Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Education (Ph.D)


Administrative and Instructional Leadership

First Advisor

Seokhee Cho

Second Advisor

Anthony Annunziato

Third Advisor

Richard Bernato


The purpose of this study was to identify the perceptions of middle school principals regarding the implementation of the arts. Although the New York State Education Department (2015) has mandated arts curriculum into all grade levels within a middle school environment, not all schools comply. The purpose of this qualitative exploratory case study was to explore the perceptions of middle school principals and to gain a better understanding of why their schools may not be fully following the specific learning requirements of the arts, the challenges principals face when implementing arts education into their curricula, and the social issue where students lacking access to a strong arts curriculum were not being provided with a well-rounded educational experience. The method included semi-structured interviews, a focus group, and an analysis of course catalogs provided by the participants. The themes that were most prevalent were that the arts provide middle schoolers with an outlet for creativity, with the principals realizing the need to increase choices for students to select arts programs of interest. In addition, the school leaders discussed that a lack of time and access to certified arts teachers are barriers to implementation. The final theme was understanding the reason for incorporating the arts. The results of this study will be able to provide a greater insight into the challenges that middle school principals encounter when implementing arts curriculum into their schools, which in turn could provide information on how they can be better supported within the current educational landscape. Allowing certified teachers to obtain extensions and certifications to teach within the arts and the provision of integrated learning opportunities should be visited as solutions to the barriers of access and time constraints. Governing bodies must ensure adherence to policies and begin following up with middle schools to provide additional support and assist with overcoming the implementation challenges faced by schools. Future research should focus on the perceptions of others within the school and other geographical areas within the United States.