Date of Award


Document Type


Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License.

Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)


Division of Education and Counseling

First Advisor

Sloane Signal

Second Advisor

Jesse Cukierkorn

Third Advisor

Rosalind Hale


High-poverty, high-performing, high-poverty, low-performing, high school, school culture, school performance score, high school seniors, poverty difference, urban, charter school


This study examined the phenomenon of the difference between high-poverty, low-performing schools and high-poverty, high-performing (H-P/L-P & H-P/H-P schools through the metaphorical lens of Kelling and Wilson's 1982 Criminal Justice Broken Windows Theory. The Broken Windows Theory describes the norm-setting and beckoning effect of urban disorder and vandalism on additional crime. Previous research found that H-P/H-P schools had a collaborative school culture. This research used elements of school culture as metaphorical broken windows. The study employed a cross-sectional phenomenology mixed methods design to examine school performance scores, school routines and school culture. Results indicate that when students experienced unstable enrollment, lacked a sense of school ownership, felt as though school personnel were not willing to help them succeed, or when the surrounding community was not involved in the school, these were metaphorical broken windows that created the difference between the two types of high-poverty schools. Additional findings indicate H-P/H-P school students had a greater sense of belonging and school pride that the H-P/L-P school students were lacking. Little school ownership nor sense of belonging, negative perceptions of fairness, and lackadaisical attitudes toward the schools' social environment were metaphorical broken windows that kept H-P/L-P high schools' low-performing. The impact of this study's findings are the identification of themes that H-P/H-P high schools employ resulting in the potential to increase any school's performance score, sustainable teacher-student ratios, provide principals with predictable staffing patterns, and maintain consistent budgetary requirements within a school district.

transformation-agreement.pdf (236 kB)
Student Agreement



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