Principal/Assistant Principal Interview Guide (Control Schools)
Hello, this is ________________ from _______________ in ____________, ____. We’ve
contracted with Memphis City Schools to conduct an independent evaluation of the Memphis
Striving Readers Program. As part of this four-year evaluation, we are seeking to describe your
school’s reading practices. You have been asked to participate in this interview because of your
knowledge about your school as its principal or assistant principal.
This interview should take approximately 50 minutes. Please answer the questions as best as
you can. As indicated in the informed consent form that you signed, I would like to audiotape
this interview so that I may document your responses the most accurately. Only evaluators will
listen to the audiotape and have access to a transcription of our conversation. Your responses
will be kept confidential and you will never be identified by name when we report the results of
these interviews. Your identity will never be revealed to program staff or any individual
associated with your school or school district. While researchers may report quotes collected
during interviews with school principals, every effort possible step will be taken to ensure your
confidentiality. RBS and Edvantia staff members will store this information in a secure
location.1 You are free to stop participating or withdraw at any time. Let me know if you would
like to skip a question because you do not know how to respond to it.
May I start the interview now?
Do I have permission to audiotape this interview?
1. How long have you been in your current position as principal/assistant principal?
2. Do you have any prior experience with literacy instruction? Please describe.
3. In your view, which staff are responsible for literacy instruction? [Probe: To what extent do
you expect content area teachers to address the literacy needs of struggling readers?]
4. What are your school’s main student achievement improvement goals?
5. How were these goals identified? [Probes: Internally, by the principal/school staff? Under
NCLB as a result of performance on adequate yearly progress (AYP) indicators?]
6. How well prepared is your school to accomplish these goals? [Probe: Would you please
describe for me the plans that have been put in place/are planned to address improvement goals?]
7. What is your understanding of the Memphis Content Literacy Academy (MCLA) and the
purpose of the program?
Data collected for research purposes are stored in compliance with ISO 17799 requirements for access, security, and
redundancy. Data are stored in an encrypted format in centralized, electronically and physically secure servers at RBS and
Edvantia for a period not to exceed five years. All electronic data of a personal nature are safeguarded and available only
to those project leaders, staff, and technologists having a need to know within the specific criteria as set forth in the
approved project plan. The Edvantia Institutional Review Board has the authority to inspect consent records and data files
only to assure compliance with approved procedures.
8. What is your understanding of the purpose of READ 180?
9. To the extent that you are familiar with MCLA, how connected/disconnected is the Academy
from your school’s current improvement plans? [Probe: Please describe specific links (or
disconnects) between MCLA and current improvement plans.]
10. When MCLA is implemented at your school, do you think it will require teachers to do
different things in addition to what is already expected of them? [Probe: If yes, please describe
whether the additional demands support or conflict with achievement of other/more important
11. Do you expect MCLA will have an effect on student learning?
12. Which teachers will be eligible to participate in MCLA? [Probe: Are you aware of other
school staff who are interested in attending? Do you think participation should be extended
to include other staff? Which staff?]
13. How will teachers be recruited to participate in MCLA? [Probe: Is MCLA mentioned at
faculty meetings or in your conversations with specific groups of teachers?
14. What expectations, if any, do you have for teachers’ participation in MCLA next year?
[Probe: What percent of eligible teachers do you expect to enroll? Will specific grade level,
content area, or teams of teachers be encouraged to participate or will the decision to enroll be
left to the discretion of individual teachers?]
15. Thinking about next year, on a scale of 1 to 5 where “1” is not at all realistic, and “5” is
very realistic, how realistic is it to expect you to:
a. allow teachers to observe each others’ classes/share ideas [Probe: If response is a
3 or higher, ask “how often?”]
b. discuss MCLA at faculty meetings?
c. attend the annual MCLA kick-off event in August?
d. attend MCLA teacher evening course sessions? [Probe: How many?]
e. attend celebratory events (i.e., the Laureate ceremony)
f. discuss MCLA with enrolled teachers?
g. recruit new teachers to enroll in MCLA?
h. observe teachers’ use of literacy strategies? [Probe: How often?]
i. provide feedback to teachers about their use of MCLA strategies?
j. participate in all Fellowship activities? [Probe: What level of participation do you
think is realistic?]
16. What are your expectations of next year’s principal Fellowship course?
17. Overall, do you feel that having a literacy coach here will be beneficial?
18. To what extent is having an additional READ 180 classroom supported by the Striving
Readers grant helpful or beneficial? [Probe: For teachers and/or students?]
A Few General Questions about Teacher Attrition
19. Aside from attrition resulting from surplusing, please estimate the annual attrition rate among
teachers at this school? [Probe: Do certain content areas lose more teachers than others? If yes,
20. Do you feel the current rate of teacher attrition is a problem? Why or why not?
21. What are the most common reasons teacher provide as their reason for leaving? [Probes:
Retirement? Burnout? Relocation of spouse? Pursuit of a career other than teaching?]
Thank you so much for your time today.