Honors Capstone Project
Date of Submission
Dr. William Coplin
Dr. Joseph Shedd
Citizenship and Public Affairs
Capstone Prize Winner
Won Capstone Funding
Education Policy | Other Public Affairs, Public Policy and Public Administration | Policy Design, Analysis, and Evaluation | Public Affairs, Public Policy and Public Administration | Public Policy
Introduction: This study reports the research results of small public high schools in New York City whose founding was centered around the theme of leadership. As an undergraduate student who interned in one of these high schools, the researcher has witnessed the disconnect that can exist between a school’s name and its curriculum. While there are many high schools in New York City that support the development of leadership in their students, the 15 high schools studied in this project were selected because they included the word “leadership” in their title. These schools were selected because they are more obvious in their display of commitment to the ideals of a leadership theme. The results from this study will be presented in a report to the Renée Crown University Honors Program at Syracuse University as a Capstone Project.
Methods: The data collected in this report were gathered from the websites of the high schools studied and through interviews with the principals of those schools. Of the 14 high schools contacted, 4 responded, providing a response rate of 35%. The study reports statistics for all 15 leadership theme high schools, with more extensive data for the 4 respondents.
Similarities: A school’s peer index is based on academic achievement, the number of students in the special education program, and the age appropriateness of the students for their grade levels. 53% of leadership theme high schools in New York City have a peer index between 1.76 and 2.25 (of a possible 4.00). A lower peer index indicates a higher need population (DOE Progress Report, 2009).
A school whose student body is comprised of at least 40% of students who meet the poverty criteria is eligible to receive Title I funding. This effort helps a school implement school-wide programs to help work against factors of poverty. 54% of leadership theme high schools in New York City have Title I funding eligibility between 80-100%. A school with more Title I eligibility is a higher poverty school.
Each academic school year is assessed by the Department of Education, and 56% of leadership theme high schools in New York City received a “B” on their Progress Report for the 2008-09 school year. However, only 30% of all New York City high schools received a “B” on their Progress Report in the same year. 78% of leadership high schools perform in the bottom 40% of all New York City public high schools.
The four schools interviewed for this research study provide a small amount of insight into the actual practices of leadership theme high schools. 75% of the schools interviewed truly seemed to hold students accountable for their behavior and performance. 100% of the four schools have an advisory program, though the extent to which this is used as a forum for discussions about leadership is questionable in at least one of the schools.
Wiese, Samantha Leigh, "Success of Theme Implementation: Small Leadership Theme High Schools in New York City" (2010). Syracuse University Honors Program Capstone Projects. 396.
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