Award Date


Degree Type


Degree Name

Executive Doctor of Education in Educational Leadership


Educational Leadership

First Committee Member

Gene Hall, Chair

Second Committee Member

James Crawford

Third Committee Member

James Hager

Graduate Faculty Representative

Linda Quinn

Number of Pages



Many urban school districts share a common profile of high dropout rates, low graduation rates, high discipline statistics and acts of school violence, and low student achievement on assessments. Researchers have argued high schools are teaching students in ways that are not only ineffective but also fail to provide the requisite tools for students to achieve success in the 21st century (Gates Foundation, 2010). Additional voices claim urban high schools are not adequately preparing students to become successful citizens for a knowledge-based society (Cuban, 2007).

Using qualitative methodology, this naturalistic study revealed five factors that contribute to creating a safe urban high school in a large school district. Open, Axial and selective coding were used to generate understandings and linkages from the interviews, observations, artifacts and literature related to high school reform and school safety. Five research questions anchored the basis for this study.

Findings from this study revealed that principal leadership and learning proved to be two significant factors that characterize a safe school. Findings also revealed internal and external factors that appear to have contributed to the development of a previously unsafe high school to being a safe one. Specifically - resources, administrative support and community context contributed to one urban high school becoming safe. The study report concludes with the introduction of an organizing framework related to factors that contribute to a safe school.


Communication; Educational leadership; High school principals; High school teaching; High schools – Security measures; Leadership; Non violent; Professional learning community; Safe school; School management and organization; Urban high schools


Educational Administration and Supervision | Educational Assessment, Evaluation, and Research | Urban Education

File Format


Degree Grantor

University of Nevada, Las Vegas




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