Page 28 - Volume 6 - Issue 1 - DBU Journal for K-12 Educational Leadership

26 Gooding (2012) explained mission drift as a part of an inevitable cycle, but one that could have a positive outcome instead of the negative outcomes already mentioned in this chapter. The model as explained by Gooding (2012) shows a process where organizations confront mission drift/ creep and are able to reevaluate their mission statement so that they can reach a state of realignment. The key to understanding the model outlined by Gooding is that mission drift is a process of the gradual misalignment between the mission as it is practiced and the mission as it is written or intended. According to Gooding (2012), the hope for combatting this is a self-aware organization that is learning from this occurrence and then going through a process of reevaluation and realignment. Research Design The current study employed a mixed method design to establish if there is mission drift or adherence in the schools of the innovative school model by first utilizing a quantitative analysis based on historical survey data. The area of focus was the innovative school model’s Student Culture Survey (SCS) dimensions of School Connectedness and Learning Experiences. Subsequent to the quantitative analysis, the researcher used a qualitative method to investigate through interviews the factors that contribute to either the mission drift or the mission alignment that is found through the quantitative study. For the quantitative study, the researcher obtained the 2017-2018 school year SCS results, for which there were 70 individual high schools with data reported. For the qualitative study, the researcher interviewed 12 principals of innovative model schools. Results The survey data was collected for all schools that participated in the SCS for all years, regardless of age in the innovative model. A specific year of data, the 20172018 school year, was chosen to run the analysis for RQ1 to measure if there was a correlation between the age of the school and its level of mission adherence or drift by looking at specific measures of the SCS. Research Question 1 (RQ1) Is there a relationship between the School Connectedness and Learning Experiences sub-scores of the Student Culture Survey and years of experience in the innovative model? If schools adhere to the mission of the innovative model over time, the expectation would be that there is a positive correlation between the SCS scores and the age of the school, or that scores indicate a high level of agreement for the survey subjects that is maintained even in older schools in the innovative model. If mission drift occurs, then a negative correlation would be observed between the variables. The specific relationship studied is between the age of the school in the innovative model and School Connectedness and Learning Experience mean scores for schools. An additional option could also exist with a low level of agreement between the survey subjects and the survey items over time. A Pearson r correlation analysis was conducted separately for the School Connectedness and Learning Experience dimensions to determine if there was a relationship between each variable and the age of the school in the innovative model. The results for the analyses of the two dependent variables yielded a small positive correlation that was not statistically significant. There was no relationship between School Connectedness and age of a school in the innovative model, r(70) = .096, p = .429. Additionally, there was no relationship between Learning Experiences and age of a school in the innovative model, r(70) = .075, p = .536. Since the p-values for the Pearson r correlation analyses were both greater than .05, the researcher failed to reject the null hypotheses that there was not a relationship between School Connectedness and age of the school in the network or between Learning Experiences and age of the school in the network. While the null hypothesis about School Connectedness and age of school could not be rejected, it has yielded the result of consistently high scores on this dimension across schools at all ages in the innovative model. In the survey instrument, the Likert items range from a score of 1, meaning Strongly Disagree and a score of 4, meaning Strongly Agree. The lowest mean scores observed for School Connectedness in the current study occur in years 4 through 11 for innovative model schools. The persistence of schools’ high average mean scores for School Connectedness was explored in the qualitative portion of the study. Steffany Gayle Batik, EdD