Purdue University Graduate School
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posted on 2022-07-27, 19:34 authored by Nathan Antwan BoydNathan Antwan Boyd

The purpose of this qualitative study was to investigate how school leaders are assisting at-risk students in urban schools develop social capital. It sought to understand specifically what strategies they perceive as useful for developing social capital with students. This study’s findings are significant to the field of education in providing educational leaders the strategies other urban principals are using to support the development of social capital for their students. Schools need to recognize all the different ways they contribute to helping students achieve academic success. One of the most significant benefits a school can offer students, in addition to academic rigor, is preparation for facing the social and emotional challenges of life. This instrumental case study focused on five former Principal of the Year (POY) recipients from urban secondary (grades 6-12) school environments to maximize the quality and experienced practice of the leaders being studied. The urban school settings were all categorized as predominantly diverse (high minority composition and/or low socioeconomic status). Three assertions resulted from the study:

● Principals must have a clear and communicated vision of excellence for all within the community and implement systems and structures that consistently support the mission, vision, and values of a student-centered school. 

● Principals must consistently find ways to foster collaborative, trusting, relationships with and between members of the school and local community.

● Principal and staff within the school must consistently model, create, and nurture opportunities for students to grow and find uses for their social networks.

The results of this study may offer school principals specific strategies they can use to positively impact the growth of social capital within their schools.


Degree Type

  • Doctor of Philosophy


  • Educational Studies

Campus location

  • West Lafayette

Advisor/Supervisor/Committee Chair

Marilyn A. Hirth

Additional Committee Member 2

William D. Mcinerney

Additional Committee Member 3

Lamonica Clemons Williams

Additional Committee Member 4

F. R. Olenchak