Paper Type

Doctoral Dissertation


College of Education and Human Services

Degree Name

Doctor of Education in Educational Leadership (EdD)


Leadership, School Counseling & Sport Management

NACO controlled Corporate Body

University of North Florida. College of Education and Human Services

First Advisor

Dr. Elinor A. Scheirer

Second Advisor

Dr. Katherine M. Kasten

Third Advisor

Dr. Mary K. Baron

Fourth Advisor

Dr. Richard H. Chant

Department Chair

Dr. Jennifer Kane

College Dean

Dr. Larry Daniel


Academically failing schools are under scrutiny from government education administrators, policymakers, and the general public, due to chronic inabilities to lower dropout rates and to educate students who can pass high-stakes graduation assessments. States’ efforts to adhere to the No Child Left Behind (NCLB) Act have led to the development of accountability systems to determine adequate yearly progress (AYP) and to assign schools grades, as well as wholesale reassessment of current educational programs, which are often replaced with more rigorous curricula.

Among curricular programs that have been sought as reform measures for academically failing schools is the International Baccalaureate Program (IBP). The IBP’s exacting curriculum has attracted many schools to adopt it as an alternative course of study for advanced students, as well as a rigorous option to build academic capacity among students who have failed to make AYP.

This case study examined teachers’ perceptions of the effect the International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme (IBDP) had on the culture of an academically underperforming high school in Valdosta, Georgia. Teacher volunteers from within the IBDP, in addition to teachers who taught standard classes, participated in a series of three semistructured interviews over 1.5 years, during which time the school made its initial application to the International Baccalaureate Organisation and subsequently began implementing the program with the school’s first cohort of students. Additionally, documents relating to the IB application process were examined, and observations of the IBDP teachers with students in their classrooms were conducted. Data analysis utilized the frameworks of educational criticism and narrative analysis.

Teachers within the IBDP reported feelings of increased self-efficacy resulting from their work with both students and community stakeholders. Participant teachers in both IB courses and other programs described an overall improvement in the school’s culture.