Year of Award


Document Type


Degree Type

Doctor of Education (EdD)

Degree Name

Educational Leadership

Department or School/College

School of Education

Committee Chair

Roberta Evans

Commitee Members

Sharon Alexander, Merle Farrier, Dean Sorenson, Peggy Anderson


Administration, Continuing, Education, Law, Preparation


University of Montana


This descriptive study ascertained the perceptions of Montana public school principals and superintendents, and Montana education law attorneys, regarding school law education for Montana public school principals. The study surveyed 595 individuals: 239 superintendents, 347 principals, and 9 education law attorneys. The 268 responses obtained represented a 95.6% confidence level.

The study addressed the following questions: 1) Which areas of school law are essential for a public school principal to know?; 2) In which school law areas do public school principals have an immediate need for knowledge?; 3) Which school law areas are critical for inclusion in a graduate-level principal certification program's required school law course?; 4) Which settings of school law continuing education opportunities are most convenient and effective for principals?; 5) Which time increments of school law continuing education opportunities are most convenient and effective for principals?; 6) Which sources of school law information and continuing education do principals most frequently use for general and immediate assistance?; 7) Which are a principal's most preferred sources for school law information and continuing education?; and 8) What is the level of need for improved school law curriculum/content area alignment among the university system, state agencies, school board /administration organizations, and public/private school law attorneys?

The study found substantial agreement in perceptions among respondents. The domain of Exceptional Children and the areas of student harassment, student suspensions/expulsions, and staff dismissal procedures were considered most essential. A broad base of school law topic coverage was critical for a principal preparation program. School administrators did not see immediate need for school law in-servicing while education law attorneys did see an immediate need. For principal continuing education, almost all respondent groups perceived in-district live training as the most effective and convenient setting, and graduate level coursework as least convenient and effective setting. Principals favored full day in-services during the school year. Most groups perceived an administrative colleague as the most highly preferred and used source of school law information. An overwhelming majority (96%) of the respondents agreed school law curriculum and content alignment among school law providers was needed.



© Copyright 2007 Michael Anson Magone