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Context Is Everything: How School Leaders’ Experiences Impact Social, Emotional, and Academic among African American Secondary Students Living in Impoverished Communities 公开

One of the most discussed topics in the education space is the achievement gap. More specifically, research has looked at the achievement gap between African American students and White students, which despite gains, has continued to widen (US Department of Education, 2019). Even though there is widely-cited research on the achievement gap, it places the blame for the gap on students and schools without considering students’ context.Current research emphasizes the challenges of African American students living in impoverished communities, but the strategies that school leaders use to support these students are relatively under-researched. Emerging research suggests that the strategies implemented by school leaders to support their African American students living in impoverished communities have specific commonalities (Crow et al.., 2014; Khalifa et al.., 2016; Ladson-Billings et al.., 1995; Shields, 2020). To better understand how secondary school leaders in poverty-stricken communities lead growth in African American secondary school students, this dissertation highlights nine secondary school leaders whose schools mainly comprised African American students who lived in impoverished communities.This basic qualitative research study used semi-structured interviews of principals and assistant principals leading middle and high schools in the Mid-Atlantic and Midwestern regions of the United States. Shields’ (2010; 2018; 2020) transformative leadership theory and Delgado et al..’s (2017) critical race theory formed the theoretical framework for this study. Study results responses two major themes. Study results showed that school leaders should foster relationships with students, teachers, and other stakeholders to promote student success. Study results also highlighted socioemotional resources as pivotal to students’ academic, social, and emotional success. As a result of this research, school leaders should invest in professional learning opportunities that will provide tools catered explicitly to serving African American students living in impoverished communities. Future research should expand this study by using a quantitative methodology.

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