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Date of Award


Document Type

Dissertation - Pacific Access Restricted

Degree Name

Doctor of Education (Ed.D.)


Educational Administration and Leadership

First Advisor

Dennis Brennan

First Committee Member

Thomas Nelson

Second Committee Member

Norena Badway

Third Committee Member

Thomas Williams


Purpose . The purpose of this descriptive ex post facto study was to identify leadership strategies utilized by elementary principals to increase the academic achievement of African-American students in schools identified as Title I. Procedure . This study utilized qualitative research methods to determine the effectiveness of strategies used in schools to improve the achievement levels of African-American students in Sacramento County. Principal interviews were conducted in schools with free and reduced lunch counts of 70% or higher, enrollment of more than 33% African-Americans, and a principal who was assigned to the site for three or more years. Of the six Sacramento County elementary schools examined, three were high-achieving and three were low-achieving. Initial interviews were followed up with observations, and follow-up interviews. School and district documents were then reviewed to complete the triangulation process. Findings . The outcome of the study listed practices used in high-achieving schools and compared those practices to those used in low-achieving schools. Those commonly mentioned strategies found to be effective, as evidenced by improved test scores in low-achieving schools and implementation in high-achieving schools, were defined. The result was a comparison to determine whether the leadership practices were labeled as effective or ineffective. Evidence used to determine the effectiveness of leadership practices with African-American students included 1999 and 2002 schoolwide Academic Performance Index, 2002 Academic Performance Index scores for the African-American subgroup as compared to those of the Caucasian subgroup, and compared proficiency levels on the California Standards Test. Those practices found to be most effective in schools, whether they were low-achieving or high-achieving, were then categorized and listed. There were several common strategies found in the most effective schools. Schools that were most effective in improving achievement levels for African-American students shared some strategies, which were labeled as high impact strategies. Moderate impact strategies were shared by two of the three most effective schools, and low impact strategies were found in the most effective school solely. Additionally, it was determined that while principals felt that specialized training was necessary to truly serve the needs of the African-American student, none of them have provided such a training at their sites. Principals either felt that poverty was the true issue, or were afraid or hesitant to discuss issues related to race.




9780496117925 , 0496117920

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