School and District Administrators Learning and Leading to Help Close the Graduation Gap
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High school graduation is an important milestone for students, but it is an elusive milestone for some. High school graduation rates reflect the systems that perpetuate historical, social, and cultural differences between groups of students, based on income, race, and ability levels. Disproportionate rates of students graduate from high school and, additionally, disproportionate rates of students graduate from high school prepared for college and career. The study features how a school district's committee of high school principals and district administrators implement action research as a professional learning strategy to address graduation rates and to close the graduation gap between groups of students, especially historically underserved students.Guided by a conceptual framework that combines elements of critical theory and adult learning theory, the study explores how school and district leaders learn to address barriers to graduation. The study uses data collected through phenomenological interviews, participant observations, document mining, and quantitative data, resulting in findings that align with and contribute to prior research. Themes from the study present how the committee collaboratively approached their inquiry and developed interventions and strategies to reduce barriers to graduation, while maintaining a commitment to the ideas, policies, and practices of social justice.