Graduation Year

2014

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree

Ed.D

Degree Name

Doctor of Education (Ed.D.)

Degree Granting Department

Leadership, Counseling, Adult, Career and Higher Education

Major Professor

Zorka Karanxha, Ed.D.

Co-Major Professor

Vonzell Agosto, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Vonzell Agosto, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Leonard Burrello, Ed.D.

Committee Member

Barbara Shircliff, Ph.D.

Keywords

Critical Race Theory, Disproportionality, Portraiture, Transformative Leadership

Abstract

School leadership has been an evolving topic over the past several decades, with research examining the impact of leadership on school performance, school culture, and other elements in this field. However, only a few studies have examined the construct of leadership in alternative schools, where these specialized sites often serve as mid-points between traditional schools and juvenile detention centers. Considering the evidence related to the displacement rates of minority students, particularly Black males, from traditional schools to alternative settings, these specialized sites are ideal for exploring practices that perhaps can redirect students in the school-to-prison pipeline, back towards their traditional settings or perhaps help to push students towards high school graduation.

In this study, leadership is examined at two alternative schools operating in the southeast United States, in two different districts where documented disparities have been published in the media as well as federal complaints filed due to the excessive displacement of Black students from traditional school settings as a result of suspensions, expulsions and/or school-based arrests. According to the literature review, alternative schools have grown exponentially over the past decade across the nation, with many having disproportional numbers of minority students placed in these schools. Often these schools serve as sites for segregating disruptive students, and tend to focus greater attention on managing student behavior as opposed to driving student achievement. Utilizing feedback from local district and business leaders, the two alternative schools included in this study were targeted for this investigation due to their perceived success, related to school outcomes, graduation rates and low suspension/expulsion rates. This study, through the collection of data using participant interviews, constructs portraits of each school principal and their enactment of leadership at each alternative setting.

In this study, leadership is examined at two alternative schools operating in the southeast United States, in two different districts where documented disparities have been published in the media as well as federal complaints filed due to the excessive displacement of Black students from traditional school settings as a result of suspensions, expulsions and/or school-based arrests. According to the literature review, alternative schools have grown exponentially over the past decade across the nation, with many having disproportional numbers of minority students placed in these schools. Often these schools serve as sites for segregating disruptive students, and tend to focus greater attention on managing student behavior as opposed to driving student achievement. Utilizing feedback from local district and business leaders, the two alternative schools included in this study were targeted for this investigation due to their perceived success, related to school outcomes, graduation rates and low suspension/expulsion rates. This study, through the collection of data using participant interviews, constructs portraits

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