Renee Murtaugh

Date Approved


Embargo Period


Document Type


Degree Name

Ed.D. Educational Leadership


Educational Leadership


College of Education


Monahan, Thomas


Preschool children--Services for; Low-income students


Elementary and Middle and Secondary Education Administration


The solution to narrowing the achievement gap between low socioeconomic students and high socioeconomic students has included endless approaches and interventions, including full day pre-school programs (NAEP, 1999; Snow, Burns, & Griffith, 1998).This action research project focused specifically on the needs of low-income preschool students and concentrated on closing the achievement gap among the SES subgroups within the By-the-Sea School District preschool Kindergarten classrooms. Using Monahan's (2003) 9-Step Change Model as a framework for change, classroom teachers worked collaboratively with the researcher to make the necessary changes to their classrooms and school to better meet the needs of low-income students. This mixed methods action research also studied the organizational culture of the Davis school (where the interventions were primarily involved), the process of change, as well as the researcher's leadership as the project evolved. The success of interventions was evaluated using the PAST, Brigance, and teacher-constructed benchmark assessments. The study's findings suggest the interventions may have, at a minimum, influenced or contributed to gains among student groups. While the data do not suggest a significant difference between participants and non-participants based solely on post test score performances, the growth data suggest that, while not significantly different, there are observable differences between participants and non-participants. Some data suggest that those who were in the differentiated instruction class achieved greater (although not significantly greater) growth in some areas than those who were in the technology classroom. In terms of trying to close the achievement gap between low-income students and their more advantaged peers, the growth data suggests that the low-income project participants achieved a greater (although not significantly greater) degree of growth than both the low-income non-participants and the non-low-income non-participants.