Qualities of effective principals in urban public schools : a multiple case study on effective principals.


The achievement gap among African American and Latinx students in urban public schools is expanding, and principals often lack the important qualities necessary to lead an urban public school. This study addressed two problems. First, the achievement gap among students of color is continuing to expand, mainly in urban public schools. Secondly, principals who lead urban public schools lack the necessary qualities needed to support school improvement. Research has called for principals to be culturally responsive leaders who are keenly aware of urban schools' challenges and are committed to achieving positive results for their students. The purpose of this qualitative multiple case study was to describe and understand the qualities of effective principals in urban public schools. The five participants in this study were selected purposefully with the criteria of being highly effective principals within YES Prep Public Schools, the research site for this study. The researcher conducted a series of interviews of each of the five participants at each of their campuses. The interviews were semi-structured in the form of open-ended questions to allow for the participants' specific views and opinions to be collected. The study’s findings provided a detailed understanding of the qualities and practices leveraged by effective principals in their schools. The persistent qualities within the literature and the study’s findings were: culturally responsive leadership, data-driven decisions, instructional leadership, communicate high expectations, and build effective leadership teams. Additionally, the study informed YES Prep Public Schools on the qualities necessary to lead urban schools effectively. Lastly, the study's findings provided a leadership framework that can be leveraged by urban principals abroad. This study's impact emphasized the need for principals of urban schools to be culturally responsive leaders who are self-reflective, promote inclusive learning environments, develop culturally responsive teachers, and engage students and parents. Culturally responsive school leadership is necessary for closing the achievement gap among students of color.



African American students. Latinx students. Principals. Urban public schools.