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Title:Learning from families experiencing homelessness—how school leaders can make a difference through transformative leadership
Author(s):Warke, Amy
Director of Research:Shields, Carolyn M.
Doctoral Committee Chair(s):Shields, Carolyn M.
Doctoral Committee Member(s):Johnston-Parsons, Marilyn A.; Alexander, S. Kern; Sloat, Linda
Department / Program:Educ Policy, Orgzn & Leadrshp
Discipline:Ed Organization and Leadership
Degree Granting Institution:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Transformative Leadership
McKinney-Vento Act
Phenomenological Narrative
Abstract:Homelessness is a growing phenomenon, especially among women and children (Hulchanski, 2009). This study was conducted because of the increase in families experiencing homelessness registering in my school. In none of the current studies about homelessness have the researchers spoken to the families and children experiencing homelessness. This qualitative study combined the use of a phenomenological narrative to tell the stories of families experiencing homelessness and then used the lens of transformative leadership to explore the reality of children and families experiencing homelessness, the challenges their families face, and the role of the school leader in ensuring they receive a quality education. Specifically, the narrative portion (Clandinin & Connelly, 2000), sought to understand the families’ experiences with homelessness, their experiences with schools while experiencing homelessness, barriers they have encountered while homeless, and barriers they have encountered with schools while homeless. Seven families experiencing homelessness were interviewed for this study. A formal interview took place, and then further informal information was gathered over a relaxed setting at dinner. Through narratives of the family participants, this study was designed to share these families’ experiences with educators to help them gain a better understanding of what children and families experiencing homelessness have to endure every day. Additionally, school leaders were interviewed for this study. Their answers were analyzed using the lens of transformative leadership to show the need for school leaders to employ more than the managerial tasks that are required to ensure all students have access to an equal, equitable education. Recommendations were made for school leaders to ensure that these children receive an equitable, quality education. One recommendation for educators and school iii leaders would be to reject deficit thinking by engaging in conversations about beliefs and biases to ensure all students receive an equitable education. A second recommendation for colleges and universities would be to promote the importance of developing relationships based on the ethics of caring (Starratt, 1991). This study provided a glimpse into the lives of seven families experiencing homelessness in an attempt to help educators understand how challenges of their daily lives affect the ability to attain an opportunity for equitable, quality education.
Issue Date:2012-05-22
Rights Information:Copyright 2012 Amy Warke
Date Available in IDEALS:2012-05-22
Date Deposited:2012-05

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