Author(s)

Rebecca Rothschild

Date Approved

11-16-2011

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Ed.D. Educational Leadership

Department

Educational Leadership

College

College of Education

First Advisor

Rios, Hector

Subject(s)

Cancer in children--Sociological aspects;Teachers--In-service training

Disciplines

Elementary and Middle and Secondary Education Administration

Abstract

The tremendous increase in the survival rates of children diagnosed with childhood cancer has created an ever-growing number of children who are re-entering school during or after treatment for childhood cancer. Furthermore, there are many long-term side effects following the treatment for childhood cancer. A study was conducted to assess the knowledge base and awareness of school staff members regarding assisting children re-entering school after cancer. Based on preliminary data, a professional development study was conducted and a professional development intervention was designed and presented to make all school personnel aware of potential educational problems that may be related to the cancer treatment so that they may assist the students with any long-term side effects. Permission was sought from the principal of Saint Michael the Archangel School in Clayton, New Jersey, to conduct a minimum of 10 hours of observations, as well as to conduct staff interviews, pre-survey, a professional development seminar, and a postsurvey. Additionally, several parent interviews were conducted. The study took place over a two-year period at Saint Michael the Archangel School in Clayton New Jersey. Twenty-eight school staff members consented to participate in the study. Initially, participant knowledge regarding social issues and educational issues were low. According to pre-survey results, the rating of childhood cancer as it related to the school setting was poor. The majority of the staff, over 85 percent of the staff, indicated that a staff development workshop would be beneficial. Additionally, presurvey results indicated over 95 percent of the participants would be interested in learning more about childhood cancer as it related to the school setting. Knowledge and awareness about childhood cancer in the school setting increased after the professional development intervention study. Staff members were more aware of the possible accommodations and modifications following the professional development intervention study. General knowledge and awareness as it related to childhood cancer in the classroom setting increased after the professional development intervention. The research suggested that the staff was very willing to receive the information regarding general awareness, modifications, and accommodations for educators and felt it was very important. The research suggests that the required tools to increase knowledge, awareness, and methods of providing accommodations and modifications may be the implementation and regular utilization of a professional development seminar for all school staff.

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