Turnaround principals : perceptions of effective district supports that lead to successful and sustainable change
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Educators and politicians have grappled to discover and implement strategies to improve student achievement results. Districts’ efforts to recruit and retain effective principals and teachers are crucial because of the positive influence these educators have on student achievement. However, highly qualified teachers and principals are hard to come by, especially in areas where low-performing schools are nestled. The main purpose of the study was to understand the district supports turnaround school principals perceive as necessary to achieve sustainable success and to describe the experiences of the principals during at least their first year in the turnaround school setting. An interpretive research approach within phenomenological methodology allowed for understanding how each principal lived the turnaround school experience and how the supports they had and strategies they employed impacted school turnaround. The questions for turnaround leaders receiving campus SIG funds were as follows: 1. What do the turnaround principals perceive as successful strategies for school turnaround? 2. To what extent do turnaround principals perceive their districts helped or impeded their turnaround efforts? 3. How do participants make sense of being a principal at a turnaround school? Turnaround for this study was defined as a school for 2 years or more not meeting state standards, and effective school turnaround was defined as a school reaching the met standard status after 1 year of leadership. Five participants were recruited who had been the lead campus administrator for at least two years, and during their tenure, had led their campus out of improvement required (IR) status. Interview transcripts were coded using elaborative methods. The major themes were the following: (a) Successful Turnaround Strategies that was supported by seven subthemes, (b) Effective District Supports that was supported by two subthemes; (c) Lack of District Support that was supported by two subthemes, and (d) Making Meaning of the Turnaround Principalship that was supported by eight subthemes. Chapter 5 contains the adapted theoretical framework, implications, and recommendations.
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