Date of Award

Summer 7-1-2020

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)


Organizational Leadership

First Advisor

Dr. Carlos Guzman

Second Advisor

Dr. Timothy McCarty

Third Advisor

Dr. Jefferey Lee


Purpose: The purpose of this study was to identify and describe the strategies principals of Title I schools perceived as most effective in improving English language arts (ELA) scores by at least 10 points, through the lens of WestEd’s Four Domains of Rapid School Improvement.

Methodology: This study utilized a qualitative methodology to gather data via the California Dashboard and semi-structured interviews of 11 principals from 11 different sites in northern California that showed at least 10-point growth on the Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium (SBAC) standardized test. The interview questions were based on the Four Domains for Rapid School Improvement: A Systems Framework from WestEd (2018). Interview responses were recorded and reviewed. In addition, artifacts were used to attain triangulation.

Findings: Examination of the qualitative data from the 11 elementary school principals participating in this study resulted in five key findings and 16 themes. First was that implementation of professional learning communities (PLCs) and support through a teacher on special assignment (TOSA) support positive change in struggling schools. Second, collaboration among administrators, TOSAs, and teachers in professional development and classroom support directly impacted change and led to success in struggling schools. Third was that ongoing data review with the support of a TOSA in the classroom and for intervention helped vi teachers increase student outcomes in struggling schools. The fourth finding was implementation of a new curriculum and common schedules brought consistency to the site and reinforced collaboration between teachers and administrators in struggling schools. Finally, principals recommended goals for students be set and monitored to promote student achievement in struggling schools.

Conclusions: The study supported the conclusion that implementation and practice of the key findings could result in an increase of at least a 10-point growth on the California state assessment in ELA.

Recommendations: Further research is recommended to apply this study for other curricular areas in Title I schools, as well as non-Title I schools.