Publication Date


DOI (Digital Object Identifier)



Leadership and Higher Education


Doctor of Education (Ed.D)

Dissertation Chair

Philip Mirci, Ph.D.

Committee Members

Christopher Hunt, Ed.D.

Ron Williams, Ed.D.


education; California; effective learning environments; poor children; poverty; Western Association of Schools and Colleges


Educational Leadership | Secondary Education


Poverty in the United States impacts an increasing number of secondary students who face unique challenges. The demand for effective educators who can accommodate impoverished students' educational needs is greater than ever. The purpose of this qualitative, phenomenological study was to examine Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC) review committee members' perceptions of effective and ineffective practices at impoverished secondary schools they had visited in southern California. Research participants indicated the development of personalized, caring relationships between all stakeholders and each and every student, the building of student self-efficacy, and the maintaining of a consistent learning environment as aiding the individual academic success of disadvantaged students, as well as the overall success of impoverished schools. Participants also indicated the use of impersonalized teaching, low expectations, and/or educators who conveyed negative attitudes regarding students, their parents, and teaching as a profession as socially unjust practices and hindering the overall performance of impoverished students. The ultimate need that emerged from my study was the necessity for greater awareness of equity at the local, state, and federal levels. Stakeholders needed a greater awareness of the disparity between disadvantaged students and students of resource; an increased understanding that students who failed to connect with their teachers were more likely to have an even greater disconnect between themselves and their administrators; awareness that teachers' unions had the ability to help or hinder the learning process; and the positive influence socially just, research-grounded practices had on student learning.


© 2013 Theodore Charles Stewart

All Rights Reserved

ISBN: 9781321205718