A Qualitative Examination of Middle School Principals' and Assistant Principals' Cultural Intelligence and Experiences with Diversity in an Urban School District in New York City
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In an increasingly global and connected world, the classroom becomes a reflection of this marvel at a microcosmic level. Globalization, a reality in the 21st-century workplace, has spread its wings in the school environment. Consequently, school leaders must function and cope effectively in situations involving diverse and contrasting cultural practices. As this issue becomes larger, there is an increase in the concerns of many school leaders and the need for cultural awareness and sensitivity in their leadership practice. The absence of cultural intelligence and awareness can sometimes, if not, most times, hinder their effectiveness as leaders. Culturally intelligent leaders are needed due to the growing population of culturally diverse students in classrooms. The purpose of this qualitative study was to explore the cultural intelligence of school leaders and their daily interactions with students and teachers in culturally diverse settings. This researcher sought to answer the following questions: How culturally intelligent are middle school principals and assistant principals in a large inner-city school district? What are the experiences of principals and assistant principals when dealing with parents and students in culturally diverse settings? How does cultural intelligence impact the leadership practices of principals and assistant principals? Information and understanding of participants’ experiences were gathered using the phenomenological approach. The thematic analysis approach and manual open coding were used to analyze and synthesize data from the research. Key findings from this study were the factors impacting the relationships and experiences of principals and assistant principals when dealing with students and parents in diverse settings. Factors included previous experiences with diversity, views on culture, trust, communication, developing positive relationships, and struggles faced.