Rhea Sanchez


Pockets of success in the United States exist where public schools have been able to produce highly educated students. A wealth of information can be gleaned from the successful practices being employed by these distinguished schools. The purpose of this study was to investigate the best practices being employed by these high achieving public high schools, specifically in California. A qualitative research design was used to explore the phenomenon that existed in high achieving public high schools, as well as in gathering the data concerning common best practices based on the perspectives of the participants in this study. The criteria that were used in selecting the participating schools included: (a) school was designated as a high school, serving ninth-twelfth grade students, (b) school had an Academic Performance Index score of 800 or above, and (c) school had a Similar School Ranking Score of 8 or above. The principals or the head of schools that met the criteria were invited to participate in the study. The approach used in this study most closely resembled the procedures employed in conducting a grounded theory research. The findings of this study might be beneficial to educators in improving the achievement level of their schools. The study described common best practices to development students' mastery and their application in reading, mathematics, and science literacy. The purpose of the study was to seek the programs and practices that helped students to enter and to prepare for post-secondary institutions, including STEM-related degrees. Also included in the study are the common best practices that created opportunities for students to foster and promote innovative and critical thinking skills. Moreover, this study explored the role of parents and community as well as the related common best practices that helped the schools build partnerships with parents and members of the local community. This study also included the participants' descriptions of effective teachers and school leaders. Finally, this study described how school leaders had overcome the challenges they faced in bringing their vision of high achieving public high schools to fulfillment.

Library of Congress Subject Headings

Dissertations (EdD) -- Education; Education, Secondary -- California; Educational evaluation; Education, Secondary -- Curricula

Date of Award


School Affiliation

Graduate School of Education and Psychology



Degree Type


Degree Name


Faculty Advisor

Madjidi, Farzin;