Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Principal leadership practices and “Graduate at Graduation” outcomes in Jesuit high schools, a case study
by Michalski, R. Mark, Ph.D., Saint Louis University, 2011, 150; 3465489
Abstract (Summary)

Numerous studies have reported that the leadership practices of secondary school principals have a measureable effect on student achievement. Researchers have also pointed to the importance of the context of principal leadership to the understanding of leadership practices. One leadership role about which there is limited national research is the principalship of Jesuit high schools. The work of Jesuit high school principals is contextualized by a unique history, mission, and charism. Jesuit principals are responsible not only for the academic growth of students but also for their social and spiritual growth, outcomes that are articulated in the document, "The Profile of the Graduate of a Jesuit High School at Graduation." The purpose of this study, therefore, was to investigate the leadership practices used by principals of Jesuit high schools to influence Graduate at Graduation outcomes and the relationships among these practices and outcomes.

Because there is limited national research on this topic, the researcher employed a single, descriptive case study methodology for this study in order to begin forming a database for further investigation. The study school was chosen from among 30 Jesuit high schools based on the comparative results of the Student Profile Survey for the class of 2007. The study included mixed methods of data collection including interviews, observation, and document analysis. The data were triangulated to identify emergent themes.

The study findings included five themes regarding the school community's characterization of the Jesuit mission: the Graduate at Graduation, cura personalis, reflection, the campus ministry program, and a strong academic program as integral parts of the Jesuit mission. Six themes emerged regarding the principal's leadership practices: the clear and effective articulation of a mission-based vision, the modeling of mission through presence and work ethic, management and logistics, continuous growth through programs, hiring and professional development, and personal relationships. Three themes emerged regarding the relationship between principal practices and Graduate at Graduation outcomes: articulating and rallying people to a mission-based vision, implementing mission-based programs, and modeling the lived mission. The study also included a discussion of the implications of these emergent themes and suggestions for further research.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: James, John
Commitee: Everson, Susan, Myers, Karen
School: Saint Louis University
Department: Educational Leadership
School Location: United States -- Missouri
Source: DAI-A 72/10, Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Educational leadership, School administration, Secondary education
Keywords: Graduate at Graduation, High school, Jesuit, Jesuit education, Leadership, Leadership practices, Mission, Principal, Vision
Publication Number: 3465489
ISBN: 978-1-124-77445-9
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