Title

The Educational Cooperative Service Unit as Perceived by School Board Presidents, Administrators, and Teachers in Planning Regions One and Two of Northwestern Minnesota

Date of Award

5-1-1977

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)

Department

Teaching & Learning

Abstract

Purpose: The purpose of this study was to determine the attitudes of school board presidents, superintendents, elementary principals, secondary principals, elementary teachers, and secondary teachers of the Governor's Planning Regions One and Two of Northwestern Minnesota regarding the establishment of the Educational Cooperative Service Unit (ECSU). A survey questionnaire was used to compare the attitu- dinal differences between respondents: (1) from the different roles; (2) from school districts of various size enrollment—i.e., 0-300, 301-700, 701-1200, and above 1200; and (3) from each of the twelve counties within this area.

The study has also identified the potential programs and/or services that these participants deem important for rural Northwestern Minnesota. Responses to the questionnaire were used to compare the relative importance of programs and/or services as perceived by the respondents: (1) in the different roles; (2) in school districts of various size enrollment; and (3) from the various counties within this area.

Procedure: The population of the study was limited to the fifty-two school districts located in the Governor's Planning Regions One and Two of Northwestern Minnesota. The survey was sent to: (1) 52 school board presidents; (2) 51 superintendents; (3) 57 elementary principals; and (A) 56 secondary principals. In addition, principals were asked to distribute questionnaires to 171 elementary teachers and 168 secondary teachers.

The first part of the questionnaire contained five statements related to potential support for the ECSU. The second part consisted of 87 potential programs and/or services that might be provided through the ECSU. These were grouped into five categories: (1) curricular and instructional tasks; (2) research and development tasks; (3) special education tasks; (4) administrative tasks; and (5) staff and student personnel tasks.

The conclusions for this study were divided into two parts. The major conclusions related to the concept of regional educational cooperation were:

1. Every role group agreed that cooperation with neighboring school districts would enable their school to provide a better educational program for their students. This seems to imply support for educational cooperation by all role groups, and mean responses from all role groups indicated that they would encourage their school district's involvement with this agency.

2. Every school district enrollment group reported support for ECSU, although there was slightly less support from the smaller school districts.

3. There was less support for regional educational cooperation from a somewhat consistent geographic pattern since four of the five counties that provided the least support for the concept of educational regionalism are located in the eastern portion of the Northwestern ECSU.

The major conclusions related to the potential programs arid/or services that may be offered by the Northwestern ECSU were:

1. The participation in research and development•tasks, administrative tasks, and staff and student personnel tasks had less appeal as potential programs and/or services for ECSU than the curricular and instructional and special education tasks.

2. The two teaching groups and the elementary principals were the most supportive role groups for instructional and curricular programs and/or services.

3. The respondents from all role groups, size of school district enrollments, and counties indicated support for special education programs and/or services.

4. There was slightly less support for ECSU participation in programs and/or services from the two smaller school district enrollment groups. The most support for ECSU’s participation in various programs and/or services was provided by the school districts with student enrollments of 701-1200.

5. The support for ECSU’s participation in the various programs and/or services was slightly less from a number of counties that are located in the eastern portion of the Northwestern ECSU.

The results of the study lead to the following recommendations:

1. The development of the Northwestern ECSU should be considered an alternative in providing services to communities which would supplement and enhance the effectiveness of each independent school district, thus decreasing the need for further school reorganization.

2. The results of the study indicate a need to "educate" the various constituent groups in regard to the potential research and development, administrative, and staff and student personnel programs and/or services that may be available to local school districts through ECSU.

3. The ECSU director and his staff should be prepared to: (a) work closely with the various constituent groups in assessing the future direction of the Northwestern ECSU, taking special care to gain the understanding and support of the secondary principals because they provided the lowest administrative composite mean support in four of the five programs and/or service categories; (b) respond to slightly more reluctance toward participation in the Northwestern ECSU from the smaller school districts; (c) assist the various counties in understanding the opportunities a regional educational service agency can provide local school districts, since there may be certain counties that are not as receptive to ECSU; (d) provide extensive opportunities for communication with all staff and community members in the local school districts in an attempt to create a better understanding of the concept of educational regionalism and the potential programs and/or services that may be available through the Northwestern ECSU; (e) consider the development of an instructional materials center at an early date; and (f) consider providing consultants in specialized areas as a viable service to individual school districts.

4. The Northwestern ECSU should be prepared to assume a key role in working with local school districts in coordinating the existing special education programs. The ECSU may also be able to expand on existing special education programming. The apparent support for this category indicates a willingness by local school districts to involve the Northwestern ECSU.

5. The Northwestern ECSU should build upon the positive attitude the various participants have expressed in support of curricular and instructional programs and/or services to further benefit students.

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