The Changing Face of Christ: Leading a Catholic School Through a Demographic Shift
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Despite higher overall student achievement, Catholic schools are closing at an alarming rate. The purpose of this dissertation was to explore the role of school principals in leading a Catholic school through a demographic shift, and through the lens of change theory, to describe the best practices employed by these principals to ensure the success of the students and the long-term viability of the school. Case study research was conducted within a K-8 urban Catholic school which had successfully undergone a demographic change. Nine various stakeholders were interviewed via a researcher-developed protocol using open-ended questions. Utilizing a case study framework, datum was organized and coded, which established themes of school culture, instructional support, community outreach, and archdiocesan support. Themes were developed into recommendations for both school principals and archdiocesan leadership when leading a school undergoing or facing a future demographic change. While this case study provides one example of one school, future research in similar schools who have undergone similar changes would provide meaningful insight into the efficacy of these recommendations.
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