Date of Conferral



Doctor of Education (Ed.D.)




Don Jones


The problem explored in this study was that the state education agency recommended school board members of low-performing school districts participate in a governance training called student outcomes governance to address student achievement, yet no data suggested the training changed school board members’ understanding of how to create policies advancing student achievement. The purpose of this basic qualitative study was to understand how urban school board members perceive their roles in improving student achievement using the new model. General board theory and the theory of adaptive leadership informed this study. Six school board members who had completed the student outcomes governance training agreed to participate in semistructured interviews online. A combination of open and axial coding was used to generate themes. Key themes included narrowing focus on student achievement, micromanaging behaviors, and evaluating superintendents using student achievement data. Participants reported changes in their behaviors such as focusing more time in board meetings on student achievement, self-reflecting on behaviors such as micromanagement that could hinder student achievement, and working to improve their school districts by practicing governance to partner with superintendents and ensure objective evaluations. Given the increasing diversity found in urban school districts and the challenges of school governance during a worldwide pandemic and related issues, a focus on effective school board governance and improving academic achievement needs to coexist with safeguarding the physical and emotional safety of students. Positive social change for all students includes urban school board members having and understanding the tools necessary to enhance student achievement.