Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Educational Studies

Committee Chair

Marilyn A. Hirth

Committee Member 1

James H. Freeland

Committee Member 2

F. Richard Olenchak

Committee Member 3

Eric Deemer


The purpose of this qualitative study was to describe how high school principals in Indiana are redesigning senior year academic experiences as a means to increasing student engagement and making the senior year more valuable for students. Using an exploratory multiple-case study design, three high school principals serving in high performing high schools in Indiana (as defined by the Indiana Department of Education rating each school an “A”) were interviewed, with interviews recorded and transcribed, then coded for item analysis. The participants’ commentary, outlined themes, and sub-themes from the case study provide insight into the experiences of high school principals as they work to create site-specific redesign solutions for their schools. Themes from this study are: (a) rigor, (b) relevance, (c) freedom, and (d) increasing post-secondary opportunities for students, supported by the subthemes of (a) physical plant structures, building projects, and building design have direct impacts on how redesign of educational programming is structured, (b) local stakeholder desires help shape changes, (c) communicating change, (d) perceived student needs, and (e) the individual strengths and dispositions of school leadership personnel. The themes identified through data analysis have been assessed leaving three assertions for principals to consider when seeking to create site-specific school redesign solutions in their own settings: (a) Principals must have a clear vision for the need to change; (b) Principals must communicate clearly with stakeholders; (c) Principals must embrace the uniqueness of their school and create redesign solutions specific to their schools. The results of this study are intended to provide insight and ideas for other high school principals pursuing high school redesign ideas in their school setting.