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Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Community schools, empowerment, systems thinking, and race: A model for change
by Lathan, Jaguanana, Ed.D., Mills College, 2016, 98; 10181993
Abstract (Summary)

According to the U.S. Department of Education, the 2012-2013 national high school completion rate for Latino (75%), African American (73%), American Indian (70%), and limited English proficient (63%) students increased slightly compared to the 2011 national graduation data. While the national trend shows a one percentage point gain in the overall high school graduation rate across all subgroups, the numbers for African Americans, Latinos and other ethnic groups far trail that of their White (87%) and Asian (89%) peers. It is also far more likely that ethnic groups trailing in high school completion rates live in economically disadvantaged communities that are plagued with the disparate effects of poverty, such as single-family households, poor nutrition, and community safety concerns. As a result, there has been an increase in local and national conversations about how to best amend inequitable educational outcomes for these groups of students.

The conceptual framework for this study is oriented around systems thinking, race, empowerment theory, and community schools and partnerships. More specifically, this study sought to explore systems thinking and opportunities that schools can explore to eradicate the current negative racialized outcomes for African American, Latino, other ethnic minorities, and socially disadvantaged students. The one-year study took place at Roses in Concrete Community School, a newly designed charter school located in Oakland, California.

Findings suggest that during its first year implementation, the school’s leadership team and staff focused primarily on supporting students and families by (a) establishing a foundation of responding to basic needs, (b) partnering with community organizations, universities, and activists to provide additional school and community supports, (c) analyzing the system that produces the current outcomes with the intention of not reproducing inequities, and (d) empowering students and families to have a voice and increase their sense of agency.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Ketelle, Diane, Nava, Pedro
Commitee: McDonald, Alison, Zirkel, Sabrina
School: Mills College
Department: Education - Educational Leadership
School Location: United States -- California
Source: DAI-A 78/05(E), Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Education, Psychology, Systems science
Keywords: Charter school, Community school, Empowerment, Equity, Race, Systems thinking
Publication Number: 10181993
ISBN: 978-1-369-30508-1
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