Date of Award


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


Teaching , Learning and Culture


Char Ullman


Over the past 32 years, the National Blue Ribbon Schools Program, a trademark of excellence and success in academics, has recognized nearly 7,000 American schools in which students have demonstrated high academic performance and achievement (U.S. Department of Education, 2012). Previous studies of National Blue Ribbon Schools have largely centered upon leadership characteristics (Carney-Dalton, 2001; Copeland, 2003; Kushner, 2000; Lyles, 2009; Maslyk, 2012;Sapone, 2001), but studies have not focused on the particular instructional practices that are used within these schools. Since 1982, 36 out of 862 New Mexico schools (NCES, 2013) have achieved National Blue Ribbon status (United States Department of Education, 2012). These schools have achieved National Blue Ribbon status, contradicting reports of the state's history of its schools' low academic performance (New Mexico Public Education Department, 2011, 2012). This Deweyian-influenced narrative inquiry tells the story of one of New Mexico's 2010, Title I, National Blue Ribbon Schools in order to address the research puzzle concerning whether and how the use of particular instructional practices used during reading instruction contributed to student success in one such school. As opposed to research problems which carry with them qualities of definability and the expectation of a solution, narrative inquiries are composed around a particular wonder or research puzzle (Clandinin & Connelly, 2000). Using Dewey's (1938) criteria of experience as a theoretical frame for interaction (Clandinin & Connelly, 2000), instructional practices were identified as exogenous and endogenous tensions. Instructional practices characterized by exogenous tensions included accountability structures, parental and community involvement, and building relationships. Those characterized by endogenous tensions included teacher-coaching, leveled instruction, classroom discourse, active monitoring of student learning, and fidelity, all pertaining to the Balanced Literacy Framework. Teachers and principals may find that what was learned through this inquiry may have transferability in other locales and implications for policy and practice.




Received from ProQuest

File Size

286 pages

File Format


Rights Holder

Debra Yvonne Kerney