Preparing School Leaders to Meet the Needs of Students in Poverty

dc.contributor.advisorAnthony, Douglasen_US
dc.contributor.authorVecera, Sandra Gailen_US
dc.contributor.departmentEducation Policy, and Leadershipen_US
dc.contributor.publisherDigital Repository at the University of Marylanden_US
dc.contributor.publisherUniversity of Maryland (College Park, Md.)en_US
dc.description.abstractOpportunity gaps for certain student groups are well documented across the United States as well as in the Mid-Atlantic state where this research occurred. According to Miksic (2014), “American public education aspires to provide rich and poor, Black and White, immigrant and native-born, with equal opportunities for success” (para. 1). While all of these identifiers matter greatly, researchers from Stanford University concluded, “It’s the difference in the poverty composition that is most predictive of the achievement gap” (Samuels, 2019, para. 4). As educators, we are challenged by the question, how do we ensure equity in order to eliminate these opportunity and access gaps for students in poverty? According to recent research by the Wallace Foundation, the impact of effective principals is even larger than previously thought. Highly effective administrators have meaningful impacts on student achievement and attendance as well as teacher satisfaction and retention (Grissom et al., 2021). Leithwood et al. (2004) had also found principals to be the second most important school-level contributor, after teachers, to student achievement. Focusing on school-based leadership and principal pipelines can reduce opportunity gaps for students in poverty. One way to ensure high-quality administrators in every school is through a standards-based induction program for new administrators that is grounded in equity. This study focused on an existing Assistant Principal (AP) Induction Program in a medium-sized public school district in a Mid-Atlantic state. The purpose of this sequential mixed-methods study was to (a) explore the district’s new APs’ (defined as those within their first two years in the role) knowledge related to equity according to Professional Standards for Educational Leaders (PSEL) Standard 3: Equity and Cultural Responsiveness and (b) determine new APs’ needs for induction related to providing equitable supports to students and families. The research questions guiding this study were: 1. For which of the elements of Professional Standards for Educational Leaders (PSEL) Standard 3: Equity and Cultural Responsiveness do new APs rate their practice as effective or highly effective? 2. What do new APs perceive as the key administrative practices needed to achieve equity and cultural responsiveness? 3. What barriers or challenges do new APs report that prevent them from meeting or exceeding PSEL Standard 3: Equity and Cultural Responsiveness? New APs completed a baseline knowledge survey as well as participated in individual, structured interviews. Survey responses were summarized and interview transcripts were coded for themes. A document analysis was also conducted in order to triangulate the quantitative and qualitative data. This study found that administrators did not rate their practice as effective or highly effective for PSEL Standard 3 Elements B, D, and F. New APs also identified the key administrative behaviors they needed to achieve educational equity, which were to create a sense of belonging, ensure students have access to resources, and additional supports. Participants also identified the barriers to achieving equity in their practice as systemic decisions and structures, staff mindset, demands of the AP role, and access to resources. Current findings suggest that the school district should consider expanding equity professional learning as part of administrator induction, emphasizing equity at the element level as a part of the induction program, and partnering with other offices and university programs to further enhance administrator induction and training.en_US
dc.subject.pqcontrolledEducational leadershipen_US
dc.subject.pqcontrolledEducational administrationen_US
dc.subject.pquncontrolledassistant principalsen_US
dc.subject.pquncontrolledschool-based administrationen_US
dc.titlePreparing School Leaders to Meet the Needs of Students in Povertyen_US


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