Date of Award

Spring 2024

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)


Education Policy, Planning, and Administration

Committee Chairperson

Heather Schugar, Ph.D

Committee Member

Rose Jagielo-Manion, Ed.D

Committee Member

Tina Selvaggi, Ed.D

Committee Member

Tammi Florio Ed.D


This qualitative study examined teachers’ perspectives about their implementation of differentiated instruction in an effort to support district-led professional development programming. Differentiated instruction is based on well-considered goals and thorough analysis of students’ achievement, progress, and instructional needs, combined with formative assessments and progress monitoring (Van Geel et al., 2019). An initial questionnaire was administered to all K-5 teachers in a suburban school district, followed by individual interviews with three teachers who expressed that they often use differentiation in the classroom. Each of the three teachers participated in two interviews lasting 45-60 minutes each over the course of several weeks. The researcher coded for themes and interpreted data to determine what teachers could benefit from in professional development opportunities. The findings indicated that teachers want to learn about differentiated instruction through collaborative efforts with other educational professionals and by exercising autonomous instructional decisions based on the academic needs of their students. They value strong, effective ongoing leadership that supports consistent and ongoing professional development opportunities designed to cultivate robust classroom management skills that reinforce and sustain efforts to differentiate in the classroom.