Title

The Voices of Leaders: Examining the Underrepresentation of Diverse Students in Advanced Academic Programs through a Culturally Responsive Leadership Lens

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Education (Ed.D)

Department

Educational Administration

Date of Award

Spring 2020

Abstract

While there is much discussion and research on equitable teaching practices toward diverse student populations in gifted and advanced placement (AP) programs (also known as advanced academics), there is a lack of discussion on culturally responsive leadership (CRL) practices that aid in success for these students specifically those in gifted and AP programs at the time of this study. There is also a trend of underrepresentation of culturally and linguistically different students within advanced academics as a whole. In this interpretative qualitative research study, the researcher explored if the perceptions of advanced academic leaders and their implementation of culturally responsive leadership practices influenced the representation of racially, culturally, ethnically, linguistically different (RCELD) students in advanced academics. This included exploring if culturally responsive leadership practices aided leaders in understanding the various ways RCELD students learned and succeeded in gifted and AP programs. The researcher employed a semi-structured interview with open-ended questions guided by the theoretical framework derived from the literature review focusing on culturally responsive pedagogy, culturally responsive leadership, and RCELD student programming needs in advanced academics. The participants in the study were five leaders in an urban North Texas school district. The participants were interviewed and observed to capture their experiences with culturally responsive leadership practices and explore if their perceptions influenced the underrepresentation of RCELD students in gifted and AP programs. The researcher employed semi-structured interview questions with open-ended questions guided by the theoretical framework derived from the literature review focusing on culturally responsive pedagogy, culturally responsive leadership, and RCELD student programming needs in advanced academics. A purposeful sampling method was used to select five leader participants in an urban North Texas school district. The participants were interviewed and observed to capture their experiences with culturally responsive leadership practices in advanced academics and understand ways RCELD students could experience academic success in these programs. District data were collected, analyzed, and coded to develop themes and subsequent findings.The findings from this study revealed the leaders of advanced academic programs exhibited various culturally responsive leadership behaviors including those that foster inclusivity and awareness and encourage parent and community engagement. Leaders also promoted RCELD student representation in advanced academics, understood the importance of professional learning in teachers and leaders in advanced academics, and utilized non-traditional methods of identification and recruitment for student enrollment. Lastly, these leaders focused on the programming needs of gifted and Advanced Placement and made decisions that were research and data-driven. While some research has been conducted on culturally responsive leadership in schools, there is little research on how culturally responsive leadership can be employed in advanced academic programs. This study contributes to the limited body of literature on culturally responsive leadership practices in advanced academic programs. It has the potential to lend valuable insight into how campus and school district leaders of gifted and Advanced Placement programs become highly effective culturally responsive leaders while preparing RCELD students for academic achievement and success.

Advisor

Julia Ballenger

Subject Categories

Education | Educational Administration and Supervision

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