Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Achievement Gap-Closing School Superintendents: Challenges Faced, Strategies Used, and Collaboration with School Boards
by Gonzalez, Lara, Ed.D., Hofstra University, 2019, 169; 13814846
Abstract (Summary)

This study explored the role of school superintendents and board of education trustees in closing the achievement gap, which can be defined as “the disparity in academic performance between groups of students” (Muhammad, 2015, p. 14). District leaders (superintendents and school boards) set the priorities in their school systems and have the power to promote or thwart educational equity (Skrla, McKenzie, & Scheurich, 2009). The purpose of this qualitative study was to highlight effective practices of superintendents and school boards that have prioritized closing achievement gaps and have succeeded in narrowing them. This study involved four case studies and made use of interviews, observations, and document review. The data revealed that the most formidable challenges to closing achievement gaps were increasingly diverse student needs, stakeholders’ deficit-thinking about students, lack of family engagement, and financial obstacles. In order to overcome those challenges, the researcher found that superintendents used various strategies, including setting a vision for equity at the district level, using data to drive decision-making, hiring quality teachers and leaders, using district funds resourcefully, providing rigorous curricula for students, and creating innovative academic and non-academic programs for students. Although there is academic literature on the challenges that school superintendents face in closing achievement gaps and the strategies that they have used to overcome them, there is a lack of research on how superintendents and their school boards collaborate to narrow achievement gaps. The aim of this study was to address that gap in the literature. Data revealed that district leaders collaborated to narrow gaps by setting district visions, goals, and policies, sharing information, and partnering on the budgeting and hiring processes.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Natow, Rebecca S.
Commitee: Berliner, Herman, Fanelli, Sean, Seinfeld, Laura, Thompson, Eustace
School: Hofstra University
Department: Educational Leadership and Policy Studies
School Location: United States -- New York
Source: DAI-A 80/08(E), Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Educational leadership, Educational administration
Keywords: Achievement gap, Equity, School board, Superintendent
Publication Number: 13814846
ISBN: 978-1-392-04730-9
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