Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)


Curriculum & Instruction

First Advisor

Andrew Courtner

Second Advisor

Julia Kirk

Third Advisor

Marty Cosby


The purpose of this qualitative study was to examine administrator and teacher perceptions of the two primary classroom organizational structures in kindergarten through second grade within a rural East Tennessee school district: 1) departmentalized and 2) self-contained. Data were collected from seven elementary schools. The number of survey respondents were: 25 kindergarten through second grade teachers and eight administrators represented a 63% return rate for teachers and an 80% return rate for administrators. This researcher determined three primary categories among the administrator and teacher responses from both organizational structures: 1) student and teacher relationships, 2) classroom transition, and 3) academic planning. This researcher also determined there were advantages and disadvantages to both organizational structures in kindergarten through second grade. This researcher’s findings from administrator and teacher participants under both organizational structures were consistent with each other.


Departmentalization, Self-contained classroom, Qualitative research, Survey, Tennessee