Community School Principals: Advancing Equity Through Social Justice Leadership Amid the COVID-19 Pandemic

Adam Stevens, Fordham University


The purpose of this qualitative phenomenological study was to understand how principals who lead community schools in New York City make sense of their work and their lived experiences in advancing social justice for their students and school communities particularly during this COVID-19 pandemic. Community schools, by virtue of their design and mission, have, based on early research, responded effectively to the challenges of the pandemic on their students, families and communities. Research shows that minority and poor students continue to face conditions that undermine their academic achievement. The researcher used the lens of social justice leadership theory to guide the examination of those marginalized in society, as well as the social justice leaders who serve them. The significance of this study was in the continuing achievement gap between students of color and their white counterparts particularly in urban areas. Despite the education reforms implemented over the years, the achievement gap persists. For this study, 12 New York City principals leading elementary community schools were recruited to participate in a purposeful manner. This study sought to understand how principals with their social justice mindset, exercised their leadership during this COVID-19 pandemic to meet the needs of their students, families. They stressed the importance of creating meaningful partnerships to bring additional resources to their schools, which aligned with their social justice agendas, enabling them to serve their communities at high levels. This study’s findings make the need for additional community schools and social justice-driven leaders clear.

Subject Area

Educational leadership|Elementary education|Education

Recommended Citation

Stevens, Adam, "Community School Principals: Advancing Equity Through Social Justice Leadership Amid the COVID-19 Pandemic" (2023). ETD Collection for Fordham University. AAI30423720.