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Change processes in a Head Start early childhood/public school transition demonstration project

Purdue University
Publication Date
  • Education
  • Early Childhood
  • Design
  • Education
  • Philosophy


This study was designed to augment our understanding of school change in one school system in a midwestern community by examining the perceptions of all of the key stakeholders (teachers, administrators, and auxiliary staff members) on four dimensions that include: (a) the organizational structure of the program, (b) participant perceptions of the program's philosophy, (c) institutionalization of practices, and (d) the constraints that impede successful implementation. Assessment of this early educational intervention's context highlighted the dynamic nature and complexity of the Head Start Transition educational intervention.^ Consistent with many of the previous studies on school reform, this effort at educational reform failed because its approach: (a) was ultimately presented as piecemeal and incremental, (b) failed to integrate solution ideas into a complex interactive whole or system, and (c) remained within the boundaries of the current educational system. The administrative support, staff development, and effective use of the intervention that needed to be developed to protect and stabilize the program as a structure within the school system were never fully realized. This study highlighted the need to engage in studies that examine the culture of the implementing system in early intervention efforts. This study illustrated that the school system was the critical link in the program's implementation and that this contextual knowledge should be accounted for when examining the overall efficacy of the intervention. ^

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