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Title:Leadership paradigms informing the ways school administrators work with Somali immigrant students: case studies of two high schools in an urban school district
Author(s):Nur, Shukri
Director of Research:Shields, Carolyn M.
Doctoral Committee Chair(s):Shields, Carolyn M.
Doctoral Committee Member(s):Hunter, Richard C.; Hackmann, Donald G.; Johnston-Parsons, Marilyn A.
Department / Program:Educ Policy, Orgzn & Leadrshp
Discipline:Ed Organization and Leadership
Degree Granting Institution:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Subject(s):Transformative leadership
Somali immigrant students
Abstract:The educational system in the United States continues to face the mounting challenge of providing adequate education that meets the needs of students from ethnically, linguistically, and socioeconomically diverse backgrounds. As school communities continue to be transformed into multiethnic communities, this demands educational leaders or administrators that are not only culturally proficient and able to understand the needs of students from diverse cultural contexts, but also able to promote equitable educational outcomes for all students regardless of their home background. In an effort to understand how school administrators might best respond to the needs of recently arrived Somali immigrant students, case studies were conducted in two high schools in a metropolitan city in a Midwestern state. This study explored leadership constructs that inform the ways in which school administrators work with groups of Somali immigrant students in high schools in the Midwest, with specific emphasis on whether their work is informed by transformative leadership. Data gathering involved semistructured interviews and document analysis. Participants in the study included school administrators (principals and assistant principals), teachers, Somali students, Somali teachers’ aides, and Somali parents. Transformative leadership research suggests that to educate students from diverse backgrounds adequately, school administrators must foster equitable outcomes for all students (Dantley & Tillman, 2006; Furman & Starratt, 2002; Marshall & Olivia, 2006; Riehl, 2000). The conceptual framework of this study was based on a transformative cross-cultural leadership model outlined by Shields (2003). Transformative cross-cultural leaders understand the diverse cultural contexts in which they operate and promote the creation of a culture that takes into account the material realities of the changing populations of the school or district (Shields, 2003). Key findings of the study showed that in school one, the administrators engaged in transformative leadership by creating an equitable and inclusive learning environment that promoted the adjustment and integration of Somali students. In school two, the findings indicate a pessimistic picture in which Somali students experienced marginalization and inequities. It is imperative that the administrators establish quality programs that promote the adjustment of Somali students, especially programs that include mentoring and academic support services. It is also vital to make school programs inclusive.
Issue Date:2013-02-03
Rights Information:Copyright 2012 Shukri Nur
Date Available in IDEALS:2013-02-03
Date Deposited:2012-12

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