Leadership Characteristics in High Performing High Poverty Secondary Schools
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Urban secondary school leaders not only have the pressures of accountability, growth, and mobility, but they also face a myriad of additional issues including poverty, drugs, teen pregnancy, and crime. Despite these challenges, some urban high schools continue to thrive and afford students an exemplary academic environment. Following an analysis of multiple academic achievement data elements, this qualitative study identified and implemented a selection criteria to invite principals of five secondary urban highperforming, high-poverty schools in Texas to participate in an interview process to identify the leadership practices that contribute to their schools’ high academic performance. Analysis of the data uncovered six major themes associated with increasing student achievement, including high expectations and beliefs, instructional leadership, culture builder, vision, student interventions based on data, and collaboration with campus leaders in the decision making process. Solutions to urban school leader challenges and professional development recommendations for school leaders were also iscussed.