Cieminski, Amie

Committee Member

Domangue, Elizabeth

Committee Member

Farber, Matthew

Committee Member

Lawrence, Jody


College of Education and Behavioral Services; Department of Educational Leadership and Policy


University of Northern Colorado

Type of Resources


Place of Publication

Greeley, (Colo.)


University of Northern Colorado

Date Created



241 pages

Digital Origin

Born digital


As the student demographics in classrooms across America shift to become more ethnically diverse, schools are examining their practices in supporting how students are prepared for college and career. This support includes the introduction of innovative learning environments aimed to provide students with opportunities to explore career pathways. The purpose of this qualitative study was to illuminate the leadership skills, attitudes, and knowledge that Latina/o/x students within an Innovative Learning Environment perceive as supporting students. This study examined how Latina/o/x students perceive the attitudes, skills, and knowledge of culturally responsive socially just school leadership in innovative learning environments. Through the lens of the existing literature and LatCrit Theory, the researcher identified the knowledges, skills, and attitudes of school leaders that supported Latina/o/x students. This research used portraiture methodology. Through semi-structured individual and focus group interviews, observation, document review, and photograph collection, the results of the study revealed that students perceived school staff as leaders supporting their success and thriving, not limited to school administrators. Data were collected over 12 months from three focus group interviews, 11 individual interviews, and over 90 hours of direct observations in natural settings and review of documents. The participants, who were viewed as equally knowing subjects, helped co-construct the findings presented as five themes: Everyone is a Leader, Prioritizing Belonging, Dynamic Learning Environments, Empowerment to Take Risks, and Navigating Different Worlds. Recommendations are made to provide meaningful supports for Latina/o/x students in innovative learning environments. Further research is needed to expand the ways educators and school leaders think about supporting minoritized students. Findings from this inquiry justify culturally responsive, socially just school leadership for minoritized students.

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