Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

A phenomenological study of Title 1 school principals' interpretation of their leadership as impacting their schools
by Manders, Aaron, Ph.D., Marian University, 2015, 143; 3707682
Abstract (Summary)

All children deserve great schools. That is far from the case in many parts of the United States. Yet, there are examples of schools that are closing the achievement gap and finding ways to make students successful. What is the secret?

In this phenomenological study, elementary school principals who were recently recognized in their state as being Title 1 “high-progress” schools were asked to share the leadership styles and techniques that they used as they demonstrated improvement on students’ standardized assessment scores. There were only sixteen schools given the recognition of being “high-progress” elementary schools. Eleven out of a possible thirteen potential participants agreed to be a part of the study.

Nine themes of data-based decision making, shared leadership, visibility, being direct about poor performance, leadership teams, collaboration, communication, being modest and the desire to see growth were extrapolated from the interviews as more than half of the participants mentioned the concepts. The themes fail to be a perfect fit to any specific leadership theories, but do tend to have connections to a few. The themes suggest a strong connection to shared leadership theory and transformational leadership theory and limited connection to instructional leadership theory.

Several of the themes require minimal structural changes to the school day or how a school operates. Instead, the themes present opportunities for principals to potentially change how they are doing things without significant programming or minimal financial investment. Thus, the results could be used to create leadership guidelines on how elementary principals can help their schools meet national standards.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Stucky, Bradd, Watry, Deborah
Commitee: Foster, John
School: Marian University
Department: Doctoral Studies
School Location: United States -- Wisconsin
Source: DAI-A 76/11(E), Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Educational leadership, School administration, Elementary education
Keywords: Leadership practices, School improvement, Title 1
Publication Number: 3707682
ISBN: 978-1-321-82406-3
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