SECONDARY SCHOOL LEADERSHIP: CREATING A CULTURE THAT IMPACTS STUDENT PERCEPTIONS AND CHOICES FOR POSTSECONDARY EDUCATION
Perry, Laura A
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According to the Texas Education Agency (2011b), researchers in the 20th century failed to adequately address the needs of college enrollment data related to minority and low-income students. Additionally, research studies have shown that students from low-income backgrounds are less likely to enroll in postsecondary education (Beegle, 2007; Conley, 2010; Delbanco, 2012; Haberman, 2010; Leithwood & Riehl, 2003). This quantitative research study is significant because it specifically focused on the postsecondary education and career awareness needs of minority and low-income students. This study analyzed the impact of postsecondary awareness initiatives of a large, diverse, suburban school district in the state of Texas. The sample included three Title I secondary campuses participating in a multi-year grant initiative designed to increase the college-focused culture and heighten awareness of the necessity and attainability of postsecondary education. A control group consisting of three additional Title I secondary campuses with similar demographics was established. Student surveys, Advanced Placement (AP) and dual credit enrollment reports, College Board AP score reports, and National Student Clearinghouse tracker reports were compared between the groups. Descriptive statistical analysis and Pearson chi-square procedures revealed statistically significant differences between the study and control campuses. The results of this study contribute to existing salient research related to the important role principals and other educational leaders have in developing campus cultures which encourage and support students in their preparation for postsecondary educational and career pursuits.