The David O. McKay Academy: A Case Study On School Policy

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Evans, William
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In 2016, the David O. McKay Academy opened its doors to students. The school experienced multiple difficulties opening and operating. The researcher wondered whether these difficulties were a problem actualizing the goals and vision of the school into a workable and sustainable model. The purpose of the case study was to identify whether and how the David O. McKay Academy’s parents and teachers believed the policies, practices, and procedures contributed to the two-fold mission of rigorous academics and faith development. This purpose was supported by a primary research question: In what manner, if any, did the school’s policies, practices, and procedures contribute to, or impede the two-fold mission of rigorous academics and increasing children’s’ faith? The researcher implemented a single- case embedded research design to explore this unique problem, and conducted a study during the final month of the David O. McKay Academy’s inaugural year. The collected data were transcribed, and analyzed. From this data emerged several themes about religious observations, the environment within the school, the academic structure, and the administration of the school. The researcher utilized these themes to develop a solution to the school’s inability to actualize its mission goals. This proposed solution included early stakeholder engagement and strategic planning to fine tune every element of the school before students arrive, sequencing the programs to allow for growth, and more importantly encourage the school to start with a program that is manageable, and lastly, an elongated timeline allowing the school to develop and refine itself before the daily grind of students’ work impedes the process. This proposed solution will be most meaningful to future schools, and school leaders within the LDS community, as well as private schools in general. This dissertation in practice contributes to the previous scholarly work already done, and opens topics for further research. As a culmination to Creighton’s Ed.D. in Leadership, this dissertation also contributes to the growing knowledge about leadership in the real world, and the power that is possible when leaders involve their followers in the formation of their collective identity.
Creighton University
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