A case study to identify the management concepts and strategies used to improve student performance in a Texas urban public school district
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Transformation is change—especially under challenging circumstances—that is significant, systematic, and sustained, resulting in high levels of achievement for all students in all settings (Caldwell, 2006). Urban education is the primary focus and target of the school reform movement. The No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB) includes explicit requirements to ensure that students served by Title I are given the same opportunity achieve to high standards and are held to the same high expectations as all other students in each state. Urban public school superintendents confront social and economic challenges unique to urban districts and are under pressure to meet NCLB’s accountability standards and mandated policies. This study started with a broad question about effective urban public school superintendent management concepts and strategies. The study was designed and conducted to (a) identify the prevailing management concepts and strategies initiated by the superintendent to attain organizational clarity and effectiveness in improving student performance; (b) examine the degree to which the superintendent’s leadership and management concepts and strategies were understood, supported, and embraced by key members of the organization; and (c) examine how the management concepts and strategies used by the superintendent align with a business management concept that may be useful to district leaders and administrators seeking a concept or strategy to sustain organizational change. This researcher used a single-case study to examine the management concepts and strategies used by an urban public school district superintendent. This study was conducted in the largest urban public school system in Texas. The superintendent, 6 members of the district’s leadership team, and five principals were interviewed and answered online questionnaires. A board member was also interviewed. Finally, student achievement data were examined. The study found the superintendent implemented management leadership concepts and strategies that prevailed over the social and economic barriers faced by urban students. Use of these strategies increased and sustained student performance. Despite limitations, this study opens opportunities for further research in management leadership. Opportunities include further research within this urban district, outside the school district, or on each management leadership concept or strategy identified in this study.
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