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Sustaining school improvement in a high-need school: Longitudinal analysis of Robbins Elementary School (USA) from 1993 to 2015

Nathern Okilwa (Department of Education Leadership and Policy Studies, University of Texas San Antonio , San Antonio, Texas, USA)
Bruce Barnett (Department of Education Leadership and Policy Studies, University of Texas San Antonio , San Antonio, Texas, USA)

Journal of Educational Administration

ISSN: 0957-8234

Article publication date: 2 May 2017

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Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to examine how Robbins ES has sustained high academic performance over almost 20 years despite several changes in principals.

Design/methodology/approach

The paper analyzed longitudinal data based on: state-level academic and demographic data; two earlier studies of the school; and recent interviews with teachers, the principal, and parent leaders.

Findings

The analyses of these longitudinal data revealed four ongoing factors were responsible for sustained academic performance: high expectations, distributed leadership, collective responsibility for student performance, and data-based decision making. However, challenges that persistently confront Robbins staff include limited resources (e.g. technology and library materials), high mobility rate, and some cases of unsupportive parents.

Originality/value

This study adds to understanding how high-need urban schools can sustain high academic performance in spite of changes in principals, shifting community demographics, and high student mobility.

Keywords

Citation

Okilwa, N. and Barnett, B. (2017), "Sustaining school improvement in a high-need school: Longitudinal analysis of Robbins Elementary School (USA) from 1993 to 2015", Journal of Educational Administration, Vol. 55 No. 3, pp. 297-315. https://doi.org/10.1108/JEA-03-2016-0034

Publisher

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Emerald Publishing Limited

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