Examining the Influence of Dispositions and Practices on Student Achievement of Elementary Principals in Title I Schools



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This qualitative phenomenological study examined the influence of leadership dispositions and practices on student achievement in Title I schools. Because of the many duties principals are asked to undertake, it is often difficult for principals to assume the role of instructional leadership. The role of principal has expanded to engage an explicit focus on increasing student achievement through equitable outcomes (DeMatthews et al., 2020). Despite education reforms of the past few decades, more low income children tend to underachieve and drop out of school than do their middle- and high-income peers (Maxwell, 2016). According to Mestry (2017), ineffective leaders are often unskilled and unprepared and are placed in or continue a cycle of having low-performing schools. Since Title I schools predominantly cater to poor students, often the harmful effect of poverty on the school climate is particularly more pronounced compared to the non-Title I schools (Roy, 2019). Educational leaders and staffs in Title I schools need to believe that they can make a difference in their students’ lives as well as make the students believe that they have the capability to become successful in school and life (Benson, 2003). Therefore, a gap may exist for principals to utilize distinct actions across multiple leadership domains to effectively manage the operations and promote high quality instruction that increases academic achievement in high poverty schools. However, defining and clarifying the principal’s impact on campus performance continues to remain challenging (Hutton, 2019). A deeper understanding of poverty and the value of invested adults in student’s future success in life, can be a valuable resource in challenging communities to promote sustainable progress in closing the achievement gap.



Instructional leadership, student achievement, Title I schools, achievement gap