Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Legacy Department

Educational Leadership


Flanigan, Jackson L

Committee Member

Paige , William D

Committee Member

Grimes , Lawrence W

Committee Member

Marion , Russell A


The addition of ninth graders to the high school level brought administrative challenges: increased failure rate, truancy, and disciplinary infractions; as a solution, the Ninth Grade Academy concept evolved. This study's purpose was to examine South Carolina schools' academies to determine if early adopters were more effective than late adopters. The study's research was based on Institutional Theory with its main focus as Institutional Isomorphism. This qualitative study used survey results to determine how much administrators used data from existing academies before beginning their own implementation process. The study used institutional theory to assess whether new academies were a form of customization--creating an academy for specific school-identified issues--or conformity, implementation based on a preexisting program. The findings from this study, although not definitive, suggest that the early adopters did appear to be more effective than the late adopters. This study provides a model for educational leaders to help ensure success when implementing a new program.