The purpose of this paper is to gain a better understanding of the complexity of how successful leaders perceive their role in creating a gender equitable environment, and further, how these leaders build capacity in their organizations to address gender gaps in academic performance. This study explored the perceptions of educators via interviews conducted at Jones High School and Miller High School, pseudonyms, to gain an understanding of how leaders perceived gender equity and, further, how they built capacity to achieve it. I found that the educational leaders interviewed perceived that girls performed better in classroom settings than boys as a result of their better connections to teachers and the classroom experience. Moreover, the educators interviewed perceived that girls outperformed boys because they are more prepared for academic success, have greater attention to detail, and complete tasks more consistently. Lastly, educators interviewed here revealed that girls found greater relevance in the work they were asked to complete in school. This study suggests that greater attention be paid in future research to how to establish strong connections between male students and their teachers, classroom environments, and school. The leaders of each of these high schools sought to build and maintain a gender equitable school by targeting the learning needs of all students. Programs and activities were specifically designed with the aim of affording an equitable environment for all students. In addition, the focus of future research should be on how educators can more intentionally account for the organizational factors which tend to create gaps in performance between students.
University of Minnesota D.Ed. dissertation.September 2016. Major: Organizational Leadership, Policy, and Development. Advisor: Cryss Brunner. 1 computer file (PDF); x, 178 pages.
The Academic Achievement Gap: Educational Leadership, Gender, and Academic Achievement.
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