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Journal of Educational Leadership in Action

Abstract

A mixed research study was designed and conducted to identify effective characteristics of high-performing, high-poverty schools. Four South Texas Title 1 schools identified as High Performing Schools by the Texas Education Agency in 2016 were selected for the study. To be selected, these schools were also required to meet or exceed a set of criteria applied by the researchers. An effective school model, comprised of eleven characteristics and school processes, was developed based on a synthesis of effective school research and served as the theoretical framework for the study. The characteristics include Culture, Leadership, Instruction, Improvement, Home and Community Relations, Curriculum, Environment, Professional Development, Vision/Mission, Resources, and Staff.

Data was collected from professional school staff, principals, and parents related to the essentiality of the eleven effective characteristics and processes used by the schools. Onsite data collection from each school included a staff survey, focus group session, principal interview, and a parent survey. Results supported the essentiality of the eleven school characteristics synthesized from previous effective schools’ studies. The results also yielded valuable school district strategies that supported the High-Performing Reward Title 1 schools. These strategies included the provision of active specialized support by district staff, district curriculum designed by district teachers during the summer, instructional resources selected through teacher input, flexibility in implementing district supports, professional development during summer and the school year to meet individual teacher needs, district-designed student assessment, an intra-district and inter-district competitive school environment focused on student achievement, and parent initiatives aligned to local needs.

Comments

Dr. George Padilla is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Organization & School Leadership at the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley (george.padilla02@utrgv.edu;).

Dr. Roberto Zamora is an Associate Professor in the Department of Organization & School Leadership the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley. He is also the Superintendent Program Coordinator for the department (roberto.zamora@utrgv.edu;).

Dr. Federico Guerra, Jr. is an Associate Professor in the Department of Organization & School Leadership at the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley. He is also the Chair of the department (federico.guerra@utrgv.edu; ).

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Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-Share Alike 4.0 International License.

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