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Effective Instructional Leadership in High Poverty, Majority Minority, Elementary Schools


Shawneequa Beal

A Strategic Research Project Submitted to the

Abraham S. Fischler College of Education

and School of Criminal Justice in Partial

Fulfillment of the Requirements for the

Degree of Doctor of Education

Nova Southeastern University



Approval Page

This strategic research project was submitted by Xxxxx Xxxxxx under the direction of the persons listed below. It was submitted to the Abraham S. Fischler College of Education and School of Criminal Justice and approved in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Doctor of Education at Nova Southeastern University.

Xxxx Xxxxxxxx, EdD or PhD

ESRP 9000 Faculty Member

Xxxx Xxxxxxxx, EdD or PhD

ESRP 9001 Faculty Member

Kimberly Durham, PsyD


Statement of Original Work

I declare the following:

I have read the Code of Student Conduct and Academic Responsibility as described in the Student Handbook of Nova Southeastern University. This Strategic Research Project represents my original work, except where I have acknowledged the ideas, words, or material of other authors.

Where another author’s ideas have been presented in this Strategic Research Project, I have acknowledged the author’s ideas by citing them in the required style.

Where another author’s words have been presented in this Strategic Research Project, I have acknowledged the author’s words by using appropriate quotation devices and citations in the required style.

I have obtained permission from the author or publisher—in accordance with the required guidelines—to include any copyrighted material (e.g., tables, figures, survey instruments, large portions of text) in this Strategic Research Project manuscript.







Executive Summary

Insert Title of Strategic Research Project. Insert Your Name, 2023: Strategic Research Project, Nova Southeastern University, Abraham S. Fischler College of Education and School of Criminal Justice. Keywords: xxxxx, xxx xxxxx, xxxx, xxxxxxx

Single-space within each paragraph, but double-space between paragraphs. Do not indent the first lines of paragraphs. The narrative portion (i.e., after the informational first paragraph) of the Executive Summary should be 220-270 words. The Executive Summary must not exceed one page in length.

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[Keep in mind that the Executive Summary is a brief summary or condensed version of your organizational research project, so that the audience has a better understanding regarding the structure, services, key factors, and other major points to include results, conclusions, and recommendations].

Table of Contents


Part 1: Critical Analysis1

Researcher’s Role#

Description of the Setting#

Organizational Background and History#

The Mission Statement#

The Vision Statement#

The Value Statement#

Organizational Reputation and Sustainability#

Relevant Terms#

Identify Potential Gaps or Areas for Growth#

Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, Threats (SWOT)#

Internal Factor Evaluation (IFE)#

External Factor Evaluation (EFE)#

Part 2: Define the Problem#

Synthesis of Literature Related to the Problem#

Research Methods#

Pertinent Models, Frameworks, or Theories#

Summary of Findings#

Statement of the Problem#








Strong Value Statement


Enough Staff


Online Accessibility


High Accountability


Higher Student Engagement


Excellence in the Provision of Resources to Students


Strong Mentorship


Wide Variety of Studies


Rracial Representation and Gender Balance


Strong and Capable Administration

Weaknesses. The following 10 factors are as follows (see Table 2).

1. Staff Turnover. Muiruri (2012) argues that turnover can significantly impact performance. High teacher turnover lowers teaching quality and negatively impacts performance. This is the case with GHO since school principals normally do not go beyond four years in the school. These erode performance and divert resources to hiring. This would possibly also topple the GHO’s top administration or management.

2. Inexperienced Teachers. About 50% of the teachers at GHO have an experience of fewer than four years. In addition, more than half have an emergency license. Kini & Podolsky (2016) shows that increased experiences are directly related to performance and effectiveness. At GHO, teachers are less experienced, affecting the students’ performance. This could mean that students are not engaged fully as they should be if there were experienced teachers.

3. Low School Enrollment. Due to economic decline, many people moved away from Clarkdale, reducing school enrolment. Grice (2009) argues that enrolment can negatively affect school performance. Yang (2014) has shown that efficacy is key in managing schools. Reduced enrolment means that teachers deal with few students hence underutilization of them. This means a dismal performance of the school in terms of its financial management.

4. Insecurity. GHO is in the Brickyard, an area with higher crime and violence. These issues can greatly affect the students in terms of concentration. They can also harm the students and have about underutilized in terms of school property. Ghorab & Al-Khaldi (2014) show that violence in schools increases anxiety among students and hence affects their grades. Increased crime and violence around GHO deny the students a conducive learning environment.

5. Low Student-Counselor Ratio. The ratio of counselors to students at GHO is 1:373(Geo H Oliver Elementary School, n. d). Sal gong et al. (2016) emphasize the role of counseling in school for the student’s safety and psychological health. The counselors at GHO are fewer and hence a danger in case of life-changing and traumatic experiences. This would greatly affect the school in case of such an event.

6. Poor Academic Performance. Geo H Oliver Elementary School (n.d) indicates that the school’s performance and scores are very low. In terms of test scores, student progress, and equity, they are all below average. Over the years, they have also continued to fall. There are also achievement gaps. This situation is a big loss for the school as it may have less impact on attracting new students.

7. Poor Reputation. U.S. News (2019) indicates that the scores shown by GHO are so low in terms of many aspects. Many of the students are low in their academic progress. This reputation is so bad for the school in the eyes of the public. Perez & Okonofua (2022) shows that reputation is key in k12 schools and impacts their functioning since they affect the interaction between students and teachers. This is the same situation that is befalling GHO.

8. Not Fully Adopted the Technology. GHO has not yet adopted technology to its full capacity. It could have helped in online learning, which is not yet in action. Aslam et al. (2021) argue that technology enables learning to proceed faster and is made easy since schools adapt to the course content from the online world. GHO is yet to adapt to this and hence is left behind by other schools. This is a big weakness that drags the school backward.

9. Inequity and Inequality. Looking at the school’s racial balance, there are more black than other races. This may create dominance of one race over the other and reduce the ethnic balance. Reynolds (2007) argues that ethnic spread and student achievement go hand in hand and improve ethnic diversity. This is a key issue in which GHO has fallen short in enrollment. Most races have about 1% representative in the school compared to the blacks.

10. Poverty. Most of the students in this school come from the neighboring poverty-stricken community, which affects their performance. They fall below the average of other standard students in the state. This means that there are financial challenges in their study areas and the required dues in school. McKenzie (2019) adds that students from poor backgrounds could be affected in terms of grades and behaviors. This is the case with GHO. Such poses an even more dire effect on the already bad school performance.

# Factors
1 Staff Turnovers
2 Inexperienced Teachers
3 Low School Enrollment
4 Insecurity
5 Low Student Counselor Ratio
6 Poor Academic Performance
7 Poor Reputation
8 Not Fully Adopting Technology
9 Inequity and Inequality
10 Poverty

Opportunities. The following 10 factors are as follows (see Table 3).

1. Increased Volunteer programs and financial aid. GHO is already well established in sourcing finances from outside sources to support students. It can exploit this advantage to source more resources for expansion. Martin et al. (2018) show that poverty-stricken schools suffer greatly from underfunding. GHO can run away from this mess by embracing and calling for more voluntary funding programs for its children. This will enable it to build more educational and training resources.

2. Increased Enrollment. The school is situated in Clarkdale, inhabited majorly by low-income families. With a population of 350, the school can look upon the increasing population from the neighborhood and tap from it. According to Baker et al. (2011), a more educated population lives longer and healthier. GHO can enroll more students from the said locality to grant them a better life through education. The free meals are also capable of attracting more students to the school.

3 . Staff Licensing and Certification. Some of the staff in GHO are said to have no license but a provisional certification. The school can therefore work for the staff certification to improve their competence. Allen (2010) has shown that teacher certification is key in assuring quality. Subjects like mathematics need fully equipped teachers whose competency can only be gauged by licensing. This is key in hiring teachers in GHO to improve performance.

4. Increased Stakeholder Collaboration. There is already an existing level of collaboration between the school and parents. The collaboration in ensuring the performance of students is regularly checked by stakeholders. In addition, collaboration is key in monitoring students’ unique abilities and behavior. Chiuri et al. (2020) associate teacher-parent collaboration with higher educational success. Therefore, GHO can tap into this to nurture teacher-parent collaboration through events to improve performance.

5. Increased Adoption of Technology. Technology is now a widely discussed phenomenon in the world of education. Schools are taking their classes online, especially during the pandemic. GHO, having a standby website, can adapt to online and distance learning. Kersey (2016) in his study found that advanced technology incorporation into learning can increase the student success rate. GHO can take in various and different technological adoption in learning.

6. Teacher Retention. Lack of teacher retention in schools leads to the loss of school culture (Flowers,2019). At GHO, they can retain talent in terms of its teachers among other staff. Retention will also enable them to save on hiring costs. If more teachers are retained, it will reduce breakage in school classwork continuity. It also reduces the time wasted by teachers taking up new roles at the school.

7. Improved Reputation. The improvement in accountability places GHO in a better place to improve its reputation. Wong et al. (2017) have shown that school reputation is closely related to quality. At GHO, they are best placed on improving the quality they offer learners through enhanced reputation improvement. This reputation improves not only students but also learners. It can be boosted by the already improved transparency and accountability rating.

8. Opportunity for Increased Student Engagement. GHO is reported to have worn several school engagements awards severally. The events, as well as the competition, are such rewards for the stakeholders. They serve as areas for parents to identify talents among the students and teachers. In addition, they can be sources of information on areas of improvement for the administration. As per Olson & Peterson (2015), engagement improves enthusiasm and impacts students’ academic performance and behavior. This an area into which GHO can tap.

9. A Well-Rounded Education. Studying at GHO equips the learner with education in all aspects of life. They have good services in all areas like food, athletics as well as transportation. This ensures students have support in all areas they need. At GHO, they have staff to guide them through all the different areas of life in which they are involved. Obara (2018) recognizes the need for a well-rounded education for the development of the whole person.

10. Grade and Performance Improvement. GHO has strong values and mission statements that can help learners perform better. Working towards the mission statement’s objectives can improve its grade. There are different departments that can wholly participate in boosting the grade. Good grades will attract more voluntary sponsorship. GHO has the potential to achieve more than it currently has. Barnum (2019) has it that good grades for low-income students improve and attract more scholarships.

# Factors
1 Increased Volunteer Programs and Financial Aid
2 Increased Enrollment
3 Staff Licensing and Certification
4 Increased Stakeholder Collaboration
5 Increased Adoption of Technology
6 Teacher Retention
7 Improved Reputation
8 Opportunity for Increased Student Engagement
9 A Well-Rounded Education
10 Grade and Performance Improvement

Threats. The following 10 factors are as follows (see Table 4).

1. Violence and Crime. GHO is located at Brickyard, an area inhabited by violence and crime. This can lead to the loss of school property and physical harm to students. Pitso et al. (2014) implicate crime and violence around schools with low performance. This is the situation to which GHO is exposed. The neighborhood poses a great danger to the safety and security of the children and school property.

2. Poor Performance Out of Poverty. Over time now, the school has been performing poorly. This damages its public image. Adem (2021) associates’ poverty with poor school performance arising from reduced parental involvement. GHO is on the blink of continued failure, most propagated by the poverty-stricken background. Parental income is low hence reducing parental involvement and parental education.

3. Loss Of Talented Manpower Due to High Turnover. The high teacher turnover in the school is a great danger to its talented manpower. About 50% of the teachers have less than four years of experience. This is a great danger to the school in terms of teacher competency. Ronfeldt et al. (2013) have shown that a high turnover affects student academic performance. This is the great challenge that GHO is exposed to.

4. Economic Decline and Hence Reduced Population. Economic decline has led to the movement of people from around the school hence the possibility of moving away with students. This negatively impacts teacher motivation. It also led to inefficiency in resource management. Low motivation significantly affects the student’s performance in school (Sajid et al.,2022).GHO is at the mercy and hopes to improve the financial times to maintain its school population.

5. Bad reputation. The school has had a very poor reputation based on the test scores. The test scores of G.H.O. are far from the average. Many students are therefore having the challenge of performing to the average. U.S. News (2019) also shows that the progress is slow compared to other students within the same state. This situation scares parents from enrolling their children in the said school.

6. Lack of Racial Balance .98% percent of students in GHO are black. Schools like GHO tend to suffer from inadequate instructional and learning materials funding. Weir (2016) has shown that such imbalance may contribute to poor learner achievement. The imbalance in the racial composition may also not reflect the national education face. In worst cases, the racial minority occupation may mean less attention to the school by the government. It also creates a negative perspective and a bad reputation.

7. Short and Non-Comprehensive Vision Statement. In its vision statement, the institution strives to utilize its high-quality learning experiences to provide superior education to every child. This vision statement includes not technology considering the current digital times. It should be encompassed with supporting learners to utilize technology effectively. Zakrajšek (2016) recognizes the role of technology in elementary schools. This is one key threat the GHO has not exploited.

8. Inexperienced Teachers. Most teachers at GHO have less than four years of experience. This is likely to affect the student’s success rate. Less experience means less knowledge of the subject matter. This is likely to lead to continued poor performance compared to other schools. Irvine (2019) indicates performance as directly related to years of experience. This is likely to negatively affect GHO.

9. Underfunding. GHO mainly relies on donors to feed the students and finance other educational materials. Underfunding is linked to poor student performance (Strauss,2018).GHO lacks enough study materials to support learners. Many students lack the most basic learning material and are likely to fail. A lack of enough support from the government means slow progress for the school. This is a great challenge in the long run for GHO in its education dream.

10. Low diverse student population. The school is not widely known and sources its learner from around Mississippi. It means less racial and ethnic diversity in the school population. Less publicity means less attraction to new students. It also reduces the experiences the students are exposed to. This negatively impacts the school population. Bayar & Karaduman (2021) indicate the need for cultural diversity to improve student outcomes.

# Factors
1 Violence and Crime
2 Poor Performance Out of Poverty
3 Loss of Talented Manpower Due to High Turnover
4 Economic Decline Hence Reduced Population
5 Bad Reputation
6 Lack of Racial Balance
7 Short and Non-Comprehensive Vision Statement
8 Inexperience Teachers
9 Underfunding
10 Low Diverse Student Population

Internal Factor Evaluation (IFE)

Internal factor evaluation (IFE) is crucial in an organization’s strategic planning. The tool enables the organization to analyze the resources it is endowed with as well as the strengths and weaknesses within the said organization. IFE is critical in identifying how an organization can gain a competitive advantage and forms part of the organization’s final strategic decisions ((Zulkarnain et al., 2018). Ben-Abdallah et al. (2022) indicate that IFE helps consolidate a model that can be used to execute a business strategy. For G.H.O., the IFE overall score was 2.45, slightly lower than 2.5, implying that the organization has not yet reached the minimum required basis for responding to its weaknesses and strengths. Such implies that even though the organization might be continuously taking measures to respond to internal factors, it has not yet fully exploited them.

Table 5

Internal Factor Evaluation Matrix

  Strengths Weight Rating Weighted score
1 Strong Value Statement 0.0634 3 0.1902
2 Enough Staff 0.0588 4 0.2352
3 Online Accessibility 0.0633 3 0.1899
4 High Accountability 0.0675 3 0.2025
5 Higher Student Engagement 0.0479 4 0.1916
6 Excellent Provision of Resources to students 0.0611 4 0.2444
7 Strong Mentorship 0.0451 2 0.902
8 Wide Variety of Studies 0.0542 2 0.1084
9 Racial Representation and Gender Balance 0.0611 3 0.1833
10 Strong and Capable Administration 0.0311 1 0.0311
  Weaknesses Weight Rating Weighted score
1 Staff Turnover 0.0242 3 0.0726
2 Inexperienced Teachers 0.0226 3 0.0678
3 Low School Enrollment 0.0525 3 0.105
4 Insecurity 0.0112 2 0.0224
5 Low Student-Counselor Ratio 0.0341 4 0.1364
6 Poor Academic Performance 0.0823 1 0.0823
7 Poor Reputation 0.0671 1 0.0671
8 Not Fully Adopting Technology 0.0112 3 0.0336
9 Inequity and Inequality 0.0547 2 0.1094
10 Poverty 0.0866 1 0.0866
  Totals 1.00   2.45

The following are my eight factors (i.e., 4 strengths, 4 weaknesses).

Four Strengths. The following four strengths were identified from my Internal Factor Evaluation (see Table 6): (a) High Accountability, (b) High Student Engagement, (c) Racial Representation, and (d) Enough Staff.

1. High Accountability. For any organization’s success, accountability is key since it guides the organizational stakeholders in whatever they are doing. Francis (2016) argues that the introduction of accountability leads to high performance than would have happened without accountability. In such cases, teachers and students are ready to carry the blame for poor performance if it happens so. GHO has been ranked very high in terms of its accountability. The school can continually exploit this factor to grow the culture and through this, it will be able to lift the school’s grades and ensure transparency in the school management.

2. High Student Engagement. At G.H.O., student engagement is high since the school holds events and has counselors to involve the students in various discussions. An engaged student is more empowered and can openly express the issues that they are facing, and such can easily be addressed by the administration. Deng (2021) indicates that higher student involvement in learning has fostered a supportive learning environment. Engagement helps learners deal with anxiety and develop a sense of belonging to the school (Moreira et al.,2018). Such a sense of comfort and belongingness is key in driving school objectives forward. Continued exploitation of this factor by G.H.O. is plus in driving the school toward achieving its academic objectives.

3. Racial Representation. Even though not equal, there is quite a big diversity of students in G.H.O., where several races are evident in the school enrollment. In their study, Benner & Crosnoe (2011) finds that diversity in schools is key to student brain development and brings a sense of belongingness to the learners. Diversity provides the students to have different life perspectives and hence opportunities for better cognitive exercises. Queens University of Charlotte. (2020) writes, ‘Diversity among students in education directly impacts their performance. Studies show that students work better in a diverse environment, enabling them to concentrate and push themselves further when there are people of other backgrounds working alongside them.’. G.H.O can exploit its diversity expansion to tap from the benefits of diversity and racial inclusion.

4. Enough staff. Globally, elementary schools are faced with the challenge of teacher shortages and very disappointing teacher-student ratios. Fewer than enough teachers have a greater impact on the performance in elementary schools since a greater student population for every teacher reduces student-teacher contact. Hence, teachers may not follow up on some students. Mwirigi & Muthaa (2015) established an association between staff shortage and the quality of teaching and learning. However, G.H.O. is in a better position since it has enough teachers serving the student population. Exploiting this advantage to increase student engagement is a drive in the right direction toward academic performance improvement.


The Wing Institute (2019)Teacher Turnover Impact.

Tian, H., & Sun, Z. (2018).  Academic Achievement Assessment. Springer.

Tjabolo, S. A. (2020). The Influence of Teacher Certification on the Performance of Elementary School Teachers in Gorontalo Province, Indonesia. International Journal of Instruction, 13(4), 347-360.

U.S. Department of Education. (n.d.). APPLICATION FOR FUNDING UNDER RACE TO THE TOP – DISTRICT. Clarksdale Municipal School District-pdf. Retrieved January 16, 2023, from

U.S News (2019) Geo H Oliver Visual/Perf. Arts accessed from

U.S. News. (2019). U.S. News & World Report: News, Rankings and Analysis on Politics, Education, Healthcare and More. @US News.

Weir, K. (2016, November). Inequality at school. American Psychological Association.

Wong, J. W. Y., Tong, C., & Wong, A. (2017). The mediating effects of school reputation and school image on the relationship between quality of teaching staff and student satisfaction in higher education in Hong Kong. Fundamental and Applied Studies in the Modern World, 205.

Yang, K. (2014). Factors affecting internal efficiency of primary schools in Nuer zone of Gambella regional State (Doctoral dissertation, Jimma University).

Zakrajšek, Srečo. (2016). THE IMPACT OF MODERN TECHNOLOGIES ON ELEMENTARY SCHOOL ORGANISATION AND TEACHING METHODS. Innovative Issues and Approaches in Social Sciences. 9. 60-76. 10.12959/issn.1855-0541.IIASS-2016-no1-art04.

Zulkarnain, A., Wahyuningtias, D., & Putranto, T. S. (2018, March). Analysis of IFE, EFE and QSPM matrix on business development strategy. In IOP Conference Series: Earth and Environmental Science (Vol. 126, No. 1, p. 012062). IOP Publishing.

Appendix A

School Mission Statement


George H. Oliver Elementary School Mission Statement

Through collaboration and continuous learning, George H. Oliver Elementary School will be a place of excellence where all students are engaged in high-quality real-world learning. A professional and highly motivated staff, in partnership with parents will encourage children to achieve their full potential and become responsible citizens who are lifelong learners.


Appendix B

School Vision Statement

George H. Oliver Elementary School Vision Statement

George H. Oliver Elementary School strives to guarantee each child a superior education through high quality integrated learning experiences.


Appendix C

School Value Statement

George H. Oliver Value Statement

Our organization emphasizes the importance of respect, responsibility, integrity, excellence, collaboration, creativity, and innovation. These values will be expressed in a way that speaks to our organization’s commitment to helping our students reach their fullest potential.


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