• PERCEPTIONS OF HIGH SCHOOL PRINCIPALS ABOUT THEIR IMPACT ON STUDENT SUCESS

      Gross, Steven Jay; DuCette, Joseph P.; McGinley, Christopher W.; Shapiro, Joan Poliner (Temple University. Libraries, 2017)
      Educational leaders are charged with many responsibilities within their schools and school district. Chief among these responsibilities is assuring that students are learning the curriculum, and achieving their academic potential. The challenge, then, is to identify how principals impact student learning, and then help them to develop these leadership behaviors effectively. While many educational researchers have sought to find the leadership behaviors and factors that describe how principals can most significantly impact student achievement, the principals themselves have been largely left out of the conversation. High school principals’ experiences and efforts to maintain safe schools, connect communities, foster citizenship, and prepare students for colleges and careers, while trying to promote students’ achievement on standardized test scores during the accountability era, offers a perspective and a contribution to research that is invaluable. This study used a qualitative design in order to understand the participants’ meanings, through inductive analysis of data, after interviewing a cross-section of seven male high school principals about their perspectives and experiences. The participants served in academically high-achieving, medium-achieving schools and low-achieving schools with student populations of various sizes, settings, and population demographics. The schools were all located in the suburban area of Philadelphia. The participants had all been in their buildings as principal for at least two years, and had served in the role of high school principal for at least three years. There were three common themes that emerged from this study. First, principal leadership in schools impacts student success, although it is difficult to measure, and complex to explain. Principals must hire the best teachers, foster a positive climate and culture, and form positive professional relationships with teachers. Secondly, Principals must be perceptive to and understand the needs of their school and community. Students must perceive that they are safe, and communities must perceive that they trust schools. Finally, teachers must perceive that they are valued much more than any externally imposed measure of success may define them. As a result of the findings, it is recommended that principals seeking to maximize student success take the time to assess the needs of their schools, collaborate to make decisions, realize that promoting a positive climate and culture has to be a priority of their role, and devote sufficient time and resources to hiring and developing quality teachers.