Defense Date


Graduation Date

Fall 2003


Immediate Access

Submission Type


Degree Name



Instructional Leadership Excellence (ILEAD)


School of Education

Committee Chair

William P. Barone

Committee Member

Linda C. Wojnar

Committee Member

Mary Catherine Conroy Hayden

Committee Member

V. Robert Agostino


Adult Education, Distance Education, Educator's Web site Portal, Heinz Endowments Initiative, Online Professional Development, School Performance Network, Teacher Communication


The School Performance Network (SPN) Portal was envisioned during the formation stage of SPN as the primary mechanism for K-12 educators and SPN partners, to communicate and to collaborate. The purpose of this study was to evaluate the design, development, and implementation of the SPN Portal and Communication Institute as they demonstrate fidelity to SPN's mission: to connect educators with resources and ideas to improve teaching and learning resulting in a change of the culture of education in South Western Pennsylvania. This study investigated the formative stages of the design, development, and implementation of the School Performance Network (SPN) Portal and Communication Institute to determine the extent of the portal's usage as a communication and collaborative tool. It evaluated the use of the SPN Portal as a tool, used by K-12 educators, to share regional best practices or proven successful practices in education and its fidelity to SPN's mission to lead educational change by connecting educators with one another, to resources, and to ideas based on the successful total school performance framework focusing on five indicators adopted by SPN: learning, results, resources, culture, and partners. SPN is a non-profit organization consisting of 34 public school districts and 3 diocesan school systems from urban, suburban, and rural communities in 14 counties in Western Pennsylvania.

SPN is a strategy being employed by the Heinz Endowments Education Program bringing together individual initiatives and aims of schools and school districts to accelerate educational improvements across South Western Pennsylvania by leveraging resources, leadership, and communications to strengthen schools. The goal of SPN, started in 1998, is "to provide a broker organization that develops tools and practices that help members (partners) improve learning". SPN's mission is to lead educational change by connecting educators with resources, people, and ideas that will help improve teaching and learning. The SPN Portal is intended to be the mechanism to provide sustainable communication and opportunities for collaboration.