Link to the University of Pittsburgh Homepage
Link to the University Library System Homepage Link to the Contact Us Form

An Exploration of Superintendent Perceptions and District Initiatives Related to Minority Student Success in Southwest Pennsylvania

May-Stein, David (2020) An Exploration of Superintendent Perceptions and District Initiatives Related to Minority Student Success in Southwest Pennsylvania. Doctoral Dissertation, University of Pittsburgh. (Unpublished)

Download (1MB) | Preview


This dissertation was designed to explore superintendents’ perceptions of changing learner profile and district initiatives related to minority student success in southwest Pennsylvania. It includes a comprehensive review of literature related to the nature and causes of the racial achievement gap, federal and state reforms, the impact of district and school leadership to eliminate it and superintendents’ perceptions about it. A focus was identified from the literature that informed the design of the study examining demographic changes in minority student enrollment over the past decade in K – 12 public schools in the Pittsburgh area workforce development region. Survey and interview data were collected from K-12, public school superintendents that explored superintendent perceptions regarding changing minority student demographics, initiatives and/or practices being implemented to increase minority students’ outcomes as well as, successes, challenges and lessons learned to assure minority success.
Superintendents are faced with many challenges, from managing the political landscape, adjusting to new school reform mandates, juggling dwindling resources and influencing principals’ and teachers’ beliefs and expectations for instruction benefitting all students. Over the past 10 years, minority student representation has changed within and between school districts in southwest Pennsylvania. The racial achievement gap is no longer isolated to city school districts. Suburban, town and rural superintendents are now working to meet federal mandates to eliminate the racial achievement gap between minority and majority students.
Results from this study indicate that overall student enrollment declined over the past decade, while minority student enrollment and students qualifying for free or reduced lunch increased in southwest Pennsylvania. Majority and minority students experienced decreases in overall proficiency in math and reading Pennsylvania State System Assessment scores where Minority students experienced bigger decreases in math and reading compared to majority students.
Overall, superintendents feel when principals and teachers believe all students can achieve at high levels, collaborative goal setting occurs with central office and school teams and regular progress monitoring of goals is implemented and, teachers are embraced as a critical element in student success and empowered to plan and lead professional development, minority students are more likely to succeed.


Social Networking:
Share |


Item Type: University of Pittsburgh ETD
Status: Unpublished
CreatorsEmailPitt UsernameORCID
May-Stein, Daviddlm72@pitt.edudlm72
ETD Committee:
TitleMemberEmail AddressPitt UsernameORCID
Committee ChairTananis,
Committee MemberRussell,
Committee MemberTrovato,
Committee MemberWooten,
Date: 17 May 2020
Date Type: Publication
Defense Date: 21 November 2019
Approval Date: 17 May 2020
Submission Date: 23 January 2020
Access Restriction: No restriction; Release the ETD for access worldwide immediately.
Number of Pages: 170
Institution: University of Pittsburgh
Schools and Programs: School of Education > Administrative and Policy Studies
Degree: EdD - Doctor of Education
Thesis Type: Doctoral Dissertation
Refereed: Yes
Uncontrolled Keywords: Superintendent Perceptions Minority Student Success District Initiatives Practices Demographic Southwest Pennsylvania
Date Deposited: 17 May 2020 17:27
Last Modified: 17 May 2020 17:27


Monthly Views for the past 3 years

Plum Analytics

Actions (login required)

View Item View Item