Defense Date


Graduation Date

Spring 2009


Immediate Access

Submission Type


Degree Name



Interdisciplinary Doctoral Program for Education Leaders (IDPEL)


School of Education

Committee Chair

Peter M. Miller

Committee Member

James E. Henderson

Committee Member

Kimberly Hyatt


Collaboration, Kindergarten, Reform, Teaching, Accountability


Kindergarten programs have been part of public schooling since the 1850s. Over the years, kindergarten programs have changed from a nurturing, child-centered atmosphere to more academically rigorous programs that aspire to better prepare children for grade school. Additionally, since the launch of Sputnik in 1957, Americans have identified the need for school reform to better prepare their children to compete on a global level. The author of this dissertation views kindergarten programs and school reform to be at a confluence where school reform efforts are attempting to be met by promoting greater teacher collaboration to influence changes in early childhood instructional delivery.

The author examines, through a case study, one Southwestern Pennsylvania school district's response to school reform through the implementation of a flexible kindergarten program that allows for three distinct community options: traditional half-day kindergarten, full-day kindergarten, and extended-day kindergarten: a specially designed literacy program for students that qualify based on demonstrating a deficiency on the Dynamic Indicators of Basic Early Literacy Skills (DIBELS) pre-reading screenings including letter naming and beginning sound identification prior to entry into kindergarten. All kindergarten programs for the entire district are housed in one building and isolated from all other grades. The author investigates how this kindergarten building has implemented collaboration among the teachers for planning and program delivery in an attempt at early childhood school reform while also providing program choice to the community.

Given the current climate regarding school improvement and federally mandated academic targets for student achievement, this researcher hopes to enlighten school decision makers regarding the usefulness of a collaborative kindergarten model to meet the needs of its students while addressing school reform efforts in the state of Pennsylvania.