Education policy and mandates have changed drastically over the last 40 years. As politicians began adopting educational platforms as part of their political agenda, the educational standards of the United States have risen. Politicians have specifically targeted underserved populations as the focus of their educational reforms. Programs such as Race to the Top, FERPA, and No Child Left Behind are examples of politicians attempting to provide all students with equitable educations, regardless of ethnicity, gender, and economic background. Just as it is naïve to believe that all students learn the same, it is also naïve to believe that there is one perfect program that will meet the needs of all students in all areas of the country. Under the reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act in 2009, the US Department of Education strove to close the education gap with the introduction of School Improvement Grants. The SIG provided federal funds to underserved schools through a rigorous application process. The funds were available to approved schools for 3-year period. The purpose of this grant was to help underserved schools create and implement a program that was tailored to meet the needs of their students, while promoting academic growth. This study focused on urban, public New England schools who received SIG funds between 2010 – 2016. Through semi-structured interviews with administrators at identified successful SIG schools, a list of best practices has been compiled as a reference for future urban, public New England schools who receive SIG funding. The key findings of this study indicated that communication, strong leadership, collaboration, and good staffing choices played a significant role in the success of the SIG programs. The conclusion of this study indicated that while schools and students have a vast range of needs and difficulties, there are several common shared experiences that could possibly help other administrators in their quest to implement a successful SIG program.

Library of Congress Subject Headings

Dissertations (EdD) -- Organizational leadership; School improvement programs -- New England -- Case studies; Education and state -- New England; Urban schools -- New England -- Case studies

Date of Award


School Affiliation

Graduate School of Education and Psychology



Degree Type


Degree Name


Faculty Advisor

Madjidi, Farzin;