Date of Award

Fall 10-2015

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)



First Advisor

Dr. Robyn Gordon

Second Advisor

Dr. Sherry DeVore

Third Advisor

Dr. Vicki Schmitt


School districts composed of a large number of high-poverty students are generally not found to be high-achieving (Chenoweth & Theokas, 2013). In Missouri, districts are assessed in accordance with the fifth edition of the Missouri School Improvement Program (MSIP) which results in an Annual Performance Report (APR) score (Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education [MODESE], 2014d). School administrators of districts having two consecutive years of APR scores over 95% while having a student population composed of a large number of students receiving free or reduced price meals were recruited for a qualitative study. Interview questions were developed based on the Rosenholtz (1985) paper about effective, high-poverty, inner-city schools. The questions were designed to extract information about the ways in which building leaders decrease teacher isolation, maintain a skilled teaching staff, set and monitor goals, remove non-instructional tasks for teachers, and maintain a collaborative school culture. Upon analyzing interview data, seven common themes emerged: collaboration, relationships, consistency and stability, high expectations, clarifying tasks or objectives, using and analyzing data, and community support. Over 60% of Missouri schools report a 50% or higher free and reduced price meal rate among students (MODESE, 2014j), which leads to additional challenges for educators (Balfanz, 2011; Hagelskamp & DiStasi, 2012; Jensen, 2013). Besides adding to current data about high achieving, high-poverty districts, this study provides evidence specific to Missouri educators that can be used to inform future practices.


Copyright 2015