School sense of belonging is at risk in an education system that questions the achievement, performance, and ability of African Americans (Tillman & Scheurich, 2013). A sense of school belonging for this study is defined as being accepted, valued, included and encouraged by others in the life of the school community, which is a vital component in student success. The success of African American students has been impeded for years, partly due to their lack of inclusion in the school community (Uwah, McMahon, & Furlow, 2008). The purpose of this study was to examine through the lens of Critical Race Theory the extent to which African American students feel a sense of school belonging in predominately white independent schools (PWISs). This case study is rooted in the experiences of 13 African American students who graduated from seven different PWISs in Southern California. Through semi-structured interviews and school website data analysis, this study found that the obstacles that hinder a sense of school belonging are racism and discrimination, inequities of power and privilege, and lack of representation in the curriculum. The implications from this study are that PWISs should 1) increase the number of African American personnel 2) increase the number of African American students, and 3) establish a school-wide initiative that assesses the school’s climate and provides accountability for schools in order to enhance their commitment to ethnic and cultural diversity.
|Commitee:||Lorimer, Maureen R., Pena, Edlyn Vallejo|
|School:||California Lutheran University|
|School Location:||United States -- California|
|Source:||DAI-A 77/08(E), Dissertation Abstracts International|
|Subjects:||Black studies, Educational leadership, Educational psychology, African American Studies|
|Keywords:||African americans, Belonging, Critical race theory, Independent schools, Microaggressions, Social integration|
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