Difference Makers: Effective Superintendent Practices that Guide Districts to Graduation Success of Hispanic Students




Harrell, John H., Jr.

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Education as the great 'equalizer’ has been promoted more in the United States than any other nation, offering everyone the same chance to transform lives giving the promise of economic prosperity and provide promising possibilities (Howard, 2010). However, Hispanic students are not graduating from high school at a similar rate as White students in Texas. The purpose of this single case study was to explore the successful practices of one superintendent’s school district in south Texas which is experiencing Hispanic graduation rates exceeding the state average for all students.

This was a single case study looking to identify effective practices utilized by one district to increase Hispanic graduation rates. Data was collected via interviews with four participants. The data collected was analyzed and coded. Saldaña (2013) offers “a code is a researcher-generated construct that symbolizes and thus attributes interpreted meaning to each individual datum” (p. 4).

The analysis of this study revealed three overarching themes: indirect superintendent practices, direct superintendent practices and community involvement. Indirect practices carried five sub-themes: professional growth, data and planning, administrative team meetings, modeling and reflection, and adjusting and evaluating the curriculum. Direct practices was supported by four sub-themes: student involvement, students being actively engaged, building student capacity and student acceptance and growth. Community involvement had three sub-themes: community participation, vision and mission and portrait of a graduate.


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Graduates, Hispanic, Practices, Professional Growth, Student Engagment, Superintendent



Educational Leadership and Policy Studies