The academic deficits of African American males are sadly well documented. National test data show African American male students falling woefully behind in reading and math. Only 12% of African American males scored proficient in reading on the 2013 National Assessment of Educational Progress and only 13% scored proficient in Grade 8 math. African American males are also consistently absent from school which further impacts academic performance and the likelihood of graduating from high school. However, research indicates that students who participate in school-sponsored activities were more likely to persist in school. African American male students who participated in sports not only attend school more regularly, but also increased their grade point averages.
Long Beach Poly High School, the “Home of Scholars and Champions,” has a long-standing tradition of successfully preparing student athletes to accept athletic scholarships from colleges and universities. Many African American males who participate in high school sports, especially football and basketball, dream of earning athletic scholarships to play their sport in college. In hopes of replicating this experience for student athletes in other urban high schools, this qualitative case study was driven by one central research question: What systems of academic support does Long Beach Poly High School provide for African American male student athletes who aspire to earn Division 1 scholarships? Addressing three sub-questions, this study explored academic structures, co-curricular and extracurricular activities, and the extent of systems implementation. Operationalizing critical race theory as a framework, the researcher interviewed seven academic and athletic staff members and a focus group of five student athletes to understand the systems in place at Poly.
The findings illustrate how Poly has intentionally constructed an academic system of support for any student athletes’ aspirations. This system began with the student athlete’s undeniable commitment to his academic program, whereby the academic and athletic staff, work collaboratively with teachers, support personnel, and parents to share accountability with the student athlete. With multiple opportunities for tutorials and additional assistance, student athletes delay gratification. They sacrifice today for a dream that will be born tomorrow. The mystique of being a “Jackrabbit,” and a rich history of academic and athletic excellence merited studying the unique environment of Long Beach Poly High School. Further recommendations for policy, practice, and research are presented and discussed.
|Advisor:||Scott, James W.|
|Commitee:||Landesfeind, Vanessa, Vega, William M.|
|School:||California State University, Long Beach|
|School Location:||United States -- California|
|Source:||DAI-A 76/11(E), Dissertation Abstracts International|
|Keywords:||Academics, African-American, Boys, Student athlete|
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