Date of Award

Spring 3-11-2019

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)


Organizational Leadership

First Advisor

Dr. Jeffrey Lee

Second Advisor

Dr. Alan Enomoto

Third Advisor

Dr. Julia Hadden


Purpose: The purpose of this ethnographic investigation was to identify and describe culturally responsive leadership practices and strategies principals of Title I high schools, in suburban contexts, of the Inland Empire in Southern California use to develop schools that engage and include all students.

Methodology: This qualitative study identified and described the practices and strategies of 15 Inland Empire principals of Title I comprehensive high schools in Southern California, used to develop schools that engage and include all students, particularly students that have been historically and traditionally marginalized. Participants were purposively chosen based on specific criteria. The researcher collected data and analyzed and coded the data to identify themes and subsequent findings.

Findings: Examination of qualitative methods data from the 15 high school principals participating in this study indicated seven major findings. First, they provide intentional professional development by using meaningful data. Next, they developed alternatives to suspension to tackle the persistent issue of disproportionality and possess a heightened awareness of the needs of special education students while purposefully involving parents in school decision making and activities and implementing strategies that courageously address historic marginalization. Additionally, it was found that encouraging and engaging student voice was vital to the cultivation of inclusive/responsive school environments as was fostering positive school and community relationships in an effort to increase student success.

Conclusions: Supported by and based on the research findings of this study and connected to the literature, eight conclusions were drawn that bestow deeper insight into culturally responsive school leadership and the role of the principal in developing schools that are responsive to and inclusive of all students despite racial, cultural, or economic differences at Title I high schools in the Inland Empire of Southern California.

Recommendations: Further research is recommended in order to expand the understanding and knowledge of culturally responsive leadership practices and strategies used by school leaders of Title I and non-Title I schools/districts as well as notions of student engagement and inclusion.