The leadership acts of district level administrators that create, promote, and sustain successful students in an urban high-poverty school district
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The purpose of the research was to determine the leadership acts of district level administrators in the state of Texas that create, promote, and sustain student success in a high-poverty urban district. Three research questions guided the research process: (1) From the district level leadership’s perspective, what were the leadership acts that led the district’s schools to success? (2) From the campus level leader’s perspective, what were the acts employed by district level leaders that led the district’s schools to success? (3) From the school board member’s perspectives, what were the leadership acts that led the district’s schools to success? This study used qualitative methods to examine the leadership acts of individuals within Noble ISD. Data for this study were collected through a series vii of thirty, one-on-one interviews, observations, and various documents. The resulting data were coded and emerging categories recognized through Grounded Theory qualitative procedures. The data analysis allowed for the emergence of key categories that provided answers to the research questions guiding this study. Clearly, the findings demonstrate that it was a result of the collective leadership acts of district administrators, utilizing a system-wide perspective and acting strategically, that student success in the Noble ISD’s schools have been created, promoted, and sustained. First, the district level leaders identified internal and external forces of change affecting the district. Then, by leveraging the forces of change, the district level administrators developed a restructuring plan that incorporated solutions to each of the urgent problems that were negatively impacting the future of the district’s children, staff, schools, and school board. The restructuring plan had four key components: a core student focus, a change in the organizational structure, a decentralization plan, and state and district accountability requirements. The plan, deployed system-wide, resulted in a change in the way that business was done from the classroom to the boardroom. The future defining vision communicated in the plan was inspired by district administrators who modeled core values, empowered stakeholders, structured supports, and utilized internal and external accountability measures, recognition, and consequences to ensure success for all of the district’s kids/students. These findings enhance our understanding of district level administrators performing as an entity, and the acts of leadership they employed to create, promote, and sustain student and school success in an urban, high-poverty district. viii Thus, these understandings have implications for how superintendents and district level administrators provide leadership and design organizational structures that empower and support schools system-wide, while holding them accountable for student success.