Date of Graduation


Document Type


Degree Type



College of Education and Human Services


Curriculum & Instruction/Literacy Studies

Committee Chair

Helen M. Hazi.


This study's purpose was to describe and develop understandings of the West Virginia Five Year School System Strategic Plan development process in selected counties. A qualitative design of a multiple site case study was chosen because of its ability to interpret and understand process. Strategic planning is intended to be a state mandated process for school districts that results in improved student, school, and school system performance. These four nominated districts used a common style and process of consensus building and decision-making. Facilitators and barriers to the process were identified. Facilitators are described in a context of teaming and consensual decision-making. The districts in this research overcame barriers, such as the compliance nature of the document, to achieve plans aimed at school improvement. Four theories are used to help understand the planning process: systems as the overarching process, distributed leadership to describe the shared leadership roles, stasis theory as a generative heuristic to model the social discourse and knowledge building that occurred, and social decision scheme to consider the characteristics of consensual decision-making.