As a result of federal legislation (ESSA, 2015) accreditation ratings of elementary schools are based on the performance of third through fifth grade students on the end of year assessments in the content subjects of reading and math. As a result of these requirements schools that fail to meet these standards are identified as Accreditation Denied in the Commonwealth of Virginia. Once a school receives this designation certain requirements are mandated by the Virginia Department of Education (VDOE) to assist in the improvement efforts toward accreditation. Two of these requirements are the implementation of a Comprehensive School Improvement Plan and the formation of a School Leadership Team. Schools and School districts implement a variety of approaches to the responsibilities of team members and the required components of school improvement planning. As a result of these approaches, toward school improvement processes and distributed leadership responsibilities, research confirms that when both are aligned with the needs of the school population improvement goals increase and accreditation ratings improve (Ahearn, 1998; Anfara et al., 2006; Benolieil, 2017; Bush & Glover,2012; Cain & Gunter,2012; Darling- Hammond et al., 1995; Dufour, 2004,2008; Elmore,2014; Fernandez,2011; Freeman & Wilmes, 2009; Gronn,2000; Harris 2004,2008; hayge et al., 2014; Huber & Conway,2015; Leithwood et al., 2004; Louis, 2015; Mintrop & MacLellan,2002; Rigby,2013; Smylie,1992; Spillane, 2005; Wallace,2002).This study determined, through an instrumental case study, what the role of the school leadership team is in relation to the school improvement process in schools denied accreditation in the Commonwealth of Virginia. The theoretical framework of distributed leadership was used as the foundation for the conceptual framework for this study. This study provides a systematic approach to the development of the school leadership team through the distributed leadership framework and professional development for the School Leadership Team in the Instructional leadership responsibilities in elementary schools denied accreditation.
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