• Exploring the Principal's Role in High Poverty Schools with High Literacy Achievement

      Jay, Jill E.
      The purpose of this qualitative study was to explore educational aspects which help explain high early-literacy acquisition in high-poverty elementary schools. Through this qualitative study, the perceptions of key staff members, including the principal, in four high achieving, high-poverty schools were explored in three areas: 1) contributing aspects of highlevel, early-literacy achievement in their particular school setting; 2) role of the principal in a high-poverty school that attains a high level of early-literacy achievement; and 3) how high early-literacy achievement occurred in their particular school setting. The schools in the study were located in multiple states that the researcher had access to and met the study criteria. The topics of the related literature reviewed included early-literacy and student achievement, as well as the role of the principal in effective early-literacy intervention. In this study, findings of contributing aspects of high-level, early-literacy achievement included collaboration, reflective practice, a system of progress monitoring that improved the students’ meta-cognition, a resident literacy expert, a positive climate of trust and respect, and distributed leadership. In exploring the principal’s role, three elements emerged; establishment of a tiered system of literacy, creation of a schedule that ensured tiered instruction and collaboration, and releasing ineffective teachers. Elements that emerged from the topic of how early-literacy achievement occurred were high expectations for all students, and over-arching district and/or school-wide literacy goals. Insight gained from this study should assist schools in their endeavor to create a safety net of best practices to meet the goal of literacy acquisition for all students.