Defense Date


Graduation Date

Spring 2014


Immediate Access

Submission Type


Degree Name



Instructional Leadership Excellence (ILEAD)


School of Education

Committee Chair

Dr. David D Carbonara

Committee Member

Sr. Mary Francess Grasinger

Committee Member

Dr. Rose Mary Mautino

Committee Member

Dr. Wayne Brinda


21st Century Skills, Globalization, Professional Development, Technology, Vision


The purpose of this qualitative case study was to investigate how one secondary school, known for its high quality educational program, is infusing the pedagogical elements that are conducive for a 21st century education. The administration's vision along with teacher interviews and classroom observations were used to understand if the school was effectively articulating its program with the needs of the 21st century learner and the changing 21st century workplace. In order to successfully prepare the students and meet their educational needs, teachers are asked to integrate higher level thinking skills through the use of problem based learning while using technology in a meaningful way. Administration setting unrealistic professional goals without lending practical and meaningful support has made it very difficult for the teachers to successfully implement a successful 21st century educational program.

The research questions focused on the administration's understanding of 21st century educational needs and teacher belief systems when approaching instruction for the Net-Gen students in order to explore how alignment between realities in the classroom and district vision can be reached. Interviews were conducted with three teachers and one administrator. Classroom observations were conducted using a rubric synthesized from the Partnership of 21st Century Skills and International Society of Technology Education (ISTE) that stress the new 3 R's of rigor, relevance and resources.

Common themes emerged through the case study. The district's vision and approach to professional development was an over arching theme that influenced much of the school's idea of 21st century learning. External and internal barriers to meaningful technology integration were also evident in the study. With many school reforms, teachers needed tailored professional development to facilitate instruction that incorporates real world relevance and critical thinking. The disconnect between the teacher and administrator's perception of 21st century education were also integral in exploring this school's approach to 21st century education. Although classroom observations showed that teachers are attempting some elements of 21st century instruction, the study found that there is a weak articulation of the vision to the teachers. Recommendations were included for school districts, administrative teams and further research.