Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

In School We Trust: The Social and Academic Experiences of a Subgroup of Boys of Color at a Public High School
by McCall, Renee Kim, Ed.D., University of Pennsylvania, 2019, 138; 13857076
Abstract (Summary)

This phenomenological study investigates the lived experiences of a subgroup of boys of color at a public high school in Boston using an action research lens. The student participants were all 10th graders between the ages of 15 to 18 years who attended the school under study for at least one year, hailed from multiple neighborhoods across the city, and had varying academic statuses, including regular and special education. This study centers on the role that relational trust plays in how these male students of color experience daily social and academic interactions with teachers, and the resulting impacts these interactions have on students’ perspectives of the overall school climate and community. The role that relational trust plays in this setting and its connections to and across the three domains of academic press, sense of belonging, and stereotype threat are studied. The underlying issues related to students’ racial identities, perceptions of academic expectations held by teachers and resultant performance, and emotional investments grounded in relational trust are examined. At the center of instructional, social, and relational interactions between teachers and students is trust that can either produce or inhibit achievement, and is the cohesive glue that allows for a shift in the mindsets of teachers and students from merely complying with policies, procedures, and initiatives to fully committing to them with optimism and consistency.

Student participants self-selected into the study based on their interests, and possess a commitment to informing and improving conditions for learning at this school for all students. Each student participant is interested in matriculating to college upon graduation from high school and strives to capitalize on school-based opportunities that expand their perspectives on matters impacting society. Data for the study were obtained through focus groups facilitated by an independent researcher, via district school climate and culture surveys, and through leadership reflective journal entries and observations. This study presents a more nuanced take on existing literature that relates to the perspectives of students of color on school climate and culture by adding an emphasis on understanding the role of relational trust on those perspectives.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Gold, Eva
Commitee: Jordan, Will, Nabors-Olah, Leslie, Nakkula, Michael
School: University of Pennsylvania
Department: Educational and Organizational Leadership
School Location: United States -- Pennsylvania
Source: DAI-A 80/11(E), Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Educational sociology, Educational leadership, Educational psychology, Secondary education
Keywords: Diversity and inclusion, Relational trust, Sense of belonging, Stereotype threat, Student voice, Urban education
Publication Number: 13857076
ISBN: 978-1-392-22696-4
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