The purpose of this phenomenological study was to investigate and analyze effective school improvement strategies to meet the needs of disadvantaged students. There is a “new poor”—citizens who were once part of the middle class and are now living drastically different lives—with children part of the growing number of families living in poverty (Smiley & West, 2012). Students from impoverished backgrounds struggle with engagement, experience poor nutrition, and have diminished health practices (Jensen, 2013). The students who need more resources often attend schools that receive less (Parrett & Budge, 2012). Therefore, sufficient school funding, fairly distributed to districts to address concentrated poverty, is an essential precondition for the delivery of a high-quality education throughout the states (Baker, Sciarra, Farrie, 2012). States and districts can devote a greater share of resources to early grades, extend the school day, and ensure that all students have equal access to high-quality teachers, curriculum, and instruction (Reardon, 2013). Culturally proficient schools help educators to develop knowledge and skills to maximize the educational opportunities for children reared in low socioeconomic conditions (Lindsey, Karns, Myatt, 2010). The selection process for the chosen elementary school was determined by school’s performance on the (MCAS) Massachusetts Comprehensive Assessment System, district data, and school demographics. During the past three years, the school has demonstrated increased student performance and has moved from a Level 3 status to a Level 2 status. The qualitative research methodology identified six major themes including understanding and addressing the needs of the whole child, consistent implementation of curriculum, assessment and data, supportive leadership, opportunities for collaboration, sufficient resources, and maintenance of high expectations. The findings indicate that creating a school environment, which provides support systems for the academic, social, and emotional needs of the students has lead to the school’s increased performance and positive school community.
|Advisor:||Young, Nicholas D.|
|School:||American International College|
|School Location:||United States -- Massachusetts|
|Source:||DAI-B 75/06(E), Dissertation Abstracts International|
|Subjects:||Educational leadership, Elementary education|
|Keywords:||Disadvantaged students, Effective strategies, Elementary, Leadership, Poverty, School improvement|
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