely focused on bureaucratic affairs of virtual education programs. Significant number of states failed to address and provide pedagogical guidelines to implementing virtual education programs. The Problem In 1998, there was only one virtual school, Florida Virtual School, with 77 students. Since then, the growth of publicly funded virtual schools has not slowed down. The latest publication of Virtual Schools in the U.S. 2019 by the National Education Policy Center (NEPC) reported 501 publicly funded K12 virtual schools with a total enrollment of 297,712 students in the 2017-2018 school year (Molnar et al., 2019). While this number is only a drop in a bucket compared to over 56.5 million students in traditional schools, it is significant in that it represents a rapid growth, by 1,000%, in a short period of time (National Center for Education Statistics, 2018). A SNAPSHOT OF STATES’ GOVERNING PRACTICES ON K12 VIRTUAL EDUCATION PROGRAMS Judy Yi, EdD Journal of K-12 Educational Research 2021, VOL. 5, ISSUE 1

Journal of K-12 Educational Research 13 However, despite its growing popularity as a viable educational option, the perception of its educational value is not as promising. Questions regarding the effectiveness of virtual learning continue to linger as virtual schools’ performance looks bleak. National reports and the media overwhelmingly expose virtual schools of their low performance and graduation rates (Ahn, 2016; Barbour et al., 2017; Molnar, 2017; Molnar et al., 2019). The NEPC reported only 48.5% of full-time virtual schools and 44.6% of blended virtual schools were rated acceptable by their state standards in the 2017-2018 school year (Molnar et al., 2019). The average graduation rate was 50.1% for full-time and 61.5% for blended virtual schools. While blended virtual schools fared slightly better, they both fell short of the national average of 84% graduation rate in traditional schools (Molnar et al., 2019). Literature Review Interestingly, research studies of online learning reveal something quite different. In fact, there is enough research evidence to indicate that distance and online learning can have the same or even slightly higher student learning outcome when compared to the traditional learning environment. Earlier writings on the effectiveness of K12 online education consisted mainly of opinions, case studies, and descriptive research and lacked empirical evidence (Barker et al., 1999; Berge & Mrozowski, 2009; Moore & Thompson, 1990). However, one of the few areas with extensive empirical research from both K12 and higher education is comparing student performance in the online and traditional learning environments. Cavanaugh et al. (2004) evaluated 14 web-delivered K12 distance education studies published between 1999 and 2004. The 14 studies included a combined population of 7,561 students from Grades 3 to 12 enrolled in a distance education program. Their academic outcomes were compared to control groups who were not enrolled. The analysis of results revealed that the overall effects of web-delivered distance education were not significantly different from the traditionally delivery system, reemphasizing that online education can have the same effect as traditional education (Cavanaugh et al., 2004). Another 2010 meta-analysis study prepared for the U.S. Department of Education examined published literature from 1996 to 2008. The study revealed that online students on average performed modestly better than students in the traditional classroom using the same material (Means et al., 2010). The overall conclusion is that distance and online education can produce the same level of student learning outcome as traditional education; however, this researchbased evidence is not reflected in the current perception of virtual education programs. As to why or under what conditions K12 students succeed or fail in virtual learning, little is known (Pourreau, 2015). The Study To better understand why the current perception and performance of virtual schools do not reflect the researchbased evidence, the current study aimed to explore the state governing practices on virtual education programs. There were two purposes to the current study: 1. Discover a common theme in states’ governing practices by examining state laws written on virtual education program and 2. Identify any difference in states’ governing practices based on three performance groups of virtual school. The researcher addressed the following four research questions: Research Question 1 (RQ1): What are the recurring themes in the legislated statutes regarding the publicly funded virtual education in the United States? Research Question 2 (RQ2): What are the common themes in the legislated statutes of states whose virtual school’s graduation rate was reported 60% and above? Research Question 3 (RQ3): What are the common themes in the legislated statutes of states whose virtual school’s graduation rate was reported between 40 and 59%? Research Question 4 (RQ4): What are the common themes in the legislated statutes of states whose virtual school’s graduation rate was reported below 40%?

14 Using a qualitative research method, states’ primary and secondary education codes were collected. Then, a section on virtual education program was identified, analyzed, and categorized into themes. The results of the study provided answers to the research questions. Target Population According to the 2019 NEPC’s Virtual Schools in the U.S. publication, 34 states offered some form of virtual education program and reported student enrollment in public virtual schools. The virtual school performance of 34 states, measured in graduation rate for 2017-2018, was also reported and shown in Figure 1. South Dakota had the lowest graduation rate of 16.9%, and Florida had the highest graduation rate of 80.1% (Molnar et al., 2019). For the current study, 34 states were classified into three performance groups based on the state’s virtual school graduation rate. They were 0-39%, 40-59%, and 60% and above. Of the 34 states, the researcher found that 31 states had a section on distance, online, or virtual education program in their elementary and secondary education code. Three states—Alaska, North Carolina, and Ohio—did not have a state legislated law on virtual education program, therefore, were excluded from the study’s population. Results The result of analyzing 31 states’ virtual education code revealed that while the attributes of virtual education programs varied enormously from state to state, there was a consistency in the codes’ theme. Six attributes were collected and identified. They were 1) code word count, 2) location of virtual education code, 3) authorizer of virtual education program, 4) academic provider, 5) virtual school implementor, and 6) virtual school types. Word count on virtual education code ranged from the shortest at 240 words (Louisiana) to longest at 6,624 words (Colorado). The average word count was 2,391 words. The Judy Yi, EdD Figure 1. Full-time Virtual School Graduation Rate by State, 2017-2018 Note: Graduation rates for AL, KY, LA, MA, and TX were not reported in the NEPC’s 2019 publication.

Journal of K-12 Educational Research 15 location of virtual education section within the elementary and secondary education code varied from state to state. Twelve states (39%) of the states’ virtual education code were found under the subsection titled “Online Learning,” “Virtual School,” or “Virtual Education.” Seven states (22%) were found under the subsection titled, “Charter.” The remaining 12 states’ (39%) code fell under varied locations. They were “Curriculum and Instruction,” “Special Programs,” “Technology Education,” “Educational Choice,” “Educational Services,” “School Attendance,” or “State Funding.” The authorizing body of virtual education program also varied from local to different state entities, as seen in Table 1. Academic provider of virtual education program was equally diverse, as seen in Table 2, with the most common provider being the local educational entity. Virtual school implementor, shown in Table 3, and virtual school types, shown in Table 4, both revealed a wide range from different local educational bodies to varying state entities implementing the virtual school. Despite such a multifarious way of implementing and providing virtual education programs, there was consistency in the general theme of all virtual education codes. State laws on publicly funded virtual education programs focused primarily on administrative affairs, covering bureaucratic process and procedures. Authorizing Entity Three Words CO, IA, ME, MN, NM, NV, PA, SD, TX AL, IA, IN, LA, NE, WA, WI AZ, GA, KS, MA, NH, SC AR, ID, TN, UT FL OK KY CA, OR Dept. of Ed. or Subdivision Local Education Agency (LEA) State Board of Education State Legislative Act State Virtual School Board State Virtual Charter School Board Other (virtual recovery program only) Not Available 9 7 6 4 1 1 1 2 # of States Table 1. Virtual Program Authorizer Provider Entity States MI MI ME MA OK FL, ID, NM, SC, SD AL, AR, GA, NM, NV, OR, TX, UT CA, CO, LA, NH Higher Ed. Intermediate District LEA or Local Charter Private Organization State Board State Virtual Charter School Board State Virtual School Statewide – Dept. of Ed. Not Available 1 1 15 1 1 1 5 8 4 # of States Table 2. Academic Provider AL, AR, AZ, IA, IN, KS, KY, MI, MN, NE, PA, SC, SD, WA, WI

16 Research supported pedagogical practices, standards, and expectations on virtual education program were not addressed. The results of the current study found the following three topic areas as the most frequently addressed and most covered content in virtual education codes: “Definitions,” “Enrollment & Eligibility,” and “Application-Establishment Criteria.” Figure 2 shows that “Definitions” was mentioned in 24 out of 31 states; “Enrollment & Eligibility” was mentioned in 22 out of 31 states; and “Application-Establishment Criteria” was mentioned in 19 out of 31 states. In terms of percent coverage, the three topics combined made up almost 40% of the virtual education codes’ content. Figure 2 shows the top 12 most frequently addressed topics. Sadly, topics such as student-to-teacher ratio (2), adult supervision (1), mentorship (1), or site coordinator (1), which are research-supported effective practices in virtual education programs, were each addressed in only one to two states, as indicated by the number (Borup et al., 2015; Kozma et al., 1998; Liu et al., 2010; Liu & Liu, 2004; Zhang, 2003; Zucker & Kozma, 2003). Accountability policy was mentioned in merely 4 out of 31 states. In terms of the three performance groups, the results from the current study revealed no significant difference. “Definitions,” “Annual Reports,” and “EnrollmentEligibility” were a large portion of the code’s content in all three groups. While states from Performance Group 1 included the topic “Teacher-Staff” more frequently, Judy Yi, EdD Implementor Entity States AR, IA, ME, NM, SC, SD MI FL, ID MA CA, LA, NH Dept. of Ed. (E&S Division) Higher Ed. LEA or Local Charter State VS Board of Trustee/Directors VS Board of Trustee Not Available 6 1 20 2 1 3 # of States Table 3. Virtual School Program Implementor Types States MA, UT MI, MN, NM, WA CO, KS, MA, MI, MN, WA MA NH FL, GA, IA, ID, ME, MI, NM, SC, SD CA Higher Ed. Intermediate (Regional) District LEA VS Local Charter Multi-District Nonprofit Entity State Charter School State Virtual School/Program Not Available 2 4 24 18 6 1 1 9 1 # of States Table 4. Virtual School Types AL, AZ, CO, IA, IN, KS, KY, MI, MN, NE, NV, OK, OR, PA, SD, TN, TX, UT, WA, WI AL, AR, AZ, CO, FL, GA, IA, IN, KS, KY, LA, MA, MI, MN, NE, NH, NM, NV, OR, SD, TN, TX, UT, WA AR, AZ, CO, GA, ID, IN, LA, MA, MN, NH, NM, NV, OK, OR, PA, TX, UT, WI

Journal of K-12 Educational Research 17 the actual content provided bureaucratic procedural information related to teachers and staff. Similarly, “Online Course Standards & Criteria” in Performance Group 2 focused on procedural process. Conclusion and Implications In summary, the recurring theme, as asked in RQ1, was the bureaucratic nature of virtual education codes. It focused on defining, starting, and establishing eligibility and enrollment criteria related to virtual education program. While the procedural content of the code may have been successful in creating and establishing virtual schools (as evident by the increased number), it may not be effective in making virtual schools educationally valuable. The current study showed that existing virtual education codes made no significant difference in the performance of virtual schools. Moving forward, the governing bodies of elementary and secondary education, whether at the local or state level, will need to take virtual education programming to the next level. No longer is virtual learning “new” to the K12 sector, nor should it continue to be at the “beginning” stage. Providing bureaucratic guidelines and criteria to establish virtual education programs was needed to start the program, but they cannot sustain the program. More measures are needed to ensure that all stakeholders understand the pedagogical knowledge and how to implement that knowledge in the virtual learning environment, as well as in the traditional learning environment with the integration of technology. In spite of the widely experienced virtual learning in 2020-2021, skepticism still remains, and its effectiveness questioned. It did not help that students, parents, teachers, and administers were thrown into virtual learning environment without proper training or pedagogical understanding. However, one thing that is self-evident or lesson learned from the pandemic is that technology is here to stay. The world relied on it to keep the society moving forward, however small or big, in the midst of a global pandemic. The K12 sector needs to move beyond reluctance and doubt and join the rest of the world in integrating technology into the core of education. Increased understanding of the virtual learning environment and finding research-supported strategies to sustain an effective virtual education program is of the utmost importance. It should be an integral and fundamental part of teaching and learning and not merely an alternative option. Figure 2. Virtual Education Code Topics and Frequency by Number of States

18 References Ahn, J. (2016). Enrollment and achievement in Ohio’s Virtual Charter Schools. Fordham Institute (Vol. 1). Thomas Fordham Institute. national/research/enrollment-and-achievement-ohiosvirtual-charter-schools Barbour, M. K., Miron, G., & Huerta, L. (2017). Virtual schools in the US: Case sudies of policy, performance, & research evidence. Michigna Virtual Learning Research Institute. Barker, K., Wendel, T., & Richmond, M. (1999). Linking the literature: School effectiveness and virtual schools. The Society for the Advancement of Excellence in Education. Berge, Z. L., & Mrozowski, S. (2009). Review of research in distance education, 1990 to 1999. American Journal of Distance Education, 15(3), 5–19. https://doi. org/10.1080/08923640109527090 Borup, J., Stevens, M. A., & Waters, L. H. (2015). Parent and student perceptions of parent engagement at a cyber charter high school. Online Learning, 19(5). Cavanaugh, C., Gillan, K. J., Kromrey, J., Hess, M., & Blomeyer, R. (2004). The effects of distance education on K–12 student outcomes: A meta-analysis. Distance Education, (October). Kozma, R. B., Zucker, A. A., & Young, V. (1998). An evaluation of the virtual high school after one year of operation. SRI International. Retrieved from http://www.$file/vhseval.pdf Liu, F., Black, E., Algina, J., Cavanaugh, C., & Dawson, K. (2010). The validation of one parental involvement measurement in virtual schooling. Journal of Interactive Online Learning, 9(2), 105–132. Retrieved from www. Liu, R., & Liu, R. (2004). Satisfaction and performance: A reciprocal model. Retrieved from fulltext/ED490994.pdf Means, B., Toyama, Y., Murphy, R., Bakia, M., & Jones, K. (2010). Evaluation of evidence-based practices in online learning: A meta-analysis and review of online learning studies center for technology in learning. Retrieved from html. Molnar, A. (Ed). (2017). NEPC virtual schools in the U.S. 2017. University of Colorado Boulder. Molnar, A., Miron, G., Elgeberi, N., Barbour, M. K., Huerta, L., Shafer, S. R., & Rice, J. K. (2019). NEPC virtual schools in the U.S. 2019. University of Colorado. Retrieved from Moore, M. G., & Thompson, M. M. (1990). The effects of distance learning: A summary of literature. American Center for the Study of Distance Education. Retrieved from National Center for Education Statistics. (2018). Digest of education statistics 2017 Chapter 1: All levels of education. Retrieved October 27, 2019, from programs/digest/d17/ch_1.asp Pourreau, L. (2015). Interview with Joe Freidhoff: A bird’seye view of K-12 online learning. Online Learning, 19(5), 13–17. Retrieved from Zhang, A. (2003). Transactional distance in web-based college learning environments: Toward measurement and theory construction. Zucker, A. A., & Kozma, R. (2003). The virtual high school: Teaching generation V. Teachers College Press. About the Author Dr. Judy Yi serves as the Associate Dean of Online Education/Assistant Professor of Learning Technology in the College of Education of Dallas Baptist University. Other previous positions held include Adjunct Professor of Political Science, Online Education Student Coordinator, and Secondary Social Studies Teacher. She holds a Bachelor of Science in Education from University of Texas at Austin, a Master of Public Affairs from University of Texas at Dallas, and a Doctor of Education Degree in Educational Leadership K-12 from Dallas Baptist University. She can be reached at Judy Yi, EdD