Integrating Action Research
into District Practice
Teachers are usually not looking for more work. For this reason, until they have had a positive experience with action research, many have little reason to volunteer to take on this or any other additional tasks. So what might a school or a district do to encourage veteran members of their professional staff to take the plunge and become teacher researchers?
One novel and promising approach is the one used in the Killeen (Texas) Independent School District. KISD is a 30,000-student district serving the Fort Hood army base and the diverse residents of this sprawling central Texas city. The Killeen Board of Education and Charles Patterson, the superintendent of schools, have long believed that staff development is the key to school improvement. As a consequence, the district annually invests in providing a rich menu of training opportunities. The programs offered each summer and throughout the school year feature some of the most sought-after teacher educators in North America.
The school leaders in Killeen are very much aware of the sorry history of implementation following traditional, one-shot, [egg on the wall] inservice sessions.1 Consequently they sought a strategy that would
1Madeline Hunter used to talk about traditional inservice sessions as throwing egg on the
wall and hoping that something would stick!